Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


do-overs ~

Sometimes I want a do-over. You know – start from scratch: no mistakes, no mess-ups, no baggage. Like the class I taught once, that went awry from the first day. They didn’t gel. They didn’t really talk. They just kind of sat there. I’ve been known to refer to them as my squid class – kind of free-floating, no internal structure…(I probably shouldn’t admit that :))

Anyway, I told them we were starting over. Fresh and new, clean slate.

Let’s just pretend this is the first day of class, I said. I’ll assume each of you is going to make an A. And you’ll forgive me this weirdly uncomfortable two weeks.

It worked. Sort of – they were never contenders for ‘best class of all time.’ But they came around. And we managed to create a community of sorts.

Which contrasts strongly w/ the class I had last semester. It’s not my smartest class (don’t tell them, please). But it may well be the nicest class I’ve ever had. They seem to actively love each other. I’m not kidding — a college class that has movie night outside of class?? Holds a potluck? Sends each other cards? Let me tell you — that is NOT usual! So I tried to learn how it all came about.

There’s a term in teacher research: ‘teacher inquiry.’ It means that teachers decide what question(s) about their classroom – a single student, a process, a challenge – need to be researched. The teacher then looks for research, and/or designs a way to collect and analyse ‘data’ to help inform answers to the original question. Well, the class I had  this past semester sends me back to a question I’ve had for years: I usually know why a class goes ‘agley,’ as Bobby Burns would say. But what makes one work so well??

So here’s my point: too often, we chastise ourselves when things implode (or explode!). How often do we stop to appreciate when things go along swimmingly, and wonder how to help it happen more often…? When’s the last time you congratulated yourself on a job done amazingly well? A project handled w/ grace and elegance? What’s wrong with loving ourselves at least enough so the Golden Rule actually means something…? What if ‘do-over’ wasn’t a bad thing, but a kind of musical reprise…? Like… a song you’d like to hear more than once… What if? Just sayin’ ~



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment R

    I know I don’t give myself the space to just enjoy when things go well in a class. On the other hand, it is frustrating to be able to identify quickly why things go wrong but not why things go supremely well. I know there is a larger thought there but I am not able to follow it through now.

    • brittongildersleeve

      Perhaps it has to do w/ our willingness to accept blame, but our reluctance to accept what we may see as congratulations :). Especially in this culture, I think: we’re told NOT to celebrate our own success… (Unless it’s monetary!) :)

Previous Posts

ritual and being our own best friends
So yes, I am the person who will make Việtnamese coffee w/ a stainless steel straw, bought specifically for the occasion. Because ritual rocks. Seriously: it offers us structure and space, time to sip a cold drink and pamper ourselves, as we would a loved one. A dear friend. Someone who needs a

posted 1:09:23pm Jul. 23, 2014 | read full post »

friendship, memory, and love
My mother-in-law has a friend! This may not sound like a big deal to many of you, but those of us w/ family in elder care KNOW it's bigger than it may sound. Nursing homes -- even good ones -- aren't conducive to happiness, sadly. My beloved mother-in-law was used to her own place, her own schedule

posted 1:18:07pm Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

time travel
Today over lunch, my husband & I went back in time. We don't do that very often -- it's boring for other folks, and it's just not really us. At least, not most of the time... But today for some reason, it jus

posted 9:07:23pm Jul. 20, 2014 | read full post »

where memories live
This is the tag on my father's blanket. The blanket he had long before I was born, probably bought before my mother reunited with him in the Phillipines, 13 months after they married. It's a softly worn (once scratchy) wool, something like the old Pendleton three-stripe blankets (and it has three

posted 4:02:09pm Jul. 19, 2014 | read full post »

wildflowers, watermelon, and summer negligence
This is part of what I did today. Certainly the better part. After an early morning -- spent w/ a lawyer, not every my favourite thing to do -- my sister called and needed help. She'd been left holding the bag (actually, 6 bags) for her HS reunion gig tonight, and hoped her big sis would help out

posted 7:43:37pm Jul. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.