Bits I need to learn:
Conversation classes 4 months ago
Entries from everyone
Bits I need to learn:
Being completely honest but not overly ridiculous is hard… meaning what I say and saying what I mean takes a great deal of courage and vulnerability.
I’m learning. I’ve gotten much better of letting ego driven dribble go, not letting the inner kid have its way, and not fishing or feeling people out before I say something. I’m not callous but their reaction is theirs and my words just need to be thoughtful, necessary, kind, and honest… and ideally, intelligent too. 20 months ago
We were attracted to each other the first day we met. The problem is he’s very talkative and I’m the quiet type. He has shared so much of his life story with me but I rarely say a word. I really care about him and want our relationship to work. Now I’m going to see a therapist to improve my communication skills. 2 years ago
ive noticed this has become somewhat a problem for me, when i am trying to convey a point or argument whether its as work or just talking with friends.
i will practice this in my next work term.
i will communicate with as many people as possible and carefully access my actions and reactions, and continue to improve my communications skills.
i will go to as many social events as possible! : D 3 years ago
I’ve never been one for saying how i feel or talking to people about myself. I’m nosey as crap about other people…particulary strangers lol, but i never talk about my own feelings. I’m always there for my friends and family who have no problem sharing their “issues” with me but they never know when i might need them because i don’t show it. I recently got engaged and because i am so used to dealing with everything myself, i struggle to communicate my feelings to my fiance and i think he is similar which im not used to either. I’m used to people coming to me with their problems without me having to ask because they know im there for them. My fiance seems to be like me in keeping his issues to himself and because i’m not used to having to really push for information from people i dont always feel like i am there for him like i should be…so basically i need to push myself into letting my fiance know how im feeling and i also need to try harder with finding out about his feelings. 3 years ago
2) good friends
4) supportive acquaintances
5) old friends 3 years ago
So I have been taking a class on planning project-based learning lessons and it has been a very interesting experience. My partner, Melynda and I decided early on that we were going to work hard not to make the lesson too big. Well, we tried. It is still too big for a two week class, but I think we are both very happy with our ideas that we will continue to build the face of the lessons even after the class is over.
One thing I was very glad for was that Melynda and I work well together. It seems that people don’t only view me as having an opinion but also that I am not flexible. I don’t see myself that way. It was my experience that Melynda didn’t experience me as inflexible. We certainly didn’t always seem to get our ideas across in a way that the other understood. It seemed that it was more toward the end that when our work was due, that we struggled.
We did go out after we got kicked out by campus security and have dinner together. It was a nice change to be able to learn more about each other. I am glad I had the chance to work with Melynda this quarter.
In reflection, I would say that the process has been a great deal of work and likely why teachers don’t have more project based learning experiences in their classes. In the face of teachers having planning time cut out of their job description entirely (even though it will still be an expectation), we are not likely to see a ton of change in the near future. 3 years ago
I plan to continue to pay attention to the body language of the people with which I am communicating.
I plan on reflecting and considering how things go and identifying what made me feel ineffective.
I plan on continuing to ask for feedback, in more specific situations.
I plan on continuing to think outside of the box because even though that may make me a harder person to talk to, it is something I value in myself.
I will still follow roads less traveled; however, I may accept that I cannot do all that I take on. Selecting what I devote myself to carefully will allow me to be more effective.
I plan on finding new ways of connecting with the children in my neighborhood.
I plan on responding intently to my family’s requests for my presence away from working on school or other projects. I can save and put the computer down! That was really a foreign idea to me.
I plan to sleep more so my body doesn’t pay for all that I try to do. Like right now. Good night and be well. :) 3 years ago
I know that communicating better is not an easily measureable goal. It has been clear that I am communicating better; however, I want to communicate well all of the time and with every one. That can be easily measured as “unattainable”. Well, add that to my list of overachieving plans, hopes, dreams, and expectations.
This must be shorter than the last entry because my migraines are back. Ick!
I am a person who needs to understand. When I go to the doctor and get a diagnosis I ask all kinds of questions unless I already understand. Then, I am usually walking into the office telling the doctor my diagnosis. Identifying this need to know that is so strong within me helped me see that the route I needed to take was to find information about my topic and then zoom out to see if there are any other crossover. This is sort of like adding layers in a Photoshop image. When they is all visible and overlaid on your original image you end up with pixels that are outside of the canvas.
Because of the way I visualize this, it makes sense that where I attained the most useful information was in brain research. It was sort of like, once I believed that my brain had these outstanding abilities, I believed that I could use them.
I gathered techniques for identifying trouble areas in my communication and practiced. So, all in all, I think that the ability to understand myself better made me more capable.
I still talk too much, but I think that will calm with time. Believe it or not, I am actually better at recognizing when I am having a monologue instead of the dialogue that I had intended. Yippee! Small steps.
Signing off for now. 3 years ago
This week I came to the conclusion that I do have a way to prioritize the mountain of struggles and work I must do. Must is a difficult word to choose because of what I have determined to be a hierarchy of priority. In these priorities I have the things that I want. The things that fill a hole in my heart. In seat number one since the beginning of the year I hold my schooling, homeschooling my daughter, managing all that comes with the disability we have known about from the beginning and the one that is in the long process of being diagnosed while simultaneously guiding her into building her sense of self, being a mother and stepmother, and being a wife. Those are in no particular order! Well, actually, as I sit here and look at what I have written, I see very clearly that everything in the number one position in my heart is actually prioritized in the way that I processed in this writing.
The importance of school to me may never be understood by another. When I think about schooling I have a sense of fear and dread. Yet, at the same time I want it so badly. The loss of my opportunity to ever be just a student makes me so very sad. However, when I’m on campus I enjoy watching the students and their interactions. They are completely foreign to me but I want to understand it.
So this conflict within me of recognizing that I feel the emotions of fear and dread when I think of my schooling and my drive and deep desire to go to school has been very interesting to me. This week, a series of events occurred that I had not expected and really helped me to understand what the conflict within me was all about.
My husband’s cousin, Karl, came over to spend some time with all five of us. Earlier that week I had offered to help a girl with her math and so that same day I had expected that we would meet at Starbucks sit down for an hour and be done. I was so wrong. This has to be another story so I will continue it after this one. Anyhow, I believe we finally stopped around two in the afternoon.
This all ties in, I promise.
So I went home and when I got there everyone was at the park playing soccer. The kids have challenged the big people to a grand soccer dual. I, having been sick for so long, new that I was not going to be capable of playing soccer under any circumstances. So, I ran back to the house and grabbed two bags—one for recycling and one for trash. I just walked along the side of the park and looked through the reeds and grass gathering up all that people had tossed aside. I also made sure to go under the bridge where the teenagers like to hang out when they sneak out in the middle of the night and picked up a couple boxes from Miller light six-packs, a whole bag full of empty beer cans, cigarette butts as well as the box it likely came from. I took them back to the house while I herded the dog and the teenager away from the park.
Once we were all inside me somehow all ended up in the same room and I was so excited because I wanted to share some things that I wanted to do with her family. I have seen it at time of geo-cashers around our house lately and had talked to one that day and found out that there are a great deal both caches in our area. So because the eight-year-old was sitting right in front of me, the 13-year-old right beside me, and the 10-year-old on the couch slightly behind me I realized I needed to find a way to present this so that it didn’t seem like a boring idea. So I went to geocaching.com and started to explain it to the family. I explain what that was like a treasure hunt and talked about what the caches looks like and how they are located. My husband expressed something along the lines of me not being an active outdoorsy sort of person. And I realized we had a lot to learn about each other. I have also already asked both him and my 13-year-old if they would be interested in going white water rafting on White Salmon which has a 12-foot waterfall that you actually go over in the raft. I had, on this excursion once before and really thought that daughter especially would enjoy it. So my cousin Karl suddenly gets up and goes to the dining room table and grabs three books and presents them to me on the floor. They were books of trails along the coast, in the Portland area, and in the Willamette Valley and surrounding region.
Suddenly, my stepdaughter was at my site going over the geo-caching website and because I had said “let’s do one today” she was ready to fly out the door. Unfortunately, our refrigerator and freezer were completely empty and so my husband had to go grocery shopping. He really wanted to do it with us and so we agreed that we would wait for the geo-caching but while he went to the grocery store Karl, my daughter, and I decided to go to the sporting goods store to look for running shoes for Karl and for wading pants to use to go into the stream and clean out more garbage. I don’t know why I was shocked at how expensive they were but nonetheless I was shocked. I talked to someone and asked for a discount because my purpose was to clean up our neighborhood and not go fly fishing for fun and they kindly gave me $10 off.
Once we were all home we headed back out to the park but then down into the ditch had been dug out for the stream that was once wild which was now rectangular and oddly enough the uniformed width both a motorized shovel. Karl had the camera and was taking pictures and video as this evening progressed. The kids were all excited about this idea that I had about using the wading pants but they were still fairly unsure. So I went first. Took off my shoes and awkwardly found my way to the manufactured rubber boot look-alike bottom of the pants. The suspenders were next and were quite a task but once all was said and done I was actually quite comfortable.
So I got into the water and just noticed the feeling talked, about my experience, and was led by the excited voices of my beautiful family toward the litter that I could finally get to because of the special pants. Suddenly the entire neighborhood children seem to be there and everybody wanted to turn. I don’t know who the next that somewhere along the line my 10-year-old found in her to be brave enough to put pants on and go on to get some litter. I what to say to two of the neighborhood children climbed into these enormous pants and successfully made it into the water and accomplished the goal. Then my eight-year-old felt courageous and also took a turn. He had to be the last one because the sun had set too far. The children were so disappointed so I told them that they were welcome to come knock on my door and ask if I would take him down to the water to go clean the stream any time and I would let them know if I could. I pointed out my house and I told them that I would be back at the park the next day with the pants once the sun joined us for a while.
I hadn’t expected all that had occurred. At one point one of the kids whose family is almost always in a state of crisis made a plea to his mother when she yelled for him to come home. His response was priceless. He said, “but mom were saving the environment”. I wish I could share it that sound with you. It made my heart flutter. Every day since I have consistently had a group of children come and knock on my door and ever so politely ask me to take them to clean up the stream.
As each of these experiences unfolded I began to realize that this feeling that I had in these moments were what I identify as learning. All I could think to myself was how wrong things go into education every day. Which experience as a child learn from—the excited second grade boy yells out, “I found a tennis ball!”, or a 14 year old boy with a size 10 foot who squeezes his way into a size 8 fabricated rubber boot and joins in even though a handful of teenagers were standing around watching, or maybe it’s a room full of children made to read the most boring stories in a reading basal book, or the upper elementary science class with a basal book to read about science.
I know schools have great things to offer to children and families and teachers have the best of intentions; however, doesn’t learning come from the conversations that take place when children are watching something unfold before them? Doesn’t the learning come from trying to describe an object that is 3 feet below the surface and has to be identified by the look through the distorted running water? Or how about how tuned in to their senses they have to be to feel the objects not through their hand but instead through the stick that child is holding. Yet another beautiful sight are the gross motor skills that must be used or found to maintain balance on the ground that is far from solid with water pushing against their body while at the same time maneuvering an object causing the constant need for reflex, personal assessment of both the tactic used and the outcome, thought processes that lead to a different plan for how to maneuver that object, and the feelings of success and accomplishment gained by pulling one dirty bowl or toy boat out of the neighborhood stream. Lastly, why can society not see the brilliance of the ideas coming from the children on the sidelines? They were not even in the water but instead still eagerly grabbing a slimy, foul smelling object to put in either the recycling or trash bag all the while explaining to each other why some random object that was pulled out of the water is bad for the environment.
I didn’t initiate the conversations. I observed the large picture and if you know me know I was not silent but my words were aimed at helping the child in the water to step safely ahead or to decide which hand made most sense for me to hold as they got stabilized and started their descent into the water.
This may not seem like a story that would lead it to me having a greater understanding of communication but that is what happened. Through my observation and most importantly through my listening to it each child as a singular person and as a friend of a peer I saw how the communication varied. Seeing that made me think and think and think and though I’m not done thinking I have identified that the variation in conversation that I witnessed was not something that I saw myself doing. I talk nonstop lately—ever since my painful experience at my last school. So I have to wonder what is connected me to this feeling of not being capable of stopping once I start talking. I don’t pause to let anyone in and that won’t help if my goal is dialogue. Lucky for me to have family, my cousin, for example, who simply said to me after I had been speaking for about five minutes what he would’ve said that I was quite surprised to hear that it was only one sentence. And I reflected on it, aloud of course. Then, just as we were getting back to the house my cousin turned around and said to my daughter, “you are so lucky to have a mother who thinks about how she can do things better instead of just saying I’m the mom and you have to do as I say”. That was another great boost for me. I felt like even in my five minute monologue, which I had intended to be a dialogue, I could feel proud of myself even with all of my flaws.
I really believe that is what those children by the stream on the first day missing but felt at that time—proud of themselves. I hope that feeling proud as all they felt without having to kick themselves for having made mistakes.
I imagine that this is an extremely long post and so I am going to have to tell my math story another time. Sadly, this one post has taken me about four hours even with dictation software.
I wish everyone well as we wrap up the last two weeks of spring 2010, the only one we will ever have. 3 years ago