Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Kid on the Blog

I have had an inspiring 24 hours.

Though brief, it was great to finally talk to my mom and dad on skype. I had to cut the conversation a little short to attend the retirement of 3 teachers at my school. I do not know any of the retiree’s well, but one of them stood out to me last night. I’ll call him Mr. B. As they showed a slideshow of his teaching experiences over his 46 years of teaching (46 years!!!!), I began to understand a fraction of his impact. He has been teaching for the Department of Defense overseas for 44 of those years. Many of his colleagues got up and talked about Mr. B and how he not only impacted his students, but also how he had influenced them personally. I know that it was a retirement party and everything is supposed to be feel good and all, but it genuinely seemed like he would be leaving a huge hole in the hearts of everyone at LMS.

As fate would have it, his son is in town for about a week and was looking to go out last night after the party. Colin and I just happened to be so willing to accompany the guyJ. So we go out and have some drinks and experience the stimulating club life that is an “on-base club”= lots of guys with shaved heads oogling over the two women in the place (who are probably married anyways). It was a good time none the less.

This morning I woke up in the billeting that Mr. B and his son were staying in across the street. Mr. B took his son home and was then going to return Colin and me to our dorm on RAF Feltwell. Little did I know I was about to be inspired. Mr. B took Colin and me to a breakfast buffet before taking us home. We got the chance to soak up this wonderful man’s personality for about 2 hours over breakfast and coffee. I do not think that Colin was as affected by this man as I was, but I was truly captivated. He is one of the good ol boys. The type of man, the type of generation that is now getting quite old and being overtaken by their more tech-savvy grandchildren. The type of man who is content to shoot the breeze all day with old (or new) friends over coffee. Perhaps I was so intrigued by him because of his laugh. He laughs like my grandpa Wicks used to. The type of laugh that gets increasingly high pitched and usually creeps in before he can even finish his sentence. This man speaks from his heart, and you can tell. He looks you in the eye, has great things to say, talks about the positive things in life, and makes you feel like he is always letting you in on a little secret. You can tell he has been through a lot in life by the wrinkles on his face. He gave me more advice on teaching, scratch that, more advice on life than I could have expected in a 2 hour conversation. I cannot think of a better opportunity for a new teacher, the day before he starts his student teaching, than to sit down and have a nice breakfast with a man of over 45 years in the system. I hope that I could grow to have half the impact and be half the person of this individual. Thank you Mr. B, enjoy your retirement.

After breakfast Colin’s cooperating teacher took us to a nearby town called Ely (pronounced eel-e). It is a great small city that is very representative of this part of England. Old brick buildings with moss growing all over them, a brown river running directly through the middle of town, quaint little restaurants and pubs, and an enormous cathedral. The Ely Cathedral is over 900 years old. I tried to take pictures, but the clouds of the day cut off any light coming through the stained glass. It was by far the largest Cathedral I have been in (at least larger than any of the one’s that I went to in South America). It was a great afternoon.

Anyway, tomorrow is my first day of student teaching! Aren’t you excited for me? I think I will be doing mostly observing this week, but I am really excited. I can’t wait to make the class my own and put some of my expensive education to work! Wish me luck and I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

It was funny to read your blog on eating breakfast w/ Mr. B. I started thinking, 'wow, that sounds like grandpa,' and what do do you know, you said the samething! :O)

My cooperating teacher, when I was student teaching was the sameway. 40 something yrs in teaching. She was very well-known in Tacoma School District. I ended up being her ONE and ONLY student teacher. She was never interested before, but we hit it off and it was a nice smooth transition for her, leaving the teaching field.

At her party, the state super. was there, the super. from the district and others. I remember just being in awe of her. One of her best pcs of advice was to have fun. When it stops being fun, then its time to re-evaluate what you are doing.

I've always loved the older kids and personalities. After 6yrs of it, it stopped being fun. I was sick of the attitudes and 'issues' from 10 yr olds. Going down to first grade was rough. Hated it my first year, it was good last year and this year I love it!!! I have so much fun with them. Watching them learn and be excited about school and life.

Have fun w/ your kids. If you can remember one personal thing about each one and then talk to them about it, it is amazing how excited they get. It becomes personal for them. Even the smallest things are huge impacts for them.

And just remember...Wrinkles, (I always think of the JB song where he sings about them). Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been!!! Mr. B must be a happy guy!!!!;O)

Package is on the way. Wait till you see how its, um- wrapped!!! ha ha

Have fun and enjoy your new students!!!!

Susan Iverson said...

Once again no pictures of you but oh well. I'm sure those are still to come. Isn't it amazing to be standing in a building so old?! This adventure has already been so worth it with the experiences so far. I am sure it will continue and your brain is going to have to absorb it all somehow. Maybe, putting it on your blog will help so if it gets put in the back, you can bring it up front at a later date. Anyway, we went to see Gran Torino today and loved it. I can't believe Clint Eastwood was completely snubbed by the Academy Awards, not one nomination. It was such a good movie. I'm sure Meryl Streep in Doubt was good but really! It was so good to see you briefly because no matter how much you tell me you are okay, all I need is to see your face and I know for sure. Can't wait to skype again soon. I love you more than you love me. Mom

Cameron said...

It looks like you are having a great time. I wish I was having those experiences! I am sure you were in a classroom today, how was it? Well I am AZ now for four weeks, its nice but very boring landscape wise! Take care man!


Anonymous said...

We are all missing you over here! It's good to see that you are doing well. Keep living your life and enjoy your new discoveries along the way.

Take care. Hope to see you again one day.


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