Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bright and shining vision

The work week has started. The kids are back in school. And yesterday I had a nice heartwarming moment. It was a view of one of the things I dream about when I see my future.

It was 6th period and I was in science class. The teacher and I had tried to get the kids to quiet down enough to do an activity that would be part discussion and part experiment. That hadn't worked so I wrote vocabulary words on the board, we handed out dictionaries to the groups and their assignment was to look up the definition of each word.

Some of them didn't have good dictionary skills so that was part of the learning experience. I went around assisting about 5 different tables of kids. If they knew how to use the dictionary they were pretty much self learners and worked really well on their own. The others I would help look up words and keep on task.

At one point the teacher had to step out to take care of something and left me in charge. This is a notoriously rowdy class but he'd done this before so it wasn't horrible. The nice thing about this time was that the kids were so busy that most of them didn't even notice he'd left. I kept circling among the groups that were being productive and those needing support. I was so busy and into that teaching/support flow that I didn't notice his absence either.

That was when it happened. In one split second of awareness I realized that things were working well. The kids were learning and staying involved in what they were supposed to be doing, I was keeping up with their needs, my scan of the classroom was doing what it should (show me where I was needed), and the classroom was functioning as it was supposed to.

That vision made me happy in a way that nothing else could have. That vision is what I dream of when I envision my future classroom. It must be one of the joy of every teacher when they see things going smoothly and learning flows. I am so thankful for that moment that I had to share it. Thank God for that bright and shining vision.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bye-Bye Spring Break

The week has passed. Tomorrow I arise bright and early to go back to work. I can't decide if the past week has been a break or not. Sure, I was off work. But I had plenty of school work to catch up on and several errands that had been waiting. Not all of it got done.

The school work is partially done. I got two short papers written. Now I need to start researching the 2 big papers. Said research is partly done but I still need to organize it and get my thoughts in order. I looked at the course schedule and found that I have another week before the test (open book). Whew!

The errands got divided up over the week. There was a dental checkup, a visit to the pastoral counselor, and my car went to the shop for its safety inspection plus oil change. When I got home I took the time to renew the vehicle registration so I am set for the next year.

This coming week is early release for 3 of the 5 work days. Last year the aids stayed till the end of the regular work day even though there wasn't a whole bunch to do. I have visit #2 with the counselor on Tuesday, so I need to leave a little early. I'll try to skip lunch and thus avoid any shortage of hours.

One of the fun things I did this past week was go to see Pan's Labyrinth. While I liked the movie, I was a little confused by some of it. It shows in rather realistic fashion what it was like to live in Spain during the end of the Franco period. That's pretty horrific. You get to see people get hurt, tortured and generally mistreated all because they were born peasants. The movie also has pretty neat fantasy scenes as the young girl the movie centers around goes through her trials to prove she is the fairy princess the faun claimed she was. What confused me was that I was never sure if the girl's entries into the Labyrinth had a parallel in the real world of brutality. The movie didn't turn out the way I expected it to, so there is a surprise ending if you go watch it. (g) I recommend this one. It is a nicely done movie and won several academy awards.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Getting Started

Tight gut
Grinding teeth
Merry-go-round thoughts

I've got things to do!

Scribbled words
reaching out
tumbling emotions

I've got things to do!!

Pushed focus
Over analyze
Web search

Ah, there's a direction!

timid prayer
read, think
Begin now?

I've got things to do.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Roles People Play

I've started reading Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul. When I got to part 2, which is about love, I looked ahead at the chapter titles, for there are many in that section of the book. One of them read "Mother" and another "Father." These two most important people in a person's life often represent the embodiment of love for us all the rest of our lives.

Parents teach us how to do things. And in teaching us that they often teach us about life and love. My parents were there. They took care of me. They fed me, clothed me, tended me when I was sick, and took me to school so that I could get an education. But it was my grandparents who taught me how to do the things I think of as bringing up a child. My grandmother taught me how to cook, make beds, clean a house, sew clothes, add and make fractions and enjoy the funny papers. My grandfather taught me how to plant and tend a garden, use every tool in his work shed, and play dominoes. With him and my grandmother I would go out and learn how to put a worm on a hook and catch fish, or watch where the white wing he shot fell into the brush and go out and bring it back. My grandfather and I would mow the lawn together, me at age 7 walking behind the huge lawnmower surrounded by his arms with my smaller hands on the handles between his big ones. So in my mind, even though I correctly call my parents Mom and Dad, it was my grandparents who really filled those roles.

From that upbringing a lot of my ideas about spirituality, family and faith arise. So I guess when I read those chapters in Moore's book, I may have to translate the information to apply to my grandparents instead of my parents. What that will entail I'm not sure yet. It may require me to define or redefine those roles so that they fit my life. Or I may end up redefining my ideas about love, what it is and how one shows it.

Today I'm going for a first visit with a man who may become my spiritual director. He is a pastoral counselor. That means he has training both in theology and therapy. Until recently I hadn't known such people existed. So when depression strikes, as it has of late, he will also be able to help me deal with that also.

I've never had spiritual direction and I'm a little nervous about it. Not knowing exactly what to expect, but hoping for the best, I've been thinking about what spirituality means to me. How do I want to address it? This is why I started reading the book. I worry if my religious beliefs will come into conflict with his. This is one question I must ask to ascertain if we will be a good fit. The gender issue may come into play. What other areas or topics might we discuss that will make me uncomfortable? To give my thoughts some focus I went to beliefnet.com and took their spirituality test. It didn't cover all the questions I'm so concerned about but it did give me a better idea of what my beliefs about spirituality were. That should help.

On the therapy side, I saw the same therapist for 7 years. She is good and was very effective for me at the beginning. Last year I stopped because 1) I wanted to feel well and did, 2) if I was to continue therapy I wanted to take it someplace she wasn't prepared to go. You build up relationships with your therapist just like you do with a doctor. So part of me is feeling a little guilty about changing therapists. Another concern is, "How much old ground will I have to cover with this new therapist to reach an effective place?" Additionally, knowing my tendency to jump into things without thinking them through first, I wonder if I haven't done the same here.

My insurance has set me up for an initial visit and 6 follow-ups. That is a reasonable time to do some work and find out if we fit. Unless of course, it doesn't work out on day one. If that happens I'm back to square one and pastoral counselors that are on your insurance's provider list are somewhat rare. So, I'm praying today that God will provide and all will work out well.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Carnival of Hope springs eternal!

It's Spring Break! The kids are out of school, I'm off work for a week, and Carnival of Hope is up over at Susan's place. I'm delighted to be included. Thanks Susan! If you want to lift your spirits after a long winter, go read the stories of hope and joy in bringing up children and teaching them how to grow that she has collected. New growth! Now isn't that a great theme for spring?

Peace! Hope! and Joy! Have a good lent everyone!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Thoughts and a new link

While all of The Invitation made me think, there is one set of lines that I had to work at.

I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

While the idea of betraying a promise isn't new, the contrast in being "faithless and therefore trustworthy" was a bit hard. You don't usually think of them as going hand in hand comfortably. We are taught to keep our word and that would make us trustworthy.

After I had thought a bit I decided that I could compare this line to one I think is from Shakespeare," to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." While I'm not really sure with Shakespeare's double negative in that I think the idea is right.

When I ran this by a friend he went back and reread the poem. Then he compared it to the "yes man" in business, "'yes' men are faithful, even as they lie to their bosses telling them what they want to hear."

Once I had accepted the idea of being faithless and trustworthy at the same time his words made sense. If that is a life lesson then it seems to have been easy to learn. They aren't always that way. Maybe the hard part is to put that into practice. It is hard to say no sometimes, especially to a friend. It can be scary saying no to a boss. If you lost your job would being able to look yourself in the mirror, not clench your teeth, and not tighten your gut as you prepared to go looking for a new job? I could, but I would have to deal with the dissatisfaction of losing my job too.

There is a new link in the photography section of my side bar. It is labeled "Lens Culture." Interesting website with lots of good photos. Enjoy!