I started to write this and then decided that I had better do the things I really needed to do! But back to it now and a beer in hand! Five of the efellows met up yesterday for an extra session to help us with our presentations for next week. It was great to meet up with John and Louise, and Rowan, Becs, Ben and Marnel again but we missed Tim and Vicky. I was feeling more than a tad panicky as I have had so little time to spend synthesising my ideas.
The real demands of in the moment, every day teaching and general family life are overwhelming and insist on being met. In fact, if truth be known, I couldn’t meet the demands of school workload if I didn’t have an incredibly supportive and ever patient and understanding family. They bear the brunt of my frustrations and really don’t get the attention they deserve. (Note to self that they need some pampering asap). It is a bonus too that youngest son is away at a hockey tournament this week – not far away – a few streets away, in fact, in a motel as they are playing in Hamilton. However, it does mean that I don’t have to worry about feeding him and getting him to places, I just have to turn up to support him at matches each day! So that means that I have some time to myself to write up my research and pull together a presentation for Ulearn14 next week.
Yesterday served as a focus for me to quantify just how much I had done and what still needed to be done. It was good to be able to share some ideas and talk through my data. Our times together have been intense and stimulating; we all get on so well and ideas spark like fireworks but, although we have created a Google + group and we all tweet to varying degrees, we have not connected as much as we intended to between meetings. Rowan and I even live in the same town but haven’t managed to connect! Time and work pressure is definitely a factor in this!
So, back to my inquiry; I am feeling less anxious and more positive about my progress after spending the day working on it – I can definitely see that hint of daylight and smell that familiar and comforting odour of fresh air as I crawl my way towards the exit of my cave. Still some way to go though. Last week’s eduignite talk helped more than I thought. I have decided that I have to put myself out there and make myself do things like Eduignite presentations. Why? They are fun, I meet up with my PLN face to face and see and hear about all sorts of interesting things that are going on in other schools, all that and I build my personal skills too. Last week I used some of the data that I analysed from my survey about how adults learn to create an Eduignite talk. It raised some interesting questions for me that have continued to percolate. I started yesterday feeling like there were a whole lot of bubbles swirling in and out of reach – I knew they were important but I couldn’t quite reach them and pull them down to see exactly what they were to be able to organise them. Now, I have caught some and can see a way through the confusion! Maybe a cave labyrinth could also be an analogy? I know the passages and where they go, I can see them in isolation, I just can’t quite see how they link up to lead me up to the surface!
We have a visitor just now and today we did what we often do when have visitors and went for a walk round Hamilton Gardens. It was a good opportunity to rest my brain but as usual breaking out and relaxing actually helped me. We found ourselves walking a different way through the Paradise garden collection and I realised that I had always thought that the links between the gardens were awkward and didn’t really flow. Now I realise that it is because I have always approached from the wrong direction! Starting with the Japanese Garden of Contemplation and following through to the English Flower Garden, to the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, the American Modernist Garden, the Indian Char Bath and finally the Italian Renaissance makes so much more sense and the flow is more natural. Stepping back, taking a break, looking at things from a different perspective, and things are starting to look a whole lot clearer!
Now I just need to focus….