well yeah, the first days of kindergarten are a big exciting time in a mama’s life, and so the last posts have been about me, too, sort of. i realized though that i have really written very little about me in the past week or so, and it’s not for lack of things to write about! so a little update, but first… a little more about quinn. because, you know, i made him and all…
i picked him up from school yesterday, and it was the first i had seen or heard from him since dropping him off on day one (he spent the night with dada). the very first thing he wanted to say was, ” mama! can we please have this guy [indicating little boy by poking him right in the tummy] over for a play date sometime?”
“sure, honey, what is this guy’s name?”
“hi diego, it’s nice to meet you! i’m quinn’s mama.”
later on, i asked him what he likes about diego, and he told me, “he’s nice to me!” i keep hearing that line “everything i need to know, i learned in kindergarten” over and over in my head. i wrote something in my education manifesto a few weeks ago about my predictions of how this type of education would prepare quinn for life. it said, “he will know what it is like to be surrounded by supportive, encouraging people, and will recognize them in society. he will be attracted to workplaces with similar atmospheres and friendships featuring positive regard and nurturing.” i think “because he’s nice to me” is a really good indication that this sort of lesson is already well underway.
as we drove home, i realized quinn wasn’t wearing his glasses, and he vaguely remembered jessa, the assistant teacher, holding onto them for him at one point during the day. i decided we’d just continue homeward, and live without them for the evening, since we were coming right back to school in the morning.
“you mean, school is every day?” oh if only i could have captured that look of incredulity on his face. it was not said with any judgement positive or negative, just simple astonishment that this was how it really worked- really, every day?! whoa! get outta town!!!
i explained about weekends, and that yes, for 5 days each week he’d be going to school. he seemed to be absorbing all of this. this morning when i asked if he’d like to stay home and nurse his cold a little bit (it’s minor but i would have let him rest if he wanted to) he proclaimed scratchily, “nope, it’s already a lot better.”
oh right, me.
well, of all my various occupations, i am currently least fulfilled by the one that is my actual job. partly that has to do with months going by without any more answers about just exactly how long said job will remain in existence. my current end date is setpember 19th, though apparently i am still supposed to be crossing my fingers and toes that a contract will be signed before my job ends, thereby avoiding a gap in which i may or may not lose all of my sick time (my stockpile of vacation time has been burned this summer in anticipation of the impending end), health care coverage, email address, computer privileges, and who knows what else. it may be that there will be a gap of unknown duration, and further weeks will be lost reinstating me and getting me back online and so on. or it may be that we are just having a hard time hearing “no” from a funding agency that is breaking up with us. let’s just say, it’s an underwhelming environment to be in, and i have absolutely no more information today about what will happen than i did 3 months ago.
luckily, i have several other occupations and they are all much more fun to think about right now. although none of them pay as well as being a lab tech, i think with any luck i could support myself and my son on some combination of them once i find myself with a lot more free time on my hands.
i’ve never considered myself a born teacher. yet somehow, i seem to end up teaching in most of the jobs i’ve ever had. i taught swim lessons, i worked at an after school program, i tutored peers in both high school and college, i worked on sail training vessels and taught people from age 8 to 80 about sailing and the marine environment, i have taught dozens upon dozens of graduate students and undergrads, and one high school student how to run pcrs and sequence dna in a molecular lab. i still don’t think it comes naturally, but i’m ok with that, and apparently i’m going to do it anyway. my latest teaching endeavor is yoga. i’ve been thinking about it since i began my practice 7 years ago. when something changes your life in radical ways, you want to spread the word, and so it was natural for the thought to occur to me. fellow students and even a few of my teachers along the way have mentioned to me to think about teaching, and i can say that i have been thinking of it for quite a while. i wondered if my upcoming potential whole lotta time off might be a good time to do some yoga teacher training, so i approached my teacher, jeany, about it, to see what she thought.
she thought i should start right away! i mean, what better way to learn how to teach than just start teaching…. well, she has a lot of faith in me, but it took a giant leap of faith on my part to dive right in and do this. i now have two classes under my belt, and nobody pulled any muscles. it turns out i actually do know what to do in front of a yoga class! the first day i taught, i was subbing for the gentle/senior class, and when i asked everyone to let me know if they had any issues that might call for modifications to poses, each and every person had something to share- and i knew what to do for each of them. when one woman reported that she was taking pain medication for her hips, i reminded the whole class that on medication it is extra important to take it easy, since pain meds will block the messages your body is sending to your brain that a pose isn’t feeling right. i thought i was stating the obvious, but she said she knew that but hadn’t thought about it in a while, and was grateful for the reminder, and a few of the other students said they’d never thought about that before at all.
you know you’re in a small town when you can just teach a class without any kind of certification whatsoever. here i thought i’d be investing some amount of time and probably money into getting a piece of paper that said i was allowed to teach. instead, i am teaching, getting paid for it, getting my own classes for free (yay! would probably be worth it by itself) and in a year or two i will probably still end up with some sort of “you’re all clear to teach” document with signatures and stuff on it. pretty cool.
i quoted my education essay above concerning quinn, but it is also relevant here. i think a lot of the lessons i wrote about in that priority list were lessons i ended up learning unschool-style myself. i did get a very good education by many standards, but i don’t think i walked out of my higher education knowing myself very well, with much confidence in myself, or with the realization that i get to create my own reality. it’s still hard for me to believe that if i believe in something, i can make it happen, and often skip over a lot of hoop-jumping along the way.
jeany is not a big fan of computers, so i get to revamp the yoga studio’s website. also paid work. i am a completely self-taught wordpress geek, and it’s pretty fun to think of making money doing yet another thing i didn’t have to pay a bunch of student loan fees to be able to do.
my wee cloth diaper business will be seeing some more activity in the months to come… i have relocated my sewing machines after the bustle of moving, and when i receive the blessing of mega time off, there will be diapers.
i keep putting more and more seeds in the ground. i can’t help myself. this one is still definitely in the formative idea stages, but i did prove to myself that i can sell veggies from a farmstand, and i think i could do more of that in the future.
our living school
speaking of teaching… one cool feature of ols is that parents can volunteer time each month to reduce tuition. i plan on making use of this feature, and of course have wanted to be right there for every step of quinn’s unschoolish education anyway, so why wouldn’t i routinely show up at school? but that has gotten me thinking more and more… and the vision of this school is just so inspiring and wonderful that it just might be contagious. i still don’t think i’m a teacher, but who knows what will happen the more time i spend at a school that is destined to grow from its current k-3 in-home program into a free-standing (“with acreage” is also part of the vision- yup) k-12 school that exudes magic and wonder. sign me up. against my introverted nature, i seem to have acquired some experience in teaching, and i have a few tricks up my sleeve. since this is not a top-down model of teaching down to children, but instead a collaborative life learning effort, i think i just might be of use in this school. this one is also a zygote of an idea, very much in the brain much more than outside of it yet, but it’s definitely been steeping and will continue to do so as this school year unfolds.
it will remain to be seen whether i can get away from a lab tech job and still put food on the table and rent in the rent check, but i feel pretty good about making it through whatever gap may befall me, whether it’s brief and i continue on in this job for a lot longer, or change into a different version of lab tech at some point along the line. for now, i have a stocked up chest freezer full of berries and sweet corn, a garden full of kale and carrots, a greenhouse full of tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers, quite a few avenues to explore in my potentially impending period of unemployment, and my two favorite guys to hug all the time. i’m feeling pretty blessed.