Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. Henry David Thoreau
Here I sit with my spiffy new computer on my lap, tapping out my dreams. I have been moving in this direction for what appears to be my whole life.
Yesterday I visit the first intern classroom of the semester. Interns are students in the alternative education certification program, who have opted out of a semester of student teaching for a year of internship without a cooperating teacher, but with a paycheck and benefits. I facilitate the weekly seminars and visit each classroom once a semester. In addition, the interns have assigned college supervisors who will periodically observe their classes and file formal evaluations.
The class is high school biology in a middle class, academically successful public school near a major Air Force base. I sit to the side of the action taking notes. The engagement between teacher and students and students with each other, the pace of the lesson, the accomplishment (or not) of objectives, and other facets of a successful classroom.
I thought my dream is to take these opportunities to be present in classrooms and write stories from them. And it is, in part. So yesterday after visiting the class, I write a first draft of a story from this class. I know what direction it will take. The engagement between students and teacher is what I have seen before, particularly in a biology class.
Two cute coeds, one with long brown hair and the other with long blond hair, are the dominant students during the “discussion.” They talk out, volunteer to answer then ask what the question is again, and begin steering the “discussion” to questions and anecdotes about sex. The lesson is about the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The rest of the class just sits there; some put their heads on their desks.
It’s the beginning of the semester; all is not lost. I leave the teacher with the notes I have taken and suggestions for more effective engagement. I am also mentally planning next week’s seminar.
I’m awaking my objective observer. Feeling pleased with the awareness, I attend a public forum on gender equity in the workplace later in the day. It’s a topic I don’t think a lot about. Again I recognize dynamics of engagement, or lack thereof, without judgment. This is how we interact.
The angst I was feeling the other night with all the voices is an old feeling of confrontation that I have when in a diverse group. Leftover hippie agitation that is not the peaceful engagement I seek.
All these years of writing practice has been my way of seeking balance within myself so I could take that dream of peace into the world.