The Sweet Spot of Learning

Coming in to #the100dayproject, I knew I would be learning. It is one of the reasons I enjoyed the project so much last year and jumped at the chance again. It’s funny how it still catches you off guard. Maybe it is because as educators we are focusing on the learning of others but it is beautiful to be in that moment, the sweet spot of learning, and reflect on how you can help others experience it.

I needed a push, something different and a friend on Instagram suggested I focus my next theme of 10 on minimalism. I have to admit that I went in with a very lose definition of what I actually committed to. I’ve seen it happen in education once or twice before: hear a word, hope we understand what it means and muddle through. After posting the first picture I asked for some feedback and realized I was off track. So I started googling to better define what minimalistic photos had in common (negative space), along the way finding some Minimalism Instagram Greats to follow and be inspired by. As the week went on I could notice myself adjusting photos and looking for the negative space. It was that sweet spot of learning where inspiration, challenge, feedback all hit at the same time.

Then came this latest theme. I had promised myself I would do at least one theme of portraits before the end of the project, originally that was going to be the focus of the whole project. Maybe I got just a little too confident. I love taking pictures of family and friends but I find it stressful to invade their space. How do you walk up to a stranger and ask them to take a photo? Even with friends, how do you boss them around if you can’t guarantee a good photo? Folks were lovely and accommodating but my fears really took over.

As we were reading research reports for a work project last week, a comment stood out to me in Apple’s Classrooms of Tomorrow about gamers. They were speaking of the feedback loop of gamer, how it forces a pause before readjusting their practice.

 Failure simply provides her a quick break before she gets back into the game. 

I realized maybe I had leapt too far outside my comfort zone that I was letting the challenge overwhelm me. It is the only time this project I was 3 days behind at one point. So this was my pause, what was I going to shift to be more successful?

So as I finish up this set of 10 and move in to my next, I don’t want to lessen the challenge but eliminate the excuses. So perhaps it will be 10 self portraits (creatively using the term here). Giving me the chance to play while also lessening a few of my fears that were holding me back.

Funny how a hobby project can surface bigger lessons on the sweet spot of learning, a place with just enough challenge, inspiration and community.

I am still learning.



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