Saturday, September 14, 2013

September thoughts, as the sun fades away...

While collecting sow bugs for school and ripping up weeds from the garden today, I stumbled upon a praying mantis.  I watched her as she watched me. She scrabbled away from me, then cocked her head to make sure I would leave her alone. If you watch one for awhile, you start to doubt the human supremacy thing.

A young horseshoe crab, not a praying mantis, but still...

There's more to this thing we call life than language can allow.  Watch a mantis awhile, and the next thing you know, you'll be questioning everything.

Which may be the point of education, at least education that matters.

You will die someday. That is something worth remembering every morning, but not worth worrying about (too much), because there is not a whole lot of things you can do about it.

But you can do this much. You can live.

A blue crab's hand held by my own.

If you're like most of us, you won't even be kind enough to leave your carcass for others to feast upon. You'll either have your cold shell pumped full of formaldehyde, or you'll revert your complex organic compounds to water and carbon dioxide in a furnace hotter than you now alive brain can imagine.

So you may as well contribute something to the common good now.

What do you want?

If you do not know, why are you teaching?
If you do know, why aren't you fighting for it as though your life depended on it?

A handful of quahogs raked up by me--they bring me joy.

I just started teaching again, as I have for a few Septembers now. I used to practice medicine. In a few years, I may be doing something else, so long as my health holds.

Whatever I am doing, though, I'm doing it because I want to, because I know what I want. So long as the tide rises and washes over the quahogs I enjoy so much, in a dance so ancient and mysterious I cannot hope to understand, and know I cannot understand, I am happy.

Sometimes I think the most valuable thing I offer my lambs is an adult human who is happy.


Sue VanHattum said...

> Sometimes I think the most valuable thing I offer my lambs is an adult human who is happy.

Not as happy as I would be if x, y, z were different. But I do glow with my joy of math much of the time I'm teaching these days.

I think we have learned through our schooling to follow the textbook in math, and it takes some time and strength to realize that we are better leaders for our students than that far away textbook author.

It took me twenty plus years of teaching before I decided to make my own organization of the material, leaving out the topics that seem silly to me (and putting in some important topics / principles the books leave out). I have so much more fun now.

(I am following the excellent text in linear algebra. I don't know the material deeply enough to improvise.)

Kate said...

The power of happiness is potent. I think that my kiddos enjoy my class because I am happy - and they know it on a day that I am not.

It is raining today - we need the rain. I am happy.
I am going camping with my kiddos this week. We will get dirty and see glow worms and do hard things. It might rain. I will be happy.
I am making pesto today. I am overjoyed.
I am the oldest teacher on the team by 20 years and you would never know it by attitude and energy. I am happy.
My girls are beautiful and smart and talented and sassy. I am happy.
Gardens, children, students, sunrise, full moon, time, tide, parts of speech. All reasons for joy and happiness.
(Be well, enjoy those quahogs, and lift a glass to friendship - another thing that makes me happy.)