Monday, April 16, 2012

Blarghety Blog.

A blog to warm up my foggy brain for a few minutes... then back to work.

I just made the mistake of choosing a new template for my blog... while using a browser that is "no longer supported by Google," whatever that means.  Our district refuses to upgrade to the new Internet Explorer or to allow us to load a different browser on my school laptop, so here I am. My blog was not very beautiful, but now I'm not even sure what it looks like because my computer won't display the template properly.  The technology gap.  I face it each day... don't even get me started.  I'll reformat this page when I get on a computer where I can see what I have wrought.

Here's something I've read before, probably forwarded around on the internet bajillions of times, and though cliche, and in some cases philosophically unsupportable, the attitudes reflect what we must do to continue teaching each day and not lose our minds.  There is an element of faith to teaching that is unavoidable... we must believe even in the face of the pain of failure, in the possibility of success.  If our failures as teachers have such strong impact on student lives, then surely our successes have impact.  Teaching requires extending ourselves, and extending ourselves daily inevitably results in a multitude of failures and backlashes, but also in a multitude of successes.  Many of these successes are visible; however, many are invisible.  A teacher must be schooled in the discipline of accepting delayed gratification... or no gratification.  The gratification may come from remembering the impact of teachers that we had as young people, teachers we abused in our adolescent narcissism, and who still sent us wedding gifts.  And whom we loved, despite ourselves.  These memories of our own flailing teenagerhood reassure us that in the end, doing the best we can do is at least sometimes good enough, though nobody may understand how for years to come. And so, the cliched, over-forwarded...

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

- Dr. Kent M. Keith or Mother Theresa, depending on which source you believe... any others?

Also, I just remembered this great little poem from Robert Bly.  I love how creepy it is, in a way, yet what a fitting metaphor in so many ways, a metaphor that sneaks up on you a little.  I love the last word... the stillness of possibility, of the unknown, the world on one's own:

Gratitude to Old Teachers

When we stride or stroll across the frozen lake,
We place our feet where they have never been.
We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy.
Who is down there but our old teachers?

Water that once could take no human weight--
We were students then--holds up our feet,
And goes on ahead of us for a mile.
Beneath us the teachers, and around us the stillness.

from Eating the Honey of Words, 1999
HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY
Copyright 1999 by Robert Bly.

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