Journey of a Non-Conformist & Lover of Books

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belle

I’d like to give every young teacher some good news. Teaching is a very easy job. Administrators will tell you what to do. You’ll be given books and told chapters to assign the children. Veteran teachers will show you the correct way to fill out forms and have your classes line up.And here’s some more good news. If you do all of these things badly, they let you keep doing it. You can go home at three o’clock every day. You get about three months off a year. Teaching is a great gig.However, if you care about what you’re doing, it’s one of the toughest jobs around.

Rafe Esquith

Every so often, my principal has us do what are called “instructional rounds” where we are provided a sub for 30 minutes and we get to wander into other classrooms to see what others are doing in their classrooms. During my last instructional round, I decided to go to the classroom of a much respected colleague to ask him for advice. As a calm person who has worked in the field of education for 30 years in many roles including Director, this colleague of mine has been much sought after for his wisdom. What was bothering me was that I had been to so many schools and though I had the support of parents and colleagues, I could rarely move the administrators and I keep ending up switching schools. I caught him at a good time for questions. “I think I have a problem with administrators…and I am not sure what to do,” I said. “Give me an example,” he said. I gave him the first example that came to mind, an event that had only occurred the day before in which I deliberately disobeyed my principal because it was in the best interest of my students. After hearing my story, he told me that I think of myself too much as an advocate for my students and not enough as an employee. These words made so much sense, I have been letting them percolate in my head for weeks. All at once, I felt relief in knowing what I have been doing “wrong” but also grief because I don’t want to conform.

I have been reading such wonderful books as Adam Grant’s Originals- How Non-Conformists Move the World. This book actually made me cry! Who would have thought that a book filled with case studies would make me cry! It reminded me of when the author of Orange is the New Black writes about crying over Boston Red Sox winning the World Cup, a mundane moment that stirred something in her because she used to joke about being imprisoned if the Red Sox ever won. Sometimes it’s the most mundane moments that are the most cathartic….

I think all of one’s favorite books in the different phases of one’s life are a reflection of one’s inner most feelings. What have been your favorite books in the different phases of your life? Mine have been:

1980s?-Childhood- Anne of Green Gables anne of green gables.jpg

1990s?-Adolescence and various forms of love- And Their Eyes Were Watching God

and their eyes were

2002? Young Love and Coming of Age- All the Pretty Horses

all the pretty horses

2008? Divorce/ Forgiveness/ Redemption- The Kite Runner

kite runner.jpg

2012? Adulthood and transitions- The Ten Things to Do When Life Falls Apart

life falls apart

So it is that poverty becomes the mother of invention, accident and loss the matrix of spiritual depth, and frustration, exhaustion, and disgust the royal road to creativity. Instead of decrying the fact that life is requiring that you take some strange new steps, you might as well get with the program and simply bumble forward…You may not be able to see the final destination… A boat far at sea can end up at either North or South America just because somewhere in the middle of the ocean its captain turned the wheel just the teeniest bit in one direction… the hand of the universe telling you to change course.”- Daphne Rose Kingma

2014? Discovering travel and the world outside of school and work- The Geography of Bliss

geography

2017. Now- Originals- How Non-Conformists Move the World

originals

This book begins with the quote:

The reasonable man adapts to the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself; therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

– George Bernard Shaw

I wonder what book will be my favorite next! Wherever life takes me next… Perhaps it will be a book of my own writing…

We have the capacity to design the lives that we want to live, and not the ones that were designed for us.                                                   -Ron Finley

sail

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