Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

_DSC4852

I require my students to reflect on their learning, to take their written pieces and describe their strengths and, more important, what they will do to produce better writing the next time. They also must reflect on the text they read, answering the question, “So what?” They need to determine, “What does this novel mean to me? What can I learn about life or the human condition by reading it? How can I make my life, and the lives of those around me, better as a result of reading this book (or article, or poem)?”

The great philosopher Socrates urged his pupils to reflect on their lives:

 The unexamined life is not worth living.

When I sit down with my journal, I reflect on my day, my week, my life, holding up a mirror, so to speak, to my words and actions, examining what went right and what didn’t. Then I make promises to myself and to God that I will do better. However, that is akin to my students writing, “I will work harder” in their reflections about writing. I try to figure out what I can do to make tomorrow better, much the same as when I ask the students to get specific (“I will use parallel structure.”).

Reflection

Now, don’t these two scenes just invite you to sit on a blanket at the edge of this mountain pond and quietly reflect?

Do yourself a favor, and check out more reflections and responses to this week’s photo challenge.

New to The Daily Post? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you’re invited to get involved in our Weekly Photo Challenge to help you meet your blogging goals and give you another way to take part in Post a Day / Post a Week. Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

What 4th Grade Looks Like

Have you ever seen Gregory Peck’s remarkable portrayal of Atticus Finch in the film version of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird?

Mary Badham’s Scout is just as I’d imagined her to be when I read the novel.

Take a look at her hairstyle, which mirrors mine when I was a kid — brown, straight, with bangs — frequently messy.

However, for special occasions (school picture day, for example), Mother would cut it, perm it, curl it (bobby pins in my hair overnight … much more comfortable than the enormous cylinders I wore each night during high school … but I digress.)

The picture below shows me in 4th grade, the year of my first bad experiences in elementary school. Prior to this, I was blessed to be taught by three sweet women,  Sister Mary Jerome, Sister Rita, and Mrs. Buechlein, who praised and encouraged everything I did; I blossomed as a student.

On the first day of 4th grade, Sister Mary Jerome yelled at me. During her introductory speech / lecture, she asked if there were any questions. I raised my hand, stood up (the law at the time), and happily announced that Mother had given birth to my brother Andy the night before. She crossly told me that such a comment does not belong in the classroom and to save it for recess. I withered, and the tone was set for the entire year. I did not bloom again until I survived out of her class.

I find it appropriate that my one physical memento of that year is this picture which reveals the horrific hairstyling techniques of my well-meaning mother.