Following My Own Script

One year I was asked to teach a course at the last minute. A friend, an inspiring and creative teacher, gave me her plans to follow.

Frankly, it didn’t work. During the year, I remember being frustrated, often feeling like a failure. But I couldn’t figure out why following her plans was so difficult.

Now, years later, I know. I can’t follow someone else’s script. And I want my students to have more control over their own learning. That’s not to say I don’t ever want to ask students to work together, read a book together, or focus on an issue I offer up. (And my friend who follows her own script is masterful in this.) But to me, true learning comes when students have choices, and teachers follow their instincts about direction and shaping the culture and curriculum of the class.

Whatedsaid posted this today:

Talented actors can perform to anyone’s script and bring something of themselves to the role. But most of us find it easier to perform to a script of our own creation, which reflects our own beliefs, values and ideas. We need to question things that don’t feel right. We need to follow our instincts. We need to listen to our inner voices. We need to take risks and experiment with our ideas. We need to create our own scripts…

Edna Sackson offers tips here.

What Matters?

This came across my RSS feed, and I  nodded, agreeing with the report that many students who have been targeted for remedial work in community college may have not been prepared for the kind of work expected of them after high school.

Teachers dug deeper for the source of students’ collegiate struggles. After sharing lesson plans and curricula, they learned that while teachers at both levels called it English, they were teaching entirely different things. High school teachers taught mostly literature, focusing on characters and story lines in many classic works of fiction. Meanwhile, English faculty in the community college were teaching students about argumentation and writing clearly to inform, persuade, and describe—key skills needed to succeed at work, think critically and contribute to their community.


Falling Upward, the Second Journey

As I approach 60 (coming soon), I am beginning to look backward, wondering how in the world I’ve ended up where I am.

Today I read this in Falling Upward by Richard Rohr:

Basically the first half of life is writing the text, and the second half of life is writing the commentary on that text….introversion is necessary to unpack all that life has given us and taken from us….we should not be surprised that most older people do not choose loud music, needless diversions, or large crowds. We move toward understimulation….much of life starts becoming highly symbolic and “connecting”…silence is the only language spacious enough to include everything…

You can only see the earlier stages from the wider perspective of the later stages…

“Instead of ego driven, you will be soul driven…”