Reading, Teaching, Learning

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Slice of Life - "We Become What We Pay Attention To" - Sue Monk Kidd

I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.
 
 
I think I'm finally ready to move on from writing mini memoirs.  The March SOLSC took me that direction, and I really enjoyed looking back on my childhood.  I may revisit that genre now and then, though. 
 
Over spring break, I read The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd and loved it.  I read the Kindle version since it was part of Oprah's Book Club 2.0.  When I got home, I ordered the hard copy because it's one I want on my bookshelf to lend out and reread.
 
The Invention of Wings
 
On Sunday, I watched "Super Soul Sunday" on OWN to see Oprah's interview with Sue Monk Kidd, and one part of the show struck me.  Oprah and Sue started talking about prayer and what it means to pray, and then Sue said, "We become what we pay attention to." 
 

 
We become what we pay attention to.  What does that mean for me in my life?  What do I pay attention to?  Do I put feet to my prayers?  Am I fully present?  How does that translate to my walk with God,  my writing and reading, my teaching, my time with my family and friends?  For this slice, I'm going to think about teaching.
 
Testing at my school is right around the corner, and I know we have to pay attention to that.  But when I think back over the last couple years, some of the best of my entire teaching career, I know I've been paying attention to things much bigger than what the state thinks of my students (and me).  I've been paying attention to what my students want to read, write, and talk about. I've been paying attention to how they talk to each other about books and life.  I've been paying attention to what they want to hear read aloud, what authors have to say to them, and their stories.  Because of the social media, blogging, and conference communities I belong to, I've been paying attention to positive and passionate educators, ones who read and write along with their students, think innovatively, and who love what they do.  Through the same avenues, I've been  paying attention to authors and illustrators who enrich our lives and encourage us to tell our stories. I've been paying attention to how to solve problems instead of make them.  I've been paying attention to how I can contribute to the field of education and what I can learn from others.  I've been paying attention to celebrations.  I've been paying attention to what I want to become.
 
What have you been paying attention to?  There are so many things that vie for our attention.  It is so tempting to complain, to become complacent, to feel defeated.  To worry.  To be afraid.  To doubt.  I venture to say we all lose focus sometimes and pay attention to those negative things, but we don't want to become these things.  Let's pay attention to what matters and become who we want to be.

12 comments:

  1. Yes! What I really need to STOP paying attention to is my fear of my review/evaluation. Those scores will fall where they fall, and there's really nothing I can do about it (especially the scores of students I don't even see, which impact my evaluation).

    I want to pay attention to each child, and the things I think they need to learn from me before they leave my presence.

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    1. It's so easy to feel anxiety over reviews/evaluations when they are somewhat out of our control!

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  2. Fantastic. we are in the middle of testing. I am not a classroom teacher, but, as an ESL Specialist, I go with each 4th grade class to make sure the ESL kiddos have what they need, and help whoever puts a hand up. I also see and hear other teachers in hallways, as I pass by their classrooms. It is interesting to see what each teacher says to the class, how much or how little they emphasize the importance of the test....I am highly impressed with some teachers, and very surprised by others.

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    1. Yes, it's a fine line to prepare kids for the test without making their whole day about it and stressing them out.

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  3. So much to think about in your post. I NEED to quit reading posts and get ready for school, but this is where I'm inspired by my friends for my daily walk. I'll be back to watch the video. Thanks for the encouragement to face down the negativity and pay attention to what matters. For me, it's the relationships I build with my students.

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    1. Ramona - I do the same thing in the morning! Relationships with students - not THAT'S something to pay attention to!

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  4. "Let's pay attention to what matters." Lately, I find that the TV annoys me. I have been learning about meditation, so noise that just serves to fill a void bothers me. I want to pay more attention to listening to my people. I get so distracted by my own work that I forget to listen to others when they need me to just be there and listen.
    I love Sue Monk Kidd but haven't gotten this book yet. I'll put it on my list.

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  5. Holly -- we do see lots of connections between our pieces --thanks for letting us know. Clare has that book on her "to read" list during vacation next week. It was great to see the video clip. Say no and we are what we pay attention to --important ideas to think about!
    Thanks
    Clare and Tammy

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  6. Holly- we just finished SBAC testing and are now on spring break! This post speaks volumes to what teachers are paying attention to these days. It's not about the test-its paying attention to the students that is incredibly important! Thank you for writing this!

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  7. Wow these are words to think about. We become what we pay attention to....uhm...

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  8. It's a valuable piece of advice to keep always in our minds, Holly. Teachers have so much on their minds today. I read it in blog after blog, see it in the professional advertisements, the recent publishing that's come out. If one needs a job, she or he can't help but pay attention, but there are those who also pay heed to those 'other' things that all of us in THIS community talk so much about, primarily students! Your words really have me thinking how this needs such fixing.

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  9. Great advice packaged in a catchy phrase that will guide me. Thank you.

    (Just started listening to THE INVENTION OF WINGS -- brilliant performance by two readers. I'm in love with both characters already!!)

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