Monday, January 31, 2011

teachable moments

Well, hello there.  I'm breathing a bit easier as I write my second blog post.  While mulling over the myriad topics I could pursue in my first post, written yesterday, I was reminded of all the times I've had a presentation of some sort to do and was almost paralysed with dread that the end result would be a disappointing one.  In all honesty, this rarely really happened and I was usually able to pull together enough interesting and on-target stuff that came together nicely in the end.  And so, with my first blog to write, I did manage to come up with a little something - why I love my skylight.  Brilliant, no?  In an abstract sort of way, my bathroom skylight could be a metaphor for all sorts of things.  Perhaps the more vulnerable the position we find ourselves in (stark naked), the more heightened our awareness is of the world around us (just what is that rescue helicopter doing flying above my house...again?)   Hmmm.  Or, maybe it's just a window in my ceiling.  That's it, that's all.

As to my first post, it reminded me that we are who we are.  I am still the girl who starts something, then questions what I've started, then the self-doubt creeps in, then the patron saint of procrastinators flies in and sits on my shoulder, and...well, you know the rest of the story.  Over the years, I have built up a sturdy defence to this domino game.  But I've been sitting on the sidelines for the for the past two and a half years and my defence is rusty.  It was a teachable moment for me, a timely reminder of sorts.  On one hand,  there's the me  I know and love, warts and all.  On the other hand, there's the me I aspire to be, the clever, organized, confident woman for whom insecurity is merely a dust bunny to be Swiffed away.  Being my best self tests my patience and my determination, but the people I hold dear deserve the best I can bring to them.  Plus, it is like it's own reward because it can be contagious.  Sometimes you really do get what you give.  Who you are and where you are does not have to dictate who you will be and how far you can go.

For the past 17-18 years, I have been a school teacher.  I am a passionate supporter of public education and of the people who make it their business to build inclusive and empowering classrooms for  children.  I suppose if I were to use this blog as a platform for something, this could be it.  I'm in a new province now and have more questions than answers about the state of education, schools, teachers, parents, and children.  There are a few perspectives that I also must include when the broad topic of schools and teaching arise: my own history as a teacher, that of my 18 year-old daughter who, after surviving 12 years of school, is in university studying to become...a teacher, and that of my youngest daughter who is in grade 1(!), a fresh little face whose favorite thing about school, so far,  is recess.

I wonder how many parents really know what is happening in classrooms?  Do they feel engaged in what their children are learning?  Have they ever looked up the curriculum for their child's grade level on the provincial Ministry of Education website?  Or is the perception that school is a necessary evil, one that will continue to chug along, with or without any real participation from parents?  There is a tremendous amount of trust implicit in sending your child to school, a trust that hopes for strengths to be recognized, weaknesses to be addressed, and successes to be celebrated.  A similar sort of trust lives in teachers who hope to have well-rested, well-nourished children return to them the next day, children who can tie a bow if their school shoes have laces and who are helped to understand that this is important work that they are doing.  What is the responsibility of the children who are being shuttled back and forth?  We, parents and teachers and school administrators and ministers of education, would all do well to remember that these school-age children will be the ones caring for us in our twilight years.  Yes, I know that's a corny thing to say, but it's true!

Although you can't see it, my blog comes with a long silk string onto which I will thread any and all pearls of wisdom that you, dear reader, may see fit to send me.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Late nights

I have a sky light in my bathroom and, if it's a clear night, I can see the stars through it.  I just love that.  Or, during the day, I can watch the clouds drift by.  I know, I know...why wouldn't I just go outside and look up to the sky, right?  Well, perhaps the novelty of being able to see through my ceiling has just not worn off yet.  It's late here and my house is so quiet.  This is when I have the run of the place, as long as I'm quiet.  It's a golden bit of time before I say good-night myself and put today away.  I read my grown-up books and listen to grown-up radio and pour myself a grown-up something, maybe.  But it's strange, you see, because even though I look forward to this quiet time for me, once I get here, my sleeping family keeps sneaking into my thoughts.  What do we have to do tomorrow?  What will she have in her lunch?  What time will he be leaving?  Wait...getting back to me  I really do love late nights.  I love the quiet way I can revisit the day.  I feel as if I'm a movie director going over the day's work, deciding which moments are keepers and which ones belong on the cutting room floor.  From my vantage point on the night before the next day, I can fit everything into my tomorrow schedule perfectly.  I just know I will breeze through the next day with style and grace, I will be on time, everytime, and will forget nothing.  My child will love me, my sweetheart will adore me, my dog will heel, my friends will wish they were me, I will...Oh my, it is getting late.  Time to sleep.  But first, I will brush my teeth while I take one last look through my skylight.  Sweet dreams.