Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

moon through a windowKit spent the next day in lessons, as he always did. This time Master and Lady took turns feeding him tales to spin additional stories from. Master would start, giving him the beginning of a story. Kit added the next part. Lady continued the story. Kit continued it further. The game continued until Kit’s power filled up with a world of strange possibilities, names and places and things that he had to keep straight. When he made a mistake, Lady would pinch him. When he did well, Master gave him a sweet. Kit was starting to hate sweets.

When lessons were finished, he shared a look with Lady as he left to have supper. He formed the words “you promised.” Lady smiled with her face but not her eyes, as she always did. Stiff fingers caressed his hair.

Morgrim was quiet tonight, too. For supper Kit ate more pork and potatoes. Maybe tomorrow night they would eat something else. Morgrim treated Kit with a bowl of berries that he gathered from the forest. He wasn’t allowed to go far, so Kit knew this was something special that Morgrim had done for him.

“Thank you, Morgrim,” Kit said. The goblin only bowed.

Lady didn’t come downstairs this time. On some nights, she and the Master would talk awhile, about today’s lessons, tomorrow’s lessons, or other things. It was all magic lingo and much of it still didn’t make sense to Kit. On some nights they would disappear into the Master’s chamber. Then Kit wouldn’t see either of them until morning.

Without Morgrim or Lady to talk to, Kit’s mind filled with thoughts about tonight. He wished he knew more about where Lady would take him. He thought of every lesson he’d ever been taught, and others he’d learned on his own. Could he run away? Could he stop her, if she tried to hurt him? Kit imagined running through the woods with Lady chasing after him. He knew how to hide and how to tell branches and things to grab people. They both had their own powers. Were his strong enough?

After Kit finished, he brought his plate to Morgrim, and Morgrim only bowed again. Kit smiled. As he turned to go to his room, Morgrim said, “Be careful tonight, young master.”

“I will.”

Kit went to bed fully clothed, including his shoes. He lay with his sheet drawn up, facing the window.

Where did he come from?

Kit counted stars and made new constellations. He hummed, and watched star shine moving between the points of light in the sky. He changed the tone, and felt the power vibrate to the music. He kept thinking about the door to his room. He wished Lady would get here.

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Grey Sun

Posted: September 11, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , , ,

busy secretaryStacey came into work five minutes late. Ed didn’t check his watch. She knew she was late and she knew that he knew it, too. “Sorry,” she whispered. She put away her purse and turned on her computer. She didn’t get coffee or say hello to anyone.

The other secretaries, Janine and Diane, looked at Ed. Ed had told Stacey in her last review that her performance had to improve. She wasn’t off to a rip-roaring start. They all liked Stacey, but they all had to pick up her slack when she couldn’t do the job.

“I almost have those purchase orders done,” she said hopefully. Stacey reached for her in-bin. They were gone. Ed saw her face become expressionless. He could imagine a tremble in her voice as she asked, “What happened to my purchase orders?”

“I finished them,” Diane said. Diane didn’t make eye contact the whole time.

“They had to go out,” Ed said.

“The engineer said they could wait until tomorrow. I talked to him when they came in.”

“I know. There’s no reason for them to wait, either.”

Stacey looked at the rest of the papers on her desk. She looked at the monitor. She wasn’t finding answers anywhere. Ed kept looking at her. He was the answer. He wanted her to stop looking for excuses and do what he told her to do. “Okay. Is there something else you want me to work on this morning?”

Diane and Janine looked away. This was the part where he would normally, gently, painfully drag her over the coals and explain where she’d made her mistakes.

“Let’s look over the Request for Proposal I sent you.”

“The one you sent last night?” He nodded. “I wasn’t done with that yet.”

“I want to work on it together.”

Stacey looked like she was getting ready to experience a new kind of pain. “Okay. Let me bring it up. Don’t you have something you’re working on for the materials guys?”

He smiled. She’d noticed. Good. “I’ve got that covered.”

“All right. Well, here’s the RFP. I took a few notes.” She showed him what looked like, and was, a bunch of scribbles mixed in with notes about her grocery list and directions to pick up dry cleaning before her class.

“Okay. Let’s check the special terms…”

Two hours later, Stacey excused herself to take some aspirin. “Good job, Stacey,” he said. “Good teamwork.”

She rubbed her temples. A small smile crept onto her face. “Thanks. I think.”

Ed needed an aspirin, too. Or a drink. He leaned all the way back in his chair, so far he was about to tip over and plant himself on the floor. He thought they made progress.

“That’s the best job you’ve done as a boss, ever,” Janine said.

Ed chuckled. “Shoot me,” he said, trying to brush it off. He knew it was.

This post is brought to you by the prompt “grey sun” from Inspiration Monday at Be Kind Rewrite. I riffed on the idea of Ed being a gray-haired boss, seeing the light, and being a mixed blessing for Stacey.

Sometimes you have to give up

Posted: October 21, 2011 by writingsprint in My two cents, postaday2011, postaweek2011
Tags: , ,

So I’ve been taking an intensive yoga class, and the past couple of classes have been difficult. I’ve only been practicing yoga for a year. I’m 42 years old, male, and about as flexible as a brick. We’re at the point where we’re taking turns leading the class, and there have been times that I’ve just felt lost.

About a week and a half ago I just gave up. I’m not ready to teach yet. Fine! I’ve still learned a lot, and I joined the class to learn about yoga, not to teach it. I told everyone that on the first day. I’ll teach it to the best of my ability during class exercises, and if it’s not as smooth or polished as the others, that’s just how it is.

Tonight, I took my turn teaching , and I just gently walked everyone through how to do the poses. I made a couple of adjustments to different poses, but otherwise, I took my time and kind of mailed it in. I didn’t try to act confident or project my voice to hit the back of the room. Eh. As long as I didn’t injure anyone, I was happy.

Wouldn’t you know, my instructor, and all my classmates, thought it was the best instruction I’d given yet! My jaw dropped open. I even told them straight up what my “technique” had been — giving up — and they all waved it off. They didn’t even care. My instructor said it was confident, patient, and much better than anything I’d done before.

The moral of the story is, sometimes giving up is another way of saying giving yourself a break, and that’s just what you need to improve.

Don't give up

“Don’t Give Up” is from Shattered Infinity‘s photostream at Flickr.

Yoga is in the House

Posted: September 13, 2011 by writingsprint in postaday2011, postaweek2011, Yoga
Tags: , , , ,

Redneck Yoga

Redneck Yoga: Good. Now breathe deeply.

I’ve been taking a yoga teacher training class, and soon I’m going to have to stand in front of a room full of my fellow students and teach them for an hour and 15 minutes. (Insert picture of me screaming HERE, or my brain dissolving into a pool of jelly.)

The big challenge is, how do I remember 40 yoga poses, when I can barely remember 10 digits in a phone number? Not just the poses, but how to teach each one, and smooth transitions between the poses. Step 1: I have 4 weeks to study and practice, so STUDY and PRACTICE! Step 2: Method of Loci. I’m going to use the memory technique where you imagine something familiar, like a place that you know very well, place landmarks within it, and use those landmarks to imprint what you’re trying to remember. I haven’t used it in a long time, but I used to love Method of Loci. Vivid images make the method more effective, and I’m the king of vivid, silly images.

I have 40 poses to remember. There are three floors in my house. The third floor is the warmup, the second floor is the main workout, and the first floor is the cool-down. I’m making the front door the very last step, so that I connect saying goodbye with leaving the house. The third floor bedroom looks something like this:

My wife’s closet Crocodile pose A crocodile is sitting in the dirty laundry
My closet Cobra pose A cobra is hissing from among my ties
Easy chair in the corner Baby dog pose A puppy is barking and jumping around like a nut on the chair
TV and DVD player Downward facing dog pose An older dog is jumping into the “let’s play!” pose, in front of the TV
My dresser Monkey pose A monkey is shrieking and leaping up and down on top of my dresser. Amazing, no books get knocked over
The bed Twist from monkey pose Another monkey is spinning on our bed like a whirling dervish. He’s wearing a funny outfit and tassels are flying
My wife’s dresser Overhead stretch Nothing especially wild here; me reaching for the sky, with my hands up among the stars. I can knock them around like they were a mobile hanging down from the ceiling
A side table with flowers Shoulder and neck stretches Me doing shoulder rolls and neck stretches. My body looks rubbery, like plastic man

As you can see, my bedroom is now a cross between a jungle, a zoo, and a circus, but that’s the best way for me to remember. How am I ever going to clean it up?

For the past couple of months I’ve been taking a class to learn to be a yoga teacher. Yesterday’s class was very, very cool. I’ve been buried in work lately (60-odd hours of overtime in two weeks, anyone?), and being surrounded by friendly faces in a supportive atmosphere, working on something that can help other people’s lives, brought me back to life.

Dhanurasana (Bow)

Dhanurasana (Bow pose). The fun thing about this one is that you rock back and forth while you breathe into your diaphragm. (Yoga Journal photo)

We started by learning back bend poses, like Camel, Fish, and Bow. Most of the class already knows how to do them all — I’m the exception — but not necessarily how to teach them all. We learn how, and we’re encouraged to develop other ways and share them with the class. Next we all took turns teaching a sequence of five poses. My heart started pounding on this one. You know what happens next. Next time it’s ten, or who knows, he might have us teach a whole class! When I went home, I told my wife that I need to borrow her to use as a ‘student’ so that I can practice teaching.

Wes, the instructor, was nice enough to go easy on me since I haven’t had a chance to study with all my overtime. My five poses were Warrior I, Warrior III, Forward Bend, Down Dog with Hip Opener, and Child’s Pose. I pretty much booted on having a smooth transition between the poses. At this point it’s a big accomplishment for me just to know the instructions for all the poses. (“How long have you all been studying yoga?” “Five years.” “Six years on and off.” “Since I was thirteen.” Me: “Almost a year…”) But that’s the good news. I did know all the instructions, and that’s with losing three weeks of study time being stuck at work. So can I get a hell yeah!

One of the other students really rocked the hell out of hers. She’s been teaching her boyfriend regularly, and in one pose alone — Lunge — she went from low lunge to high lunge to prayer to twist, mod after mod. It was practically a workout in itself!

After that we broke for dinner. A few of us went home, and the rest went over to My Thai restaurant. I had the chicken curry rice bowl, excellent as usual. Our instructor’s a regular so the waiter chatted us up about how the class was going.

We came back and listened to short lectures on the physiology, and capped the night with watching a video of a lecture by Deepak Chopra. I was surprised they still made VHS tapes ;-). Seriously, it was a cool presentation called “The Way of the Wizard” that talked about evolving ways of thinking, understanding, and, well, being, both as a person and as a human race. Fascinating stuff.

As we discussed it later, I mentioned that I saw parallels between something Chopra described when he talked about stages of growth, and the nature of understanding, and the human race in general. In a nutshell, part of Chopra’s lecture discussed about how we all come from God, we live our lives and grow into a deeper understanding of what it means to be connected to God and each other, and then return to God after our lives are over.

For understanding, we have to break things down into manageable pieces in order to understand them, but in the end, we have to see them and work with them as part of a whole — things like muscles as part of an entire body, for example.

For us as a people, the entire human race came out of Africa, spread across the world, developed hundreds of different languages and cultures, but it’s becoming clear that we’re still connected and all of us have things we can learn from each other. Things like yoga are relevant anywhere!