Recently, my second daughter, Ada, turned 1 year old. She is a very happy little girl that is full of life and full of excitement. She has a natural interest in her world. Recently, she began walking on her own. Some may agree that to be walking on one’s own at the tender age of one year old is very young, yet it is wonderful to witness such new talent.
Since Ada was approximately 10 months old, she has been standing on her own. After a few shorts days of this activity, she wanted more. She began the ever-tender toddle from one piece of furniture to another. This lead to some more adventurous travels, yet there was always a piece of furniture within reach to grab hold of for stability.
My wife and I realized that Ada was always ready to take the next step, yet she needed our attention and support to help encourage her. My wife and I could stand or sit 3 paces apart and create a new game out of having Ada venture a couple of steps alone before landing into our protective arms. By the time her first birthday came around, Ada was, and is, confidently walking around the house by herself. She is able to master a variety of terrains such as carpet, tile flooring, concrete floors and the lawns of our backyard. All the while, she has a look of accomplishment on her face as she travels along her journey.
While I reflect on these important milestones in my young daughter’s life, thoughts travel toward teaching. All students travel along the road to learning in a similar fashion to my daughter and her adventures to learn to walk. There are many countless baby steps that each student takes along their learning journey. There is a sense of trust, a sense of comfort, and a desire to learn more. There are also times of hesitation, uneasiness, and discomfort. As teachers, it is our job to work through the process and guide our students to achieve greatness one step at a time.
When Ada began to take her first steps on her own, my wife and I would count the steps that she took before she landed at her destination. Five steps was a milestone, six steps was a journey, ten steps was a marathon. After a few weeks of counting each step, my wife and I do not count the steps that she takes; now we are helping to guide her on the direction that her journey will take her.
As we teach and work with our students in our studios, may we always be aware of the steps we take and the directions we travel. All the while, let us all enjoy the journey that we are on.