Thursday, July 14, 2011

This week I am a teacher (pt 2)

I'm not sure if I'm alone in this, but my immersion in language and community makes me crave hours of solitude and an engagement in art.  Art requires me to think in a way that does not require words.  Perhaps that is why I hold on to my work developing Knees and Paws.  Working at my machine is a healing therapy, restoring me to a state of peaceful being.

I have another passion besides art.  Teaching is a dynamic experience that fills up all the missing holes in my soul.  Today I received an outstanding compliment from the director of the Summer Program.  This compliment was in reference to guiding the students as they engaged in conversation with a Japanese visitor.  Our class, normally boisterous and free spirited, entered the room with quiet respect and asked thoughtful questions. They shared their experiences with Japanese culture in a way that promoted a deeper discussion.   The children wanted to know how people in Japan respond to natural disasters.  They were interested in the language and pop culture.  They raised their hands and waited for acknowledgement before speaking.  They were polite and thanked our visitor before leaving. 

In my mind I kept thinking "WOW!" How did that happen???
Nine boys, ages 6-8, and three girls.

Later, I found myself easily handling their active, rowdy need for fooling around in class.  I abandoned my self imposed worrying about keeping them all on task 100% of the time.   I was able to have fun and enjoy them as individuals.  I especially enjoyed seeing Elliot engaging with his "old" friends while reaching out to make new friends.  

And this morning I was asked why I'm not teaching in a school.  I didn't know what to say.

I can only say that when we find the right learning environment for Elliot, I intend to be open to that path as a profession.  I promise myself that I will be open to it despite my old fears.

I've also just learned of a fantastic Charter school that focuses on Environmental Studies.  It is a middle high school so we'll have to wait until Elliot is in sixth grade.  The school is free, in a town called Snow Camp in the mountains, 45 minutes away.    So there is a light shining somewhere that we might follow.........

Today I'll close with a quote from Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture.  In a speech to graduates at Carnegie Mellon University, Randy said

              "We don't beat the reaper by living longer.  We beat the reaper by living well.  Find your passion.  You will not find that passion in money or things.  That passion will be grounded in people."   

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