Sunday, August 18, 2019

Follow your bliss and don't be afraid (Joseph Campbell)

Photo by Filip Kominik on Unsplash
Follow your bliss. 

If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. 

Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.

If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else.

Joseph Campbell

Monday, August 12, 2019

Simply the best (Tina Turner)

Photo by Yannis A on Unsplash
Apparently, teaching is the best job in the world (it's official).

Here's why, according to Paul Moss in an article in Teachthought:

1. The potential to transform lives - we never know, really, the effect we have, but the ripples reach out into infinity and beyond!

2. It gives you the chance to be continuously creative - creativity is celebrated and we have some wonderfully creative staff and students at my two campuses. As an English teacher I join in and write poems, stories, read, watch films, discuss motivations and meanings and on and on.

3. It offers you a chance to continuously get better - in a lot of jobs the learning slows or even ceases after a while - you get good at the widgets, but teaching is all about steep slope continuous improvement. At least it is in my experience. It's a work in progress, always.

4. It is a grounding, humbling profession - every day is 'Start Again' in the teaching world! My students, and staff certainly ground me. I still remember my first Teacher/Parent meeting  at New Plymouth Boys' High back in 1983 and the huge sense of responsibility that suddenly dawned on me - I was responsible for their son's learning in English. That's big!!

5. There is always satisfaction somewhere - it comes in funny ways, often when you least expect it! My intrinsic motivation is to serve, in my own small way, and as Joseph Campbell says, "Through sacrifice - bliss".

6. It’s a chance to truly lead the world in the 21st century - all of those bright minds thirsting for a way forward in their learning. Magic!

7. The children - being around youngsters (especially teenagers) on a daily basis is a joy that I truly love. I love going to work. Keeps me young at heart!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Words, words between the lines of age (Neil Young)

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Seth Godin recently lamented the idea that silo subjects in the U.S. seem to exist independently of skills that he considers important. 

He poses the question: 

What would happen if we taught each skill separately? 

I thought about this for a week or so and wrote a reply to his blog:

Thought you may be interested to know that the NZ curriculum is based on five key competencies (skills) that are similar to 6 of your list. Obedience is not something that has a place in our curriculum. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) process in your country championed by Katie Novak does a lot of what you ask. Anyway - here are those 5 key competencies:  

  • thinking.
  • using language, symbols, and texts.
  • managing self.
  • relating to others.
  • participating and contributing.

Those skills aren't addressed/taught separately but are incorporated into teaching programmes (please forgive the English spelling).

Not to say we've made much progress on multi-disciplinary approaches but that's next!


Seth's a great guy. Of course he wrote back! Saying: This is great, thank you!  

No, thank you, Seth!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Weapon of choice

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič - @specialdaddy on Unsplash

Books are my listening and viewing devices, my undersea cables, my hearing aids, my best friends in troubled times and my weapon of choice.

Lynn Jenner (from Lost and Gone Away).

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs (Qui-Gon Jinn)

Start again.

I'm still reflecting on some lessons from Chasing Great - the film about All Black captain, Richie McCaw.

That list he wrote before each game began, each time, with 'Start again'.

I love that.

I referred to it at our first assembly of the term - a new start!

Achievements are great and they are important for a time, but they mean little to the present situation where you have to prove yourself all over again (and again and again...).

Being mindful of the past and future is fine, but not at the expense of the moment - yes, Qui-Gon again.

In that way you are always aiming to improve.

Richie's list always ended with G.A.B. (Great All Black). A reminder of his goal (he barely dared to dream it and write it down - such was his humility).

Dare to dream. Write it down! Keep it!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

All the cats are at the High School rockin' (Jerry Lee Lewis)

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash
Phew! The holidays are over and it's back to school! 

Life returns to normal.


Yes, normal. Most of the year is taken up with work days - that's the norm.

Yes, after ten weeks of school routine I need something different but two weeks off becomes this weird land.

The first few days are always detox days, although I never get used to longer sleep ins during breaks. I'm usually still waking around 5am.

When I'm doing home stuff (clearing out blackberry and dead trees, rebuilding chicken coops, hanging new chandeliers)  I get guilty hot flushes that I'm not checking my emails or my phone enough. And the emails mount up!

So being back in harness is accompanied by a sigh of relief in many ways.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

I'm just sitting watching flowers in the rain, feel the power of the rain making the garden grow (The Move)

Photo by Kyle Ellefson on Unsplash
Week two of Term Break and I have been seeking refreshment in work around the house. That includes gardening. 

I'm not alone in finding that getting your hands dirty is a very therapeutic activity.

It takes my brain away from school stuff and centres it on getting rid of dead wood, weeding, trimming trees and generally fixing up gardens that haven't seen any tender loving care for a decade.

Frinstance: Maple Grove has some way out of control old rose bushes that demand full on concentration. even so - I was still snagged a number of times yesterday. 

All of this stuff: rose branches; dead cabbage tree and fern fronds; Macrocarpa branches; weeds etc - all went onto a large burn pile which has been burning/smouldering for three days now.

Like taking rubbish to the transfer station, tidying in this way is very cathartic.

As English poet,Alfred Austin, would have it: The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.