Storying

This week marked meetings with our administrators to review our Profession Growth Plans. I am serving in a large composite high school this year and don’t get much face to face time with my principal. The time to chat were nice. 
After we talked about my plan, my administrator commented, “I don’t really know what to call the work you’re doing, with Project 104, with Jane* & Mark, its like you’re creating a space they take with them.”
I smiled. 
“I know what to call it,” I said. “Storying.”
I chatted a bit explaining the process and the rationale of sharing our stories of experience as a way to find a sacred space that we carry within. Storying.
What i was really feeling, however, what was breathing and whispering all around me, were student stories of experience, my stories of experience, and the giddy like a pre-schooler work of attending to stories of experience that has been my thesis journey. 
The phenomena of storying. 
No longer only theory, no longer teachings pulled solely from my Dad, bits understood from the Circle of Courage, its philosophical and its connectiveness underpinnings. No longer was this the methodology of narrative inquirers, sharing stories of experience. 
Living storying. Messy storying. With puzzles unfolding and much uncertainty and bursting with the interloopings, the weavings, the complexities of potential. 
My Dad would say, there is a teaching there. 
Today, I understand the name of this sacred space.
Storying. 

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There’s a Way

bookLast week at our school we read P.H. Reynolds’ book, I’m Here. Inspired by this book, the next day students and staff made, tossed paper air planes and then we shared stories and smiled.

We are an alternate school and part of what we believe is finding ways to listen to and live alongside each other. Around here, we hope everyone finds a sense of belonging so that everyone is able to say, in some way, I’m here.

The morning after we read Reynolds’ book, before I arrived at school, I messaged friends and colleagues. I asked folks to make a paper airplane, to toss an air plane and then to share that moment.

Many people ignored my request. Many people responded with a LOL. A few people grumped out a response.

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Holding Tickets

About a month ago I posted on Facebook asking if anyone might be interested in splitting next year’s Football season’s tickets. I had a few responses, but soon interest waned.

Then, I’d figured the season was still half new. There was time yet.

And time is important. Last March Dad had had a stroke. The stroke left him paralysed and our lives changed forever. Now Dad lives 20 minutes from Mom in a fulltime care home. Now Mom travels every day to visit him.

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I’m Here

(Red Shoes Series)

Saturday Afternoon at the Cabin

Everyone snoozes.

From the far room, Dad’s snore’s whistle. When I was young Dad’s snores rolled in swells through the house. Once, while camping with my cousins, Dad’s snores woke campers two sites over.

Dad’s snores are the sounds of home, the home of the youth where I turned over at night and snuggled deeper into the covers when there was an unknown thump on the back deck or the coyote howls were nearby; I am safe, Dad is downstairs.

His snores are different since the stroke, high pitched, and far away.

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Curiosity

Day Two

I’ve been attending ACAD’s summer institute. I think I am beginning to understand something about the ways I learn and the ways that I want to learn. I am beginning to learn about what drives my curiosity to learn.

My art mentor, Alison, retired this past June. Alison is a phenomenal woman, artist and educator. I met Alison my first year teaching. I had asked to sit on our division’s Arts Council, which Alison then chaired.

During the next few years Alison and I (and others) collaborated on a multitude of projects; Alison became as much of a resource, connection, and support for me as the projects and high school arts community seemed to offer for the students in our division.

This early June this year Alison called. She shared that she had heard of ACAD’s summer institute and that she felt I would delight in being part of the learning community. I had felt a similar support from Alison when she nominated me to chair the Arts Council this past year.

I sent my registration forms to ACAD that day. The choice of what sessions I would attend was left to my students. The what didn’t really matter.

Alison understood. She wanted me to attend because she wanted me to continue to be curious.

And I was.

My fellow ACAD institute artists/educators and I have been in the studio everyday.

We are perhaps learning or perhaps relearning or perhaps re-fine-tuning skills.

I enjoy these hours and I enjoy the feedback. However, I often feel missing Alison’s reason to attend; scaffolding of skill never feels quite as beautiful as the ‘something more.’

At our noon break Canadian artists/educators share their reflections, wonderments, and art all linked by collaborative themes.

At noon my heart sings. I set aside my box lunch, leave my sketch book untouched, and lean in. Tuesday, I cried. Wayne Baerwaldt, the director & curator at ACAD shared for an hour. He spoke of work that focused on bringing community together to become intimate with art and artist, and to give voice to space and the experience of the artists.

As he shared I thought: our kids can do this!

In June, before Alison had called, I had approached several administrators, had found a location and started steps in forming a division wide high school arts collective.

I know, the potential of this space is the joyful stuff that makes me want to stroll through the city streets in the rain.

I am curious about ideas. I am curious about relearning, remaking, and rethinking. And I delight in reflection.

There is comfort in curiosity.