Bird Droppings April 4, 2012
Listening for nature’s call
Lately as I venture out in the wee hours of the morning whip o wills are calling. It has been a few years since I heard them with such regularity. They seem to start after midnight and go till nearly dawn. With a dense stand of pine within one hundred yards of the house the loudest are nearby and then listening carefully in the surrounding area several more calling out. Most nights owls sounding off can be heard and an occasional coyote. Although the local coyotes while here seem to be of the quieter kind than I am familiar with out in West Texas and Oklahoma.
Yesterday was an interesting day I had begun sorting through my articles and materials for my research for graduate school only to think I was done for the day and could sit back and relax. I went by the high school to feed my critters as I do most holidays and for several other teachers now incorporating animals in their classes. I was thinking back a few years to a day that for me was special. My oldest son had come into school with me and was working on his first lesson plan for his undergraduate program in Biology Education. We worked a few hours and then headed to the house where he continued. My son got a bit disappointed as he started working he had not had an education course and was expected by his lead teacher to know things that are not necessarily discussed in biology classes. As I sat at school yesterday it got me thinking as he is an excellent teacher yet we seem to think teaching can be taught from a book.
“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T.S. Eliot
As I thought back to the discussion with my son about education courses and by chance I spoke with a fourth grade teacher yesterday at Kroger and I am realizing how much is not taught in education courses. The teacher and I talked about passion, empathy and intuition as being crucial to being a good teacher. It takes these three to really understand students and other teachers. As I woke up this morning a thought crossed my mind. How many teachers are in this for the retirement and will teach or attempt to for the time necessary to get that teachers retirement. I wonder how many students fall victim to that type of teacher.
“You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere.” Charles Kettering
When I read this quote I thought back to teachers who have built a safe lesson plan and safe room for their building retirement years. I thought back more recently to graduate school at Piedmont College where I was reintroduced to John Dewey and the use of reflection. I wonder how often most people even take time to reflect each day that seems like a strange direction to go but as I look at my little experience of talking with my son and reflect back and review I could have perhaps done more in helping my son. Coming back to my point about reflection it is too few times we even look back on events to wonder what aspect of the puzzle was that piece or to look and see what piece is missing.
Yesterday I wrote back to a friend about knowing I am where I need to be right now. I cannot explain how I know and why I am so sure, just that things need to be done still on this journey. Interesting as we talked yesterday the teacher I spoke with was where she needed to be and that feeling and knowing is a very powerful aspect of who we are. Many people are working where they need to be today and who knows what person will be influenced by their teaching, mentoring, attention, words, kindness, health care and so many more interactions.
“On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.” Friedrich Nietzsche
One last note on reflection; is it looking at events and determining is this it or did I just practice for getting here. It can be showing us and helping us to know and realize that we are always striving. Borrowing many times from Steven Tyler “Life is about the journey not the destination.” And thinking back to teachers who focus only on retirement they have missed so many moments along the way. This is the power of reflecting, to provide a clarification for the day and show us how significant each day is. Take a moment to reflect be it simply in a quiet place or under a tree or along a stream read a book, write a poem, make an effort to ponder and above all else keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks.