You know you’re a teacher when…

You know you’re a teacher when you pull the car over on the drive home from work to “scavenge” some fallen pine branches on the side of the road for the science lesson you are teaching later that week. Those forgotten branches will be useful.

You know you’re a teacher when you spend the afternoon collecting rocks and breaking twigs into pieces and assembling small piles of nature-y goods as classroom materials. When the next door neighbor walks out of her house next door, you smile and return back to your diligent work of twig-breaking. Who knows what she thinks you are doing.

You know you’re a teacher when a simple science lesson turns into much more planning and work than you ever anticipated. You spend another hour assembling boxes of your scavenged materials and burying small foil-wrapped beans and pennies.

You know you’re a teacher when, after all of this work of lesson planning and stick-gathering and nature-box assembling, you are smiling because it is ridiculous and not ridiculous at the same time, and you think, is this really my job?

 

 

 

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Slice of Spring

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Today is spring! Yipee!

In all truthfulness, spring is actually my least favorite season (shh, spring you didn’t hear that). I am a summer baby, and the spring just always feels to me like it can’t quite get itself together. It’s cold, it’s warm, it snows a foot, it’s warm. I always want the spring to be entirely beautiful and hopeful, but it’s not. Spring is a fighter though, I’ll give it that, and on the days where it is finally sunny and beautiful and hopeful, I am grateful and happy. I say yes, spring. You rock.

But most of the time, I look out my window, put on the winter sweater that I am so over at this point, and trudge out into the weary grey.

Today, with its sunshine and warmer temperatures here in New England was a good kick-off for spring. Spring showed up today.

In the thought-cloud of spring and blooming things, I picked up some extra flowers at the grocery store. I wasn’t always a flowers-around-the-house person but I have become one in the past couple years, and now I just love them. They brighten everything. And when you can’t count on spring to show up every day outside, at least flowers inside bring a little cheer. Here are some photos of some I have around my apartment currently. Happy spring all! May she show up early and often.

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First Impressions

When you meet someone for the first time, you take first impressions. You notice their appearance, tone of voice, body language, outward confidence or inward shyness. You form some impressions. Then, as the conversation goes on, those first visual impressions are backed up by some language, some story. You may learn about what they do for work, where they’re from. Depending on how far the conversation goes, you may learn about some of their hobbies, and through these small discoveries of their unique humanness, you may start to form some larger, deeper understanding of who this person is than those very first surface impressions.

When you meet me, you will certainly notice my hair as one of the first things (it is large and very curly). You may find me unfriendly (many of my closest friends did, at first meeting), or you may not. I am an introvert, particularly when meeting new people, and this shyness (I believe) manifests itself in an initially unfriendly way.

We will continue talking, you will learn that I teach, that I am from Maryland (but heart belongs to Maine), and maybe we will get into those hobbies, those smaller pieces of my identity that really tell the full story of myself. What will be missing from this conversation is the truth that I am a swimmer, at least I was, for 17 years of my life.

Okay, so this is probably not where you were expecting this post to go. But as a former swimmer (“swammer” we clever swim folk like to say), the fact that I was a competitive athlete for 17 years, that most of my waking hours not at school were spent in a pool, and that I woke up at 4:15am repeatedly for swim practices throughout high school, is not something that is immediately a part of my current, daily, lived identity.

Since taking a hiatus from swimming after graduating from college, it is no longer the same presence in my daily life like it once was. I used to be “a swimmer,” I hung out with swimmers — and it was something I was known for. Now, not so much, and it makes me sad.

I know that swimming will always be a part of who I am. I feel happiest when I’m by the water. I will forever feel like I am a part of a special club because of the hours and hours and hours I put in, swimming lap after lap within the same 25 yard span again and again (it takes a certain kind of crazy). And I will continue to swim forever too, if not with as much regularity or intensity as I did in college. So in some ways, I will always be a swimmer. But in other ways, I am not. It is not how I introduce myself, and it is not a part of my daily lived experience.

So, it’s had me thinking — when certain sacred, special parts of ourselves no longer take center stage in our lives anymore, can we still claim to be that thing? Is it different?

I am coaching now, and it is a lovely way of still being a part of a sport and a lifestyle that I love so much without actually having to get up and get in the pool at 6am every morning and spend the rest of the day with goggle marks around my eyes anymore. Today, I spent four hours at a swim meet. I walked in through the locker room, stepped on deck, and felt my heart rush at the familiarity of it all — that rampant chlorine smell, the aquamarine blue of the pool, the swimmers giggling with friends on deck, the call for the timers’ meeting over the loudspeaker, the exhilarating rush of imagined possibility that resets every time you dive off that block.

Perhaps writing this post proves one thing. Even if I am not a swimmer still on the daily, the memories and the love for the sport is still there. It may provide some good writing material for posts down the road…

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Enough

Dear fellow humans that share this space in the internet void:

It’s late. I’m tired. I don’t have anything wise to say or a particular moment to meditate on today. The day goes by so quickly, and then I find myself again, at 10:39pm, slicing in my bed, trying to put some last words on the page before it hits midnight. The creativity doesn’t come as easy this late at night. I should really try a little harder to write earlier in the day every once in a while.

For now, I am grateful for a day filled with some good food, dear friends, a long walk, needed snuggle time on the couch, and an evening movie. That’s all I have for today.

And it is enough.

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Currently.

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I saw this posting on a fellow Slice of Lifer’s page yesterday and wanted to try it out today. It seems like this is a blogging technique that is perhaps much more common than I realize? But regardless, I liked the idea, the quickness of it. It feels truly like a slice of life.

And so, currently I am…

Reading: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. We are teaching it in 6th grade right now, and I think the last time I read this book was when I was in elementary school. Everyone should and must read it again — even if you’re not a teacher. It is so powerful and important.

Drinking: Lots of tea! I woke up with a sore throat and achey body this morning. Boo sickness, I have no time for you.

Planning: On catching up with my best friend this weekend who is in town, and then spending my Sunday lesson planning for the week.

Thinking: A lot of worries and wonderings about the world (can you tell, from my last couple posts) — I want to find a way to continue thinking about these things but also not wear them always so heavily on my heart and mind.

Feeling: A little more rested because I just indulged in a glorious afternoon nap.

Listening to: I am all about this group called The Staves this week. They are three rockin’ sisters and I can’t get enough of their beautiful harmonies.

Loving: The sunlight coming into my bedroom right now.

Looking forward to: April, and hopefully with it, some sweet spring.

Happy Friday friends and fellow Slicers!

Seeking Full Expression

Today I was having a conversation with a wonderful mentor of mine, and was talking to him about the choices we make in our careers — where to teach, why we teach, how we figure it all out. I feel like a lot of days I am worried about doing enough, about contributing positively to the world to my fullest human extent, and he threw out this beautiful expression of words. It went something like this:

“In the course of a fully expressed life, you have time to do it all.”

In a society that is often quick to define our lives by our careers, I thought this was incredibly profound and well, just helpful. It made me feel like there is time (much time), and that the happenings and actions and movements we make in the sidelines should be given just as much credit as shapers of our identities and of our lives as our jobs do.

Who are we in the corners, cracks, and sidelines of our fully expressed selves?

I know that I am a cook. A list-maker. A sister. A large cup of coffee in the morning drinker. I am a book collector and a flowers-around-the-house admirer. I am an ally and a friend and a change-seeker. I am all of these things and many more in the course of this thus far fully expressed life, but I hope to be even more. Luckily, there’s time for that.

 

 

 

Poem

Dear world,

You break my heart and build
it back up daily. There are so many
times when I feel like I can hardly keep up
with your spinnings and
ups and downs and
loop-
de-
loops.
I turn on the news –
heartbreak.
Lives lost
without cause, our earth growing too
warm, more lives lost
without cause, more lies more

and more words that spew vile hatred into the air.
It hurts my heart.

And then, with rhythmic precision, like
the downbeat of a note or the tide pulling
back into shore, you share sunlight in my kitchen or
a smile on the subway or a human being who
stands up for something and others step up with her.

I have so many questions for you.
They do not get easier to answer with age.

I wonder always how to move through this world with
wonder and with fire and with grace. I wonder
always how to be the one that steps up.
Dear world —

you break my heart and build it back up daily.