Thursday, February 2, 2012

Unexpected Places*

Where did January go? I managed to finish and submit an article while making headway in scheduling spring classes and collection development, I'm working on a special project in archives, and finished a couple of proposals for upcoming conferences. And yet, I still feel so behind. These were only drops in the bucket of the to-do list akin to Garfield's dream pan of lasagna. Only, unlike Garfield's** pan of lasagna, I feel very little joy as my list fills back up. So, when the strangulation noises start escaping from my throat, I'm lucky that I have a nearby colleague that knowingly glides into my office and whispers, "Float along in the chaos, Shannon, just float along in the chaos... " While simultaneously rubbing my temples.***
But, I don't need her anymore! Last post I was looking for some inspiration to get me going and found a taste in the video I posted. However, I found something so much better: my Cherry Hill 5th graders working on the oral history project. The kids were great last year, too, but we were all new to the project and had to go through some growing pains that took a lot of energy and time. I thought I might have a couple more years of feeling like this as I worked on the project. So, I'm sorry to say that I wasn't exactly excited about the first day this year. But I should have been. Our first day was amazing! This new group is enthusiastic and engaged, and they follow along and ask relevant questions.**** The project is going to have an awesome year. They are a wonderful group. They remind me of being a kid and getting excited about a new and cool project that may have required responsibilities beyond my years. I can see that in these kids. They are raring to go! 

So I've decided that as I move forward through the spring I'm going to imagine that the information***** I present is to excited learners like them. Every class I put together or reference session, I'm going to bring a little bit more creativity so that my students have the opportunity to get inspired. There is so much that is amazing and wonderful to learn about! I guess I just needed some really sharp kids to remind me that inspiration can come at unexpected times and unexpected places.

*In this post I will be paying homage to David Foster Wallace by endnoting extensively.
**I know what you're thinking, "A Garfield reference?! Shannon's gone soft!" And, yes. You are absolutely spot on. I have gone soft. Every time someone forwards me a freaking flash mob video I have to close my door and weep. If you think about it, the fact that all those people that barely know each other planned on putting on a dance together is very impressive. I mean, I think about this a lot. In our current culture that allows computers and phones and ipods to create barriers to human interaction - a group gleefully dancing together in public is a beautiful demonstration of our need for connection and expression of the human spirit. Can you think of a better way than through public synchronized dancing/singing/finger shooting/freezing in placing etc..? I can't. (You NEED to check these out!)
***This colleague may be a figment of my imagination. 
****Irrelevant question: Can I get some water? Relevant question: If they thought the Tuskegee airmen were too dumb to fly, why didn't they get more white pilots? (Wanted to hug this girl!) 
*****I just wanted to put one set of asterisks in an "unexpected place." Gotcha!

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