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edu180atl: marcia spiller 8.30.12

Today I learned (or really was reminded) that although change is hard for all of us, a moment of personal connection and a little reframing can help.  This morning, I sat down to talk with a senior who was looking a little down.  I asked her if all was okay and she replied, “Not really”.  I then asked if she wanted to talk about it.  She said that she knew her senior year was supposed to be special, but she was not all that excited about graduating.  She explained that school is such a comfort zone and she wasn’t quite ready to let it go.  I told her that I could relate because I remember having similar feelings during my senior year in high school.

She seemed surprised that I admitted that (and that I could still remember anything about high school!!)  I told her that I have had those feelings about every major change in my life.  I shared with her that many of my major changes involved me leaving behind people that I cared about and that was always difficult.   But I also told her that with all my worry and ambivalence with a change, things usually worked out much better that I ever thought they could.

We ended our conversation with my getting her to think about the upcoming events of senior year and how much fun they will be.  As she excitedly listed them, I could tell she was going to be just fine.


Marcia Spiller is a life-long educator and avid reader whose mind stays in a think tank!

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. It’s amazing what a little time, empathy, and shared experience can do to help change perspectives. Today I too realized the value of being listened to and was able to reframe what seemed so “heavy” for me.

    Thank you for sharing!

    August 30, 2012
  2. Stephen Kennedy #

    When kindness and love and a listening heart are present, the over-powering beast of fear can settle back down to a manageable backyard annoyance. Often, that process has to be repeated. But even that repetition gives us the occasion to re-connect, re-learn, and re-mind ourselves that all of us are afraid and need each other’s support. Marcia, your sensitive writing here re-minds us of that human dynamic.

    August 31, 2012
  3. I had a similar experience last year with a senior for whom I’ve been an especially significant mentor for many years. She faced graduation with trepidation despite her desire for new challenges and a top notch university awaiting her arrival in the fall. In fact she was the first edu180atl writer this year, and the theme of her post was facing fear head-on. Well, as you said, things usually work out much better than we ever anticipate. She loves her school, the people, and the opportunities. Just yesterday in fact she posted to FB a picture of herself meeting President Obama at a college rally. We never know where our paths are going to take us until we start walking.

    August 31, 2012
  4. Thanks for sharing an important moment with one of your charges, and, as others have commented, reminding us of the importance of empathy in teaching and learning. Empathy is evolving as one of those traits so many great educators cite, usually with humility, as a key to their success. Do we focus on this key skill enough? Do educators have a clear vision of what it means, how it applies? How are empathy and reflection linked for all learners, both student and adult? Hmmm.

    September 3, 2012

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