Tuesday, July 24, 2012

JDS Insights: May 2012

It's in your head...
For a teacher May is a month brought sharply into focus because of those little things called exams.

The particularly depressing weather through the month didn't really help matters - in my mind it was supposed to be warmer, sunnier and feeling like the end of the year was approaching. Instead it felt like one long extended spring - with no end in sight!

Teachers also start to get a bit tired about this time too because we move into writing reports - which can seem like an endless task.

May was also quite emotional because the Year 13 were leaving. Each year it's slightly different; the range of emotions seems to widen. Check my blog post about the leavers for more. At least it warmed up...for a while.

Apart from teaching, there were a few birthdays. Sister was turning another year older, another year wiser and another year closer to the truth. Of course I am ahead.

Another friend turned thirty - which brought home to me not only my own age but also how much things change. She's accomplished a lot in the time I've know her. Birthdays are occasions where disparate groups often come together with one key person at the centre. Sometimes the disparate groups gel, other times they don't. Our individual friendships have a significant effect on us. I think this is because who we are is defined by how we relate to people, places and stuff that happens. I feel as if the trick is to keep in mind that I have a choice about how I relate to something. Not always easy to keep in one's experience.

During May I also enjoyed some reading material. After the experimentation of previous books, I looked at something slightly more academic and psychological. I can't quite remember how I heard about this book but Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School is solidly written and has practical application - especially for me as an educator.

It's written by John Medina - a "developmental molecular biologist" - who practices what he preaches. I found it very accessible and interesting but also academically rigorous. He only uses studies that pass his 'grump' factor - properly peer-reviewed and replicated stuff.

Check out the Brain Rules website.

Not only does it challenge a lot of the nonsense I hear/ read amongst the chattering teachers, it also (far more disturbingly) made me appreciate my parents even more. There are parts in the book that could have been written by my Dad. The difference is - my Dad came to his own conclusions - not peer-reviewed scientific research!

Suffice to say I was sufficiently inspired to buy him a copy - which has brightened his retirement. I also recommended it to Sister (she of Paediatric Occupational Therapy fame). Actually I did more than recommend it - I told her she *had* to buy it. Which she duly did.

Being proved right is better than any drug. Having your children tell you is probably better than that.

Enjoy the insights.*

May 01: I can learn deeper truth myself through appropriately expressing my anger.
May 02: Anger, fully expressed, is part of being human.
May 03: It's all a competition. And then we die. Wow.
May 04: I set the rules for my life. I'm competing with myself - no-one else.
May 05: What I see, has already happened. Reality is always a step ahead.
May 06: What I see is mostly creation.
May 07: Sensory input is infallible. Sensory interpretation is not.
May 08: My senses are not the best pathway for understanding truth.
May 09: My senses tell my one thing about my body but my mind can tell me another.
May 10: I am not just my body. Neither am I just my mind. Nor am I just my spirit.
May 11: People will believe whatever you tell them.
May 12: Discipline is not boring - not producing results is.
May 13: I am always producing the results I want. I am just not always clear about what I want.
May 14: You can only really discover aspects of yourself in prepared conversation.
May 15: Planning cannot account for real life.
May 16: Accidents happen. The real fun is how we respond to them.
May 17: Consistently taking a particular action defines us.
May 18: Repetition creates learning - including learning mistakes.
May 19: Writing something down gives something more reality because it's out of my head.
May 20: We spend a significant chunk of our lives in our head.
May 21: Believing my thoughts and opinions to be true keeps me blind.
May 22: Not all growth requires pain.
May 23: Beauty is everywhere.
May 24: We are mostly unconscious to the truth.
May 25: Underestimating the impact I have on others diminishes my power.
May 26: A Family creates conversations we have no choice but to participate in.
May 27: Conversations don't just happen. We are always making something up.
May 28: Commitment starts. Action moves. Truth sustains.
May 29: Self-discipline is nothing without a commitment to something.
May 30: It's not hard to produce the results I want. I just complicate everything.
May 31: We all think we are not good enough. We just have different versions.
*My own creations

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