25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving: Seize the Moment

Photo by Alex Wypyszinski. Click to see the entire photo essay
So much of what we do in education is about seizing those teachable moments. They aren't in our lessons plans and surely aren't written on the daily agenda in the appropriate place on the whiteboard. Sometimes these moments start with a "But why?..." or even just a slightly furrowed brow. Sometimes it starts with a blank stare.

Regardless of how teachable moments start, we seize them and our classrooms are richer because of it. If we never stray from our plan, our students lose because we are missing those amazing discussions.

So, what sparked this reflection? I was checking the weather forecast the other day and saw a link to an article, "Amateur Photographer Captures Grizzly Bear Chasing a Bison Down a Highway in Yellowstone." I don't read Field and Stream, but had to check this out. These 16 photographs are all about seizing the moment. The photographer was out to take pictures of geysers. What if he hadn't started shooting the drama unfolding in front of him? He would have missed out on this rare opportunity the same way that teachers can miss opportunities if we aren't willing to stray from the plan.

There's a side note to this as well. Photographer Alex Wypyszinski did all this without specialized equipment. He skillfully used what he had (a digital point and shoot camera) and got great results.

As educators, we can do that too.