Monthly Archives: May 2018

From my chair, I see (A slice)

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

From my chair, I see

A beautiful piano, rarely played
Pictures of kids, and by kids
One slipper, all alone  — oh, there’s the other one
Two socks, discarded
My backpack, still packed
A dog, with his bone
A bright old lamp, with a new shade
Beyond the door, the house is asleep
But here at my new-to-me desk, already messy
I am awake
Zoom in
My desk with my laptop, my summer calendar, seltzer water, laptop case,
candle, pens, and of course
a container of tiny tree trunks

 

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A slice of Speaking Up

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

Lately, I’m trying to chew a lot of gum. It helps to keep me from snacking too much, sure. But, it also helps to keep me from talking too much. (Sometimes.)

I used to bring apples to meetings, I’d eat the apple if someone was saying something that upset me. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and it also probably kept me from getting a letter in my file. It did not always keep me from talking though.

I had a sign on my computer to start this year. It said “Just Breathe/Be the last to speak.” As a coach, I need to be especially mindful of my listening skills. In the middle of the year, some of the words had peeled off. It said “Just Breathe/Speak” for awhile. Then it said “Just Speak.” Finally, it said “Speak.” I don’t know if this is a message, or just a funny coincidence.

When do I listen? When do I speak? I listen to understand, and I’m all for a little cognitive dissonance to push my learning…. And sometimes there isn’t enough gum in the world, enough apples in my lunchbag, or the right message on my computer to stop me from speaking.

Today at an Instructional Coaching conference, I did a lot of listening and learning, and I also found myself speaking up. I’m doing some reflective data work (I like saying “reflective data work” instead of just telling the truth, “I’m trying to tally in my head the kinds of conversations that made me speak up…”)

I spoke up when I felt that some of my core beliefs weren’t even on the table at a conversation. When other people could have but didn’t factor in choice, inclusion, trust, listening, authenticity, or teacher efficacy, I couldn’t help but bring the idea to the discussion. I think this might just be hard wired in my personality.

I”ll keep bringing my gum and apples — but I’m also going to keep speaking up.

On the Deck, Just E and Me: A slice of life

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

I’m on the deck, just E and me. Our dinner was rushed, and I notice that the chair pillow is indeed wet from the rain a few days ago. It had just needed time to soak into my pants.

But still, I sit there, just taking a minute before clearing the table. I’m just taking a minute.

I look at E’s 8-year old foot, scooched under his butt as he eats a few chips. The bottoms of his toes are barely visible, and the bottom of his foot has a perfect wrinkle.

“This is what I notice?” I think. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I notice, what I’m thinking behind what I’m thinking, what I want to remember.

Yes. This is what I notice. I want to remember this foot, scrunched and wrinkled. I want to remember this foot, bare on a finally hot spring evening.

I get up to clear the table and E asks me, “Why do you look kinda sad, momma?”

“I’m not sad.” I say.

And later I will wonder if I should have taken that teachable moment to talk about being contemplative.

Or, maybe I should have just taken another minute on the deck, just E and me.