RSS Feed

Soul’s Choice

I wrote this on a day when I had a new parent as the parent-helper in the classroom. She did a wonderful job and told me how much her child enjoyed our little corner of paradise. It was a dreary day and her comments warmed my heart.

Not every parent walked into the classroom ready to jump right in to being active and in a teaching role. I always kept an eye and ear turned towards those tables and times when I knew concepts were more challenging. Parents accepted my jumping in and, quite often, I just sat and listened. Parents brought skills and perspectives I lacked. I had a doctor down on his hands and knees teaching the Grade 8’s where the spleen was on the life-size body systems they were drawing. Or, an artist parent who taught the students how to do a particular art form. One grandmother brought her rock collection in each year for the Grade 3 Science unit. The junior high students always found a way to go and check it; some because it was new to them and others because they recalled the joy of it in Grade 3. The educational assistant led in our Food Science class, along with parents and students.

We are each called to do something in our lives. It is our vocation and provides us with a voice to share with the world.

Day breaks,

Cool and wet–

Greying one’s life.

If allowed,

Dampens one’s spirit;

Letting the dullening prevail.

Yet, glow emerge,

Warmth radiates,

Shared within community.

A communal spirit,

Exploring, discovering

Edges of others’ worlds.

I took this picture of Frank Slide in Alberta’s southwest corner. The slide that took place lasted about 100 seconds and about 110 million tonnes of Turtle Mountain covered part of the community of Frank. When I took this picture, it was a dreary day and I was not having any luck getting what I considered great shots. When I wrote the poem, I remembered the picture and it fit.


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.

28 responses »

  1. I think is a great story, great job you do and overall a great post.

  2. Beautiful words 🙂

  3. Always great when parents participate in classroom learning. I remember the time a parent brought us the loveliest large beehive in the middle of winter. All was fine until it warmed up in the classroom and bees started coming to life. Lucky there was an outside door nearby. But it did teach a lesson!

  4. Beautiful message 💗🙏💗

  5. Each one of us has something unique and special. All of our voices can make a difference, we are all here for a purpose. Isn’t it beautiful, that we all matter in one way or the other?

  6. Hi Ivan,
    What a wonderful post! The image is perfect for the poem and reminds me that every day is a beautiful day. We are having one of the coolest summers on record, I think. It reminds me of a San Fransisco “summer” which are mostly 50 degrees and foggy. I can’t complain, because I am one of those who melts in the heat.

    Living in intentional community I have found the blessing of having many “teachers” around me. Each person here (and there are close to 60 of us now) has a special interest, skill or gift to share — and we all share freely. It has been most extraordinary to live with “specialists.”

    Grey days or sunny days — they are all beautiful and wonderful to me. Thank you for bringing this forward, Alia

    • Thank you Alia. Every day is beautiful. Our summer has been interesting. We had a late spring and it was cool with snow on the ground into early May. It has not warmed up and stayed warm. Most days are below or at average, about room temperature and we have had no shortage of rain with more in the forecast. Farmers are having trouble with plowing and seeding as water is pooling in fields.

      As a teacher, I found I learned from the others around me, including parents, students, and support staff. They each had something to offer. When I had an ah-ha moment, I told my students. It demonstrated we are learning throught life.

      You are welcome. Take care and stay well.

  7. This is so sweet and heartwarming to read about. Kudos to you!

  8. Yes, your poem does fit the photograph. By the way, it sounds like you have fascinating classes.

    • Thank you Emilie. It was/is an interesting PhD process. We had a real mix of backgrounds e.g. teachers, non-profit, health care, ministers/priests/nuns, etc. The result was a wide range of dissertation topics and great conversations in classes and outside.

  9. Such a nice post…thanks for sharing it.

  10. Pingback: Teacher as Transformer

  11. YES! We each bring our gifts, talents, experience to everyday in so many ways – holding the space for those moments to happen, unimpeded is, to me, the most pressing challenge we have faced in so many systems, over the years – 🙂

    • That is the challenge, holding a space safe. William Isaacs writes brilliantly about dialogue as a safe container that expands and contracts to meet the needs of those gathered to explore challenging topics.

      • Yes!!! I believe a basic human yearning, past survival, eating and procreation drives, is the ‘desire to be heard’ and the ‘desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves.’ – This is another of our greatest gifts AND our most rampant vulnerabilities – IMNSHO – (In my not so humble opinion) – I might updated it, but so many things, over the history, recent and far reaching – seem to indicate, “um, yeah, remember that as being so, until you learn more…”

      • TamrahJo, “yearning” is a lovely word to describe what draws us forward in life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: