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The teacher’s Diary: kintsugi, the philosophy of my choice

As a philosophy, kintsugi can be seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.source: Wikipedia

No one escapes life unbroken. We all come across hardships and tragedies that break something within our soul. Most of the times, when we move on, we carry the scars with us and try to hide them, pretending they’re not there. We feel compelled to act “normal” and “forget” what we went through. And most of the time, we fail!

I am now convinced that this is really what we do wrong: moving on does not mean hiding what we went through as if nothing ever did, but it means embracing our mistakes and scars and experiences as part of who we are. Those scars, when accepted, will define who we are because they are so special and cannot be repeated or recreated ever again. When we accept the beauty of our imperfections, the artful combination of our shortcomings and insecurities will finally stop haunting us and start to become a source of pride and hope.

As a teacher, I strive to teach this philosophy to my kids and live by it every single day. Life becomes much easier when we accept that mistakes are bound to happen, and learning from those mistakes will always make us better people.

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The Teacher’s Diary: My Personal Experiment- Mr. Quiz

Are you afraid of tests? Student psychology courses always imply that the evaluation method and the “idea” of a test are much more difficult to accept than the test itself. Students of all levels suffer from a type of anxiety which affects their performance and consequently, their results. This is always a disappointment for students, as well as their parents, especially when they have worked so hard studying at home.

Many solutions come to mind, starting from changing the class environment to questioning the need for evaluation in the first place.

Now, from a teacher’s point of view, continuous evaluation is essential in order to follow the progress of a student and identify what was acquired and what still needs work.

As a teacher, I always search for new ways to improve myself and help my students along their long journey of learning. I have tried the following approach to combat test anxiety in all of my classes and I like its effects.

The idea is to make the quiz approachable. I started drawing a happy face inside my Qs when I write the word Quiz on the board. I call it Mr. Quiz.

Mr. Quiz

Students were surprised at first, but genuinely smiled and liked the idea. Soon enough, student started using their Mr. Quiz to express their own thoughts, opinions and fears in a very simple and eloquent way.

during a quiz

That definitely helped. You can see the student writing with a smile on his face. The “shock” of a quiz is balanced with simple humor and the basic drawing of a smile.

quizzzz

I will not be over enthusiastic and say that the outcome was perfect. There are always students who are uninterested with the happy face, simply because they do not fear tests. Others will still fail because they do not study at home.

But I am sure of this: students who used to fear quizzes now wait in anticipation for Mr. Quiz. I draw different smiles each time; sometimes a hat, other times a mustache. This always draws a smile on their faces before they begin answering questions.

It is my belief that a teacher’s job is to aid, support and encourage students to become the best they can be. Thanks to my simple Mr. Quiz, I believe I have made a tiny contribution to minimize the fear of tests inside my class. After all, who can resist a smile?