Monday, January 25, 2010

Time and tide...

It seems to me that we spend much of our time waiting.  We wait for the bus, or for dinner, or for a favourite tv show, or... well... almost anything.  For the most part, waiting is something that is peculiar to humans; in fact, I think that we have almost turned waiting into an art form.  Some people are far better at waiting than others.  They use the time to do other things, and honestly technology has been, and is an integral tool that allows us to make better use of this time between.  I used to use my pda to pass the time, but then I bought a BlackBerry and that became my technological tool for making the time pass more efficiently while I was waiting.  The truth, in my opinion, is that a lot more work gets done during waiting time now, in this era of technological progress, than in any period before. 

Having said all that, I believe that we live in a culture of convenience.  This means that we organize, produce, and create ways to make our lives easier, and quicker.  I remember when it became possible to order pizza from the internet, and when stores started staying open 24/7.  We can do almost anything at any time.  The fact that we have worked so hard to make everything convenient has lead to convenience becoming inconvenient.

That's a paradox you may say, but the truth of it is if waiting time is the time where much of what we do is done, then by increasing those things that are convenient, we are becoming less efficient.  For example, how many conversations take place when people are at a restaurant waiting for their meals to come?  How often do we chat with strangers around us who are also waiting, and thereby a new friendship or contact is made?  We complain about waiting, but is it really all that bad for us?

There are things that we can choose to wait for, and there are things we cannot; however, having said that it's what we do with the time that is passing while we wait that makes a lot of difference.  I for one have complained about waiting, but like our hearts, we need to rest between beats.  We need to take advantage of what comes to us during this minor period of down time, even if it is time that we use for work or whatnot.  Remember, time and tide wait for no man... it must be lonely being that far ahead and all alone...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Looking back...

I was just reviewing all of the posts I have written that never made it as far as being actually posted.  I have copied all of these drafts, even the blank ones, and I am going to post them here for you now.  They are all incomplete, or titles only, but I thought I would post these to let you see the workings of my mind... that is if you dare to, or care to examine said workings... I have included the dates of these drafts as well... please do not use this post against me, thank you.

Day 4 - 6/26/08

Day 5, A Friday - 6/27/08

Today is the last day in our 'old house'. We have people coming over to move tomorrow morning fairly early, which we are thankful for, however, we still have lots to pack.

A Day in the Life of the PLRS Gaming Club - 10/29/09

I'm sitting here, at school watching some of the kids kill each other. Of course, I had to get parental approval before I could let it happen. The weapons fire and the screams of the wounded and dying are somewhat annoying, but if it keeps the kids happy, then who am I to complain. Sounds like an excerpt from "Battle Royale", doesn't it. Before anyone calls and reports me to the authorities, let me clarify that the kids are playing "Halo", and yes, I did get parental approval to let them.

Gastric Joy... - 11/12/09

I'm watching a colleague's class right now. About half an hour ago another teacher came in to use the microwave. What he heated up still remains unknown, but the odour that is lingering has elicited a few comments from some of the students. The room, in fact, is redolent of something that has existed primarily to offend, disgust, and most likely exude gases that would melt solid steel.

We All Have Days... - 12/9/09

We all have days where we definitely need to be treated with kid gloves. Days when the daily grind has done its job and left us feeling bruised and tender. Where do we turn when we feel like the world has had its way with us and then tossed us aside because we were all used up? To be honest, there are a plethora of options, but I'm convinced that the best answer is the truth. The truth? You say. Yes, the truth. Let me explain.

We all have within us a core of truth that is only for us and only understood by us.

Reflection - 12/11/09

I was

No Time For Time - 12/29/09

Perception... - 1/13/10

I was just having a conversation with a colleague about how many people percieve the world around them, and it lead me to thinking about how we develop our perceptions, etc.

Change, change and more... that doesn't change... - 1/20/10

Thursday, January 14, 2010


A couple of the students in the school are passing out a survey that deals with self-image.  The focus is mainly on weight, beauty, and a little bit on healthy choices.  I was told, when I filled it out, that I asked too many questions and that I was being too analytical about the whole thing.  It made me think.  When I was younger I would have answered these survey questions very, very differently than I did today.  At what point in my life did my thoughts, feelings, and ideas on these issues change?  I can honestly say that my self-esteem is not determined by others, but when did the change happen?  As a teenager, I believed what my friends told me and I often determined my own self worth based on what my friends told me. 

The question is, was that just a surface thing that I did on a subconscious level because that is what teens are supposed to do?  Did I really have a strong core belief in myself deep down?  Or, was I really affected by what others thought and said?  If the latter is true, it would be interesting to map my life and see if I could pinpoint the period in my life when this changed.

I watch my students everyday, and I can see which ones have self-esteem issues, and which ones don't.  I can't tell you which ones have good home lives, or come from strong families, or which ones have familial, or platonic support.  I know that our backgrounds, our home lives, and our social lives are all intertwined and work together to either build us up, tears us down, or act against each other and result in some kind of homeostasis.

Do I have things about me that I would like to change?  Sure.  However, The changes I want to make are tied more into health than acceptance, but I think that this probably goes without saying for most adults, but I am generalizing and I am sure there are adults that do suffer from low self- esteem because of their bodies and what they think others see when they look at them.

I'm happy to say that I don't care what others think about me, but then again... if all my friends were more interested in body image, could I say the same thing?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Teaching kids who really need...

I'm in a Knowledge and Employability English class, and I am watching the students work on a writing/Movie Maker project.  I was pleased to see that some of the students chose to write a story instead of throwing something together on movie maker.  Not that those doing the movie maker project are any less capable, but the writing assignment is a bit more difficult than the movie maker assignment, and I'm pleased to see that some of the students chose the more challenging route.

The quality of some of the stories that I am reading is quite beyond what I expected.  Although, these stories are supposed to be fictional, they are eerily close to reality for many of these kids.
Many of the students in this class do extremely well just by showing up for class.  I am always excited to see them, and I am always enthusiastic for them when they are in class.  The kids in this class will not graduate. Some of them may get a certificate, but none of them will get a diploma. That is unless they go back to school and upgrade classes that they have missed. Will this happen? I honestly don't know. Can it happen? That one is easy... yes, it can.

I have grown to care deeply for these kids; however, in many of the cases this feeling is only one way.  I am okay with that.  Many of them come to school, not because they want to learn, or be cared for, but because it is a safe place for them.  At school they don't have to dodge bullets, or beatings, and they are warm and protected. 

Unfortunately, many of them make poor choices that often result in their suspension, or even having to go somewhere else, and this breaks my heart.

It is so easy for many teachers, parents, authorities, etc to marginalize, forget, or even exacerbate the situations that many of these kids find themselves in.  It is also unfortunate that many of these kids do the same things to themselves, and this the real heartbreaker.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I have come to the realization that my favourite punctuation mark is the ellipsis. You know, those three or four little dots that you sometimes see at the end of a sentence, or phrase. I find that you can convey so much in just three dots, or periods, or full stops, or whatever you want to call them. You can leave so much unsaid, but understood, or you can intimate, or insinuate many thoughts feelings, beliefs, or actions without using any words.

I'm also amazed at how punctuation has so much in common with our lives, or vice versa. We have those moments where we pause, or exclaim, or question, and we often feel like we are living someone else's life as if we are walking quotations. We can feel like things have come to an end, or that things are just beginning, and often we feel the need for a break somewhere in between.

Life is like that. In fact, our lives can be written, edited, reviewed, changed, expressed, sung, whispered, imagined, etc. We often have moments of happiness interjected with moments of sorrow, and for some, it can be the other way around.

Commas are my weak spot. I either use them when I shouldn't, or don't use them when I should. As a writer, and an English teacher, this is not something that I should be struggling with. I will say that I have gotten better, but I know that I still have a little way to go before I can confidently say that I am a comma connoisseur.

I love languages. I love learning how they work. I have studied over 14 languages; some just because. I want to qualify the last statement; I have studied 14 languages, but I only speak, somewhat, 2 or 3 of them. Having said that, I could probably make my way through many of them if I spent a little time with them. I am fascinated by how languages work, and this has often been the focus of my studies, but I guess you can't study any aspect of a language without learning how to communicate with it a little.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, the ellipsis is a wonderful punctuation mark. It lets the reader know that this is the end, but there is more to come, or at least more to think about. It is an idea that makes me wonder...

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I'm finding myself with a lot to say, but not being able to say it. I feel somewhat like I'm suffering from literary locked in syndrome. I guess the old saying is true, if you don't use it, you lose it. I used to think that only applied to body building and language learning, but I guess it applies to many other things as well.

I have been thinking a lot about the direction my life has\is\will be taken\taking and I find that things aren't as clear as they seemed to be in the past. This is alright though; because that means that I'm not alone. After all, isn't this part of the human condition? I am convinced though that if we always knew the whats, whys, and the wherefores, we would either lose those moments when we suddenly feel linked to the universe and everything makes startlingly clear sense, or we would, even worse, lose an appreciation for those very special moments. While I lived in England, I saw a lot of castles, and throughout my travels through Europe, I saw many beautiful cathedrals. How does this connect with my previous thought, you ask. Let me tell you. I soon found myself not feeling that sense of awe and wonder that I felt when I saw my first castle, or my first cathedral, and it saddened me. The good news is that as soon as I became cognizant of this lack of gobsmackedness, (nice word, eh? I just made it up), I decided to change how I experienced things and I soon found myself gobsmacked (probably my favourite word in the English language) again.

To be honest, I am pulling a sort of stream of consciousness thing here. I usually sit down with a focused idea as to what I want to write, but I haven't had one of those since December 8, 2009, which was when I last posted. However, since this blog is the only form of writing that I have been able to do since... well, since for a long time, I don't want to let this dry up. The fact that I am writing at all right now is a good thing, even if it is short. Having said that, I will try to commit to writing every week at least, if not more.
This means that this post will be shorter than some, and much less poignant than others... if any of my posts can be considered poignant that is.

I have actually been brewing and percolating some thoughts and ideas, and as the beginning of this post states the material is there, but I have just been unable to communicate it. Give me a couple more days and hopefully I will be back to my old self, spewing forth words, thoughts, ideas, and images that will leave you... well... gobsmacked.