Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In conclusion...

It's the right title, the one I decided to use to conclude these ramblings about my teaching and my learning, both major facets of my life.  Keeping up with the writing became a self-imposed source of guilt about the (in)frequency, the quality, the value, the meaning...and, ultimately, about the time.  Not having the time, not making the time...and it being the right time to move on.

And then a comment from a reader.  Can't bail on the day you receive a comment from a reader whose dialog has helped shape my own...I'll give it another day or so before I conclude.  And then another comment from a reader, one who generally limits the challenges to the non-virtual world.  Well, this is awkward.  But I've waited this long for a semi-graceful exit and another day or so won't matter.  And then it happened.

I came into the office this morning and Google Reader offered these timely insights:

In conclusion, I've been busted.  I have all the time in the world to write.  I just forgot why I was doing it.  I forgot that it nurtures my soul, that I express many things far better in writing than in speaking, that it connects me to my own the people who taught me to love reading, taught me to love writing, encouraged me to find my voice, believed in me as a teacher, a parent, and a person.

This semester has its share of challenges, from an unprecedented number of canceled class periods (on the bright side, we've set snow and temperature records), the new and newly-revised courses, the juggling of multiple responsibilities (the fact that I asked for them doesn't lessen the challenge), and the messiness of living a life.  And I started to wonder if this was the semester when I couldn't do it all...if I would fail.  And, suddenly, it seemed a propitious time to stop writing.  One does not need a degree in psychology here.

And the laundry.  In the innovation and creativity course, we've talked a lot about the rich sources of new (and profitable) business ideas in developing countries.  We've read and talked about Japan, China, and India.  I've been reading student papers about the challenges they expect in working for multinational companies, as many of the students have limited exposure to other cultures.  One of the blogs I read offered me the same-but-different description and photographs--breathtakingly beautiful photographs, by the way--of laundry day in India.  And I realized that immersing ourselves in the ways in which we are similar to and different from others is part of keeping ourselves whole, part of learning, part of seeing our world differently...part of creativity.

We'll be talking about laundry in class today, an area in which I can comfortably claim a certain expertise.