Fragile ships

Posted: March 4, 2017 in Inspiration, Motivation and engagement, Uncategorized

ship-in-a-bottle-artistic

“There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.” – Neil Gaiman

In spring 2016, Ontario’s Ministry of Education launched a Well-Being Strategy. Officially, for the first time, the education system reacted seriously to what our kids were living as they grew up in Ontario’s schools.

Today I saw the picture of a ship in a bottle and suddenly a plethora of feelings and words came pouring out. By no means as a child, was I even intrigued by this hobby. I am personally a perfectionist and the detailed concentration and handling that is needed to complete this piece of art is way beyond the capacity I could control. I was always deathly afraid of breaking a piece or breaking the bottle. Even more present was my utter uncontrollable frustration at such a precise task.

As I think about this ship in a bottle, I can’t help but think of some students. They are fragile, intricate, valuable and beautiful, yet they are guarded. These colourful boats are surrounded by a class encasing protecting it from the outside world. As these kids walk into our classrooms, they are hoping to be discovered; their true story and true beauty untold. They are a mystery, an unlimited batch of potential, awaiting discovery. As teachers, it is our duty to create a safe and inclusive environment to protect them. However, we do not only protect them like those ships in bottles, we also want to continue to add to their beauty by painting, adding a sail and keeping the ongoing development of that ship.

It is our job as educators to help all these ships go out to sea. To help them open their sails, to find their wind and let a ship do what it is supposed to do. We need to help them open the doors to unlimited possibilities.  In order to allow students to become those discoverers, we must help them rid themselves of that protective glass cover. Although we think that the bottle is there to protect, in the end, it is making interaction with the boat more difficult. It makes it harder for people to paint the wood, to add to its beauty and become the true ships they are meant to be. Humanity has used this process to protect them from being hurt, from being broken, so that they may go through life with as much happiness as possible. In the end, are we not simply limiting our potential and possible joy?

In reality, as I am writing this reflection, although students are a metaphor for the ship in the bottle, I realize that I am the metaphor for the ship. I live that guarded life. I’ve been put together, chipped, broken, dropped, glued and painted. I am hesitant to accept the mission and the beauty of life because of how I have limited my possibilities in the past. As I, myself, try to shed that protective bottle, I urge my fellow teachers to work at removing that protective casing from their students.

Help kids be kids, help them discover their passions and happiness; get to know them. So many possibilities exist in this world; let us help kids open their doors to all these possibilities.  As Sir Ken Robinson so eloquently put it: Every child deserves to be treated like they miracle they are…because #kidsdeserveit!

Comments
  1. Theresa Meyer says:

    Fantastic way to describe the child as well as the teacher. As I started reading I thought the glass bottle was the protection the students put around themselves so as to not let anyone hurt their ship. Like those kids who cry out for love from deep inside that bottle they have hid themselves in. But your message was more like a butterfly breaking free of its chrysalis!

  2. 2015trinity says:

    I like the chrysalis/butterfly analogy for our students/teachers as well as the ship in the bottle. I’m a visual learner like the majority of the population. The images Roman’s words invoke advocate for both the student and the teacher.

    I especially like what Roman said about, “I live that guarded life. I’ve been put together, chipped, broken, dropped, glued and painted. I am hesitant to accept the mission and the beauty of life because of how I have limited my possibilities in the past. As I, myself, try to shed that protective bottle, I urge my fellow teachers to work at removing that protective casing from their students.”

    This quote reminds me of why I got into education as my second career in life. To reach those children who can benefit from someone who wants to “know” them. As a culture, we currently know more about the psyche of children than ever before. But what concerns me is the sheer increase in the number of children that need an adult they can trust in their life.

    I was in the business world for 16 yrs. I officially began my career in education August 2001. The world changed a lot on 9/11/2001. Any thoughts on what the future holds? Any suggestions on how to meet the needs of an ever increasing number of children without a support system?

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