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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lemonade from Lemons, Hay While the Sun Shines, and Cups Half-Full

Cups definitely more than half full.
Beignets and Cafe in New Orleans
My summer winds down, a little more quickly than I might have hoped for (I know I just composed a post about loving summer!). Kids don't start back to school for another month, but I have a string of training to attend. It is all paid for by virtue of a grant, which is wonderful, because contrary to popular belief teachers do not get 'paid for doing nothing' in the summer. What we get is nine and a half months of pay stretched out over twelve months. You all know teachers teach for the love and passion of it- not because we are lazy and want summers off or because we can't do anything else. But I digress...

Just Before

There is this tremor, this
last gasp of the darkness where everything, even
the warmth leaks out. All that is left is crisp,
empty chill that tells no tales of the past
and gives the future no succor.

You might feel that it is the beginning of the end -
and yet it is all harbinger and no horror.

Just before the sky turns pink.

A spoonful of sugar...

Training has sort of an ominous sound - like they are sending us back for re-grooving or something. Professional development is another name for it. That sounds a little better. I love to learn so I get really excited when my job brings me an opportunity that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Earlier this month I got to go to an International Baccalaureate Conference of the Americas in New Orleans. My school is an IB candidate school. They describe themselves this way "(IB) offers four high quality international education programmes to more than one million students in 145 countries." on their website. It is sort of a whole child for the whole world program. I enjoyed the conference, the highlights for me were the spoken word poetry talk by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye of Project Voice, and the panel that included school leaders in IB schools that serve children who live in poverty.

Ferns and graffiti: Both doing their version of
making hay while the sun shines.
(French Quarter, New Orleans)
Most of what I saw was great. However, when professional development is not done well it reminds us teachers of the powerlessness and and anger that are inevitable when you are in a class with a teacher who has no skills. Good instructors bring energy and thoughtful presentation to class with them and allow their students to engage easily with the subject matter.

So as I head into four weeks of professional development I am thinking about not only what I will learn that presenters mean to teach but also the things I will learn that they didn't mean to teach. Lessons about honoring my students' interests, their agency, as well as what they already know. If the instructors give me lemons, damn it, I am going to make lemonade!


Where you have hands
to remove the stone
from your shoe, you will.

But when your anatomy is mouth, stomach,
heart, intestines, anus, mantle - you
find another way.

Nacre applied layer by calcified
layer to squelch an irritant.

When I became mollusk and had
no hands - my pearls grew baroque
like the dank creations of caves.

Made in the cover of my mantle with nacre
slick as snot, and mine, all mine.

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