How we are formed

Whilst trying to find an envelope I was searching through an old box in our stationary/junk/peculiar kitchen utensil cupboard and I pulled out an old and dusty exercise book. I recognised it immediately, it was my 2nd year humanities book from secondary school (or year 8 as it is known now!).

I flicked through it and had memories of some of the work in it. I remembered the face of the teacher and their tone when they spoke. I remembered how I felt about the subject and how I reacted when I saw the dreaded red pen that scrawled itself across my work. I looked at my handwriting and my cuttings from magazines. It was a journal of a portion of my life.

I hasten to add this book was made a long time ago. I guess I only remembered about 10 percent of the items in it, the rest was presumably without any inherent importance to me. As I scanned my eyes over the contents it occurred to me that actually I can probably only recall about the same percentage of my whole life if you asked me to. The rest is made up of the rainy Tuesday afternoons, the slog of homework, the 9-5, the general trudge of life and yet ALL of this goes to make up who we are.

My humanities book reminded me that there were peaks in my subject that intrigued and inspired but the rest was graft and keeping going. That is what life is all about. It got me to thinking about how I am with the kids. What are the overall themes and arcs of narrative I have with them? I already know they pull out events that I would never had guessed are important as being pinnacles for them. What about the non-memorable bits though? What is the feeling and projected message in the everyday?

Mr Palot, inspired me as a humanities teacher and I can remember far more about the way he was than all that he taught. I am so guilty of making sure things get done with the kids rather than being conscious and fully present inside every moment with them. If I had one wish it wouldn’t be that they remember everything that I said but that when they reflect, their whole being knows that they were admired, inspired, championed and loved. That is the formation I want to be involved in – maybe Mr Palot knew and wanted that too.


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