A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.
One summer down and another semester staring me straight in the face. Have you missed me? I found that my blog suffered this summer. I had no deadlines, no due dates, no grades and therefore I did not write. What does that say about me, I wonder? I started writing fiction again though, which I find to be a great improvement over my seemingly endless dry spell. I felt as though I had been trekking across a Sahara desert of writing without an oasis of creativity. But I’ve got my jive back now. I’m up and rolling and writing.
How I felt for a long time… I was missing my lightbulbs.
Which brings me to the topic of writer’s notebooks. I hate notebooks, journals, diaries, whatever you want to call them. I have never been able to keep them. I have always wanted to and have friends that have been able to do them for song writing. They’re always jotting something down in it, a great movie line, an interesting tree name. Anything and everything goes into these notebooks. I have always just catalogued these ideas deep within my brain. Sometimes I forget them, but most of the time I seem to do alright. I remember hearing something on NPR about a woman who mentioned how her aunt journaled. It was in bits and pieces of short stories. I guess I have a journal like that stored up on my computer, but I am dreading an actual hand written writer’s journal.
And yet, while the idea is terrifying, I have notebooks like these on my shelves, filled with plays and drawings.
Anyway, in my special methods class last Wednesday, we were discussing what our bottom line in the classroom will be. Mine was that I wished to help at least one student find their passion and that they would continue pursuing it without my guidance. In retrospect, perhaps my goal number is too small. I should aim to help all my students do this. As a class, we then thought of how my classroom would look like. What could be some key descriptors? Words like independent, diverse, messy, organized littered the board. My favorite word that made it: failure. I want to teach my students that failure is alright. That failure is good. Failure is key to success. I want a classroom where students feel free to explore anything and everything. You like your friend “mary jane,” then maybe you should look into botany and medicine and business and Colorado. You want to build engines, I’ll find a way to put this into a classroom.
Sums up what I want to do in my classroom. Three words.
We also listed our fears on the board. Never have I seen a board so packed full of words. Everything from where do we draw the line with personal relationships with students to wardrobe malfunctions and angry parents. My biggest fear as teacher – failure. I don’t want to be a bad teacher. I am afraid of failing or making a mistake presenting data. I will have to face my fear with a class full of students who may also fear failure, albeit not always in the traditional sense. I will have to model what it is to fail and to learn and to move on. I have gotten better at this with my science background. I have gotten better at being wrong. I have gotten more comfortable with not understanding and saying I don’t know. (I tend to equate failure with lack of knowledge.)
Until next time… Have a lovely weekend.
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No One Here But a Writer Who Gets Up and Try
Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller
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Stefan Falke photographs artists who live and work along the 2000 miles long U.S.- Mexico border to document the vibrant culture of the region on both sides. All photos © Stefan Falke (use with written permission by the author only)