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The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast | ELA

Jan 25, 2024

This week, I want to tell you a story about pancakes.

You might know I love to cook and bake. My instagram stories feature enough pan-banging cookie demonstrations, bread-baking Sundays, and chocolate donut dipping and sprinkling to show my secret food blogger tendencies. So of course, I have a treasured pancake recipe, and my family loves a good weekend pancake morning.

But here’s the thing, pancakes take a little bit of forever. Especially these. And I don’t always feel like making pancakes for two hours on a weekend morning, even though I do love making food.

So a couple months ago when my son asked me to make pancakes, and I just didn’t feel like I had the hours to give, I suggested that he make them. At first he was a bit stunned.

"Me? Make the pancakes?”

But I said I would teach him how to do it and make them with him, if he would learn the process so he could start making them. 

So that’s what we did. I showed him the recipe, helped him find all the materials, and guided him through it. Everyone loved the pancakes, and we all showered him with compliments. A couple days later, he made them again, and I only helped with egg cracking and butter melting. More compliments. More joy for him. He started making pancakes to warm up on school mornings. He asked to make them for dinner when his grandparents were visiting, and the grandparents loved them. Soon he was cracking his own eggs, and I didn’t even need to be in the vicinity of the kitchen anymore.

So why am I telling you this? Well, for almost every teacher and parent I know, time is the great struggle. How to do it all? And sometimes that means letting things go, even if you know you’re good at them and maybe they even feel like a part of your identity.

Is it possible you could teach student volunteers to make beautiful book displays in your library each month? And that those students might actually feel really proud and pleased with the job?

Might you be able to empower student leaders on a team that you coach to plan part of practice time, give pep talks, or help set up or clean up practice equipment?

Might you be able to let go of something in your household that your children or partner might be good at too?

Maybe you want to try student-led discussion via the Harkness method, rather than trying to spearhead it every day yourself. 

Every time I see my son eating the lovely pancakes he makes, I have to smile to myself. While no one is now complimenting “Mama’s pancakes,” I love to see him feeling good about what he can do and I’m happy to have the time for other things. That’s why this week, I want to highly recommend you ask yourself what kind of pancake project can you launch? (That has nothing to do with pancakes). 

So I wonder, is there something you can turn into your own personal pancake project?

Go Further: 

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