Sunday, 2 November 2008

Feeling Older?

In my usual bowerbird way I was looking at some sites and I found Yearbook Me- looked like fun so I had a play but only one image worked - I didn't have a very good photo of me to work with and have been too sick lately so I didn't want a current one. The exercise was fun- scary and fun - mostly because I recognised that many of the styles were ones that I had worn versions of and had hopefully grown 'out' of. The whole Yearbook thing is fascinating- we don't really do that here in Australia and the kind of frozen snapshot of your life boils down to the annual school magazine with lots of fun photos,
But it did make me think- shades of Carrie Bradshaw here- "How do we measure our own growth?'
Is it in the hairstyles over time? I was shopping with my youngest who has just turned eighteen for an outfit for a family wedding a more formal evening one and having a good giggle at the things she found cool as they were almost identical to ones I used to wear- even the fabrics and prints were familiar. I remember my mother find it amusing that at the same age I was obsessed by beaded crepe 1940's dresses- ones like she had worn and I bought wardrobes full of them rather than the styles of the time. I liked the sense of a history that came with the garments and my daughters are both doing the same thing- finding 'vintage' quirky pieces rather than the chain store mass produced disposable pap. I am so proud of their choices and the fact they both have an awesome sense of what works for them.
But this post is not just about fashion - it is about how do I measure change in myself in my teaching? Jen Wagner posted recently about being authentic in our interactions with others - about making the enthusiasm we have for our online lives keep flowing through to our own schools despite the fact they may not know - or wish to know- what we are doing 'online'. So for me many of her statements ring true- things about ego and how I am perceived by others and recognition have played large in my mind lately due to a number of reasons, and I want to make a conscious decision to get beyond that as it has been very depressing and energy sapping. I need to get back to what the whole thing is about- the teaching and learning and the kids. Grants are great, meetings and conferences are great and I know I am less overwhelmed by the range of conferences online and even getting a bit 'oh yeah' about some. But all this means nothing if I am not connecting this in class- not just being the purveyor of a big box of fun tools, but someone who is now ready to change what is going on starting with me and helping whoever asks or is interested.
So getting back to the yearbook photo - yes it is scary because I know I am of an age now where that could be how I am seen by kids. But more than that- the image is of a different time a whole different way of seeing teaching, teenagers, the world and myself. Yes I have moved on way past the point I would have thought to be at, but the journey will have little meaning if it does not create change for others too.
How do you measure personal growth and change?

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