My friend, Trish Laughman, recently recommended that I read Joshua Medcalf’s book “Chop Wood, Carry Water.” In it, Medcalf tells a story of a young boy who always dreamed about becoming a samurai archer. At one point in his life, he buys a one-way ticket to Japan and begins his schooling. The sensei, every day, had him chop wood and carry water, something everyone in the village did to survive.
Many of us get caught up in the end results of what we’re working toward or the way things will be when we finally achieve something. But the truth is, getting to where you want to go or being successful doesn’t mean that the work that lead you there goes away.
In Worthington Schools our most important goal is to empower a community of learners who will change the world. This time of year we’re relentlessly focused on helping every student pass their third grade reading assessment or their high school end of course exams. At times the task is overwhelming, but if we chop wood and carry water every day the end results will take care of themselves.
For us in our school classrooms it’s about following the process of sound formative instruction in the teaching process. It’s about setting appropriate learning targets for each lesson, making certain our students understand and connect to those learning targets, and providing them feedback as they progress. It’s about effective and targeted guided reading lessons at the primary level, making meaning from informational text and writing daily to make thinking visible in every classroom. It’s about creating formative and summative assessments that develop high rigor critical thinking, problem-solving and design thinking. And it’s about engaging the students in their learning
If we chop wood and carry water each day the results will take care of themselves. Our job is to focus on the process and what actions each of us should be taking daily.
Chop wood, carry water….
- Trent Bowers, Superintendent