Had an interesting insight from a professional this afternoon... we were discussing parenting, and my hurt feelings when my 6 year old doesn't want to hug me or let me kiss his beautiful face. She reminded me that although it was absolutely okay to
I can't believe how addicted I am to email.
Since Saturday afternoon, my personal email acct has been down, and I am having MAJOR stress about it! I've checked from three different computers at
A kind friend recently donated a flight simulator to the cause, so that I could practise at home between lessons.
I am amazed at the complexity of the program -- not only can you select your aircraft, with realistic proportions and controls, but you can also choose which airport to fly out of, what weight to adjust your aircraft to, what weather you will fly in... you can even choose to have some random "failures" at certain points in the game, so that you can practise your emergency procedures!
As I was fiddling with this thing, I thought, "wouldn't it be something to have a classroom simulator"??!! You know, for student teachers, or just anyone, really, who wants to improve their teaching.
You could choose the grade level, and select whether to be subject specific, or integrated. You could decide how many students in your class (would have to be realistic -- at least 20, but you could pick a number up to 36), and the combination of boys:girls. Then you decide on the ratio and make up of Spec Ed and ELLs, and away you go!
How fun would it be to practise different classroom management techniques ("okay kids, line up" -- and a bunch of students start pushing and shoving) or try out some different instructional methods ("alright boys and girls, we're going to make a concept map now about... whatever" and then two of the virtual students yell out that they don't have a pencil and three other kids tell you to F-off). Very nice, don't you think?
I am thankful.
I am thankful for a stimulating job, engaging students, graceful colleagues. I am thankful for two beautiful and creative boys and a decent husband. I am thankful for the incredible view from the balcony of my cost-effective rental. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn how to fly an airplane myself and for the opportunity to help others soar personally, professionally, emotionally. But most of all, on this weekend of gratitude, I am thankful for a green, plastic cot that I suddenly remembered as I was dozing off on the sick bed at work yesterday at lunch...
As I lay there in the stiff discomfort of the hard, canvas cot that at least offered me a quiet haven in which to stretch out my legs and close my eyes for an hour, I suddenly remembered another cot that I spent many a blissful hour enjoying: My mother, an avid gardener, camper and general lover of the outdoors had many garden chairs. The one I have in mind was green, and folded up in 3 panals -- it was ideal in that it easily fit in the trunk of our little honda civic, so that we could easily take it with us on our many trips to the "country" (Lake Erie, Turkey Point and various other Provincial Parks in Ontario...)
But this green lawnchair was not only utilitatian, it was also incredibly comfortable. Crafted of various strips of rubbery plastic, the chair gave off the feel of a sturdy hammock of sorts. And towards the top or "head" of the chair was an inflaltable pillow, built right into the contraption, that could be blown up as taught or as soft as the napper desired.
Perhaps the best part of this chair was its ease of use for eight year old children (me, and my long-departed friend, Ian) to modify it for use in backyard fort-building. Due to its handy folding nature, the green chair afforded one the opportunity to create a one-, two- or three-panal structure, as needed for afore-mentioned fort building. Ian and I would vigorously haul lawnchairs out from the garage, and arrange them in some architechtural manner. Last always came the green lawnchair. Over this contraption, we draped towels and blankets, and then we would crawl inside our little fort to enjoy... what? Perhaps the power that comes with having self-designed and constructed something? As we enjoyed our fort, I remember hearing my mother and Omi in the garden, working away on their "heckenrosen" and various other "pflanzen" in the background.
I am thankful for the green chair and for the memories of Ian and my mom and grandma and the garden and the camping trips and the pink and yellow and red roses...
I am thankful.
Here's a thought: Why not have a random selection of schools write each year, so that we have sufficient numbers for provincial trend data, but we save mammoth amounts of money that could be better spent on classroom teachers, Art programs, student resources, etc. AND we eliminate the insanity of context-less school ranking.
Well, okay, that's not entirely true, lol! It was Vinx's birthday, so a bunch of us went to see Jimmy Webb at Hugh's Room on Sat night... as we walked in, this older, drummer dude in a Nepalese hat waves to me across the room -- my eyes light up; It's Paul DeLong, my old drum teacher! I break from my gang, and head over to say hello, and he greets me and we chat it up for a bit, then I excuse myself and head back to my group and EVERYONE's freaking out -- turns out they all thought it was Neil Peart, and he knew me, lol!
I guess Paul does kind of look like him a bit...
Just as students learn through different styles of teaching, so followers of Christ worship through diverse means.
People come to God from a variety of access points: For some, it is a great sermon that convinces us of our sin, our Creator’s infinite love for us regardless, and our desperate need for salvation.
Others hear God in the song of a sparrow in the garden, in the powerful rush of a waterfall, or in the gentle breeze splashing the waters of a quiet stream along its pebbled shoreline deep within a private forest estate. Still others are introduced to the Lord in the visual of a crimson sunrise, or in Van Gogh’s Starry Night or Monet’s Waterlillies or the colourful palette of a Shilling self-portrait.
For me, music is the vehicle through which my Lord calls me to the cross; He speaks to me in the powerful majesty of a Bach cantata, the gentle precision of a Mozart sonata or the painful nuances of KD Lang’s “Hallelujiah”.
My grandmother, Elsbeth Teschow, was by no means Christian; she would most certainly have fought against such a descriptor, and in fact was quite vocal in her anger towards organized religion, especially Christianity. And yet, Omi was an avid reader, and a lover of nature. When this Grade 5 dropout wasn’t devouring the tomes Dostoevsky or Karl Marx, she was staring into the cloudscapes of her upper floor Toronto apartment balcony, or paging through photo essays of the pastoral German countryside. Her soul was deeply affected by the evil of her homeland’s wartime destruction, and her empathy stirred by the suffering of local people – the poor, the needy, the wheelchair bound, the homeless, those afflicted with mental illness… She did not share in a Christian Community, but she daily suffered the pain and bore the burden of the cross, both in the public matters outlined above, as in the painful, private details not shared in this blog. The question is, did she also receive its redemption?
My grandmother was not a Christian. But, if one believes, as I do, that we stumble upon God along differing pathways, by nature, through literature, in music and in art, then perhaps my apparently atheist Grandmother did know her maker.
I can only hope.
I attended an academic colloquia today – profs and academics from across Canada and the US came together to celebrate the thinking and writing of a local, faith-based University. After a large group plenary where all came together to hear two speakers, we were invited to attend a selection of smaller presentations on various topics, each 1 hour in length, presented by various University faculty members and addressed to whichever 15-20 interested people showed up.
Interested to experience how my academic colleagues might engage a small group in a topic near and dear to their hearts, I set off to attend a session on the poetry of Margaret Avison, a Canadian Christian Poet hitherto unknown to me.
Once again I am perplexed...
After writing for several teacher and multiple birth publications, including ETFO's Voice Magazine, Multiple Moments, and the Bulletwin, Vera turned her written attention to prolific blogging for some years, including BiB, "Learn to Fly with Vera!" and SMARTbansho . Homeschooling 4 was her travel blog in Argentina. She now spends more time on her Instagram (@schalgzeug_usw) than her blog (pictures are worth a thousand words?!) Contact Vera by clicking the photo above.
The views expressed on this blog are the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the perspectives of her family members or the position of her employer on the the issues she blogs about. These posts are intended to share resources, document family life, and encourage critical thought on a variety of subjects. They are not intended to cause harm to any individual or member of any group. By reading this blog and viewing this site, you agree to not hold Vera liable for any harm done by views expressed in this blog.