As the year comes to a close I begin to inventory and pack curriculum and materials away for the summer. During the school year, I have crates of books from when I was in the classroom out for teachers to borrow. As I pack them away, I think about some of my favorite books. The first that comes to mind is Duck on a Bike by David Shannon. If you are an elementary teacher, you have probably read this picture book. Middle school and high school teachers I invite you to read it and share your thoughts. As you read this excerpt, reflect on your year. How do Duck’s actions relate to teaching and leadship? How do the farm animals’ responses mirror your own reactions to change?
The story begins…
One day down on the farm, Duck got a wild idea. “I bet I could ride a bike!” he thought.
He waddled over to where the boy parked his bike, climbed on, and began to ride.
At first he rode slowly, and wobbled a lot, but it was fun!
Duck rode past Cow and waved to her. “Hello, Cow!” said Duck.
“M-o-o-o,” said Cow.
But what she thought was, “A duck on a bike? That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen!”
As the story goes on Duck continues to ride the bike past several of the farm animals.
Here are their responses…
“B-a-a-a,” said Sheep. But what she thought was, “He is going to hurt himself if he’s not careful!”
“Woof!” said Dog. But what he thought was, “That is a mighty neat trick!”
“Meow,” said Cat. But what she thought was, “I wouldn’t waste my time riding a bike!”
“Ne-e-e-igh!” said Horse. But what he thought was, “You’re still not as fast as me, Duck!”
“Cluck! Cluck!” said Chicken. But what she thought was, “Watch where you’re going, Duck!”
“M-a-a-a,” said Goat. But what he thought was, “I’d like to eat that bike!”
“Oink,” said Pig and Pig. But what they thought was, “Duck is such a show-off!”
“Squeak,” said Mouse. But what he thought was, “I wish I could ride just like Duck.”
So after Duck rode all around the farm, a bunch of kids rode up on their bikes. They went inside to play and the bikes just sat there. The animals looked around and suddenly the notion of riding a bike didn’t seem so bizarre, so foreign, so “out of the box.” In the end all the animals rode around the farm on bikes, having a wonderful time.
The story ends with Duck looking curiously at a tractor. This circle story prompted me to reflect on this past school year. I reflected on how I reacted to change? I thought about how each animal responded and identified with their feelings. I reflected on my teaching and leadership. I noted what I want to change and do differently next year. Teaching reminds me of a circle story as we bring one chapter or year to a close, we have a new one waiting to begin.
To my friends and colleagues, thank you for a great year!