Archive for June, 2013

(April 2013)

Every summer my husband and I pack up our kids to spend some holiday time at his family’s cabin at the lake. We load up the truck, grab some take-out and head out on the familiar route that we’ve followed for the better part of 20 years. Yes, we’ve vacationed elsewhere, occasionally, but the lake has a siren song that seems to pull us there for at least part of our holiday time every summer. The drive itself is not terribly exciting, except for the anticipation of the holiday itself and for my one favourite part of the two plus hour journey. Just before we turn off the main highway and make our way in to the park we get just a glimpse of the water over the hills. Then the road winds and the rolling hills hide the lake from view while we pass through the park gates and around the family farm with its windmill, like an old friend, inviting us back once again. If we happen to time the drive just right, that is if the stars have aligned and we were able to pack the zillion things that seem to be required for a family holiday with young kids, grab supper and get on the road at a decent hour, then my favourite moment of our journey is just around the next bend before the sun sinks below the horizon. We turn the last corner by the cabins at the top of the hill, pass the line of sentinel populars standing guard at the top of the hill and finally reach that spot where the valley opens up to reveal the sparkling beauty of the vast expanse that is Lake Deifenbaker. If the sun is shining just right and if the family harmony on the journey still rings with accord so as not to detract from the moment, the reflection of those wide running waters truly takes my breath away…every time. In that moment I breathe a little deeper and a sense of calm that the beauty of that moment brings, comes over me. We’re here. I’m home.

We haven’t been there for a while and sadly the snow doesn’t show much signs of abating to let us get there any time soon. But, I know that sooner or later we will take that trip again and I will relive that moment again and again for many summers to come. I know what awaits us just around that last bend. The familiar, comfortable, beautiful little corner of the world where I feel centered and connected. Where I feel at home.

Professionally speaking, I haven’t been there for a while–home that is–though not for lack of trying. A few years ago I opted for a job change in hopes of maintaining some semblance of balance in my life. For these past few years I’ve felt a little like I can catch a glimpse of that joy that I once felt but never really hold it in my grasp. It’s like catching a glimpse of those waters without ever cresting the hill for the amazing view. Though I have not been far off from my former niche I have yet to find my groove. It feels a little like I’m driving someone else’s car or wearing someone else’s clothes. Most wouldn’t notice but they don’t seem to fit quite right. I don’t feel quite at home. I’ve done my best to do right by my students. I have struggled and worked hard to serve and be effective in the role in which I find myself, a role I asked for and have done before quite successfully I might add, but often I’ve felt like I’m coming up short. How frustrating as an experienced teacher to feel like I’m spinning my wheels and not getting us where I feel we need to go.

I am no stranger to examining and working on my shortcomings. Continually striving for excellence is a script that is hardwired in to my consciousness! If it were just technical limitations standing in my way I would work on those and carry on but in this case it goes deeper than that. I’ve come to the realization that the fundamental realities are not going to change regardless of my approach and so, I am ready to make a change. In fact, after grappling with and finally making the decision I’m really excited about making a change. Somewhat terrified, if I were to be honest, but excited! I think that is the perfect mindset for change.

In the midst of forging a new path I can hear the siren song of my former world calling out loud and clear! Though it’s tempting to try to recapture that place where I last felt at home, I know the timing isn’t right to go back down that familiar, comfortable road. I am not the same person or teacher I was when I was last there and so instead I’m bravely looking around the next bend to find what it is I seek. I’m hoping it will be a new place to call home.

It’s been a while since I’ve tackled a new teaching challenge. This summer I’m planning to devote some of my holiday time to get ready, and yes, I do plan to spend a little time at the lake with my family as well. However, we are planning to venture a little further afield this year. Our boys are a little older now and as a family we’re ready to take in some new sights, try some new experiences, and forge some new paths. I’m not sure where we’re headed yet. I don’t know exactly where we’ll end up andconsequently haven’t yet studied the map to get there. And I don’t know if I will find one of those ‘I’m home’ moments when we get there. But, the promise of finding a new one is worth looking around that next bend.