Most of the children in my area are starting back to school this week or next – which got me thinking about my own school days.
I remember lying awake the night before school started filled with excitement about wearing my new school clothes, meeting my teachers and finding out who I’d sit by in class or play with at recess.
The start of each school year was filled with eager anticipation for the new things I’d experience and discover.
When I graduated from college and entered the working world, I really missed the ever-changing class schedule that promised challenging ideas and unfamiliar faces. But, after my first year in the professional world, I got in the groove of my new lifestyle and missed my scholastic days less.
In my current job, I still have the opportunity to take new classes (projects), meet new students (vendors, clients, co-workers) and learn from interesting teachers (supervisors, colleagues, books). While my recess (lunch break) doesn’t involve swinging on the monkey bars or playing tetherball, it probably could if I wanted to head to a local park in my work clothes.
One of the things that made elementary school great was the opportunity to cut loose and experiment with new ideas – whether that was increasing our understanding of politics by sculpting world leaders out of Play-Doh or learning about teamwork by running a three-legged race.
Those moments stimulated our minds and helped us kids refresh from a sometimes draining day of reading, writing and arithmetic. I think those same moments are invaluable in the “workplace classroom.” Employees need to be able to try out new ideas and shake off the hum-drums when their enthusiasm wanes.
Infusing creativity and fun into the workday helps employees stay sharp and engaged.
Of course no classroom or workplace is all fun and games, but my favorite classes were always the ones where I learned without realizing I was learning. The same can be true at work. If we have enough moments that stimulate our minds and shake up the status quo, we don’t feel like we’re working, but rather exploring and making contributions to our world.
What were some of the best learning moments from your school days? How could some of those creative learning times be brought to your workplace?