Thursday, June 27, 2013

What a Journey !

I wrote a thank you note in the dark this morning at 4 a.m. and left it on the bedside table of my friend who had happily let me crash in her hotel room last night before heading home from ISTE. I managed to sneak out without waking her and headed downstairs to catch the shuttle I had ordered for the airport. I didn't fret too much when it didn't show up and instead got in a taxi, confident that few people would be at the airport at 5 a.m. Boy, was I wrong!

The check in line took me thirty minutes to negotiate and the security lines were the length of the terminal. I joined the shortest one and tried to calm the disconcerting idea that I might miss my plane. After forty more minutes I could finally see the screening equipment but was mortified when the guy I had been chatting to noted his disgust at how slowly our line was moving for first class. I apologized for getting in the wrong line and started to head to the back of the terminal when the guy stopped me and assured me it was okay. It would have been very easy for him to be irate with me but he chose not to and truly I was thankful for that.

I was the last person to get on the plane and when I got to my aisle seat it was taken by a mother with a baby and toddler. She explained that her son’s seat was the middle seat two rows away and asked if I minded swapping. Being a firm believer in Karma, I took the middle seat and in thanks the stewardess offered me a much needed coffee. I was feeling pretty good about myself until the lady next to me explained that she too had given up her first class seat for a serviceman. I was still processing how awesome that was when the pilot announced that we had a computer issue that they were working on, estimating a twenty minute delay. 

An hour later we were still sitting there when my generous neighbor asked the stewardess for a glass of wine, explaining that she was becoming increasingly nervous about the flight. When it came, she split it with me and the guy to my left who was also a teacher returning from ISTE. I wouldn't normally drink wine at 8 a.m. but the three of us raised a toast and clashed our plastic glasses in celebration. We were far from celebrating take off, that was still two hours ahead of us, we were celebrating the fact that we were in good spirits, in spite of adversity, and enjoying each other’s company.

What should have been a three hour journey became a six hour journey and I can honestly say it was a pleasure. I don’t recall hearing one person complain angrily, moan bitterly or pout childishly; even the children on board were fantastic. Everybody just played the cards they had been dealt and made the most of the situation. I myself thoroughly enjoyed the company of my travelling companions and engaged in some great conversations. It reminded me that the choices we make on our journey, be it from one place to another, or indeed through life, can have a significant impact on those around us.

We are frequently travelling at such speed that we collide into the people around us and the collisions can have positive or negative consequences depending on the choices that we make. If I had been met with an angry response from the guy in the first class line I doubt I would have given up my seat so willingly. I would not have met my two new friends and I wouldn't have been inspired by their generosity and thoughtfulness. If we spent more time looking up, instead of down at our phones , looking out for, and embracing collisions with others there would be a lot less dents in the world and a whole lot more opportunities for connecting in meaningful ways.

Being on the Expo floor at ISTE for the last few days I collided with a lot of people and I’ll be spending the next few days wondering if I made dents or opportunities. I am fortunate to be surrounded by many amazing people and I have the potential to increase the number exponentially if I just take more heed during my journey. Right now, opportunity knocks, and I’m going to collide with my family to make up for time lost.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sailing Into Summer

Wow! I'm amazed at how long it's been since I've written a post. That is truly a sign of how hectic the last few weeks have been. The pace at school becomes frenetic as I try to wrap up curriculum, conduct field trips, organize end of year celebrations, not to mention end of year testing .My own two children have had several concerts, recitals, sporting commitments and all in all I feel like I've been tossed and tumbled around on a ship in a storm, clinging on for dear life, praying for calmer waters.

Now that summer is finally here I feel like the storm has subsided and I can begin to process and think thoughts that are my own again and blogging has always helped me with that. Picking up where I left off though has been more difficult than I expected. I feel rusty, struggling to find my voice, my words and stringing them together into something that makes sense is taking longer than it should. It's a good reminder for me that over the next few months our children are going to become academically rusty if we don't keep practicing the skills they have worked so hard to acquire during the last school year.

I can see squalls on the horizon when I tell my kids what I have in store for them. My son considers himself somewhat of a math ninja so keeping math skills sharp will be easy. I am going to have to get creative with reading and writing however and somehow figure out how to incorporate Lego and Skylanders. My daughter will write song lyrics all summer and she will pout about math but we will go head to head about reading, which breaks my heart since I am an avid reader. I'm hoping that I have piqued her interest enough by withholding the Hunger Games trilogy and that she will happily sit and devour them on her tablet. We can live in hope right?

I'm looking forward to launching into my own learning journey this summer too. I want to consciously go beyond my comfort zone for my own personal growth, but I'm not sure how yet. I’ll let the notion percolate and see what opportunities arise. I love that about summer, having the flexibility to change tack and go where the wind takes us. I attended and presented at The Learning Conference 2013 this week and it’s always fun to meet and engage in conversations with new people. I am very excited about attending ISTE for the first time next week and sharing some super aspects of Windows 8. I’m hoping that I will be able to absorb much too and get inspiration for next year. An added bonus will be catching up with some of my Partners in Learning network friends. These people serve as my compass and always steer me in the right direction.

Congratulations all my educator friends for completing another school year and making a difference in the lives of your students. Relax, recuperate and regenerate this summer and may the wind fill your sails!