Bubblecatchers + Blackswans


Our lives are filled with an overpowering force of stuff and things to do.  Our attention is like a flash light, it goes to the place we illuminate when surrounded by darkness. Our mind clings and attaches itself to all the things that sweep, serge, swirl and swallow.

But, not today, not this week. The flash light is shining in daylight, and it’s not getting the attention it normally demands and expects.


I am on holidays.

I have the mental capacity for ideas to flood and fill me because there is space – mental space. Sam and I talk a lot about physical space, it is the easier one of the two to change and influence for tangible and immediate impact. Mental space is another type of kingdom to conquer. We all think we have a handle on it, yet its grip is holding us by the throat.

I have had so many ideas and insights come to me the past few days that I feel liberated and rejuvenated in a way that makes me want to experiment, explore and excite new possibilities. The mental space has made accommodations for this to happen because I have allowed room to let these ideas and insights seek refuge in the vacancy.

Having my Bubblecatcher next to me at all times has helped me to remember and connect to theses ideas – with more creativity. These ideas are entangled and bound together between pen, paper and thought.

  • I have had the mental space for ideas to come, as I have been removed from my typical landscape (school environment).
  • I have written my ideas, recorded my thoughts and reflected about how these insights are occurring.
  • The realization of the black swan and how this is coming into play…. What does this mean? And how is this the point of what I am attempting to synthesize with everything else?

I have had countless black swan moments and it has been made possible by documenting my inner-thoughts using my Bubblecatcher. Having the mental space to do a virus scan, delete old files, reboot the system and download fresh thinking.

How many black swan moments do we have? How many have we realized? How many have we appreciated as learning for our students and ourselves?

While it is really important to have these moments (realizations) in life, do we have them in the classroom too……  in a way that transforms us to be learners as well. Or are we so busy that we scramble to the next thing?

We all love the idea that a learning experience, occurrence or outcome deviates beyond what we would normally expect or predict to happen whether it be in our teaching or learning. But, do we really believe this happens or exists? How often, if they do?

Does every learning moment or opportunity come as a surprise to us or our students while we inappropriately rationalize after the fact with the benefit of hindsight? Nothing more excites me more than a black swan moment, it gives perspective and proportion on the value and importance of me as a teacher and learner. The moment I stop learning, is the moment I need to walk away from this fulfilling and satisfying profession. Sadly, a lot of teachers ‘stay in it’ for the wrong reasons and swing from school to school – like a field that has been over farmed, the soil no longer fertile. (this is another posting for another time)

I love being on holidays, because I get to ponder and wonder and engage with thinking that doesn’t come so easily as it does when the mind is untamed and unfiltered.

How can we create more mental space for inspiration to flow instead of just getting through the small stuff and the things we expect to happen which attracts too much time and attention? Time to look at what we do, how we do it and why we do it with different colours!







  1. lsacker

    It’s interesting that that leaving time and space for things to just percolate can result in wonderful insights and creative thinking at times when the mind is at rest. I get my most creative ideas when I am walking and NOT thinking about specific things. I think giving your mind a space to just BE is wonderful. Great post.

  2. sherrattsam

    Nicely written, Chad. You know our “cult of busyness” is a school creation… in most cases, except for schools led by micro-managers, the hectic, compartmentalized, fragmented and over-structured school day (at least in primary) is created by teachers who believe learning should be done that way. Others can be skillful negotiators of time, allowing for the day to ebb and flow and for students to have more of that sense of timelessness in which great thinking happens. Naturally, teachers like that do have a plan… let’s not get intuitive/responsive teaching confused with people who just make it up as they go along!

    I see it every day. Two teachers with identical timetables (at least when they were first given them) and two completely different interpretations of time, two different ways of treating time. You can feel the difference the minute you walk into the room, the modus operandi in each room is a complete contrast. The way the students behave is totally different. The atmosphere in the room is completely different. The nature of the “work” being done is completely different. Even their attitude towards other people coming in the room is completely different – in one, the visitor is an interruption, a person to greet, put on a little show for. In the other, the visitor becomes just another learner in the room.

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