We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Daily archives for July 8th, 2018

Learning to Teach

Summer                                                                 Woolly Mammoth Moon

Tu B'shevat Seder, 2018 Religious School, CBE

Tu B’shevat Seder, 2018 Religious School, CBE

I’m neck deep, ok maybe in over my head, in lesson planning, something I’ve not done before. I realized though that I did do a lot of educating over my twelve years at the MIA and I do have good facilitator, process skills. Even so, I’m having to learn about a key moment of Jewish development, the b’nai mitzvah, oddly, a marker of the very same transition Ruth is in right now. There’s as much culture as theology here, a cultural milieu with which I have little familiarity. But I’m picking it up.

Yesterday I finally got an organizational handle on what I was doing. That’s the moment when a lot of study and thinking begins to sort itself out into recognizable components. In this instance it was a religious school year long calendar, each class for which Alan and I are responsible indicated by date. In other columns there are holidays that occur in a particular month, September, for example, has Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and Sukkot; middah of the month, for example, again, September is hitlamdut or curiosity; a column with one of Maimonides 13 articles of faith for each month. There are also Hebrew letters for each class day, a progression throughout the year that will follow the kabbalist’s tree of life and links to the parsha (Torah portion) for each week.

20180315_080213With these elements identified lesson planning will be easier because content can be plucked from any of the columns to enhance a particular class. There’s another move in the process, integrating the b’nai mitzvah curriculum developed by a national organization called Moving Traditions with those classes for which Alan and I have to develop our own lesson plans. Once how we do that is decided and dates for the b’nai mitzvah classes show up on the calendar, we should be able to move fairly quickly to a plan for the year.

I love this stuff, the pulling together of disparate complexities into one whole. This is a big challenge and I like that, too. Not to mention that I really enjoy the people at Beth Evergreen.

oh my aching back

Summer                                                                   Woolly Mammoth Moon

 

20180619_093818Lifted a case of 24 cans of wet dog food out of the box on Thursday. Kate happened to be there. The moment I straightened up, I said, “Fuck. I shouldn’t have done that.” I lifted it with my back slightly bent, not with my legs, but my arms. Friday and Saturday were walk around like a hunchback days. I know better, but it had a cardboard cap on it. I took that off and it was very light, just cardboard. Somehow my body took that as a cue that the canned dog food would be light, too, so I let my guard down. Better this morning, but geez. How old am I again?Kate at 16

Kate’s figured something out. She’s been much, much calmer with the grandkids here, better for her and for them. It’s great because she has more fun, doesn’t end their visits exhausted, wiped out. I can see a corner being turned. She’s also about to get a handle on her nausea, I can feel that, too. When she does, and she gains back a few pounds? Watch out.

 

 

 

Mariposa

Summer                                                                     Woolly Mammoth Moon

Ruth at DomoSuch a sweet kid, that Ruth. When she left elementary school last year and entered Mcauliffe middle school, she was still a child, a fast maturing child, but still looking backward, not yet out of recess and whole day class with one teacher. Over the course of this last school year, she stopped being a girl and has become an adolescent, not quite a teenager yet, but definitely no longer a child. This last year has also moved her further and further from the immediacy of the divorce which has reduced her reactivity, allowing her to concentrate on her academic interests like math and Chinese.

When up here, she cooks, sews, makes art, watches TV, discusses politics, goes to Lake Evergreen for paddle boarding, comes up to the loft and sits in her chair. We talk:

Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
 

ruth-and-hair330As with Joseph, it’s a delight and a privilege to be part of this transition. It’s a miraculous moment, somewhat like a chrysalis. The Ruth that has emerged from childhood is different in substantial ways. More thoughtful. More adventurous. More eager to learn. More engaged with others. More on her phone. Bigger, taller. This turn, from elementary age to middle school age, is captivating. I can see why a teacher might want to focus on this age group.

She recommended that Kate and I watch Lady Bird. We did. What a perfect movie for her, for her time in her life. Lady Bird comes of age, has sex, chooses her own path. When the movies starts, she has a cast, a pink one, on her right forearm. It comes off part way through the movie, a symbol of her increasing growth. I could see Ruth traveling through Lady Bird’s transitions, just as, I imagine, Ruth could, too.

 

Breadcrumbs

Trails