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Unplanned, Orchestrated

As I approached the last year I taught, I wanted to experience the that and live it to the fullest with each students. At various times during the year, my resolve was tested. One day, due to illnesses and family situations, the number of students who attended was a handful. I set lesson plans aside, going  with the flow. It was an excellent choice. We enjoyed ourselves and it created a way to approach these situations, and teaching in general, throughout the year.

That day, students created stories as part of short animated films. At times, we were silent. Other times we shared and laughed. Throughout, we helped each other with new tools and I learned right along with them. Much like teaching art I did not come into the day with much knowledge about tools and techniques we used. Instead, it was very improvised and I told the students this right up front.

Several days later, I walked the river valley and reflected on how we experience unplanned moments and rewards that emerge. Alan Watts reminds me of the difference between faith and belief. The former allows me to go through life less anxious, with reduced expectations about the future. The latter needs us to shape a world to fit a belief system into and defend it. It is not that the future won’t arrive. It is I cannot anticipate the next moment, only living in the present moment and improvising to what emerges.

Life’s meaning–

A question teases–

To live into;

To thrive in;

What is my purpose?

Moments separating;

Connecting, dancing in paradox.

Each moment emerging;


Yet, orchestrated.

Revealing meaning moment by moment.

Unmarked journeys–


Not answers–

Certain missteps–

Do I see around corners?

Over hills?

Accepting on faith,

Feeling, sensing, experiencing,

Not seeing.

A gentle hand,

Touching, guiding,

Each of life’s step,

Emerging in light,

And, shadow.

I took this picture during the walk. The path drew me to it, with its hill and curve at the top. I only saw what was immediately in front. Even then, it was limited by shadows and vegetation blocking my view.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

15 responses »

  1. Life is exciting because while we enjoy the present, we never know what is around the next corner.

  2. Thanks for the reassurance in your words

    On Sat, 4 Jul 2020 at 6:47 am, Teacher as Transformer wrote:

    > ivonprefontaine posted: “As I approached the last year I taught, I wanted > to experience the that and live it to the fullest with each students. At > various times during the year, my resolve was tested. One day, due to > illnesses and family situations, the number of students who att” >

  3. If you plan things, there are no surprises, no delights. Winging it is the fun part.

  4. The present moment is the only moment, my message too. Life is the best teacher, right in that moment every tie. Thanks for your fine presence, and happy fourth!

  5. When I taught high school and college, the greatest thing I learned about lesson plans was that they are not carved in stone. I learned to zig and zag where necessary but stay the course in the long run. BTW – I am still in touch with over 40 of my former students.

    • I agree Allen. As I became more comfortable, I used them as the framework and allowed what emerged to take root. Quite often, it was in the emergent moments we found the greatest learning.

      I am not sure how many former students I am still in touch with. I have a combination of K-12 students, university students, and former hockey players, so it is probably somewhere around 100 that I actively communicate with. Every now and then I run into someone who I don’t recognize and they ask if I am Mr. P. or greet me by saying “Coach.” I learned to ask who they were. They change so much and I appear not to. I run into these former students and players in airports, at conferences, and in schools and arenas I visit. It makes me feel like I made a difference.

  6. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


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