With hammer in hand and nails in my tool belt, I go out in the morning to work on the addition to our house. We’re adding a bedroom, bathroom, mudroom, and built-in breakfast nook. I hired the basement dug, cement floor poured and block walls laid. From that point, I am doing everything else – with the kind help of friends and family as they are able. I collapse into bed at the end of a long day – most often feeling success and occasionally feeling totally overwhelmed. I have made good progress, but have an astonishing long way to go.
To prepare myself for this task, I took on the Zen of jigsaw puzzles. Completing a jigsaw puzzle requires a healthy dose of patience. With the big picture in mind, I go about the work of slowly fitting one piece at a time – pounding one nail at a time. With patience, persistence, and determination, I have been able to complete many jigsaw puzzles. With the promise of someday laying my head down at night in our new bedroom and enjoying a hot cup of coffee in the morning at our new table – I go out each day to hoist a floor joist, put up a wall, raise a rafter, nail down a shingle, install a window, nail siding, run wire, tape drywall, and paint walls. The end result is a collection of pieces artfully put together to create an artful whole – each resulting in a deeply satisfying feeling of accomplishment.
Teaching is like that. One lesson, one interaction at a time, we slowly put together the puzzle pieces to open the door to new learning. It is only after hard work over sustained time that we are able to stand next to our students and enjoy the intense satisfaction of our shared work.
Putting it all together as a whole, I have learned patience and persistence. I value the help and support of others. We can all accomplish great things – one step at a time.