You Were Gone?

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Student desk and dictionary at the Hines Creek Museum.

Hi there everyone! I hope you’re having a good start to a fresh, new week. I’m re-posting this post today because as another school year approaches, I’m missing my identity as a teacher again! When will this let up? I’ve got a ton of other interests and a lot of things to keep me occupied, and yet I cling and cling to this image of myself.

I examine my teaching years through a realistic lens, I remember the stress that led to the soul-sucking insomnia. I remember the fear of criticism from self and others. I see clearly the hours of pointless meetings and the children that I didn’t know how to reach.

Teaching was hard, but letting go of a long-held identity has its challenges, too.

If you haven’t done so already, please consider following my blog right here on WordPress or signing up to have my posts show up directly in your email’s inbox. Either way, I’d love to have your support! Take care and have a great Tuesday. ~ Lori

Recently I contacted someone I’d worked with for years to let him know that I’m available as a substitute teacher. My ego was deflated when he said, “I wasn’t aware that you weren’t teaching full time.”

Really? Wasn’t aware? To me, it seemed that this guy and I were at every meeting and at every conference together. I saw him often.

I’ve been out of the local school system for over a year now and this former colleague never even noticed. I would’ve been happier if his response had been, “I wondered where you were!”

Listen to me read this post:

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The one-room schoolhouse in the community of Green Island.

But he didn’t wonder. My presence or absence didn’t affect him much. Most of the time, we don’t notice what our passing acquaintances are doing. We’re happy to see them or to hear from them when we do, but beyond those moments, we don’t give others much thought.

It can be a bit of a letdown, realizing how infrequently others notice us. On the other hand, this realization can be very freeing. Over the course of my life I’ve spent way too much time worrying about what others might think of me and my actions. In a way it’s nice to discover that they barely think of me at all.

When I decided to resign from my teaching position in December of 2016 to attend university for a year, I was concerned about how people might react. In the end, people simply congratulated me or thanked me or said nothing, and then very quickly, we all moved on. It’s what we do. We keep on going.

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Another desk at the museum in Hines Creek north of Fairview, Alberta where I grew up.

A skilled young teacher stepped into my former position to start her own career, and I began studying writing and editing. Surprise, surprise. I’d made a change and the world didn’t stop turning. In fact, my decision to change benefited two lives, mine and the new teacher’s.

Change is scary because we don’t like uncertainty. It’s not comfortable. That’s why we plan and try to control the things yet to happen. But no matter how much we schedule or plot or analyze, it’s impossible to accurately predict the outcome of anything we do. We can chart and graph until our eyes dry up and fall out of our heads. All our planning won’t stop the rain from raining or the snow from falling.

Life is uncertain. That’s its nature, and we’re forced to work with this uncertainty in which we exist. That’s reality.

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I had a desk like this in Grade One! I remember that heavy drawer.

Now that I’ve just returned to the classroom as a sub, I realize that my big career change was no big deal. I can tell this by the reactions that span, “Oh, you were gone?” to “Welcome back!” Neither of these reactions indicates an earth-shattering event.

This career change and its consequences have shifted the way I view making larger life changes. Big decisions aren’t as daunting now. I worry less about what others will think because I’ve got proof that they won’t think much about what I decide either way.

And if they do consider my actions, their considerations will be brief, like the shadow of a flying bird passing over the ground. “That’s dumb” or “That’s smart” or “Maybe I should try that.”

Others’ reactions to our actions don’t last long and they sure don’t matter much. What does matter is our acceptance of uncertainty and our willingness to change, to take a risk. We can’t know where any path will lead us. All I know for sure is that the view from the bottom of my deep rut was way less open than the wider view I got when I climbed out.

 

You Were Gone?

DIGITAL CAMERA
Student desk and dictionary at the Hines Creek Museum.

Hi there everyone! I hope you’re having a good start to a fresh, new week. I’m re-posting this post today because as another school year approaches, I’m missing my identity as a teacher again! When will this let up? I’ve got a ton of other interests and a lot of things to keep me occupied, and yet I cling and cling to this image of myself.

I examine my teaching years through a realistic lens, I remember the stress that led to the soul-sucking insomnia. I remember the fear of criticism from self and others. I see clearly the hours of pointless meetings and the children that I didn’t know how to reach.

Teaching was hard, but letting go of a long-held identity has its challenges, too.

If you haven’t done so already, please consider following my blog right here on WordPress or signing up to have my posts show up directly in your email’s inbox. Either way, I’d love to have your support! Take care and have a great Tuesday. ~ Lori

Recently I contacted someone I’d worked with for years to let him know that I’m available as a substitute teacher. My ego was deflated when he said, “I wasn’t aware that you weren’t teaching full time.”

Really? Wasn’t aware? To me, it seemed that this guy and I were at every meeting and at every conference together. I saw him often.

I’ve been out of the local school system for over a year now and this former colleague never even noticed. I would’ve been happier if his response had been, “I wondered where you were!”

Listen to me read this post:

IMG_5287
The one-room schoolhouse in the community of Green Island.

But he didn’t wonder. My presence or absence didn’t affect him much. Most of the time, we don’t notice what our passing acquaintances are doing. We’re happy to see them or to hear from them when we do, but beyond those moments, we don’t give others much thought.

It can be a bit of a letdown, realizing how infrequently others notice us. On the other hand, this realization can be very freeing. Over the course of my life I’ve spent way too much time worrying about what others might think of me and my actions. In a way it’s nice to discover that they barely think of me at all.

When I decided to resign from my teaching position in December of 2016 to attend university for a year, I was concerned about how people might react. In the end, people simply congratulated me or thanked me or said nothing, and then very quickly, we all moved on. It’s what we do. We keep on going.

DIGITAL CAMERA
Another desk at the museum in Hines Creek north of Fairview, Alberta where I grew up.

A skilled young teacher stepped into my former position to start her own career, and I began studying writing and editing. Surprise, surprise. I’d made a change and the world didn’t stop turning. In fact, my decision to change benefited two lives, mine and the new teacher’s.

Change is scary because we don’t like uncertainty. It’s not comfortable. That’s why we plan and try to control the things yet to happen. But no matter how much we schedule or plot or analyze, it’s impossible to accurately predict the outcome of anything we do. We can chart and graph until our eyes dry up and fall out of our heads. All our planning won’t stop the rain from raining or the snow from falling.

Life is uncertain. That’s its nature, and we’re forced to work with this uncertainty in which we exist. That’s reality.

DIGITAL CAMERA
I had a desk like this in Grade One! I remember that heavy drawer.

Now that I’ve just returned to the classroom as a sub, I realize that my big career change was no big deal. I can tell this by the reactions that span, “Oh, you were gone?” to “Welcome back!” Neither of these reactions indicates an earth-shattering event.

This career change and its consequences have shifted the way I view making larger life changes. Big decisions aren’t as daunting now. I worry less about what others will think because I’ve got proof that they won’t think much about what I decide either way.

And if they do consider my actions, their considerations will be brief, like the shadow of a flying bird passing over the ground. “That’s dumb” or “That’s smart” or “Maybe I should try that.”

Others’ reactions to our actions don’t last long and they sure don’t matter much. What does matter is our acceptance of uncertainty and our willingness to change, to take a risk. We can’t know where any path will lead us. All I know for sure is that the view from the bottom of my deep rut was way less open than the wider view I got when I climbed out.

 

Decisions, Decisions

Listening to Lori

You can hear me read this post or read it below. You decide.

Decisions ImageDecisions, Decisions

Right now, I’ve got a lot of decisions to make. When I think about it, though, I’d way rather have decisions to make than limited choices in life. Making decisions is hard, but it’s better to have choices than not.

For the past year I attended Simon Fraser University, taking their online Editing Certificate program. My courses were very challenging and very interesting. The year flew by, and soon I’ll be a certified editor.

Finishing up one thing and starting another means more decisions to make. But isn’t that the point of getting an education? An education should ideally provide more choices and open more doors. I hope mine will. We’ll see.

Choice is a privilege.

Because I’m privileged I have so many choices. I’m fortunate to have an education that I could afford to get. Nowadays, young students are typically guaranteed to be in debt for a very long time to get a post-secondary education.

I remember meeting a young lawyer back in Grande Prairie. She was about three years younger than me. But in that short span between our ages, the cost of a university education in Canada had sky rocketed. This professional woman, well employed within a local law office, was living with her parents so that she could pay down her student debt.

It’s possible she enjoyed living with her folks. It wasn’t my dream to live with my parents at 28 years old, and so I viewed her experience through my own bias, of course. To me, she seemed trapped by debt. Still, that debt gave her a fulfilling career and a good way to make a living.

She chose to shoulder debt to obtain the education she wanted, and that choice is a privilege.

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An old Remington typewriter. Makes me glad for my keyboard!

Hard times mean limited choices.

From here my choices all look pretty good. I’m not between a rock and a hard place. “Lori, leap off this cliff or leap off that cliff. And, no, you can’t have a parachute, so stop asking.”

I’ve been in that uncomfortable place where I just had to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. At times, I’ve had no choice. I’ve done jobs I didn’t want to do and lived in less-than-ideal conditions so that I could escape situations I couldn’t stay in. Those were hard times. Everyone has them. Hard times show up differently in everyone’s lives, but if you’re born, you have them. That’s how it goes.

My choices are all good.

Going forward, I’ve got a lot of choices. My problem isn’t that I have no direction; my problem is that I have too many directions!

Now that I’m nearly finished my editing program, I’d like to work as an editor and writer. I want to help people make their projects the best they can be. I’d love this, but it means that I’ll need to start a business. That enterprise is chockfull of decisions.

I also miss being in the classroom and plan to substitute teach after Christmas. It will be fun to be with students again, but every job opportunity comes with decisions: whether or not to accept the offer, what to wear, what to pack for lunch.

Lunch and clothes might seem like small considerations, but I haven’t had to decide what to pack for lunch or what to wear to work for nearly a year! I can’t bring a gallon of jasmine tea and a handful of cashews for lunch, and I can’t wear yoga pants to work. Things will have to change.

Editing Books 2
Textbooks for school.

Focus and quiet are wonderful.

As my life changes again, I’ll have to be careful not to get distracted by too many projects and too many activities. Over the last year I’ve come to appreciate focus and quiet. I’d like to maintain focus and quiet at least in some corners of my life.

That’s another choice. I can choose to work frantically, bouncing from one project to another, or I can choose to focus on one or two things and do them very well. But I have to decide to do it and be disciplined.

Given the choice, I’d choose choice.

There’s so much we can’t choose, so many decisions we’re not allowed to make. The chance to make decisions is a golden opportunity in a universe that decides much for us, from our place of birth to our genetic code. These are huge factors in determining how life will go, and we have no control over either of them.

I’ve been forced to make decisions because I’ve had the opportunity to make decisions. With freedom comes choice.

I was born into positive circumstances and in a war-free, wealthy country. I was born to parents who cared about education and born late enough in the world’s timeline to be allowed to get an education. The more I sit here and write, the more grateful I am for all the decisions I’ve made and all the ones I’ll need to make.

All this decision-making has led me to this conclusion: It’s hard to make choices, but it’s sure nice to have them.