The Sound of Paper #SOL2022

There’s a scene in the movie, Brazil, where Tuttle enters a tower-lined city street scape while swirling papers blown by the wind begin to stick to his face, his torso, his legs. He squirms and tries, arms flailing in futility, to free himself from the onslaught, page upon page trapping him until he disappears into a spiraling pile of paper on the concrete. It’s labelled “Tuttle’s Demise” on YouTube.

This scene is the expression of the overwhelming demand for documentation, for papers of proof, each page an attempt to save or record, each collaborative meeting ending with echoes of “let’s create a spreadsheet”. This visual metaphor has haunted me.

I should probably be clear that I’m not against documentation; in fact, I’m doing this right here and I keep talking about the challenges of my own pedagogical documentation – sorry – I’m sure this must be annoying if you’ve already heard me talk or write about this, but I’m struggling – like Tuttle.

I probably shouldn’t be, but am still surprized by the mountains of paper, physical and virtual mainifestations, which multiply and seem to regenerate like a virus. My desk at work has stacks of paper, my gmail is at 1,910 unread messages, including invites to Google Classrooms, and Google Spaces, to spreadsheets and folders and documents and my drive is running on fumes – both drives: the Google one and my own. With every receipt, every form of paper, every attempt to control processes, the existence of paper expands in the dance of my universe – “metric expansion”.

Today, I knew that I needed to pause (and breathe), observe, and wait for that panicked feeling to pass, reminding myself that I am working with humans and not paper and not technology. I wondered if any of this physical and virtual paper has acutally helped my classroom practice. I thought about the lines of Scott Hutchison “While I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to Earth.”

I wrote this line on my phone in the notes while listening to an episode on Hanif Abdurraquib’s podcast Object of Sound. I love Hanif’s voice as a host and even with the difficult content of this episode, the sounds soothed me as I feverishly recorded lines on my phone to log the memory of the listening experience. “We have no control over the way people respond to what we put out in the world” and eventually “your work becomes you”.

Then I wrote down “I’m working on my faults and cracks” and “we all write alone and all of those voices in your head, the creeping self-doubt comes out when we’re writing alone”. I’m still trying to figure this paper thing out, but maybe, just maybe, paper is a way to hold experiences and if the paper swallows me like Tuttle, then I’m spending too much time documenting and not enough time listening.

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Inclusion #SOL2022

You know when you have one of the moments when you suddenly realize something profound that radically changes your perspective, maybe even your worldview? This happened several times recently, which is why I haven’t been writing here, every Tuesday, as I have previously committed to doing. (That’s the excuse that helps me rationalize my delay.)

I did commit to co-hosting an online book club with my colleague and friend, Tobi, and some elementary educators whose equity work holds them in high esteem. We read the first chapter of Street Data: A Next Generation Model for Equity, Pedagogy, and School Transformation. Using a Jamboard, we asked educators to identify the margins in their classroom. Initially, the question felt effortless, I thought I knew this, and I watched as others posted similar comments. We invited observations and then it happened – that statement which sticks with you.

Siobhan, another colleague and friend who works as a science and numeracy coach, unmuted her mic and said, “I noticed that these are all deficits.” I recall gasping recognizing the negative connotation which I had associated with the word “margin”. Was I unintentionally looking for what was lacking? I knew that I needed to sit with this, and as it happened, I heard about Ruchika Tulshyan’s book, Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work. I had an Audible credit, so I do what I usually do, downloaded it, devoured it on walks, on runs, on the way into work, and then bought the hard copy.

Even though this is not a book about education, the principles of equity apply. It is a book about inclusion in white dominated spaces, and, let’s face it, that is education. In chapter one, Tulshyan provides a framework for cultivating an inclusion mindset for white folks.

  1. Be uncomfortable
  2. Reflect (on what you don’t know)
  3. Invite feedback
  4. Defensiveness doesn’t help
  5. Grow from your mistakes

She writes that “If you have not had the lived experiences of racism, it can be more comfortable to live in denial that it exists. That’s precisely why we need more white people to sit with this discomfort, and investigate how racism impacts the lives and careers of people of color…” (57)

This framework was not unfamiliar to me, but I kept listening until that next moment of radical shift happened. She tells the story of Arlan Hamilton, “a gay Black woman who overcame homelessness to become a successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist.” (59) Hamilton urges people to replace the word “marginalized” with “underestimated”.

“I want to share this journey, not because I think I’m exceptional, but because, like many people, I have been exceptionally underestimated,” Hamilton wrote in her 2020 book It’s About Damn Time.

This shift in language is necessary because it moves the student from being in the margins to the teacher who does not see, who underestimates the wealth a student brings. That, for me, is the language of inclusion.

Everything is Delicate #SOL2022

Movment in morning routines

alarms, even myself,

noticing each touch,

imagining

something so simple 

might

create catastrophe.

Time feels too delicate,

too spacious 

– unhurried and open –

for me to rest

without fear

of some new 

brokenness.

The petals and rain falling,

a cat tiptoeing across asphalt;

what did I miss,

in the delicate mechanisms

bringing such consequences, 

such elevated 

heart beats?

Everything is delicate,

now.

Slow dancing #SOL2022 1/31

“It’s a long way down.”

The lyrics are projected on the screen at the front of the class, the music of One Direction pounding and vibrating the subwoofer of my speakers. This song is for slow dancing. As a media studies teacher, I know that quality sound is vital to create an effect, to engage the students in the feeling parts of literary comprehension.

I ask them to think about the title of Jason Reynold’s book of the same name. We are reading together as we listen to the author’s narrated audiobook.

“What might this mean to be a ‘long way down’?” I ask them to write in their journals. Some do, some draw, and others scroll social media – they are not ready to be here emotionally or cognitively, but they brought themselves to this classroom, so I decide to breathe patiently and wait for them accept my invitation to dance. I decide that I am making progress if they are here physically on a Monday morning, first period in February 2022.

We talk a bit about the metaphorical references to “up” and “down”, the emotional connection and then build from the song lyrics.

“It’s about love.”

I venture an attempt to continue the thinking moving towards the novel gently. “What about in the novel title, Long Way Down?”

“He loved his brother, Shawn.”

“And, he’s going down the elevator.”

“But, it’s only seven floors. I don’t get it.”

The conversation moves a few steps toward, then away, and this was enough for today. Because I’m struggling too. Some days I focus on a couple of students, other days I shift my gaze and try to create a warm space for them just to be safe. To be together. And I constantly question if this is the right way to dance.

Today, he is different. Not in how he shows up physically, fully dressed in a puffer coat with the hood up, a balaclava covering everything except his eyes. We are five weeks into the semester and I realize that I do not know the colour of his hair. Until today, he has followed and written and shared his writing with me. But now, he stays on his phone and nothing that I offer shifts his attention; not the music videos, not the Black History Month video, not the audiobook, not the discussion.

I ask her to open her book and she obliges. I ask another to shift his focus from drawing to following the words on the page of the novel. But, he is showing up differently today, and my dance steps are never sure, never the same, always improvisational, and today, I am slow dancing.

Doubting and Dreaming #SOL2022

My mind is full of doubt and dreams on these first few days after the winter holiday. For several reasons, not the least of which is that we just found out we’ll be teaching online tomorrow for at least two weeks. (That’s more of a nightmare than a dream, but I’m choosing my perspective intentionally here). While I am doubting my abilities, I am dreaming about the possibilities for destreamed English classes which focus on a love of reading and writing, which inspire students to reach and risk and never fear feedback.

I have to doubt. Rather than self-flagellate or call this imposter syndrome, I embrace my self doubt. In fact, I often tell my senior students that doubt can be our superpower; it makes us curious and continually considering other perspectives, moving towards something better, brighter. I doubt myself because this drives my learning and revision. I am not happy with the status quo and never sure that I have the answers, so I learn from others whose visions broaden mine.

I have to dream, because students are depending on us – the teachers in front of them – and those stakes are too high for me to look away or lay blame elsewhere. My dreams are not beautiful and shiny and perfect. They are not encapsulated in a quote, but they are aspirational ones filled with the joy of holding hope despite the mess, the deficits, and failures of leadership or systems or governments. I returned to the words of Radical Hope: a Teaching Manifesto by Kevin Gannon,

Our advocacy of a better future…depends on praxis. Hope is aspirational, but also depends on agency. For our students to see themselves as active, empowered learners…they need to work within learning spaces that cultivate that understanding…The real work of change…is done student by student, classroom by classroom, course by course, and it’s done by educators who have committed to teaching because it and their students matter. (152)

On Thursday of this week, I have the gift of participating in a panel discussion called “Doubting Destreaming” organized by The Mentoree. This VoicEd Radio podcast includes a group of preservice teachers in the Faculty of Education who will share questions with Jason To, Usha Kelley Maharaj, Siobhan McComb, and me as we explore the many implications for destreamed classes in the junior grades of high school. And, despite the doubts, later on this month I’ll get to dream with a small group of educators in a three session workshop model which aims to shift a classroom practice.

Shifting really feels like the right word in light of Gannon’s wisdom on change in education. It is part adjective and part verb describing a movement. And dreaming also feels like the right word because this opens me to possibilities not yet achieved, some consequence of movement. And, because doubt continues to be a part of my patterns of thinking, I am unsure that I’ll be able to generate a shift in these conversations and workshops, but I have to try. Because this is my praxis.

Resting in Effort #SOL2021

I thought I would feel an overall level of comfort in the first few weeks of school. I thought I had a good plan for lessons, a structure that could work, and this was largely because I’d been planning and creating resources for my school board with colleagues all summer. We had sustained effort with virtually (pun intended) no rest. I was ready for this teaching year. So, when the classroom reality struck, I struggled to understand my quickened pulse, sweaty armpits, and digestive distress – I know these signs.

Most of the first few days ran smoothly with students reading and writing freely, but engagement in the lessons dropped and varied wildly over the next few weeks. On one particularly difficult day, I heard audible groans, and witnessed bodies slumped across desks. The three hours of planning felt like lost effort. That night, I knew I needed to respond and revise.

The next day, in whole class discussions students were silent or sometimes outright hostile. As preparation for “The Iguana in the Bathtub”, I asked, “Who knows what an iguana is or has owned one as a pet?”

One boy angrily blurted out, “That’s cruel! They belong in the wild!” I heard some follow up grumbling and saw him turning to seek agreement from the crowd behind, but I quickly nodded and agreed with him. Afterall, he was right, and I knew that we would be viewing a short BBC video clip about an iguana deftly escaping some snakes. It was full of narrative drama and that was our unit – narrative. Showing the video brought them back to life as they collectively and enthusiastically slammed their hands on desks, cheering on the struggling iguana until its eventual and incredible escape. Rather than have them analyse the narrative text – as planned – I decided to back away from that task, release the plan, and just read for pleasure. I read and they followed along in silence.

It’s not adjusting in the moment that is difficult for m – I have done this all the time. This feels different – significantly different. I’ve been getting to the end of each day and revising everything that I’d planned. Everything. Every day. I’ve rewritten tasks and edited slideshows and created new slides and searched for new videos. I’ve added more hours to my school day and what feels like more days to my week.

Then, serendipity struck. Sunday, while I was out on a run, listening to a podcast, I came to a resting place – not physically, but mentally. My son had shared “Controlling Your Dopamine for Motivation, Focus and Satisfaction” from Huberman Lab. I listened to this long, mainly scientific episode, but there was one part that really shifted me. The narrator says, “subjectively attaching the feeling of effort and friction to an internally generated reward system” is what is needed during difficult tasks. There is a part of the brain that will adjust if “you can tell yourself that the effort part is the good part. The rewards are inside of effort.”

I thought my summer effort was wasted because none of that lesson planning is helping this lesson delivery. But, maybe that’s the point. The making of lessons is only a part of the learning, my learning and not their learning. Now, the resting in effort – in sustaining this effort – matters most.

Lifting weights #SOL2021

Backs are like canaries, an early warning system of the body. They alert us to dangers ahead, foretell the development of weaknesses, or misalignments, and signal the passage of time. Backs help us stand strong and carry weights.

My back gave way several years ago while lifting pressboard posters on a stairwell. I leaned forward ninety degrees at the waist reaching arms straight out in front of me to lift the thirty pound load. I collapsed on the landing knowing I should have taken time to move closer, assess the weight, or ask for help. But, I rarely ask for help.

And, I think I know why. My father is fiercely and proudly independent and I have flown similarly in this pattern, a murmuration of movements through life all the while feeling alone and I must do on my own. At ninety-six years old, I watch him decline, now with pneumonia, his back curling forward with the weight of time.

Yet, not all lifting is physical. I thought I was asking for help at a difficult time where life’s challenges weigh upon my usual inclination to keep doing and keep holding in the heaviness, alone. I asked for help with as much truth as words allow. I had hoped it would be met with empathy that was informed, that would lead me forward without leaning at ninety degrees. And, I should say that I was met with what appeared to be empathy, but not the kind that actively lightened or lessened or lifted any of this weight. Not the kind where someone sees you dropped the grocery bags in the parking lot and they wordlessly pick them up carrying them with you to your car because they can see this is too much for one alone. No words; just actions.

Now, to be fair, I know that everyone is stressed and overwhelmed with schooling in a pandemic. We each carry invisible loads, and I get it. But, I asked for help and I rarely ask for help. I shared very personal parts of my life, and now, I wish that I hadn’t.

A few weeks back, someone with a position of power over me, sat in my classroom describing the consequences of my request for help. I was given the scenarios in detail with a clear demonstration of how this would affect another. Of course, they know me. And, they knew this would be a deal-breaker. Selflessness is an exponential burden when your audience is comfortable with evasiveness and blame.

Sure, the facial expressions masquerading as genuine concern were there and the canned commentary about “wanting to do everything in our power to support you”. You lift this on your own, was never said. But, the conversation did make its way to the place where “my decision” would affect “opportunities for others”.

I feel a strain in my back now. I wonder if it was the workout, the lifting books, the awkward position I’m in when I open the windows of the classroom. I sit here this morning feeling proud and mournful for my father stuck in this swirling flight of life asking myself, how much does regret weigh?

Being spaces #SOL2021

I was there. Again.

Showering quickly, I knew the day ahead was closed. It would not be open to the possibilities characteristic of summers for teachers. Instead, today I would be bound to a headset, confined to a computer, in a virtual space with colleagues where I would be visible. Unscheduled days gave me space to disappear into grasses and the river, into the peeping of small birds and chirping of crickets.

Stepping into my shorts I noticed the sunlight reflecting from the hardwood floor and thought, only the shirt matters – that’s all they will see.

The workshop had not even begun. But I went there, to that same space, as I have many times before sliding easily into what I call the “shrinking space”. I think other women might understand this; sometimes we go alone and sometimes in pairs or groups.

Afterwards, she texted, “Do you have a minute to talk because I want to listen.” My house is old with a foundation built in 1900. Much of it has been rebuilt, renovated with an addition. Yet, this ancient place is still standing with a grand total of 1500 square feet. Our bedroom bathroom is really small and when I’m moving quickly, it’s infuriating, but when I’m moving slowly, it’s comforting, so that is where I went. Pausing, I remembered a line from Rumi: “Do you make regular visits to yourself?” I texted her back thanking her, but not just now. I needed a small space.

I woke very early the next day with a memory of a threaded metaphor from a book. Mary Lawson used the motif of surface tension on water in her novel, Crow Lake. I remembered the experience of reading that book, the connection I had to the lake, the landscape, the love of science, curiosity, and water spiders. I believed the protagonist and her version of the story wholeheartedly as I read eagerly nodding with the knowing. Until I got to the later end of the novel. The voice of her brother broke the trance and revealed another perspective on that tension, that surface tension which exists in families, relationships. I’ll always remember that moment of transformation, the narrative on the page rippling in me. Inner space transmuted by a book.

I walked through their dawn filaments again this morning. They always weave their webs in the same places where we will walk, breaking them, completely ignorant of the incredible energy and optimism spun with each thread. Once these gossamer filaments were broken, I stopped to notice and thought about the spiders who persist ever hopeful that a space will sustain them.

Virtual Debt #SOL2021

We talk on the phone sharing shards of struggle which pierce the day of virtual teaching and each time I write or say or read the word, I cannot help but stop, wondering – “virtual teaching” – this is not quite teaching just as “virtual reality” is not quite reality. And then I open a desperate email from a fellow English teacher confessing her virtual emotional meltdown and subsequent “ugly cry” while facing a checkerboard of muted icons. She can no longer feign instructional joy to an unreceptive liquid crystal window as she enthusiastically waits in a durge towards “discussion”. She writes about the 17 years of teaching, the motivation to enter the profession, and the losses exponentially accumulating in her – compound interest.

That heaviness and shallow breathing returns to me too. That weight pressing on my lungs, near my centre which curls me forward like a rubber bug when touched. I think I am not alone in this. We may not be together in person, but we are collectively accumulating some form of virtual emotional debt wracking up expenses beyond calculation. Who knows what we might owe at this point in the pandemic?

Then, Chris Cluff speaks to me from the void of Twitter with his creative engagement group, “words keep wolves at bay”. This curious phrase has me twisting in my thoughts with metaphors and imagery wondering if “bay” should be “Bay” as in the street and the concept of imaginary wealth traded in numbers and dots on a screen. Which “wolves” am I trying to keep from calling me out on my obligation? And so, I sit and write and ponder this crushing costly debt we collectively share. This ambiguous loss. This virtual loneliness. This fee required by some unknown entity.

After listening to Nora Young on the podcast, “Spark”, I gained some insight into costs the pandemic and technology is forcing us to recognize. In the episode, “Touch, Trust, The Alchemy of Us” a neurobiologist points out the “complex emotional information” provided through the skin. When we cannot touch someone physically, we are missing a great deal of emotional information about them. There is a loss, a growing debt in relationships, yet, the episode did reassure me in the need for voice over image. She says, “hearing someone helps you understand better than reading words” and seeing them is not required to connect.

In a scuttling moment of intrusion upon my mind’s eye, I see some futuristic mechanism, massive in stature, lording over me demanding emotional labour, pushing me to extreme exhaustion, suctioning up my cognitive energy. Glimpsing the face of the monster, I startle and refuse to accept my own reflection – at least, for now. Because I have work to do, a class to teach, students who need support, so I look away and facilitate the accumulation – secured debt.

My husband waits patiently never pressuring me to break the trance of the plastic portal. The dog, on the other hand, applies more pressure pawing me, interrupting my keystrokes, demanding affection which, when given, returns in some wonderful exchange of revolving debt. He awakens me, asking me to balance my emotional account, calculating what I am giving to the screen in relation to what I am getting back. The spreadsheet is clear. This virtual debt is growing.

Disruption’s Feedback

I feel like my life is at the vortex of one massive and monumental disruption. School was disrupted by COVID19. White privilege is being disrupted by the undeniable Anti Black and Anti Indigenous racism, governments are disrupting laws by making attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, and ejecting members of parliament for calling someone “racist”. Policing is being disrupted, institutions are being disrupted. And, if reports are to be believed, nature is restoring in places where we are not. This disruption is feedback if we listen and reflect.

I wonder if increasing rates of anxiety might be “the canary in the coal mine”. We all know that emotions are a form of feedback which, depending upon our response, can improve our performance. But I also wonder if we’ve been ignoring some of the most important messages. Maybe if we thought of the community body, we might be more concerned about the anxiety of others and probe a bit further rather than medicating or numbing it away.

I’ve been working on intentionally listening to myself and I find it interesting to consider the ways that  making a podcast has forced me to take in the sound of my own voice, to confront the expression of my own words, my own thoughts which evolve and change. I have to face the permanence of words found in the recording, even when the words connected to the thoughts have dislodged and changed in me. I also have to accept my errors, publicly. It is a humbling way to approach change, but it feels necessary.

Whenever Amanda and I record an episode of Just Conversations, I’m torn about publishing it, especially now, as I’m working to decentre the White voice in my classroom. My hesitations are sometimes about my own sense of public humiliation for screwing up, but I also know that there is a difference between fear of something tangible happening to me, and the discomfort of personal failure; the risk is only perceived and not real and the only thing my silence does is uphold the inequities that I am struggling to challenge. I keep reminding myself, “I am the White liberal voice of education that is so dangerous to BIPOC students” and I’m in a fight to disrupt myself.

Just the other day, we talked and recorded our voices and as we explained our long silence, our conversation helped us articulate our purpose. We’ve been on this vulnerable journey striving for equity, but we realize that our podcast is actually better suited to White educators who are also wrestling with this work. In conversations about justice and equity, we realize our privilege, recognize our role, and refined our purpose. This helped us find better words, better thoughts.

I’ve been feeling another tension with speaking and listening in this current model of distance learning. Each week I move about the house, trying to find a space that is, in that moment, quiet enough for a Google Meet, yet free from the backdrop of my bedroom bathroom or other distractions of my small house. This quiet location migrates depending on my family members, outdoor construction, the wind. On screen in a confined and curated space, I welcome students saying their names as they enter the virtual classroom, cameras off, microphones muted. This quiet space of my home is reflected in the quiet space online. I stare at a screen of letters speaking as warmly as I can in some feeble attempt to connect, asking questions which they respond to in text form, in the chat function, quietly avoiding drawing attention to their own voices. They avoid being heard and I feel like I’m acting rather than teaching, holding up some charade of synchronous teaching. I know their voices are missing from these conversations and every attempt on my part feels inadequate, but I ignore my own feelings .

During our weekly English department lunch meeting, my colleague cried about the silence of virtual classes and I nearly joined her in the acknowledgement of this struggle, this disruption to our connected lives in education. And though there were tears, our conversations helped us make decisions to change our predominantly White book list. We collectively talked about our roles in upholding a racist system and this disruption begins to feel important and meaningful. We also commit to talking and learning more about a blended learning model; we know we need to ask the students what worked and what didn’t. This disruption of the school year is creating real movement in our profession and forcing us to get feedback from the students.

I am now seeing comfort as a luxury that is the norm for the privileged, but growth, progress, equity, and justice can only be achieved if we listen and reflect so we can respond to disruption’s feedback.

 

 

 

 

“This painting is a mirror”

Image result for christi belcourt

I am awestruck by the beauty and complexity of Christi Belcourt’s art. And I am somewhat ashamed at my ignorance and inability to accuractely read and interpret this piece. Her gift has given to me and my experience is enhanced, but I have nothing in return, no way to navigate its truth with words.

I visited a store in Ottawa this summer called “Beaded Dreams” which is Indigenous owned and operated. I spoke with Ashley, a talented beader, and she told me that hers is a gifting culture. Christi Belcourt’s gift is given a title with the word, “mirror” and I keep thinking about a spoken word poem by Guante, “The Family Business” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2fIn8n9KEo . His poem contains the line, “they got me wiping my reflection from the glass”.

I also keep thinking about Emily Style and how she wrote about the curriculum as “Windows and Mirrors”; I am deeply committed to students being able to see themselves in our classwork this year, so this art and writing and thoughts are consuming me. Yet, I am fortunate to have a partner in this difficult be necessary work. Amanda Potts is a beautiful person, a beautiful teacher. Her classroom is a painting that is a mirror for all of her students and you need to know that she works with the most struggling students; she works with the ones that others fail to reach. I hear about her lessons, her thinking and ideas and watch her through this window wanting to see myself reflected on the glass.

She talks about reading and writing, how all English teachers read, but very few write and she’s right.

So I’m going to write.

But today, I am afraid.

Tomorrow, begins the important work of Indigenous Studies in grade 11 University English at Nepean High School, my first year as English and Fine Arts Department Head. I look up Christi Belcourt’s painting again and find it on a website https://resilienceproject.ca/en/ filed under the category of “resilience”. My consternation is fractured with a smile, aha, and I vow to take the gifts of learning and give them all away.

On Being and Listening

My moments of personal reflection and contemplation happen most often when my body is moving, when I’m running or walking, and listening to either a podcast or my inner voice….or both.




Today, I was listening to this podcast from the website On Being with Krista Tippet

She interviews a research psychologist and 
Arthur Zajonc (who) is a physicist and contemplative, who believes that the farthest frontiers of science are bringing us back to a radical reorientation towards life and the foundations for our moral life.”



I was walking and listening to the podcast thinking this topic had no connection to my professional life as a teacher and Instructional coach. My mind was freely venturing with the movement of my body when Zajonc said there are problems with the way scientists use the models of physics. He said that scholars can “fall in love with the model” forgetting about the lived experience.

I physically altered my gait feeling that moment of cognitive connection. His words reminded me about the models in my profession, the models of best practices, the models of Instructional Strategies which I’ve immersed myself in over these past few weeks. I must guard against “falling in love with the model” of evidence based instructional strategies by honouring the lived experiences of teachers. 

I won’t discard the models, but they only yield learning through experience.

He also said that “knowledge cannot be something you just move across a table“, and I listened to his description of the “epiphanic moments” in teaching a class, when his enthusiasm for the content, or the way of thinking, or the interconnectedness of life overwhelms him and he sees this echoed back, reflected in the “ah ha” moment so visibly evident on the face of his students. 


I’ve been fortunately enough to have lived that experience in the classroom and felt the humility in that moment of insight which was not mine and yet I was there.