W is for…

… Words

Like faceted diamonds

I pick one up

hold it to the light

gently turn

and roll against

my damp skin.

My fingers tremble

as I thread

them

one

by

one

stringing

precious

sounds

making beauty

meet meaning.

 

I wanted to write about the way that I spend hours looking at words before I put them together, and even then, unsatisfied, I pick them up again and shuffle the order. I do this so often, and probably to the detriment of anything I write.

I wanted to write about how hard I find it to even begin to write, because of the fear that I can’t do justice to my subject; how, as a perfectionist, I torture myself about how badly I’ve expressed something… how frightened I am that instead of a glittering diamond necklace, I come away with a cheap imitation, or a broken thread.

I wanted to write about the discipline of writing… writing without editing, plain, honest, raw…

Now I’m out of time.

ugh

 

 

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M is for…

…Mentoring.A2Z-BADGE-2016

It’s what I’m good at, and you honestly won’t hear me use that phrase very often.

As the official leader of The Society of Burnt Out Teachers, I nowadays realise that although my passion for teaching English and English Literature will never waver, the transference of my enthusiasm doesn’t have to be within a classroom. No. In some ways, it’s easier to deliver it within a mentoring relationship. Because, as most good teachers will agree, at a certain age, its RELATIONSHIP which is the single most important factor in the delivery of successful teaching.

Mentoring allows a relationship to flourish (hopefully) and then, once established, it’s an open landscape on which, as a trusted mentor, you can help to build whatever scene and whichever structure, will most benefit and satisfy the mentee.

I’ve mentored a lot of your people, before and during my teaching career. Nothing sparks me like being able to nurture an ambition in someone. I love to help breathe hope into other people’s hearts. Nothing gives me a renewed sense of purpose like showing someone else their purpose.

Anybody else get this?

Shhhhhhhhhhhh..!

ListenCame across this today and thought it was worth sharing. I honestly think that people don’t get properly listened to.

So many problems go unheard, so many issues misunderstood.Two ears, one mouth, yet our listening rarely reflects that ratio. The antithesis of this little saying is of course, the better known concept of giving somebody “a good talking to”. And really, how often is THAT effective in solving a problem?

Perhaps we can make more of a conscious effort to listen a little more carefully to those around us today. Maybe just being in less of a rush to respond with an opinion, or trying to quietly understand more.

Go on! It might make a real difference to somebody.

The Impossible Dream: We all have one!

I came across this quote today and have to admit, it’s tempting to take it on face value. As I read it, I can imagine the rush of warmth from the sense of  triumph as it pours from my head into the rest of my body!

Ah! the satisfaction of achieving something someone has branded, ‘impossible’! Nothing quite like it!

The idea that you can’t do something can be a negative thing. What’s the point in trying? No point in reaching for that goal, no point in even taking the steps that might just lead to the foot of the stairs you haven’t the heart to climb. How many dreams have I turned the extinguisher on before they even properly caught..? I daren’t think!

On the other hand, being told you CAN’T do something, may strengthen your determination! It might make you grit your teeth and set out to prove them all wrong! Achieving the seemingly impossible, can often be the result of sheer grit and perseverance.

Today I continue to strive for something that seems impossible.

I have been given mixed opinions on how realistic it is. Some have said ‘yes’, some say ‘no’. A lot have said I’d need to settle for less.

I hazard a guess that most impossible, implausible and unrealistic achievements have been battles hard fought and won by people who refused to listen to anyone but that inner drive. The hunger inside that won’t be deterred. And when it gets too tiring, they’ve stopped for a rest, but then they’ve got back up and carried on.

I want to be one of those who keeps focussed on the end prize and not on the whispers of others’ opinions. I want to be motivated by the impossible, not defeated.

Anyone with me? Are you fighting too? If so, it can really help to remember a time where you’ve had that feeling of triumph!

Success

As part of my Art and Design course, I had to redesign a book cover. I chose one I can quote from in my sleep.

 In the UK, this book has been on the curriculum for the past three hundred years and has been loved and hated by countless students and English teachers. However, because yet another education secretary is determined to stick his dirty, great paw print on the history of education, (Michael Gove puts out another light in the darkening sky) a recent reshuffle has removed it.

 Out of my desire to see teenagers continue to pick up this novella, came the idea for a bold, new cover for Of Mice and Men.

Today, I tested the design on a group of bored looking teenagers.

I laid out different covers, including mine and they voted with Starburst sweets.

Mine won by a large majority.

I’m not boasting.

(I’m British).

But, for once, I am celebrating my achievement.

Perhaps because I so rarely taste success, or perhaps because I am trying to counterbalance my terrible tendency towards perfectionism. Either way, today I have done something I can be proud of.

 And it’s only for a silly part time course that doesn’t even matter in the real world. And it’s only me who will ever really know about it.

But that’s okay.

I smile on the inside.