Stay Curious | Hooray For Monday

Hooray for Monday is a weekly blog filled with questions, ideas, reflections, and actions we can all take to remodel the school experience for students. Prefer audio? Listen to the Hooray For Monday podcast! Available on your favorite platforms here.

October 23, 2023

By Jenna Fournel, Director of Teaching and Learning

As the daily news raises worry and concern and we do our best to teach through the chaos, it’s easy to feel helpless, overwhelmed, and like nothing we do can possibly make a dent in all there is to be done.

But there is one simple thing we can always do when we feel overwhelmed. Stay curious.

Staying curious means being open to wonder, accepting that we don’t know all the answers, seeking input and advice from those who know more than we do, allowing ourselves to be in that vulnerable place of not knowing, and embracing the idea that we can always, always learn more.

We all have access to all the curiosity we can muster. We can be curious about absolutely anything. Here are a few of the things teachers were curious about this summer in Inspired Teaching’s Teaching with Improvisation Institute: 

“I am curious about the ocean and how deep it is. I’m curious about life itself and everything that’s a part of it. I’m curious to figure out when am I going to get my hair done? I’m curious about what the future will look like in 20 years, what technology [there will be, and] how advanced it’ll be in about 30 years.” 

  • Malia Jonas, 1st Grade Teacher, Raymond Elementary School 

“Something I am curious about is creating teachers that are Instigators of Thought. I’m really curious as to how I can create teachers who allow the students to lead the classroom, and they ask provocative questions, they ask thought-provoking questions, and they are Instigators of Thought. They create that curiosity in students, that joy factor, that wow factor, anything that generates a great experience for the students that has them experience school and not just attend school.”

  • Glendora Franklin Green, Instructional Specialist, Friendship Tech Prep 

“I am curious about how to incorporate jazz improvisation into every lesson.” 

  • Charles Edwards, Music Teacher, Deal Middle School

“Something that I’m very curious about is incorporating movement and thinking at the same time. So that means…how to use other parts of your body to encourage learning, not just your brain.”

  • Marco Moreno, Humanities Instructor, Goodwill Excel Center

Want to exercise your curiosity this week? Try this: 

  1. Set a timer and take 10 minutes to investigate just one of the questions that is worrying you right now. Notice how gaining new information both invites more questions and calms the worry a little bit. 
  2. Invite your students to take 5 minutes to write down everything they’re wondering about right now. Have them share what’s on their list, either with the whole class or in small groups. Notice what you learn about them from this sharing. Look for ways their questions can connect to what you teach in the days ahead. 

Curiosity is a powerful tool for our well-being and for our capacity to grow. It is the opposite of judgment which shuts down learning. Curiosity is the doorway to clarity and connection. It is the essential path to making sense of what makes no sense. What will your curiosity teach you this week?

For additional insights, resources, and information on Inspired Teaching teacher and youth programming, subscribe to the Hooray For Monday newsletter!

Hooray For Monday is an award-winning weekly publication by Center for Inspired Teaching, an independent nonprofit organization that invests in and supports teachers. Inspired Teaching provides transformative, improvisation-based professional learning for teachers that is 100% engaging – intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Our mission is to create radical change in the school experience – away from compliance and toward authentic engagement.

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