Mary Oliver reminds me of the importance of words, just a few of them, here, there. Sometimes intentionally spoken. Sometimes intentionally included in a collage. Sometimes spontaneous. Sometimes silent.
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
When I harvest words from old books, magazines and other clippings, they become an offering to me, from me. It’s a simulataneous give and take, back and forth between my muse, the universe, Gaia, God. Now, I’m taking this practice and giving it a different spin during my Spring Semester. Totally inspired by my friend Alke, I am making a mantra card a week that directly relates to working on becoming a better teacher/educator. These different kind of offerings surface during conversations with students, reading professional development articles and talking with colleagues.
My top ones so far are Make every class you teach your favorite and Make every class you take your favorite. It came out of a conversation in my Typography Class. The students in that class work hard, invent, imagine and consider craft. They show pride in their work. So much so I said to them recently that they were starting to overtake my Design class as my favorite class. One of the student’s replied with, “well, why not make every class your favorite class.” It was a great moment for everyone, seriously, why not. So that is what I have set out to do this semester, to make every class I teach my favorite. And so far it’s working. Now if only I could convince my students to make every class beyond their art classes their favorite classes…
Attitude is everything.