I sat down to work on a few things (like the video on content vs. process videos), and I saw that Jon Bergmann wrote a blog post about Andrew and me and the videos we're making.
I just don't have words for something like that.
There are some experiences that words just fail to capture. Like ion lucidity. Or ubuntu. Or friendship.
And there are some friends who don't just get close enough to see your metaphorical demons, they help bring in the light to chase them out. I am blessed to have those kinds of friends. I realise I write about them a lot. But they remind me that there is nothing so dark that it can't be walked through together.
And that's something I never want to stop writing about.
Something else I never want to stop writing about is music.
There was a long period in my life where I intentionally did not listen to music. It wasn't that I didn't love music; it was that music has a transformative power to reach beyond what is rational and cognitive and grab you in the inner being. And there have been times in my life, where being ripped out of the rational world and into the inner being was just so painful that I couldn't allow it to happen. I needed those worlds to be separate, so I could maintain some semblance of order.
So my iPod was abandoned and I filled my commute with words - NPR, podcasts, whatever. I told myself that it was about being a "life-long learner" and that I was "modelling learning for my students." And I was straight-up lying.
Those days and circumstances are long gone, thankfully. And now that I have both musical friends AND emotional health enough to access my iPod again, I've discovered new music, like Mumford and Sons and The Avett Brothers. And when I say "I've discovered" what I mean is that my friends have assisted in that discovery process. Sometimes with youtube links randomly thrown into conversations. Sometimes with long lists of albums I have to buy "RIGHT NOW" when I ask for a single recommendation.
Both of my new-found bands have the ability to hit what Andrew and I call "physical resonance" - you don't understand it, but you GET it. Like, at such a deep level that you feel it. And every time you try to capture that feeling so you can try to explain it, it eludes you, taunts you, escapes your grasp.
So here's a part of song by the Avett Brothers called Salvation Song. I'm posting it not because I have something to say about it, but because it physically resonates with me right now. I don't understand it, but I get it. And that's enough.
And I would give up everything
No, this is not just about me
And I don't know a plainer way to say it, Babe
And they may pay us off in fame
Though that is not why we came
And I know well and good that won't heal our hearts
We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that's good; that's how we'll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way
As teachers, we could make those last four lines our mission statement and not miss much that's important.
We all start off believing that we can do good and that our small presence will impact the entire world. And most give that up within five years, leaving the profession for something that doesn't demand such a high price. Few people are willing to be so consumed by something that has so few tangible rewards...and I totally understand that. But I don't GET it.
There is little about my life that does not connect to my classroom. There is little about who I am at a fundamental level that does not reflect my choice of profession. It has a high cost in time, energy, and emotion.
But here is the payoff: I love what I do. I love the long hours. I love the intensity and overwhelming nature of the start of school. I love February, where my students inevitable fall apart and I'm there to catch the emotional shrapnel. I love June, when I send them out into the world with what I've taught them (and which is never enough) to live the life they choose.
And I love the way in which it opens me up to other people getting involved in my "mess" - both professionally and personally. There are few professions that allow for the kind of honesty and intimacy that are possible in education. Students trust us with their mess and we are blessed that they trust us enough to be vulnerable. What happens in the classroom, especially in a flipped classroom, is meta-rational. It is beyond what can be described in words. Like good music, or friendship, what we do in our classroom cannot be captured in mere words. It is, as my friend puts it, concerted chaos.
And we invite in that chaos, knowing that bringing order to chaos is a privilege reserved for us, and something that we may not understand, but we GET.
And that's enough.