A former student has his own clothing design company: Howard & Lloyd. I was scrolling Instagram today and saw one of his past t-shirt slogans: “Move forward. Stay Weird.”
I love that.
It’s like it should be the two mantras of my life.
Whether we like it or not, life is always moving forward. I’m sitting in an empty house right now. Trust me, I’m pretty aware that life is marching its steady pace, and even if I’ve thrown myself in front to slow it down, it feels like I’m presently getting trampled by the entire tuba section.
I didn’t get a chance to see my kids much over Thanksgiving. They had their reading break and were actually here for the whole week. I only had one night where there wasn’t a meeting, or practice, or travelling for sports. We hosted a tournament on their last day here, and then they were gone. They won’t be back until Christmas.
It was typical of how this fall has gone, as I’ve had one-day weekends for the past five weeks. I get that math isn’t my strong point, but it works out to two things for sure:
One. I’m tired. Literally, not just in the post-election sense.
And two. One day isn’t enough for catching up. Right now I’m failing on about every imaginable metric there is. As much as I convince myself that it doesn’t matter - because most of it really doesn’t - it doesn’t mean that I have to like it!
But we keep moving forward. This past week I had two opportunities to rejuvenate my thinking. The first was PD on Reconciliation. There are many, many times that I feel absolutely discouraged and disheartened. It’s Saskatchewan. The list would be long and depressing. But the opportunity to come together with other educators to learn, and support each other in our learning, gives me hope to continue this important work in any way I can.
The second PD was listening to Dr. Jody Carrington and her “ReConnection Revolution” message on relationship building in our communities. She is a truly amazing speaker, and her message that ‘kids are only as okay as the people holding them’ hit pretty close to the mark. When I know I’m overextended, the housework can definitely wait. The piles of clean laundry on my floor are a testament to that. It’s only two weeks until I will head out to Calgary and see the kids. And if this is another week where this isn’t my finest writing, well, I guess I can live with that too.
Staying weird isn’t a problem.
For the right price, I could dig out all my middle and high school pictures. There’d be no doubt about it.
At every opportunity, I try to model that and to encourage kids to be themselves. I haven’t written about author Matt Haig for a while, but he’s a touchstone when I need a shot of authenticity. This week he wrote: If you aim to be something you’re not, you’ll always fail. Aim to be you. Aim to look and act and think like you. So long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, embrace that you-ness. Be you to the power of you. You2.
So in the spirit of taking care of myself so I can be there for our kids and colleagues, I’m cutting this short. Again. And then calling it a night.
Have a great week everyone, and wish us luck as volleyball season wraps up this week with playoffs!
So today is the national day of writing. I had borrowed my mom's old typewriter to show my students, but thought it would be fun to do my blog post for the week on it.
Already realizing that the apostrophe isn't where it is supposed to be.
That there is not an ENTER button or text-wrap or backspace key that I can fix my typos with.
That if I go too fast, the metal arms with the letters on them will overlap and get stuck.
And that my hand and arm muscles are already sore from having to press, aka pound, the keys down.
But this is where I started to write. I think I was 8 when I asked Santa for a typewriter for Christmas. I got a kid's one and typed so many stories and poems on it. (OMG I just realized there isn't an exclamation mark on this keyboard. On my laptop, it's one of the most worn out keys haha.)
That typewriter made me feel like a writer. Or I should say, i was a writer with my typewriter. I submitted and had work published in the kids' section of the Western Producer. I even remember my pen name: Tytto, which means 'girl' in Finn.
In grade 5, our SRC sponsored a poetry contest for the school. I wrote one about a Rubik's cube. (It was the 1980s...)
I won $15 and bought myself a clock radio. Giant swaths of my life, I don't remember, but that sticks.
I loved writing.
Correction: I love writing.
When I feel like I have words bursting out of me, I write. When I'm sad or frustrated or just having feelings like human beings do, I write.
Sometimes there are even other human beings on the receiving end of those words. And sometimes, there is not. Sometimes I just keep them for me.
Some words are not meant to be shared. They are meant to be saved.
And sometimes they are just sat on. Waiting. In that in between space where I'm trying to decide if they are just for me, or if they are meant to go out into the universe.
A lot of my blog ideas reside in that space. (Again, where is that exclamation point???)
We talk frequently about the power of words in class. The power to hurt, or heal. How really strong writing will take us to places we will never go, or to feel things that we may not have yet felt. The power to explain, describe, persuade, and to go beyond its power to empower. To let others know they are not alone.
To share my writing and not feel so alone myself.
I can't see where the bottom of the page is, but I know it is near...happy writing day everyone. And have a great Education Week. (Don't doubt the important work we do. Again, where is that exclamation point when you need it lol.)
“What’s the deepest belief that you think is true? Suppose it wasn’t true. Then it opens the possibility for everything.”
I've been thinking about this a lot recently. In our work with social justice issues in ELA, it often requires students to examine their closest-held beliefs. To reflect on things that they have seen, or said, or done. To do, as Maya Angelou said, the 'best they can with what they know...and when you know better, do better." Sifting through their written responses in their notebooks, cognitive dissonance is frequent.
They question the topic at hand.
They question themselves.
They often get the importance of the issue, but then question, "Now what?"
Sometimes, they question, "So what?"
There are tiny steps forward. Little epiphany-style lightbulbs popping up periodically. Most days it doesn't seem like much.
But it's something.
It's not nothing.
And it opens the possibility for everything.
I think about that for myself too. What are our closest-held beliefs about education and learning? Why do we believe it? Is it because that's all we know? Because it's always been done that way? Because that's how everyone else is doing it?
What is important?
Why is it important?
How do we know?
This week, we gathered all the girls in our school together to acknowledge Day of the Girl. We told them how valued they were to the world and to our future. Afterward, some of them told us how important it was to hear that. We fielded questions from the boys, and it was important for them to hear those words too.
This week, an 11yr old told thirty grade 12 ELA students of her personal experiences with racism. She told them of the power of those words. Afterward, some of them wrote of how they've hurt others, and how they know they need to do better.
This week, a student bared her soul in her writing. A raw and gripping account, she shared it with the class. Afterward, some of them reworked their own stories with more honesty and vulnerability.
What’s the deepest belief that you think is true?
Suppose it wasn’t true.
*Then it opens the possibility for everything.*
I published then deleted this post. Twice. I lost track of how many different ways I started it. Sometimes the thoughts won't fall into place and the words won't organize. I have a sticky note here that says, "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good." To model that, this isn't my best thoughts or writing, but it's where I am right now.
We spent Thanksgiving day at the farm today. I had a combine ride with my dad, and sitting on the little seat beside him, couldn't help but feel like a kid again. Both of our own kids are home from university for the first time since school started, and more family is coming to our place tomorrow.
Tonight our daughter dragged out old home videos. So many memories. So many laughs. So much to be thankful for.
I saw this quote on social media today, and it captures the essence of the day. “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Meister Eckhart (1260-1327)
Thanks to everyone in my life - I know I don't say it enough, but you make it better each and every day.
Keeping myself open to all possibilities...kiitos paljon!!
If you know me at all, I'm terribly stubborn.
I don't like to lose. Or be wrong.
I never quit something once I've started it.
From the time I was young, I don't know if it was shame, embarrassment, or as I said above, just outright stubbornness, but if I start something I will always see it through.
And I still do.
I ran the 5km course for the CIBC Run For A Cure today, despite the fact I have an injury that is requiring chiro and physio. (Besides being stubborn, sometimes I'm just not very bright too.) I signed up right after the death of my cousin from cancer, and even if I would have had to walk-hobble the whole thing, there was no way I was going to quit.
The rest of the day and evening involved helping with the annual Fall Supper in town. (Huge shout-out to Barb Kielo who organizes the whole take-out side of it!) I wasn't really feeling up to it, but there is no way that I would let her down. The job is just too big (over 200 take-out dinners) to be short on hands to help. Seven straight hours on my feet later, I literally might not be walking tomorrow.
So tonight, I've got to quit on this blog. Midnight will be fast approaching and I have a small pile of emails, assessments, and planning still to get through. With World Teacher's Day this weekend, there were a lot of reminders that we need to take care of ourselves, in order to take care of our students. The older I get, the more I know that to be true.
I just need to be less stubborn about it.
Have a great week everyone!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy...okay website template!