I was recently involved in a talking circle where members of the group were asked to consider the question, What inspires you?
In this circle, an eagle feather was passed from participant to participant. Only the person holding the feather could speak and the feather could only go in a clockwise direction. Participants could choose to speak or pass. The circle would only be closed when the feather was passed around the entire circle without anyone saying anything. Talking circles are often helpful to ensure all people have a chance to speak, to speak thoughtfully, and to be heard.
In this talking circle, our group had no conflict to resolve, no decision to make. In fact, the question seemed to be posed randomly. It may have been posed in response to winter sometimes being the least inspiring season, or in the context of teacher job action. At any time, it seems to me, the question of what inspires you is worth asking.
Our families, our environments, our colleagues, our friends. One needn’t look far for inspiration. And as an educator at what I consider to be a remarkable school, I can think of numerous and daily occurrences of things that inspire me.
I received an email from a parent recently. This parent and her husband acquired supplies, took time away from work and did an amazing job inspiring students about the everyday uses and importance of chemistry to all of our grade 6/7 students. When it was over, she thanked me for the opportunity.
Recently, Jennifer Pardee and I presented ouside45 to the West Vancouver Board of Education. Not only did the Board enthusiastically approve the program, Board Chair Cindy Decker volunteered to participate in some of the field experiences.
In speaking with a parent about outside45, he noted that if parents could find out whether their child was accepted into the program early enough, it would give keen parents enough time to learn some new skills to share with students.
At a recent Volleyball game, I saw tremendous leadership, not just from their exceptional coaches but from the students as well, in keeping their team’s spirits high and doing their best. I was reminded of the notion, “A leader is anyone who moves their team towards its objectives.” I see leaders in my classroom and in our school every day.
What inspires you?