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Monday, September 29, 2014

What the River Taught Me

“The river looked at him with a thousand eyes--green, white, crystal, sky blue. How he loved this river, how it enchanted him, how grateful he was to it! In his heart he heard the newly awakened voice speak, and it said to him: “Love this river, stay by it, learn from it.” -Siddhartha

I sat by the river on the last morning before departing, and found that this river had carried me through other trips I’ve been on in subtle and not so subtle ways. Looking out over the edges of the water, the word resiliency flowed into my head. I continued to admire the waters that fed me in various ways. Resiliency is the ability to overcome challenges, and if able, transform them into opportunities. Many humans face such difficulties as adversity, personal crises, and even larger systemic issues. I sat and thanked the river for supporting me, understanding that not many people get the opportunity to learn about resiliency through paddling part of the Colorado river.
I had a feeling that I may not like canoeing, as some have told me that those who enjoy kayaking may not like canoeing and vice versa. I was surprised to find that I now have another outdoor activity that I like to do to add to my list! I had a fantastic experience learning how to canoe on this trip, and I think the stretch of the Colorado River we did was the perfect teacher for me. I loved being on the water and the canoe being the mode of travel.
A cohort member and I taught a lesson on role modeling and stereotypes. It was the first time I had taught with her, and I appreciated facilitating with someone new. We complimented each other’s teaching styles well. We had a discussion on how role modeling relates to being a leader, and since we are all teachers in some capacity, we are essentially all role models. What we do, say, and how we act will affect the students we serve. In order for us to best serve students, we must take a look into ourselves, and understand our identity. Our personal experiences make up the myriad of ways we teach. Our assumptions often guide our reality and perception, which can be challenging to be aware of while teaching in a classroom. After the discussion, we separated into skits, and we did mini-plays of both positive and negative situations about stereotypes and role modeling.
I felt fortunate to be part of this really amazing group of people and to learn from one another this past week. It was a joy to see how others teach and put together more ideas and activities in my mental teaching portfolio.


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