Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mindsquish be honest...I didn't view myself ever saying what I'm about to type:

"I'm thinking about graduate school."

When I completed my degree at Augie, I was so ready to be done and never look back. I wanted to be a teacher, and have teacher problems and not worry about doing research and writing papers and grades and all of that stuff....unless it was my student's research/papers/grades.

But, what I'm realizing as I go day-to-day, is that I feel like I'm in a MINDsquish.

"MINDsquish(as defined by myself): A state of mind wherein the inflicted feels their mind stretching and expanding unilaterally, but would rather feel it stretched in a more wholesome manner.  In this sense, the mind is expanding (hence the large font size for the word "Mind"), but the perspective is being shrunken or squished (hence the small font size for the word "Squish").

As I live in Bozeman, it was only natural for me to look into MSU - Bozeman's graduate schools.  As though designed by fate, there is a graduate program for K-12 Music Education Curriculum and Instruction...which is definitely something I would be interested in.

But, otherwise, life is going really well.  I apologize for the short post, but I need to do a little more lesson planning, gardening researching, and work on the Triple Crown blog.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Great Falls, MT

I am sitting in the hotel room in Great Falls, MT – where the MMEA Convention is being held for this year.  So far, it’s impressive.  They have a much longer and well supported history behind their Music Educator’s Association than South Dakota did…and it shows.  That’s not to say there’s a lack of passion in South Dakota, far from it. All I am saying is that there is clearly more support for music here outside of the schools than there was back home.  I guess, perhaps, having a Senator that is a former Music Educator helps a bit.

It’s interesting. Really. Watching all sorts of people around me.  I see the people who have been in the job for 5+ years and how they have all sorts of wrinkles…but mostly laugh lines forming around their faces.  Then I look at the college kids and the new teachers (1-2 years into the job) and I see a sort of arrogance about them.  I hope that I don’t portray that arrogance.  I’m realizing more and more as I sit and listen to people and observe people that I know pretty much nothing about my job. 

Perhaps I’m confusing arrogance and eagerness.  I simply get frustrated when someone says something in an open forum Q&A session, I have an answer that should put their question into new light for them (this was an instance of talking about P-Bones), and the girl didn’t really listen to what I said because I wasn’t speaking.  One of the most important ways we can learn from other people is by truly listening to what they’re saying and not assuming that they’re null and void simply because they aren’t the presenters.

Or maybe my headache is just making me crabby.  My welcome into Great Falls wasn’t welcoming at all. I was talking on the phone with Nathan, as he was giving me directions since my Garmin pooped out on me – and some lady pulls up next to me, lays on her horn and angrily mouths at me “YOU CAN’T TALK ON YOUR PHONE”. So I mouthed back, “I’M LOST.” She mouthed, “I DON’T CARE”.
So I raised my hand in anger at her. How dare she. How dare I respond in such a childish way. It’s not like she thought I was a local. I had SD plates.

Maybe she just hates South Dakotans.
And if she didn’t, she probably does now.
Way to represent.

But the teachers have been, on the whole, very welcoming, especially the older teachers. I’ve made a few contacts, but not many. I’ve definitely absorbed a lot of information and will be doing a bit of shopping tomorrow morning. 

There’s a concert in 45 minutes.  I’m currently in the debating stage of whether or not I want to go.  This headache is kicking my butt and I could really use the extra sleep/time to lesson plan/writing time/reading time/relaxation time.

But, as a friend of mine might say, HTFU. You only live once.
I’m just not that enthused, and generally, I know that when I’m not enthused about something, it’s best just to go to bed early. There’s another day tomorrow (hopefully), and I dare not waste it.


PS: Sorry this post didn’t have much substance. I just needed to vent. I’ll write something worth reading either later tonight or this weekend. I hope you all are well and I miss you dearly.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Happiness vs. Pleasure

I've recently begun reading "The Art of Happiness".

The book itself is a conglomeration of speeches the Dalai Lama has given, talks he has had with the books author (a Western psychologist), and the psychologist's thoughts on the question of "what makes people happy?".

While I'm not comfortable mind-vomiting at length on the topic, yet, I would like to pose the question to whomever comes across this blog:

What is the difference between happiness and pleasure, to you?  Is that difference important? Do you find yourself more often pursuing one over the other and do you think it has affected your overall outlook on life?

So far, I've come to believe that there is a great, and possibly grave, difference between happiness and pleasure. Too often I find myself thinking "Oh, that will make me happy", when really, it is a simple thing of pleasure. That extra delicious and gooey chocolate chip cookie that came out of the oven after I've already had 2....pleasure.  That expensive beer that I've been dying to try? Pleasure.

So what is happiness, then?

A friend of mine hypothesized something about this topic that I think could very well be true. Happiness isn't in the accomplishment, happiness is in the process. (Thanks Margaret, I'll tell you more in the letter back!)

I agree because of situations such as this: when I graduated from college, did it bring me "great happiness"? Honestly, no. When I graduated college I didn't feel much. What about the process of learning throughout high school and college? I look back on that, and when I was stretching my mind, that was a time that I was quite happy.

Margaret brought up the concept of cooking/baking food. She and I think similarly on this matter and both sincerely enjoy the process that goes into making the food, almost as much as we enjoy eating/tasting it!

When I examine my current career, I continue to think that this may be true.  I am happiest when I am in the process of teaching. My job is a very "do-ing" oriented job, and I think that's a great reason why I love it. I love watching and encouraging the process of learning amongst my students.  I also get great pleasure from their post-assessments and seeing how much they have learned, but not nearly as much as I get day-to-day.

I don't think that we can really recognize happiness until we look back on it. In the moment, I think it appears more as contentment and then people get afraid that they are settling.  Humans, for some odd reason, seem to love drama.  Humans tend to like to fight the Tao concept of Wu-wei.....and perhaps that's okay. Perhaps the process of fighting the status quo makes some people happy, but once the battle is over and they've made their point - do they continue to be satisfied?

Like I said, elementary brain goo.  Still working on it. Also working on getting ready for bed, good night!