One of the teachers who impresses me is John T. Spencer in Arizona. He got me stuck on the word “nuance” in the past year. His critical thinking on public education certainly demonstrates that. His interests are broad and those of us who follow him even casually recognize his many dimensions. He probably would question this, but I think he is a person in balance. Okay, so maybe he is in a dynamic tension, wobbling around a good deal. That is certainly the way I feel.
When I teach needs and wants, I inevitably make the point that need we always face scarcity. Pick the factor that frustrates, something is lacking. Often it is knowledge, understanding or the ability to apply them effectively. It might be organization, resources, or sufficient numbers to achieve my goal. No shortage of examples of this in my current life, some epic examples from my past. The essential factor that frustrates me is often simply time.
I cherish my partner, family, creativity, ideology, vocation, the list goes on…. These are my passions and I feel somewhat less than Alan if I cannot nurture them. Still, along with those other pesky frustraters, there is that matter of time. Nothing I do gets the time I think it deserves. I can feel inadequate about my commitment and attention to just about anything.
I cannot remember the last time I was bored, and that is a blessing I guess. There is always something I think I should be doing, including abandoning this post to spend an hour meditating as I do Yoga on the floor.
My life is a banquet and I cannot invest too much time in a single course. I am on short order moving purposefully from one task to another. Most of us recognize this and find tranquility in the dynamic tensions around us.
I suppose that is one reason I become impatient with Professional Learning Community models. No matter how earnest we are and thoughtful about their design, they disturb a necessary balance. It feels wrong for me to assign a greater priority to the acquisition of numbers concepts in fourth grade, than literacy, health, aesthetics, culture, science, kinisthetics, or simply socialization. I cannot allow myself to become that narrowly focused in my personal life.
I finished my second term with reports last week I think my fourth graders were amazingly connected to their math and writing. I know we had not connected so well with the rest of their curriculum. That disturbs me.