Sarah Calvert

"We don't need no education..." Pink Floyd

Directions left on my desk...

 

I love this. It seems so simple doesn’t it? It’s like telling someone who is trying to lose weight to eat appropriately. I just sent a kid down to the office after he wouldn’t put his phone away after me telling him to about 5 times. Talk about pushing the buttons on a Monday morning. Man.

I will say that the power of story has been working really well so far. Last week while teaching a grade seven class (you will recall that it was a grade seven class that made me take a 9 year hiatus so many years ago) that were particularly unruly I impressed them with one of my stories. One of the kids had rolled his eyes and complained, “This place is like prison,” to which I replied, “Actually, I’ve spent a night in prison and trust me, this place isn’t so bad.” His glazed over eyes cleared and I actually got his attention…”What? You were in prison?!” and then I proceeded to blackmail him with promising to tell him the story if he finished the first page of his worksheet. Success. Word spread quickly throughout the grade sevens and when I took them to the library in the afternoon to work on their autobiographies one girl pleaded, “Will you please tell us about the time when you were in jail?” I told them I’d share my autobiography with them, if they shared theirs with me. And so I told them the tale of sailing to Guadaloupe and back to Antigua and how I didn’t follow international protocol which got me in the slammer. They ate it up. I was officially cool. The fact that I’ve made some CDs and have toured music, also made me a bit cooler and they wanted to hear tales from the road. PS if you want to read that story about being in jail, you can read my old blog post here. 

It really made me see how powerful our stories are in terms of connecting with one another. I also needed to hear a story about how one student has a brutal home life and that’s why he’s not exactly “present” in class. If I didn’t hear that, I would have probably would have been really strict with him and less compassionate, but knowing what I knew, I was able to approach him in a different and more gentle way, which made it easier for us both. Has my galavanting around the world over the past decade made me a better teacher? Maybe. Have my experiences made my stories rich and intriguing to others? Most definitely. And I find I’m more patient and Zen than I was ten years ago dealing with kids who didn’t really want to learn much. They still seem like they don’t want to learn much, but I feel like I can “sneak in” some learning here and there if I share my stories with them. 

I’m finding myself in a place lately where I feel as though I’m not sure if I’m progressing or regressing, back here substitute teaching. It’s where I started almost fifteen years ago and a lot has happened in that time. So much travel. So many amazing experiences. So much music and so many friendships along the way. I need to give my head a shake every once in a while because I know that I’m actually progressing; making new friends. Starting something new by leading a choir and planning to build on my property. So I’m not in four countries a year anymore, but I’m still on a journey, and feel privileged that I can share my stories.

(PS if anyone wanted a copy of my book/CD Masala: Memories and Melodies then please let me know and I’m happy to pop one in the post for you).

Question for You: Do you share stories and if so, how have they helped others learn? 

As always, I”m grateful you are here with me for the journey and look forward to hearing your thoughts. 

Much love and light,

Sarah

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