Sunday, February 15, 2009

Channeling Ms. Frizzle


For a relatively brief span of time, Bekah and Anna (and I) used to watch PBS' "The Magic Schoolbus" featuring the unconventional teacher Ms. Frizzle. Actually, I don't really remembering watching many episodes on TV, but I do remember reading some of the thin, cartoony paperback books based on the show (or was the show based on the books?). In any case, what I remember best and, it turns out, only a little bit scrambled, is Ms. Frizzle's teaching motto: "Take chances, get messy, make mistakes!" We could all use a dose of that kind of thinking now and then, at least I know I could. Maybe there are some professions in which following that advice would be disastrous--it's probably not a great idea in medicine, for instance, although medical research probably depends on a decent share of taking chances following hunches. (And maybe even the practice of medicine does also, perhaps more than most of us would like to imagine! In that realm, taking chances is one thing; making mistakes is another.)

In any case, I find myself thinking that if I were an art teacher, or any kind of teacher with a classroom for that matter, I think I'd have that motto written in large colorful letters posted in a place of honor. I kind of wish I'd been encouraged to take chances, get messy, and make mistakes, rather than to play it safe, stay tidy, and aim for getting things right. (In my school days, I was like the Magic Schoolbus character Dorothy Ann who was so dependent on her book learning and a bit scared to venture beyond it.)  At least I can do things differently now.

I googled Ms. Frizzle and found a few more favorite sayings: "Never say never." "Look for connections." "What you don't look for, you won't see; what you don't see is very hard to find." Or something like that...


3 comments:

Cori Lynn Berg said...

Awesome! I never realize Ms. Friz was such a philosopher!

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