I logged into the blog to try and capture a few thoughts the other day and realized I have five or six unfinished posts here. Unfinished thoughts. And that’s sort of where I’m at right now- unfinished thoughts.
Maybe that’s how it is sometime. Lots of things flitting through our minds with little or no focus. Glimpses of one thing or another. My teaching right now is similar. Trying lots of different things. Experimenting. Searching for bits that have clarity or focus.
Maybe it’s an election hangover. Having been soaked in unfinished thoughts and fragments for the last eighteen months, maybe I’m just stuck in that mode.
Now I’m in a session on fostering youth advocacy through writing. It’s really good, some excellent thoughts on how to invite students into a larger discourse about their world. And it is their world. Mitch Nobis opened by reminding us that our students are ‘real people,’ living in the ‘real world’ and they want real things to think and write about. How easy it can be to forget that.
I’ve been thinking a lot about authenticity recently. Mostly mine. How can I be ‘more real’ in the classroom? And by extension, how can I make a space that my students want to step into and be their ‘most real’ selves?
We presented to a full house this afternoon. I hope I managed some complete thoughts there. Nobody looked at us cross eyed, so I think we did okay. I am reminded that this is all a work in progress. There is no one perfect answer, ever. It’s a giant, uncontrolled experiment. It never ends. You just keep gathering data and tweaking the variables.
Now it’s Saturday morning. Paul and I are waiting for the rest of the crew in the convention center. Someone just came up and said nice things about our presentation yesterday. I guess we made sense.
Our students are with us for such a short time. A year, maybe two if you have them in two classes. I once had a student in three different classes over her four years of high school. I think she survived. We are just fragments of our student’s experience. Small pieces of the larger whole that is their lives.
Teaching is but a fragment of the whole that is our lives. Putting all the fragments together makes up the whole. We’re presenting today about surviving teaching. Part of that is remembering that it’s a fragment of your life. We are fragments of our students lives. Lives are made of fragments.
Unfinished thoughts. One after another. Making a whole.