When I was in high school and college, my brothers and I worked part-time diving for mussel shells in the Kentucky Lake area.
We would sell them by the pound at local markets, and those shells would in turn be sold to Japanese markets. Apparently, the pearly-white cuts from those shells are unique implants for growing cultured pearls in oysters.
One day I was climbing across the bottom of an area that was ten to twelve feet deep. The only sounds I could hear were the hissing breaths from my regulator. As I found shells, I placed them in a net-bag I had clipped to one side of my weight belt.
Because of low visibility, we didn’t swim with tanks on our backs. Instead my compressor, tank, and filtered line all connected to my boat. I was connected to a 50-foot air hose taped together with a 50-foot line of rope, and my regulator line was connected by a clip-on-hook to my weight belt at one end and attached to the boat and compressor at the other end. As I worked along an even stretch of clay and mud, I swept the surface with my hands while pulling the boat along with me.
One of my favorite college education professors would often start class with a provoking question.
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As we would grapple with how to answer or support our positions, he would stand there with his large hands lifted in the air, his voice booming, “Disequilibrium is the beginning of education!”
It took me a while to figure out that he was teaching us by example. He was trying to help a room full of future teachers see that the greatest learning opportunities in life first start with challenges that “shake” our normal way of thinking about problem solving. Only by challenging us to think would we ever really learn. And it is often the challenges or resistance you face that help you gain strength for the tasks ahead. Continue reading →