At the end of every school year, I talk to my classes about collateral learning. I tell them that I realize they have six or seven teachers who, for 10 months, tell them their class is vitally important to their lifelong success. And then I tell them, almost like it’s a secret, that for me, I’m more interested in their collateral learning. What did they learn this year about time management? Friendship? Setting boundaries? Identifying passions?
Yes, math and science and social studies and English and the arts and journalism are important, but what did they learn about how to live a fulfilling life? That is equally important.
It’s 2 a.m., an hour I hadn’t seen in who-knows-how-long, and I’m tweaking bits of code in hopes of being declared worthy, and I’m failing over and over and over again.
Oh, let me be clear: the code works just fine in simulators. In code validators, I’m getting zero errors. The people who helped me say they can’t find anything wrong with the logic or syntax of my code. It’s just the class automatic grader that doesn’t like something about my code and refuses to pass it. And since the autograder is a robot and can’t point to a specific choice I made, I’m a little stuck.
So at 2:12 a.m., I finally shut my laptop, turn on my meditation app and think: what am I doing to myself?
(I have gone to Jazzercise, so at least that’s something.)
What am I learning, exactly?
So before drifting off to sleep, I resolve to reevaluate my goals for this class. I make a list of things I need to do today, and things I want to do. And I go to sleep.
I woke up this morning with collateral learning still on my mind, and in the past month of working on this class, I’ve learned that I am not the best about self-imposed boundaries. It’s always been hard for me to say no to people, so this should not come as a surprise, really. But I didn’t think I would ever work on something for so many hours and be unable to set it aside, take a break, and do something that brings me joy.
I’ve learned that–right now, at least–I enjoy web design more than web development.
I’ve learned that I need to track my time spent on this, I need to plan more things in my days so my time with the class is more focused, and I need to be a tidge more forgiving to myself when I’m slow to grasp content.
I’ve learned I need a break.