If I were in Vegas…

It would still be Wednesday and this post would still be counted as legit. Being that I’m on the East Coast and near certain I’ll not last even 5 minutes writing, I’ll have to settle for the few minutes remaining between hot flashes (yes, they’ve begun in earnest as of this morning, yelp!) and bedtime for Bonzo.

The word that grabs my attention today is disciple. That’s the synonym for teach apparently, in Jesus’ command to His disciples in Matthew 28:19. Oswald Chambers removes all the wiggle room from the verse when he writes:

…you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself.

And that is precisely what I love so much (or what appeals to my particular set of personality quirks, or what I find most comforting) about teaching, the very real call to accountability – no matter how haphazardly it is or is not practiced.

Teaching: A Mirror to the Soul

I‘m learning to build in time for the unanticipated yet inevitable things that happen on the way to reaching one’s goal. Like today’s blog for instance. The intention was to write earlier and more often to get in the groove for NaNoWriMo next week, Instead, I wasted 7 minutes logging in elsewhere then waiting for the page here to load despite the fact that I’d copied the quote I’m using for today’s prompt and was all ready to paste it and let fingers fly. Helas, even my mind doesn’t work as fast as my mind works. Yeah. Chew on that for awhile. o here tis:

Teaching, like any truly human activity, emerges from one’s inwardness, for better or worse. As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subject, and our way of being together. The entanglements I experience in the classroom are often no more or less than the convolutions of my inner life. Viewed from this angle, teaching holds a mirror to the soul. If I am willing to look in that mirror and not run from what I see, I have a chance to gain self-knowledge—and knowing myself is as crucial to good teaching as knowing my students and my subject. -Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach

This was sent in preparation for our now-annual departmental retreat. One change I’d make in the above quote is to suggest that the ‘reality’ that confronts us is a cumulative enterprise. Perhaps collaborative would be a more effective word choice but it suggests more control than most are willing to account for. Confronting reality, on the other hand, feels closer to the experience as oppositional as it often appears even if the opponent is the self.

My filters are operating as seemlessly as those of others but sometimes, I imagine mine are doing so awarely. It took some time to acknowledge their existence, let alone attempt to recontour them, but suffice to say it sometimes happens that I am aware of the limits my past experience and present choices place on the experience we are sharing in the classroom, bricks and mortar or online,

I checked the clock. Bad idea. I’ve got three minutes left in my ten and have barely gotten to the core of the quote – at least my entry point in it: inwardness. To say that mirrors can be challenging would be an understatement. To say that the convolutions of our inner lives are running the teaching-learning show would be an over-simplification. My mind goes at once to the oppression and then, I back off from sheer exhaustion thinking, don’t get me started. 422 words in 13 minutes. I’ve gotta crack 600 and do that three times a day if I’m to be a winner at NaNoWriMo.

The Inaugural Blog

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine, let’s call her T.J. Ana, invited me to join her on the 30-day NaNoWriMo challenge – to write 50k words in one month starting on November 1st.  After all, I’ve ever been fond of quoting the Chinese Proverb, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. So I figured this might as well be the moment and I might as well be The One. Walking one’s talk doesn’t have to be as painful as eating one’s words. Not so? Well, we’ll find out. In the meantime, how many folks can I get to pledge a penny for my thoughts? Make that 1 cent per word if I get 25k words done this month, for a total of $250 per pledge; and 5 cents a word if I make the 50k or $1,250. Half the monies raised will go to HELP! Jamaica with the other half applied to defray publishing costs. The way I figure is, if I write 600 words per sitting, three times a day, seven days a week, like Kit said, in Pretty Woman, “it could happen.” Right?