Saturday, September 5, 2009

living in this world

my slow-drifting return to the working world continues.
the river is picking up speed.
widening even.
my energies are focussed equally inside and outside myself.
i've come to know that
that's what the summer is for -

"oh hi!"
is something i can say
to myself
after a couple of weeks of summer.

from that point comes the remembering of self.


then it's possible
to offer shelter to the tremendous volume of energy that
is freely available at all times.
energy which usually flies in and flies out almost immediately.

in the summer
it's possible
to focus that energy inwards.
to recollect my self.
to be able to share that energy outwards
through my teaching.


the work i do
is worthy work.
bringing goodness to people's lives.

without expectation.

i value that privilege.

takeji asano dorokyo

living in this world -
to what shall i compare it?
it's like a boat
rowing out at break of day,
leaving no trace behind.


Alaine said...

It would be very rewarding; I should imagine you'd know how to hold their attention? Do you teach primary or high school?

From what I've heard and witnessed here (I have 3 grandsons), our classrooms are out of control.

Dan Gurney said...

Well said, Steven! I completely agree. Teaching involves refocusing one's energy and awareness from an inward focus to an outward focus as the school year launches.

Even though I've done it 29 times in my current job, I still find the transition a bit jarring at first. But, as you say, teaching is a great privilege and a great responsibility. My sense of the importance of our work only grows with time and experience.

NanU said...

beautiful thoughts, steven.
the summer has a wonderful power to reset our minds. our bodies stretch in the warm sun, soaking up the peaceful energy that will get us through the year.

steven said...

hello alaine - i teach grade six which is comprised of ten to twelve year olds (depending on when their birthday's fall!). i deeply love my role as a teacher. one small but important part of my role is the handing back of some more of the power that is taken from the children when they line up for school. another part is handing over the power of their right to learn in a non-prescriptive manner. another is the handing over of the knowledge that school is entirely a metaphor - a necessary metaphor in the society we have developed - for learning how to learn~thinking about thinking~stepping away from and observing your "self". there's more but this is a tiny space!! have a lovely day alaine. steven

steven said...

hi dan - i'm beginning my nineteenth year as a teacher. i was in the business world for ten years before i woke up to this possibility! i see the summer as a time for absorbing, the fall, winter and spring as a time for giving and absorbing. often the balance is lost through necessity. because the children need much more than we can replensih in the way of energies. that's one feature of sacrifice - conscious sacrifice - that appears in my sense of my purpose . . . to bring as much goodness as i can in the time i am given. i'm with you on the growing sense of the importance of our work dan. much of which is tucked away and difficult to articulate. have a lovely day with your family dan. steven

steven said...

hello nanu - in a nutshell you have packaged it up just right!!!! peaceful - i try as hard as i can to ensure that it stays that way but you know . . . . . have a lovely day nanu. steven

Barry said...

This will be the first September in decades that Linda has not been deeply involved in the transition back to teaching. It has become such a ritual in both our lives that not being involved is unsettling.

steven said...

hi barry - nice to see you!!! i have planned to see seven more classes call me their grade 6 teacher. of course i don't know that it will work out that way but that's my thinking. at every opportunity i ask retired teachers how they managed what i think of as "the big bridge" between teaching (which is now more of a lifestyle than a "job") and retirement. i'm hoping to make informed choices about how best to live my life, continue to be available to my community, and how to let those things i value that are channeled into my work realign with other things i value which have been on hold. we'll see what we shalls ee. have a lovely day by the bluffs barry. steven

Butternut Squash said...

Hi Steven,

I have a six grader right now. Most of my stories are written with him in mind. It's a fantastic age. You must have so much fun. I love the poetry!

steven said...

hi butternut! i try to share with people how incredibly hard this work is and then also how amazingly fun and mind-blowing it is. but the words can't convey the experience adequately so it's really cool to have a mom share that sentiment so knowingly!!! thankyou so much! steven

The Weaver of Grass said...

That is what the summer break is for steven - as a retired teacher I always used it to relax and recharge my batteries - after a couple of weeks I would begin to note fresh ideas for the coming year. Although retired I still do it now - only now it is for my blog/ Have a nice weekend and enjoy the new term.

steven said...

hello weaver, thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. i am recharged - actually for the first time in a few years. this was a summer with very few large-scale life distractions!! i am really looking forward to being with my class. have a lovely day in the dale. steven

Meri said...

Steven, speaking of teaching. . . will you please leave up the transformation links for a while? The stories are so powerful and worth looking at many times.

Reya Mellicker said...

What a beautiful painting! And how fitting, this close to equinox, to have equal parts of internal and external energy. Dancing in shamanic alignment with the seasons again, aren't you Steven?

Based on how joyful your summer blogs were, I'm thinking the kids in your class are going to have a fabulous year. Bravo!

steven said...

hi meri, thanks for that! i'm leaving the links there for a while because they represent an amazing moment in themselves!!! thanks for dropping by!!! steven

steven said...

hi reya, i'm so glad you liked the painting. i can place myself in the real and metaphoric / metaphysical boat with ease.
i love teaching, it's a place where i can give love through my work. the spaces that my class and i create are hard working, hard playing, good spaces that i wish i could be if i were twelve!!! i'll take the simple rich blessing of being present as a fifty-two year-old man in the same way as the boatman in the painting is likely grateful for the freedom to be present in that gorgeous setting in the painting. i figure that's a good way to be!!!
i haven't felt this quality of balance in a very long time. thanks for your insight! steven

willow said...

Oh, how I would have loved to have been one of your students, Steven. I can imagine what a caring and interesting teacher you are.

hope said...

If your teaching style is similar to what you offer here, then you are arming your students with more than just the're teaching them to appreciate life.

And somewhere down the road, they will turn to a friend and say, "I remember him...because he saw us as individuals, not as a job requirement."

Have a great weekend!

steven said...

oh thankyou willow - that's very sweet!! my classes are never dull. . . i love for my kids to find out who they are and especially to find out that they are way more than they thought they were. way more!!!! have a peaceful day at the manor. steven

Friko said...

The work you do is truly worthwhile; what's more, to judge from your blog, you do it with all your being.
May you always be able to give of your best.

Lori Witzel said...

Hi Steven -- you are one solid inspiration for me, since my "going back to school" adventure is intended to get me the credentials I'd need to teach (in my case, focused on college level teaching).

The work I currently do is fine, and all business management has (or should have, IMO) an element of teaching...but to share my excitement for visual art? Yippeeeeeee!!!

I'm still in touch with my main college prof, the guy who taught me to draw and who introduced me to a bunch of great drawers both living and dead. :-) And I still remember Mr. Powell, my fourth grade art teacher, with great affection.

Anyway, hugs to you as you shift into the new season, and thanks as ever for stopping by my "neighborhood".

Dervish said...

i can relate to that desire to hold on to the sense of peace that comes over the summer. i try to be aware of the contrast of the winding down of the natural world as opposed to my world which is winding up.

Delwyn said...

God bless you Steven

Happy days

steven said...

hello friko - thankyou very much for that lovely comment!! when i finally realized what i was intended to do and be, i made it part of my commitment to honour that privilege by always giving of my best. have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

hey lori - i wish you the very best time in your new learning. really i do!!! it amazes me that people take that big risk but i always believe that as with my own decision at 33 to do just that, there's a hidden intention on the part of the world to make it happen for a good reason. so go girl and don't lose your passion for art, blogging, anything! steven

steven said...

hey dervish - sound insight and advice all in one. thankyou for that!!! steven

steven said...

hi delwyn, thankyou for that grace!!! i'm very grateful.

tomorrow i have a blog that builds on one you did some time ago. i think it will shock my regular visitors!!!!! have a lovely day by the river and watch for it around two in the afternoon your time!!! steven

Margaret Pangert said...

Hi Steven~ An engaging way of expressing the transition from vacation to teaching, from inner-directed energy to outer-directed energy. Remember the students lived a very different life during the summer, too. In fact, many of them slept in, a horrible pattern to try to change when school starts! my one word of advice which i'm sure you have down pat by now is to learn all their names asap. Good luck, Steven. Maybe begin each day with a prayer for patience.

steven said...

hello margaret, i know about the lifestyle change that is coming the way of my poor students ( and my own two kids) all too well! to bed by midnight up at noon!!! oh yeah that's how they like it.
i have twenty nine students this year (more may arrive later). it usually takes me a week or so to really know their names. of course i know a few already as they've been at the school for sven years before they come to my class. i do pray each day for goodness to be available to my students, my family, my friends and for them to be abale to share their own goodness in fullness! have a lovely day. steven

Loren said...

Thank God I'm retired after 30 years of teaching high school English.

Now I finally have some time to devote to my own creativity.

But I never once regretted the time I spent teaching or thougth I'd made the wrong career choice.

Goldenrod said...

There are some great comments to this thoughtful post, Steven, and I'm inspired to do a post of my own - yes, another one! - on teaching and link this post of yours, plus "The last day", advising my readers (those who have children who are just now returning back to school for a new year, or those who are interested in teaching and what goes on in the minds of teachers as a new term begins) to be sure to include the extensive comments section in both. A really good encapsulation.