Monday, April 1, 2019

Be Your Best Teacher, Not Your Ideal Teacher

At some point, I may go through my AWP notes in hopes of capturing those things which seem worth remembering.  I go back through my blog more often than I go through my travel notebooks, because it's more searchable.  I suppose I could have lugged my laptop everywhere, but it's much easier for me to take notes by hand.

Part of me wonders why I'm taking these notes.  In part, it's a way of paying attention.  In part, because those things I note seem worth it at the time.  I looked through the notes I took at last year's AWP, and I enjoyed the memories as I read through them, but didn't find much of the material speaking to me a year later.  Hmm.

I talked about blogging with a fellow conference attendee on the plane ride back.  She gave me several quizzical looks as we chatted while the plane was descending to the Dallas airport.  I said that I didn't realize Portland was such a big city--that quirked eyebrow was deserved.  But when I said I blogged, she said she had kept a blog once, but didn't write anymore.  She said it seemed like such a chore, that daily writing.

I realized as we chatted that I keep this blog for all sorts of reasons.  It's become a repository of all sorts of things, and it's more searchable than my written notebooks.

Today instead of looking back over my notes, let me capture here the one tidbit that was so memorable that I don't need my notebook to remember.  As I've moved through the conference, one person's advice stuck with me.  At a panel about achieving balance between doing one's own writing and helping student writers, one woman said, "Don't be the teacher you always wished you had.  That's a way to insanity.  Instead, think of a good teacher that you had in real life and try to be that person."

It seemed like a great way of capturing the way that many of us set impossible standards for ourselves, and then beat ourselves up for not ever living up to them.  It seems applicable across many of life's situations:  the way we think we should be more spiritually evolved, our relationships with each other, on and on I could go.

Another note about that panel--they were refreshingly honest about how much of the drudgery work they have outsourced, like the cleaning of the house and the lawn work.

Now it's back to that regular life--so much work I haven't yet outsourced and so much of it that can't be outsourced.  I need to go to spin class and then work.

But before that, let me also capture the wonder of the geography of this country as seen from the air.  Yesterday I saw both Mt. Hood and Mt. Saint Helen's.  I gasped when I saw Mt. St. Helen's, that snowy peak stuck on a green landscape, and then later Mt. Hood.

And then we were over the mountains, seeing that vast dry landscape, and then more mountains, which I assume must have been New Mexico.  I thought about how amazing it was that people made their way across that landscape, on horses or in covered wagons.  There's so little water visible from the air.  And the land looks treacherous, even from above--or do I think that, just because I know the history of those settlers?

Interesting to see the mountains and rivers from the air, those places I've read so much about, those places that have shaped my imagination--and the larger country too.

And now, back to more mundane things:  spin class and then work, where a new term awaits.  Welcome Spring quarter!

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