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Play pen…

September 22, 2010

I hold that there is nothing worse for us as educators than to fall into a routine,

because as events unfold,

more often than not,

routines lead us to repeat ourselves over and over,

and finally we have nothing left to offer…

Falling into a routine,

we risk losing the stimulation that our work can give us,

and we cease caring about what we are actually offering children…

We should pause more often to reflect on what we are doing in school,

and especially to think about daily life as a series of unexpected opportunities…

— Carlina Rinaldi in Bringing Learning to Life by Louise Cadwell

Four years ago I gave a book to a parent of one of my students…

Her daughter had been in my class for Kindergarten,

and as we continued on together when she went into grade one,

this mother and I had many an opportunity for conversations at the classroom door,

and in the parking lot,

so we took them,

and went to all of the places I like to go with parents,

in a true community of teaching and learning…

This mom came back to me after reading the book and said,

If school was anything like how it is in here,

I wouldn’t feel the need to take time off,

and stay at home,

for my kids…

When I was a little girl I loved going to school…

I wanted to be there more than anything else…

Even if I was at home vomiting with the flu,

or all puffed up from the mumps,

I did not want to miss a single second of what was going on in the open area classrooms,

of my elementary school…

Don’t ask me why,

because looking back,

it was a flat,

routine experience…

What saved it was the chance to be with all of those other people,

for better or for worse…

Yesterday,

after a walk down to the river,

I stopped by an equestrian centre…

Starshine attended horse camp there in the summer of 2009…

I wanted to see the horses,

and how my field sense had grown,

since last year…

I walked down the first aisle of the barn,

stopping outside each stall,

to greet each horse…

Paying attention to the picture feelings,

in my body,

and letting them move,

as they needed to…

Seeing the horses release,

as the sensations came up for recognition,

and floated away…

Halfway through the barn,

I met a young woman tacking up a breathtaking,

young Fresian gelding…

She had only started riding four years ago,

when she was in grade nine,

but had developed quickly because she’d had the opportunity to ride everyday,

and the good fortune of connecting with a trainer who has taught her,

you must always start by asking what does your horse need

She’d just graduated from grade twelve,

and is now working toward certification as a riding coach…

She told me,

Imagine getting paid for work you love to do…

Yes,

just imagine…

Two years ago I took a clown class…

I was the only student who had not had any formal acting experience,

or training…

All I had to go on was material from my own string of lives…

The woman teaching the class gave me a hypothetical situation,

to flesh out…

She said,

I want you to go backstage,

and when you come out you need to imagine that there is something upstage that you want so badly,

you are willing to die for it…

And the thing is,

there is a super-high-voltage cable laying in between you and what you want…

So you have to find a way to get across this danger without getting zapped…

Now go…

When you put yourself out there,

and are given a challenge,

with no time for thinking,

you have to pull out all the stops,

and everything you remember about the yoga of time travel,

from your little bag of tricks…

Flying by the seat of your pants,

both forward,

and sideways,

without going back…

And if you can convey the real sense of desperation,

and commitment,

you feel,

to get yourself upstage,

to what you want,

plus get a laugh,

out of your audience,

well then maybe that’s the sign that you’ve done,

the best of what there is to know

It doesn't go around, it goes right through...

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