Imagination – views from my balcony


That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.      -Walt Disney

As much as I love my current job, I will admit the one thing I really, really miss from my past life as a teacher is having the opportunity of working every day with children. It’s not that some of the adults I work with now do not act like children, they do. Seriously, that attitude is absolutely not what I miss.  It’s the loss of using pure imagination to create and understand what is happening around you that seems to disappear when you are surrounded only by “adults”.

Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn’t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don’t expect to see.  

– Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

I miss the creativity, the vision and the acceptance of the abnormal you can lose yourself in when working with and teaching children.  Everything is a little amazing and nothing is beyond belief from a child’s perspective. Refrigerator boxes become castles and kingdoms where battles ensue and the destroyed landscape is simply rebuilt with more boxes in a matter of hours. Every day is a scientific experiment.  Water flow is diverted to build lakes, snow is piled to build homes, ants and other tiny creatures are examined to create a life size replica of their world. How amazing it is, their world.  How amazing is their imagination.

Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.

– YODA, Star Wars Episode II

I had guests visiting my home a few weeks ago and they brought me to my balcony to witness what was apparently a coming of age cultural event for boys in Nepal or at least in my neighborhood.  I am not sure what all was involved in the boy event.  There were tents, cooking, weird tree teepees and lines of things happening.

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There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.  – J.Robert Oppenheimer

However, what I found more interesting was what the girls were doing. Apparently, not to be left out they had created and built by themselves a variety of courses and activities that required blind folds and hitting things with sticks, tunnels, board walks and old tire courses.  It was quite lovely to watch.  The enthusiasm that these girls exhibited during these relays was contagious.  I really did want to join in. The imagination they used to build this course was kind of awesome.  I don’t even know what the water challenge was about and I think that might have been the only one I didn’t want to participate in..though I would have loved to have gotten a closer look at.  I’m sure this course could have taught me a few things about myself and about the children in my neighborhood.

I love the imagination and creativity that seems to have gone into the building of these challenges.  I loved going to school in an era where imaginatory (made up word) teaching was prized and I am thankful for that.  Here’s to remembering the power and value of imagination.  Here’s to re-learning why bringing imagination back into our lives is so important.  Here’s to parents supporting their child’s imagination.

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.

The Student Teacher Writing Challenge from the daily post fit right in with my mood.  Needed a little creative writing, teaching, thinking to pick me up.  Check out some other posts I found inspiring.

  1. Lessons Without Walls – Joan T. Warren
  2. Horse Lessons – Icelandica
  3. Do Smart Phones Make us Dumb? – The intrinsickness
  4. It’s a beautiful world.  – Love Happy Notes
  5. My Child, My Teacher – Master of Something
  6. Student, Teacher – Mallory Kessen
  7. I am not broken teacher – spirit grind
  8. A letter in Trees – eternal domination
  9. Ido – Attempted Human Relations
  10. Student Versus Teacher – Morpethroad
  11. Imagination Exercise – Alien Aura’s Blog
  12. Things Movies Have Taught Me – Lead us from the Unreal to the Real
  13. Teacher – I am a writer yes I am
  14. One Step at a Time – The intrinsickness

 

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I am a Pirate.. a mighty, mighty Pirate


Who am I?  Why am I the way I am?  What am I doing with my life?  Where am I going to be  in the not so distant future?  In the very distant future?  How did I get here and where will I be going?  All questions that can probably be answered in just one picture –

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Yes, you are right.. I am a Pirate.. a mighty, mighty Pirate.

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They were the best of times, they were the worst of times.. Ahhh high school.

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There will be people who state that high school was a low point in their lives or that it didn’t matter at all and made no difference to them in regards to how they turned out as an adult.   Maybe they hated it or thought it was a complete waste of time. However, it cannot be denied that by having gone through it, high school exposes a person, to a certain level, on how to become (or not become) an adult.  It’s a place where you must decide what is important and what is not; how you want to be treated or how you will never treat someone else.  High school, if done right, is a place where you might meet some of your longest standing and best friends in life.

I do understand that high school today is a much different beast than it was when I attended (1981-1985).  We did not have to worry about someone coming in and shooting up the school.  We had authentic learning experiences that were not focused on taking tests.  We didn’t have a lot of parents suing schools, so most of the science experiments and field trips were more spontaneous and exciting than some of what I have seen in schools today.  We were also not monitored as much as kids are today (rightfully so) because we knew that our neighbors would rat us out if we got too out of hand.  We were also given “breaks” by some of those same neighbors resulting in a different kind of learning lesson. There was accountability in the school as well as out of it, which in my opinion, led to a greater amount of freedom because we all knew that we were being looked after.  There is a certain amount of safety connected to discipline and accountability which is not as prevalent today as it was when I was growing up.

Another thing that we had in the 80’s were AMAZING teachers.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying at all that teachers today are not amazing, or at least not trying to be amazing.  The problem is teachers have so many more constrictions and confinements today than my teachers had.  The issues might be the same, but the tools and freedoms to solve the problems are not as available and often times not considered as acceptable.

Teaching to a state/federal/national test limits how much spontaneity a teacher can use in the classroom.  When I taught in California, our administration stated basically, “As I walk by one 1st grade classroom I should be able to hear the beginning of a sentence and as pass the next first grade classroom, I should hear the end of that same sentence.”  This of course is ridiculous, but that is just one example of how tightly planned a teacher’s day sometimes is.

The 80’s were an amazing time of transition as well.  A time of loosening up of some of the more stringent ideas of what should be taught in school so there was a little more play in the school.  I remember our teachers being pretty hip.  It was the beginning of an era of group motivational speaking.  We had so many convocations about self-esteem and enjoying life.  We had a leadership weekend once a year where our entire class could sign up and go to a campsite and sing songs, compete in team building activities and just learn how to bond and enjoy each other while receiving messages about how to be a better person in general.

I think these things that happened to me in my high school years made me the person I am today.  I do realize this is not the case for everyone in high school and that I was fortunate to have gone to the school I went to and had the friends I did and even fortunate to have survived it all unscathed.  I’m still friends with many of the friends I made in high school and actively try to find the ones I lost contact with because they are that important to me.

I had several favorite teachers and coaches/counselors/mentors in high school.  I remember one teacher randomly stopping me in the hallway when I was going through a very low point in my life and telling me how amazing I was and how I was going to be an inspirational and remarkable woman one day.  I don’t even know how he knew I was going through some tough times but he did.  At that particular moment in time I didn’t believe him and I didn’t think it would actually happen at all. Guess what?  It did.  Sure, I’m no more amazing and remarkable than the next woman, but when I feel down or beaten those very words start echoing in my head and push me on.  This man was not an anomaly.  This was a message that many of us got from many of our teachers.

Another teacher/coach/mentor/counselor always wore purple and gold clothing to school.

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I saw him several years after graduation when I was substitute teaching in a different school and strangely, he wasn’t wearing purple.  In retrospect, purple and gold were probably not his favorite colors. These colors were obviously our school colors but to him they were a little more than that.  They were a symbol to him. A sense of pride was demonstrated in this man for being who and what he was while he was what he was. His only objective in life seemed to be wanting to instill that same sense of pride in each of us.  His convocations were always full of life and humor and hoping that we would all be able to acknowledge at some point who and what we were while we were what we were.

More than that though, our teachers seemed to want to help us understand that what we were right now was only temporary.  What we were going through at any given moment was only what was happening at that moment and it was all a preparation for everything that was to come.

One of my favorite convocations we were shown (I think 4 years in a row) a video entitled “Greatest Days of your life (so far).  This film has also echoed in my head when I’ve felt down and out and even when I have been as up as I could be.  I’ve been able to apply it to nearly every situation and time period in my life.  It’s also why I am who I am today and I just wanted to share it and hope you all enjoy it as well.  Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. For some reason I could not actually attach this youtube video.  When I did try, some Mindy Mcready videos popped up in their place.  At any rate, take some time to click on the links.. they really are good, if not a little dated.  Again, thanks for stopping by.

This award winning film, “Greatest Days of Your Life,,,so far” written and performed by Mark Scharenbroich (Mark Shake and Bake) in 1981 has been seen by more than 10 million students

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4vCCP8qi6g&feature=share&list=FLguvhB-JXvilrXL9OlStWGg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg42uFcfj-M&feature=share&list=FLguvhB-JXvilrXL9OlStWGg
Mark Scharenbroich’s The Greatest Days of Your Life…(so far) 1981 film

http://www.youtube.com

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The Illusion of Innocence


“It is photography itself that creates the illusion of innocence. Its ironies of frozen narrative lend to its subjects an apparent unawareness that they will change or die. It is the future they are innocent of. Fifty years on we look at them with the godly knowledge of how they turned out after all – who they married, the date of their death – with no thought for who will one day be holding photographs of us.”
― Ian McEwanBlack Dogs

Alisha Southard Haute Pink Photography

Dave Matthews Band- Mother, Father photo montage

Throughout all of my life photos have inspired me and through all of my travels I have developed an absolute love of taking pictures of pretty much anything.  I bring the photos home, spend hours editing them and then posting them to Facebook or sending the very special ones to friends and family who I think might enjoy them.

Candid pictures of people in their natural habitat, especially children with their unabashed faces carrying happiness, pure joy, sadness or fear always cause me to pause.  Later reflecting on the pictures I have taken, I sometimes want to jump into the photo and ask them if they can remember what they were thinking about at the exact moment of my “click”.

I was a child once and had pictures taken of me and when I look at even these pictures I wonder what I might have been thinking about, who I thought I would become what I expected out of life.  Maybe I wasn’t thinking of anything worth remembering.  The pictures are so old and so fantastic.  Sometimes I just want to jump into these old pictures of me and give that little girl a big, giant hug.  She probably needed one.

More than likely my photo intrusion is invasive but I can’t seem to help myself.  I’m glad that most of my favorite pictures are of strangers, of people I am fairly certain I will never run into again.  For this I can make up my own ending of how they turned out after all, who they married, what kind of life they led and the amazing successes they became or the great luck they discovered after my photo was taken.  Yeah it’s a bit of an illusion… but I’m ok with that.

Enjoy.

English in Korea – All About Me


While I was teaching English in Korea I assigned my students a descriptive writing assignment.  The assignment was to create a PowerPoint photo album about themselves that would have a minimum of 15 pages and for each page they had to write a paragraph description about the picture on that page.  This assignment served two purposes.  One purpose was to introduce themselves to the other members of the class and the other was to practice descriptive writing.  I also created a photo album of myself as an example.  I am providing this to you as a way of helping you get to know a bit more about me without doing a long drawn out biography.

To view slide show click on last slide (it’s actually slide 1).  After viewing slide, simply hit escape on your keyboard.