Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hello, Old Friend

Two things that have played a big role in my life are music and writing, whether it be the actual act of writing or reading the writing of others. My dad turned me on to John Lennon when I was a kid, and I mean John Lennon, without the Beatles. John Lennon once sang, "life is just what happens to you while you are busy making other plans" and this lyric has resonated with me for quite a while in my adult life even though I first heard it when I was just a young kid.

We have all had the experience of having the best intentions of doing something for someone or getting in touch with someone with whom we haven't found time to touch base with in a long time. In the past six years, this lyric has rung true for me more often than I would like to admit. During this short time I have: been a middle school English teacher and took on the role of the department chair; moved from the middle school to be a high school English teacher where I learned even more about myself as an educator and again took on the role of department chair; entered into the next phase of my professional career and enrolled in grad school for the second time; studied educational leadership and earned two administrative certificates; interned as a building administrator and worked as an administrator in the area of curriculum and instruction; took on a new role as an adjunct professor in a teacher education program at Niagara University; and left a district and its students and teachers that I loved very much for 14 years to become an administrator in a district with which, thankfully, I have had some familiarity. It was a sad day in my life to leave such a place, but it was definitely the best move I have made professionally in a long, long time. My former district and its leaders helped to prepare me for the position I have today, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and I am so thankful for the experiences I have had there that I would not know where to begin to describe it.

So, during this period when I had plans and good intentions of doing meaningful things for others but my life was busy happening in between, I wish I had taken the time to do many other things. At the top of the list is, of course, to spend more quality time with my family, specifically my grandmother who just celebrated her 90th birthday. My sister, I joke, has earned her get-into-Heaven-free card because she has taken time out of her busy life as a local merchant to take Gram to the doctor and run errands or just plain visit with her. During these times with Gram, my sister has learned some of the more intimate details of her life that I have never learned. Although I am glad to learn about them second-hand, it does not replace the experience of learning about them through my grandmother herself. Although not the warmest or most outgoing person while I was a young and impressionable kid, my gram has many life experiences I would love to learn about and be able to share with others in my life.

Another thing I had always loved, but found little time to devote to while my life was busy happening these last few years, is writing. As a kid, I loved to read; books have always had the power to take me to places I have never been and to experience things I was unable to experience in real life. And when I was kid in ninth grade, I found my poetic side; I wrote poems nearly every day and continued to do so for most of my high school years. Poetry and writing helped me to express myself in ways that a young teenager finds hard to do in everyday life. I still have a weathered notebook full of poems and the beginnings of stories I attempted to write back then. It was cathartic. And you know what, it still is today. As a teacher, a few years back, I began taking time to reflect in writing each week about my practices; I wrote about what went well, what didn't, what I wanted to change, what I wanted to keep, what felt good for me, and what I know felt for good for kids. In this blog, I have continued that practice and I am thankful for my educator friends for inspiring me to establish this space to do so.

Thank God my life is not so busy now that I found the perfect job for me and I have taken the time again to WRITE. This blog is the place I come to when my brain is swirling with ideas about my practice and about life in general. And it is here that I want to take the time to thank my family for helping me to become the person I am today and to thank those friends and mentors who have helped me to grow in ways I never thought possible. If you are reading this blog because you fall into one of those categories, THANK YOU for being in my life. And if you are reading this blog because you too want to grow as person or a professional, I challenge you to take the time to write about your life experiences and share them with others. You may not think that what you have to say is important, but, speaking from experience, your writing can have a transformative effect on others.

So, here it is, some advice: Don't get bogged down in the minute details of everyday life. Take time to reflect and share what your life with others has brought you. Just BLOG it!

6 comments:

Linda704 said...

More powerful words from you, Kate. My favorite nugget from this post "Don't get bogged down in the minute details of everyday life. Take time to reflect and share what your life with others has brought you." I've come to think of my Twitter time as micro-reflections, especially when you consider some of the conversations we've had lately, such as the one last night on test prep. And a tweeted link to a blog post by Theresa Gray inspired me to reflect and write a post for my blog http://tinyurl.com/6jxm66 Thank you for sharing your reflections!

Kate Ellis said...

Thanks, Linda, for sharing the other links/posts here. I haven't taken the time yet to post on Theresa's or TwentyFiveDays or how amazing L is. They get me all choked up! 'Tis the season!

I appreciate your thoughts and the power we have to influence others in the blogosphere. Thanks for posting!

joe damato said...

Kate,
I have never fancied myself as a writer, but recently the "stuff" in my busy life have been keeping me from writing. I too have come to enjoy blogging, but I am struggling to find time to do this. Family, holidays,work, meetings,sleep all take up precious time.

How do I fit it in, how much is enough?

I feel guilty for not blogging, eventhough I do not have a huge following I too want to share and reflect.

Any thoughts?

Angela said...

This is a lovely post Kate, and an important one. I'm so glad that you are blogging : )

Loretta said...

I hope you do get to spend a few minutes (and I do mean just a few) with your gram. She would love it and surprisingly you will too!
Love the person you have become, Mom

Kate said...

Thanks, Mom. I love you too.