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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Riding Lesson

I learned two things
from an early riding teacher.
He held a nervous filly
in one hand and gestured
with the other, saying “Listen.
Keep one leg on one side,
the other leg on the other side,
and your mind in the middle.”

He turned and mounted.
She took two steps, then left
the ground, I thought for good.
But she came down hard, humped
her back, swallowed her neck,
and threw her rider as you’d
throw a rock. He rose, brushed
his pants and caught his breath,
and said, “See that’s the way
to do it. When you see
they’re gonna throw you, get off.”

I came across a new poem today and the message reminded me of being in the classroom. Yesterday, I read an article about things students remember teachers for and they are relational i.e. humour, kindness, compassion, a good listener, etc.

Kathy comments I was a good junior high teacher, because I am an overgrown adolescent. In that way, I retained a sense of humour about the learning I did with kids. When I messed up, similar to the last lines of this Henry Taylor poem, I would often say, “I planned it that way.” Over time, the students would respond in kind.

We learn because we get up, dust ourselves off, and get back to living our lives. In French, the word for experiment is expérience and life is that. Life is unpredictable with its twists, turns, and we will be bucked off metaphorically and it is richer when experienced fully. Humour and forgiving ourselves when we fall off are important. Kindness begins at home with us and extends outwards.

Great Thought to Ponder…

Hard and right go together quite often. I had written quite a bit before Christmas and had sunk back to reading. Reading means I don’t have to do the hard and necessary work of writing which requires me to be present to my ideas and those of others I have read in ways that honour both.

Practical Practice Management

hard-work-inspirational-quotes-for-work

“I have found this statement to be very true.  But once you start doing the right thing, it becomes much easier to do all of the time.”

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Pray Believe Trust and Act

Every morning, I take a 1/2 hour and pray and meditate in the small chapel we have where I stay in Spokane. Prayer is connected to the word listening. It is a deep listening to one’s self and to what is beyond one’s self. Quite often, insights I had not considered appear at that quiet time that is set aside just to listen deeply in the silences between the words I say.

Shaking the Tree

I wrote and scrambled a bit today. I was unsure of where I was with the dissertation process yesterday and then it seemed, as I set the books down and wrote, things fell into place more easily. I read material on complexity theory and its related sciences. The classroom, the school, and all their relationships are complex beyond even the simplest complex system the science can describe. Social systems are so complex we cannot to take them to scale. Basically, it boils down to what happens in one school, perhaps a classroom, is unique to that place and that time.

In the midst of all this complexity, I skimmed Facebook and found a poet, Jeanne Lohmann, I had not read before. She writes about the deep interconnectedness we share with each other, the world, the universe, and what exists beyond. And, everything depends on everything. When we shake that tree, something else, many other things, respond. In the holy things, we find wholeness.

Vine and branch we’re connected in this world

of sound and echo, figure and shadow, the leaves

contingent, roots pushing against earth. An apple

belongs to itself, to stem and tree, to air

that claims it, then ground. Connections

balance, each motion changes another. Precarious,

 hanging together, we don’t know what our lives

support, and we touch in the least shift of breathing.

Each holy thing is borrowed. Everything depends.

 

Religion is for people

This is an interesting quote. Parker Palmer and others, including complexity scientists, point out that the etymological roots of religion is to yoke together or join together. Yesterday, during my reading one author (the name escapes me) said ligament has the same roots. We are bound together through what we hold in common. I think religion understood this way stands with spirituality which is what we each bring to the collective and can share with others.

More Grizzly Art

The simplicity of this statement points to the complexity of our place in the universe.

A-Ha! Records

Grizzly quotes #hiphop #lyrics #alternative #egrizzlyart #think #philly #nyc #Miami #poetry #philosophyhttp://instagram.com/p/jaJSv-sW3w/

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The Irony of American

I could have taken the following from any history. It transcends borders. I was unaware that Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the Serenity Prayer.

I chose this passage as it resonated with my writing today and it was the first page I turned to in the book of poetry I used today. What resonated with me was in my writing I draw on the work of John Dewey, Alfred North Whitehead, Plato, and others. The first two lines about hope provide a people with hope. What does it mean to be educated in the 21st Century? This question is partly premised on what it meant to be educated in earlier times. The context of Dewey and Whitehead was in the shadow of the Industrial Revolution. Horace Mann and Thomas Jefferson wrote in the shadow of the American Revolution. The rapid change of their times can give us faith that we will figure out what it means to be educated in these times.

I do not outline well. I get to writing, but, with a dissertation, I have to try outline so I have broken it up a bit. Today, I wrote part of the introductory chapter and sent it to Kathy to make it makes sense. In that I have hope and faith that love will save me.

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime;

therefore, we must be saved by hope.

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense

in any immediate context of history;

therefore, we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone;

therefore we are saved by love.

Please share to show my pupils how far a photo can go (even if you don’t want it to!)

This is an interesting experiment and I agree with the comment about it being a wonderful lesson.

Anais Nin And I #2

Love does not have to die. We can find it in the work and relationships we engage in everyday even if those have challenges attached. Nourish love with moments of remembrance.

Simple Pleasures

Anais Nin #2

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Sweet is the Oneness

I just finished writing the first draft of a short paper on complexity and the teacher’s practice. Much of this is not new. A classroom has the potential to become a community. It is about the needs of each student within a classroom and their personal lived histories. Around that community has the potential to emerge. I cannot plan for it. I can wish for it. Community grows out of the livingness of our lives when we linger on bridges that link us and we while away time in those moments. This is different then when someone chooses a team with a specific goal in mind.

Those are not my thoughts. I added to the thinking of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Max van Manen, David Jardine, and Ted Aoki. I found  complexity is something we have talked about throughout history, yet we it treat like it is new. I looked for a poem that fit my writing. The first poet that appeared was Rumi and he led me to this beautiful poem about the oneness of community.

If ten lamps are in one place,

each differs in form from another;

yet you can’t distinguish whose radiance is whose when you focus on the light.

In the field of spirit there is no division; no individuals exist.

Sweet is the oneness of the Friend with His friends.

Catch hold of spirit.

Help this headstrong self disintegrate;

that beneath it you may discover unity,

like a buried treasure.

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