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October 26, 2010

The rain today is the rain that sounds like music.  Gentle, yet not just a sprinkle.  I got wet walking to my car after work.  It is the rain you like to listen to while tucked under a warm home-made afghan, sipping hot coco.  This rain, though, did not prevent the light from its autumn magic.  Instead the leaves, that are past their peak, simply glowed.  Everything carried the beauty of fall.  Gratitude enveloped me.  It is an honor to be able to slow down enough to notice the beauty of a rainy day.

On Sunday, I took some time to watch a squirrel working in our yard.  I was busy getting ready for my family to come for dinner.  It was interesting to compare how I felt to what the squirrel was doing.  We were well matched.  We each had a purpose.  We were each busy.  Last weekend was a gift.  I really needed some time to sit and reflect.  To write and to catch up on work.  I finally felt the space to breathe.  I suppose I am still feeling the effects from that needed break.  I am grateful for that as well.

Last night I went to the school board workshop.  It was not a regular meeting, but their work time.  These meetings are always open to the public, but the public cannot speak, they can just listen.  The tone of the meeting had changed dramatically since they announced their plans to change the boundaries and the transfer policy.  They are now talking about “easing the transition” for families.  I found it fascinating how completely different it was since the last meeting I attended.  Apparently, writing emails and making phone calls and showing up makes a BIG difference.  One board member acknowledged that the board “does not want to take a stand” over these issues.  Amazing.  It is a good lesson.  The squeaky wheel gets the oil.  Thank goodness all of the parents banded together and organized to fight this.

I met with a student who is failing my class this morning.  I hope that he makes the choice to jump through the hoops so he can pass my class and his other classes.  He has a goal, and I told him that he just needed to keep climbing up the rungs of the ladder.  He told me that he couldn’t get into one of his other class’s online site.  I told him to go talk to his instructor, to get help.  It turned out that his online site was all messed up.  That means that he can make up his missing assignments for that class.  It is so great when you actually know when you make a difference.  Even if that is a little thing, it helped.  The fact that I was dreading meeting with this student makes it even better.  So, the day started off good.  I was expecting it to begin on a bad note.  Class today went well, too.  I just hope they do well on the test on Thursday.

Tomorrow my department has a staff development day.  We are meeting at a restaurant and “best practice” is on the agenda.  I really am excited.  I am lacking a “big picture” of how to orchestrate this course.  I hope to have meaningful discussions and figure out how to teach the textbook and the strategies that I believe are so crucial to teaching people how to read well, deeply, for meaning.

It is so easy to focus on all of the things that are not done, that are not fixed, those walls that are closing in on you.  I am especially grateful today for being able to see all of the things that are usually blurry around the edges.  The things that are ignored because of the pressing matters that keep knocking on your skull.  I wish everyday could present the good the way they were presented to me today.  The beauty of nature, of helping, of making a difference.

What do you have to be grateful of today?

  1. October 27, 2010 12:59 am

    That is so funny that we posted with the same title. What a great set of photos!

    Thanks for the good thoughts re being a mom. Patience is the name of my game at this point, and the hardest part.

    Have a wonderful week!

    • October 29, 2010 7:57 am

      Thanks Willow. Sending you all of the patience I can spare :) xo

  2. October 27, 2010 8:52 am

    Those kids of yours are uber-cuties, Megsie! I feel like maybe I missed this somewhere, but how old are they now? (I want to say 7…)

    I’m glad the meeting with your student went well. How did confronting the cheaters go? As a professor’s assistant in college, I once figured out that some students were cheating, but the prof was very vague about disciplinary procedure. Some very mysterious process, I’m sure. :)

    Today, I’m grateful for three new English students who will hopefully all come to my lesson tonight, friends who like me even after seeing me red-faced, sweaty, and puffing after we run, and the last little bit of chocolate remaining from EuroChocolate. (You’re a chocolate fan, yes?)

    • October 29, 2010 8:02 am

      Yes, they are 7, I am impressed! I am so bad about remembering stuff like that.

      As for the cheaters, I just threatened to go to the Dean if they did it again. I told them they would be in BIG trouble. They just copied each other’s homework, but still! They apologized, and I assume (you know what that means, right?) that it is a done deal. (I hope!)

      I hope your English students were there for your lesson. I am so interested in how you teach English to non-native speakers. It might shed some light in how to teach MY students…

      OH, and I almost forgot! I am surviving on chocolate right now. I am afraid we won’t have any candy left for Halloween. So, um, yes, I am a fan of chocolate :)

      • October 29, 2010 10:20 am

        Only one new student came, but we had a good lesson regardless. It IS awfully frustrating to teach a small group, though, when people keep backing out at the last minute. I don’t know how my teaching methods would apply to your class, but I teach English primarily by speaking English. I conduct all my lessons in English, translating into Italian as needed, and we do a fairly consistent format: pronunciation work, a short grammar lesson, and then application… which basically means a lot of conversation.

        Tell your kids to get trick or treating so you can have some more candy in the house! :)

  3. October 30, 2010 10:13 am

    I am grateful that my friends keep writing so that I have lots of lovely stuff to read and catch up on, even though I was totally lame and didn’t write a word for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!

    • November 5, 2010 10:19 am

      Very Lame. No matter that you were working hard ALL DAY and playing hard ALL NIGHT. What about us? You will just have to make it up to us. :) I can’t wait!

  4. November 3, 2010 7:42 pm

    Among other things do you know what I love when I come to your site, Meg? All those other lovlies in the comments section. You are such a connective thread. That is something you do so well…

    I’m so glad you talked to the guy who was on the brink of failing… I’m learning to do that more: try to figure out where the disconnect is happening and see if I can facilitate connection…

    And your kiddos: LOVE their sweet toothy grins. SERIOUS CUTE.

    • November 5, 2010 10:24 am

      Christina~ You know that your comments are like perfectly wrapped packages waiting to be unwrapped. It always kind of feels like I won the lottery when you comment :) Thank you for that very undeserved complement. It made me hold my head a bit higher.

      The problem with my job, is that all of my students are used to failing. They have been failing over and over for a long time. I just hope that this particular student keeps his eye on the prize so to speak, so he is willing to jump through the hoops that are necessary. And, not just him, but all of them need that encouragement.

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