Spirit

19 Jun

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Jazz is learning how to make a spatula on a shave horse using a draw knife. Her brother George is pictured here shaping a piece of Rowan with a carpenter’s axe for a spoon blank.

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These photographs were kindly sent to me by the mum of these lovely children – Lynn. In so doing she has given me an insight into how all of us learn.

At first I was struck by the look of concentrated delight on the little girl’s face as she let me help her pull the draw knife to shape her spatula – I was sat right behind her so I had no idea what thoughts were crossing her mind, or how she was taking the experience. Then I realised just how big I am in comparison to her, and this is echoed in the shot of George who is manfully struggling with an axe which I wield nearly every day (as a natural extension of my arm), on a chopping block that is clearly too big for him.

I could have chosen to miniaturise the experience for these youngsters, but I wanted to make my demonstration as real as possible. In so doing I hoped to be the bridge from the unfamiliar, and faintly scary, to the commonplace and useful: using real tools in the correct way to make really useful things.

I remember long ago an old teacher saying to me that Education was about taking a person from a position of safety to a position of ‘danger’ by helping them to conquer their fear. I would add to that, and say, anyone wanting to teach must find the source of their skill and generosity (for this is the true spirit of education) by acknowledging their true nature.

Teaching is a social enterprise which involves trust. Parents invest an immense amount of trust in teachers, which is a fact often overlooked by professionals in their hunt for better grades, greater performance, compliance with inspections and professional advancement. This trust is a gift which should be acknowledged.

We often forget that in the act of teaching we ourselves are being taught, Lynn, through her trust and generosity has showed me a reflection of myself I rarely get to see – true contentment.

Thank you!

x

H

2 Responses to “Spirit”

  1. universalpeacepipedreamer June 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    Hi Henk, That was a great post. I was at a fair like that when I was a kid, and there was a man there doing carving demonstrations, like you, I knew then that I wanted to carve, the seed had been planted. That was a very long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I wish, that I could go back and thank, that gentleman for his gift, it ended up saving my life and changing it for the better many years later., Thank-You, Henk, Peace J.A.M.

    • woodenhenk June 20, 2013 at 6:07 am #

      The mother of these two was so lovely – mostly people just want to be entertained or give their kids a fleeting experience. She was keen to immerse them in the whole process.

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