I was in Copenhagen, Denmark last summer. There was an installation along the waterfront by Yoko Ono that consisted of a grove of wish trees. Passersby were asked to take a white tag, make a wish, and tie it on one of the trees. That was it. Art! I thought about that wish tree today as I spent time in a number of classrooms with children ranging in age from 8 to 16. If we had a grove of trees planted in our district (or in any district), what wishes would I tie to the tree limbs?
Here’s the beginning of my very long list:
- All students would receive the highest quality instruction possible.
- All students would feel loved and honored for who they are.
- All students would be highly engaged in the work they are doing.
- All students would get exactly what they need when they need it.
- All students would feel that they have both choice and voice.
- All students would find joy in their academic pursuits.
- All students had dreams and aspirations.
- All children owned their learning processes.
- All children could talk well about their learning.
- All teachers and parents and administrators had high expectations and hopes for all children.
- All teachers demonstrated passion about the critically important work they are doing.
- All teachers would recognize their importance (and power) in the lives of kids.
- All teachers had choice and voice in what they are teaching (and what children are learning).
- All teachers owned their teaching and learning processes.
- All teachers had dreams and aspirations (for themselves and their students).
- All teachers would find joy in their work.
I could go on and on, but this is a good start.
Thank you, Yoko, for always hoping and dreaming and wishing that the world will continue to become a more beautiful and peaceful and meaningful place.