Friday, January 26, 2007

Illustration Friday: RED

My son Micah in a RED tube slide. He also has the most wonderful RED hair. He is also quite well READ ( mostly Calvin and Hobbes actually ).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

using memories

I'm going to be trying some poetry in my classroom over the next little while. It is suggested that one way to inspire students is for the teacher to write some of their own poetry.

blanket hog
When my wife
hogs the blanket,
the only thing to do
is yank it.

O.K. Maybe I'll try something a little more inspiring tomorrow.

What I'm really hoping to do is to make poetry part of the entire curriculum instead of saving it for a gigantic poetry unit in April. I want to link poetry to the real world. I think the best way for this to happen is if I become a poetry reader myself. If I read, then I will be able to find poems to read with my students which have personal meaning. I'll find an apple poem in the fall, a war poem when we study about current events, a poem about loss when someone in our community dies, a poem about living anytime.

I hope to, together, discover the joy of hearing our language used at its hear the music of the words.

Some of you are already good at this. Perhaps you feel like sharing.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

can I get a witness

I've spent eight years of my life in post secondary education. That is not an entirely unusual thing. Most of the time though, people who dedicate that amount of time and effort, usually end up with something that they can truly hang their hat on. A hook significant enough to securely hold their hat for a very long time.

My eight years actually produced two hooks. The first was a four year religious education at a major Canadian Bible College. The second was a four year degree in education at a secular university. After my first degree, feeling the pride of my hat being well hung, I fully expected that my formal education had officially come to an end. I was on my way to working in the comfort of the church's warm arms, securely tucked under the wings of an eagle. Spiritually speaking, that is.
Confused that I was unable to land anything of interest, I became anxious about my options. Joyce and I had become serious in our relationship almost immediately and I felt pressure to make a move in a definite direction. Something having to do with a ship that's moving and being easier to steer got me thinking about hook number two. I took the first steps and enrolled. I could get a few courses credit from hook number one towards hook number two if I was willing to make religion my minor. A lot of good that had done me in the past. I declined any credit, and so I was on square one. Four full years to go. We can do this.
The years passed quickly. The first two of four children were born and I was feeling a little less anxious every year. Teaching was definately my thing. I was good enough. I was smart enough. And gosh darn it, my students liked me.
Nearly ten years and three schools of friends later, I've come to love how my hat hangs firmly on it's place. Occasionally I walk past the place on the wall where the first hook is mounted. I've taken some of the mounting hardware and used it elsewhere. It hangs there loosely. I never use it. I was asked a few days ago by someone who uses a similar hook if I ever used it. I had to say no.
I remembered a time when I would also move about asking anyone if they had a place to hang their hat, or whether they would like one. I actually took a freshman course where I was taught how to do this. I was told that I was salty and that when people tasted me, they would become thirsty. Taste and see that I am good. I was afraid. I didn't want people to taste me. I was required to write about at least one actual contact where I offered my seasoning. Witnessing, it was called. That was the first and only assignment where I received a 0%.
Sinse then, I've become a target. People are now coming to me with their salt and offer it sheepishly. Taste and see...they say.
No thanks...I'm feeling a little full.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

art of motion

I got the CD I ordered today. Andy is outa sight. I just knew I would not be disappointed. And I love the album title, Art of Motion. That's the reason for today's post. I believe that there is quite an art to the motion of day to day living, or MOVING through one's day.

The day began with me having the luxury of sleeping in. Instead of waking at 5:46, I was able to instead rise at 7:10 because Thursday is not a pool day. One of only two in the week. I look forward to instead waking to the smells of the coffee being prepared and the sounds of day care children arriving at the back door.

This day I had the luxury of slowly making my lunch while sipping my second cup of Christmas gift Tim Horton's while the van warms in the garage, remotely started on this frigid morning.

The students have become more and more accustomed to my expectations and have come to appreciate the care and attention I place on the finer details of the daily plan. Sure they whin and complain, but that's because they are nearing that time in their lives when, I tell them daily that this is coming, that their brains turn to mush, and all they will be able to utter are complaints and protests.

Sarcasm is a fantastic classroom management tool. They don't tell you of this one in teacher college. But we all quickly discover that it is one of the more efective tools to build rapport and respect. It only works, however, if it is accepted as going both ways. It's a beautiful thing when you can connect through the eyes with someone attempting a connection through making familiar. The little smile begins in the corner of the mouth, and then quickly transforms the face into a knowing smirk. There are no unit plans for this. It's about being human.

The work day is through, and before going home I make one final connection. He says that Thursday is martini night. Tanqueray gin, dry vermouth, and a couple of really great olives. My mouth waters and my brain's tonic begins to stir. A quick stop before home would produce the same tradition.

Not three steps into the back entrance and I am greeted by my love who says she has something for me. A suddenly compact universe of skin and breath and hair. "That's for the lights", she says. I never imagined that flourescents in the basement could be so bright.

Dinner's done. All six in one room. "We should do this every night...this is family. The T.V. is off, doing homework, kids playing and laughing, music........and a good drink."

"A woman after my own heart", I say...or at least after my own liver.