February 28, 2011
The first moment was at the end of my morning class when just one of the students and I were still in the room packing up our belongings. The student said to me, "you know what, I like what we are discussing. Next quarter I graduate and I would like to pursue this as a job focus." Wow! Fantastic! During the class I noticed that the student was catching on to the concepts and presenting some very sophisticated ideas. I told the student I had noticed this and their eyes lit up.
The next transitional moment occurred on the elevator between classes when I ran into a student from a previous quarter. This student told me that they had figured out how to balance their workload and get A's. Three classes was the perfect balance and they had recognized what work with that mix and were trying to increase their load to four classes with all A's. "I'm keeping my eye on the end goal" said the student - we had discussed goals in their class.
My evening class had the third transitional moment. A student with a big personality had been wavering between adding to and distracting (as well as detracting) from the class with their powerful presence. I talked to the student before class and said, "you are a leader in this class and set the tone. How can we use your powers for good?" The student came up with some ideas and in class they demonstrated their positive leadership. Other students who were on the fence responded to the this student's new focus and were also more engaged.
For me, these interactions were also learning experiences. I am recognizing when to step in, step back and step aside. Perhaps this an evolution of my work as a teacher. Confrontation is not easy for me and I believe that I embraced my personal values of open-heartedness and helping people reach their dreams to be successful. Plus, I found my grounding.
Every day is a learning experience as a teacher.
February 26, 2011
February 24, 2011
February 20, 2011
February 19, 2011
February 18, 2011
February 16, 2011
February 15, 2011
February 11, 2011
The good news is that my Grammie, who is often on the skype calls, gives me a really big smile. When a 94-year-old zen master (or is it mistress) like my Grammie smiles, it warms my heart. Today she said I was her tonic and that she can't believe the noises I make. This is something that has been pointed out repeatedly to me this week. Apparently one of most endearing characteristics is my goofy noise-making.
This of course encouraged me to share drunken tales of Gin and Tonic, which when you're 41, on the edge of 42, isn't scandalous when talking to your parents and grandmother.
I aspire to be my Grammie's Grin and Tonic.
February 10, 2011
February 9, 2011
Suddenly, mid-disaster I realized this was just a dream and that I could wake up. What a relief to get out of that situation.
I have an interesting "stress tell" like people have their "poker face reveal" which is that I sneeze twice. Just writing this post, as I sit on BART commuting to school, I had my two sneezes. Clearly, this was a stressful flashback. What's next, Photolab customer service nightmares? I would probably need to teach photography to have those.
February 5, 2011
With that said, it may seem sarcastic for me to say that Diana is a community builder. However, despite the potential darkness of this game, she manages to create an environment of love and trust. Diana loves games and her friends and neighbors eagerly attend her parties to experience her latest fun adventure. There is something about her that opens people up to creativity, letting go and being open-hearted.
Diana and I have been close for about 15 years, ever since I first moved to the Bay Area. We didn't know each other growing up, even though we lived quite close. But now she is one of the most important and influential people in my life and each time I visit her home, I feel so loved by her community.