Thursday, August 09, 2012

Another Self Emerges

Self-discovery never seems to end, especially when you’re open to the possibilities. The past two years were chock full of challenges. From putting all my “stuff” in storage to living in my daughters basement, to leaving my cherished cats and striking out on the road of unknown, to staying with total strangers in strange cities, to pulling a 6’ trailer through mountain passes at midnight, then getting lost on an old logging road at 4000’ elevation. Through it all, I learned new things about my strengths, discarded myths about my weaknesses, and grew spiritually with each discovery.

Today, another self emerged through disappointment. In the seven years I facilitated workshops for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, I thrilled at leading folks into the realization that they had voices, that their words were important and powerful, and that people wanted to read their stories. Those years brought me to the idea that I loved teaching. What I learned today was that it isn’t teaching. I didn’t teach them how to write. I didn’t edit their pieces before publishing. In fact, many of my edits were edited. The joy was in the leading, the guidance, the conversation and dialogue that got them to the point of writing publishable work.

Three weeks of teaching GED reminded me that I am at complete odds with state rules, regulations, and requirements, all which make no sense. The process leaves students, and caring teachers, empty. It’s about meeting mandatory hours, and using books that have no correlation with needs, only scores. There’s no true rapport building with the individual, only process and procedure.

However, spending an hour with a student discussing how to learn their own process, for writing or math or reading, was exhilarating as the student asked deeper and richer questions. Discussing career goals and passions, suggesting possibilities, actually relating to the human, this is what inspires and fulfills me. So, in losing my job due to illness, I've found another self. Now, to follow this new path and carve out some type of living is a new challenge. 

1 comment:

  1. Now you understand why being called an "educator" is fighting words for me. Teaching, connecting with a person and guiding them to new insights is rewarding, and has nearly nothing to do with the goals of public school. Congratulations on finding a new road. May you be joyful as you fulfill your purpose.