The Price of Admission

albany-palace-theater-marquee
At the point at which I left my job to start a new career, I was ready for a change but I was also at the top of my game. People inside and outside of the college routinely called me for consultation. I could prepare reports and written materials quickly and effectively. I was always on top of issues and out ahead of problems. I could talk extemporaneously about the nature of our work to visiting professionals. A couple of years ago, I was asked with five minutes’ notice to join a panel discussion in front of over a hundred people at a conference; sure, no problem.

Last weekend, I opened my textbooks for my new career and started reading. There are all these strange new theories that I am trying to wrap my head around. Some sections of text have to be read two or three times to figure out the nuances. There is new terminology and acronyms that I am trying to learn and remember. By the way, ESL seems to have rather dull acronyms; so far, they don’t spell out any cool words.

I’ve gone from expert to novice, but that is the price of admission in starting over with a new career. It’s also the excitement of starting over. Even though I’ve had some experience as a volunteer teacher, I don’t know the theory behind why the teachers do what they do. It’s fun trying to figure out how everything fits together and start to consider what theory best fits how I perceive people’s learning. Becoming a novice again may be the price of admission, but I’m hopeful that it will be a good show.

This image was made a couple of years ago in Albany, New York

Old Stone Church

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The Old Stone Church sits on the bank of the Wachusett Reservoir. To provide the city of Boston with water, dams were built and entire communities disappeared as reservoirs formed. The Old Stone Church was a part of one community. It stands but the community moved on. Today the church is part of a park and is on National Register of Historic Places.

What do you see?

yellow-boat

Okay, I know. You see a yellow boat. But wait, there’s a story here. This boat was in Eel Pond, just behind the Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory. I walked through the parking lot to get to the dock where several small boats were tied up. Stepping down onto the dock, I passed a man wearing a Marine Biology Lab ID badge. He was just standing near where the dock met the edge of the pond. There, the water was about twelve to eighteen inches deep.

I knelt down and snapped a few images of this boat. As I made my way back up the wharf, the man was looking into the water. I looked down at the sandy bottom. It was your typical twelve to eighteen inches of sea water with a sandy bottom, a few shells, and not much else.

“Look, he said, there are some fish.” I looked and there was a small school of small fish. They were each about three inches long. I spotted a single larger fish of a different species and pointed him out.

“Yeah”, he said, “but I am wondering what lives in these holes along the bottom.” I looked closer and all along the sea floor were small holes from one to three centimeters in diameter. I mentioned I’d heard there are real eels in Eel Pond. “Sure, and some good sized stripers over near those boats”, he said pointing. Eventually, he found a hole with a face pointed out but we could not tell if it was a fish or an eel.

“And if you kneel down, there are some things on the side of the wharf.” We knelt down. “The barnacles are feeding.”

Barnacles feeding? All of the barnacles that I had ever seen were on someone’s boat or a rock above the water level. They always just appeared as a white circle. But when they are in the water and feeding, a little protrusion comes out of the center, like a tongue, to catch bits of food. “And if you touch them, it will retract”, he explained.

He then went on to explain how because it was sunrise and temperatures were going up with the sun, everything in the sea was rising. Even though we were in shallow water, the nearby rising water was creating currents and stirring things up. He went on to point out some tiny sponges and a small shrimp.

Eventually, one of his colleagues came along and we had to part ways. I thanked him. The take-away of this little interaction was that what I saw as water, sand and shells, he saw as a whole ecosystem.

Living the Dream – An Update

golden-morning

For those of you who have been following me for a while, you know this is a transition time for me. I am changing careers to become a teacher of English as a Second Language. This spring, I left my job and spent two months teaching English in El Salvador. Prior to that, I’d spent months learning Spanish and planning lessons. Since returning home in mid-July, I’ve enjoyed some nice time off. My wife and I have had some nice day trips and a weekend on Cape Cod. We’ve worked on some projects around the house and enjoyed life.

Now it is time for the next phase of my transition, returning to school. Tomorrow, classes begin. The program is designed to be done in eighteen months, but can be done in twelve. Given that I am not working, I am going to attempt the more intensive twelve month plan. That way, I can be applying for jobs beginning next fall.

To accomplish this in a year appears like it will require a bit of effort on my part. I’m also tutoring a young woman from Pakistan in English so she can pass the written test for her driver’s license. Starting this week, I am not going to post on days that I have classes. So for the next ten weeks, I will be posting Thursday to Sunday and then taking off from blogging on Monday to Wednesday. I am pretty much “all in” on this endeavor and need to give it my best work.

Cheers

A Whole New World — look around!

THis is my guest post for the week on my friend Monica’s blog Look Around!. Check it out: https://lookaround99.wordpress.com

A chipmunk lives in our front garden. We put out a bit of sunflower seed in the warmer weather when she is out and about. She quickly fills her cheeks with them and then stores them in her den. Because of the way in which she seems to vacuum up the seeds, we have dubbed […]

via A Whole New World — look around!