Friday, January 16, 2009

a day of connection

Today was a very emotional day for me. It started first thing in the morning when my mom woke me up before she left for work. She is a secretary at an elementary school and has recently applied and been accepted for a new position at a different school. Initially excited for the change, as the weeks go by at her old school, she's started forgetting the positives of the new school and begun regretting the decision to leave. So, when she woke me up this morning, she just needed to talk to someone who she knew would listen and give her the most honest advice possible; I was touched that she chose me to be that person. Despite my slightly hazy mind-set, I listened as she poured out concerns that she hadn't voiced before, and she brought up good points for both sides of her problem. As the conversation closed, no decisions had been made but I hope that she felt more confident in herself to choose whatever path she feels is best for her.

Little did I know that later that morning I would be attending an EAES class that would be equally soul-stirring. We were discussing "aesthetic experiences", moments that touch you. One good example is 9/11. Most people can vividly remember what they were doing and where they were the first time they heard the planes had crashed. I personally was sitting on my couch, eating peanut butter toast while watching the news in my PJ's and I didn't really understand the enormous effects this event would have on the world until I saw the first plane crash into the tower.

Not all aesthetic experiences are that terrible or that profound. They are moments that you remember most clearly; perhaps a moment of pure connection with another person, a sudden insight or epiphany, an experience or conversation that changed the direction of your life. It was only our second class together, but we shared moments that were incredibly personal to us. I didn't talk because I was listening so intently. It was only later, after running a few errands and sitting down for a break at home that I was hit with the amazing experience that I had the privilege to be a part of.

This afternoon, I saw parts of people that I'm sure no one else has seen before. Our class connected in a unique way that I know most of our closest friends, family members and significant others will rarely see. I am honoured to be growing in the education program with some of the most talented and special people I have met. We are teachers, we are a team; we are going to be touching the lives of each other and our students everyday.

Today, I was also given the knowledge to communicate to others the reason why I chose to become a teacher. I could never put it in words before, I couldn't explain it. Now I can: I want my students to experience the high of aesthetic experience each time they attend my class. I want them to come into my classroom, even if it's only twice a week for music class, and leave all of their biases, worries and pettiness behind. I want them to work as a team, to express themselves through the arts without hesitation or self-consciousness and simply let the experience of expression flow through them.

My mom arrived home from work shortly after this small epiphany, and as I futiley tried to explain to her what an extraordinary day I'd had, I dissolved into tears of joy and wonder at the future I have in front of me. If I've grown this much as a person in the two years that I've been in university so far, I can't imagine who I will become when I finish my program in another four years.

To top it all off, I saw "Marley & Me" this evening, and that did not help my over-emotional state at all. If you haven't seen it, go prepared with tissues.

I just want to close by saying "thank you" to the professors and administrators of the education program, and especially to my fellow class-mates for sharing a part of themselves today. I look forward to growing with you all in our future educational years.

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