Now, I don't know if you've ever seen fresh fudge being made but it's a pretty cool process. The ingredients are put into a vat and brought up to around 237 degrees Fahrenheit. In the middle of the room there is a large, cold granite table. The table has no lip on it. It's just a big slab of granite. The fudge maker carries the molten liquified ingredients to the table and pours them onto the middle of the granite. The liquid fudge starts to spread and begins to move towards the edges of the granite. The fudge maker then calmly and slowly walks around the granite table, gently pushing the fudge that's falling off the edges of the granite back into the middle of the table.
He continues to walk around this rectangular piece of granite until the fudge has stopped running off the sides. Since, however, it's still not completely cooled he starts to gently push the sides inward creating a firmer form. Eventually it becomes this perfect piece of rectangular cooled fudge. Once it has cooled and formed, he then divides it into the pieces that can be consumed by the customers.
The thing that I found most interesting about this process is that the fudge maker simply kept walking the table, "training" the fudge to stay on the table. He had no negative emotions attached to the process, no frustration, no impatience. He let the fudge cool and form at whatever pace the fudge needed to do so. He simply continued walking and forming, walking and forming. Watching him was an almost Zen like experience..
I realized that as an empowered teacher, that's really the most effective way for us to do our job, to gently and calmly walk around, continuing to nudge our student in the right direction, letting the student "form" at a pace that is right for that student. And doing so without bringing any of your own frustrations or impatience to the process.
The important distinction here is the difference between nurturing and forcing. This week, as you nurture your students to their fullest potential, let the fudge maker be your guide, as a matter of fact, I encourage you to "fudge" your way to success! Facilitate with compassion and kindness gently nudging, nurturing and encouraging your students toward their greatest success.
The tips in this blog are culled from my two books, Coffee With Ray and Lessons With Matt. If you would like more strategies that will both nurture your students into self-directed learners while making your job less stressful and more rewarding, please check them out on Amazon.