Saturday, April 26, 2008

Why would you want to do this?

During a training in Tennessee, one of the participants asked Teryl Magee to inquire of her Twitter network, "Why would you want to do this?"

The question intrigued me, but I decided to expand it a bit. Therefore, I'm making this a do-it-yourself posting: you get to choose both the answer and the question.

So fill in the blank, "Why would you want to ______________________ ?" then provide an answer. Any topic is fair game, from teaching to skydiving, becoming a mother to becoming a clown.

Ready, set, go...

"y oh why?" by debaird


Lisa Parisi said...

Why would I want to teach? Where else could I laugh each day, wear silly hats and funny clothes, read all my favorite books outloud, and make a difference in so many lives? Why wouldn't I want to teach?

diane said...

All right, I'll go first:

Why would you want to help chaperone grades 7 & 8 on a field trip?

Even though we keep pretty close tabs on them, the students have fun in the looser environment. They even choose to come sit with the adults at lunch! Carry-over into the classroom is huge: any good will teachers build up comes in handy during times of stress or conflict later.

Anonymous said...

Why would you rather be on your computer than outside playing on a beautiful, sunny day? Simple...the mind is a terrible thing to waste, right? The personal learning that I glean from my network is amazing and makes my life fulfilling, both in the classroom and in day to day living.

diane said...


You posted while I was constructing a sample! Great question, perfect answer: without all of those elements, teaching would just be an underpaid slog.


I keep saying that I'll have to live forever to learn all I want to know. But I do need to find some balance, once I start working from home full time (during my "retirement").

Thanks to both of you for playing along.


Unknown said...

Why would I want to teach middle school? Honestly, I didn't. I planned on teaching high school. But now I can't imagine being anywhere else. It's a roller coaster ride, for certain. Some days the kids act like you're the greatest thing since sliced bread, other days they barely acknowledge your existence. There's drama and tears, but there's also a lot of goofiness and laughter.

Above all, I know my students are at an age when they really need to have a grown-up in their lives who remembers what it was like to be their age, who listens without judgment, and who will laugh along with all things silly.

I can. I do. I wouldn't miss it!

cossondra said...

nWhy would I want to teach 7th graders, and teach them math, at that? 7th grade is THE year in a child's school years to truly make that last ditch difference. I have the opportunity to catch that kid that no one else has been able to, to get them excited about learning, engaged in math, and make them a life-long learner. I can change a "I hate math" kid into "Math is so cool, it is in everything we do all day every day" kid just by being excited about what I teach.

Anonymous said...

Why would I want to have multiple perennial flower gardens? I get to plant the seed or young plant, try to give it the right conditions, nurture it and then watch it grow and enjoy its beauty for many years. Hmmm, I think I see some similarities to teaching young children. Must be why I enjoy both so much.

Sarah Stewart said...

Why would I want to be on a virtual reality TV show like Trading Spouses (not a show that meant a lot of strenuous physical activity)? Because I am a drama queen and yearning for fame and fortune!

Anonymous said...

Why would I want to ride my bike?

Most everyone I know had a bicycle at some point in their childhood. Your bike summed up freedom and adventure. Once you had learned to ride it- an accomplishment in and of itself- it was you and you alone who made it move, and you who chose where to go. On your bike, (individualized, most times, with a name, or a basket or streamers or horn or bell or plastic bits on the spokes to click or refract the sunshine), the wide world was even more open to exploration, in a mob or by yourself, with purpose or just fancy free. Being a child of the 80s- and a something of a ‘grup’*- even now, when I throw a pack on my back and set off on some errand, I can’t help but think of the Goonies**, racing away on their bikes to find the Rich Stuff. While we never found quite that much glory (not that we didn’t look), we did discover all sorts of nature’s treasures in odd nooks and wayside puddles; found ruins of the past that made us curious about our world; rode smack into unexpected moments, and love for our community. Chasing the silent magic of hot air balloons overhead. Bones in the gravel, abandoned houses, buying a May basket at the mom and pop down the road, reading in the park. Independence grew from the ground, sparked in the friction of your whirling wheels against the pavement, transferred up from your pedaling feet to your child heart- anything you wished to do, you could do. The simple self-suffiency of riding to the store with loose change from the sidewalk to get yourself some candy, picking dandelions from cracks in the pavement, returning home sunburnt for dinner.

And someone, probably, and probably someone you loved, gave you that bike, and taught you to ride, releasing this taste of freedom in you, and allowing you to chase it. And, probably, that’s the someone who you retuned home to, in the gloaming.

And the feeling of riding your bike. The melding of machines, your body and your bike working in harmony to go go go. Fast or slow, forgetting that you’re riding at all and you feel like you’re floating, or remembering and doing cool jumps, graceful swoops. The burning in your legs up the hill, the exhilaration of coasting down, your lungs filled with rushing wind and your skin tingling with the sensation of soaring. Alert and dreaming, in sunny skies or gray, racing by the houses and trees or stopping to search out a singing bird in the branches. Your back hot and sweaty with lunch in a pack on your back, and a good book, looking for a sunny spot to think, or on your way to work, or to name the wildflowers to yourself, or to see a friend, smelling the clean breeze and the spicy weeds and the sweet lake water, hearing the insects buzz as the sun blazed down, feeling the wind of cars rushing past, dinosaur growls from their fossil fueled engines.

Last spring my (now) husband bought me a bike.

I began taking little rides in the morning, getting up early to birdsong, finding the flowering trees of the neighborhood, seeing deer in the park, buying groceries for dinner. I picked up a free bike trail map. On the weekends I’d plan little adventures, everything I needed in a snail shell on my back: book, phone, scraps of paper and pen, lunch and my camera. Keep your overhead low, as Kerouac said. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but tire marks. Spring, Summer, Autumn, I rode every extremity of the trail, which spans seven towns. Three I’ve lived in, one I work in, one I was married in, one I hike in, and all I got to know better.

It’s a funny thing, to find yourself living in the same town that you were born and raised in. Everywhere you go your memories wave at you. And sometimes you’ve grown so accustomed to what surrounds you that you’ve become blind to its delights. On my bike, I made friends with home.

Saturday mornings I had a little routine around town. Farmer’s market, starting first with the coffee man, who’d hand me a little cup black and sell me another sack of coffee, so good that I went through it in exactly one week. Then veggies galore by the season, and maybe a sunflower from the flower lady, who provided the bouquets for our wedding, and wildflowers at the tables. Then the bookstore, the library; maybe a museum exhibit, peach champagne from the new wine store, grocery shopping, a yard sale around the corner. I’d run into people, meet people, come across little shops tucked onto streets I’d never been down. Read the historical markers that blur from the car. Asked a farmer how to prepare a beet, discussed violence in the schools at the thrift store, heard about a good book I’d like.

I began to search out local events, find places I’d like to visit, things I’d like to try. I started thinking of the local spots and people as friends, no need for reciprocation. I saw garbage on the trails and grew my own sense of conservationism, weaned myself off plastic bags and unnecessary waste. I grew some pride in my community. I learned that I had stamina. Off my bike, I started hiking with my sister (in law) and loved it; we’ve joined a mountain club and are off on all sorts of adventures now! Assumptions about my own limitations fell off, not to make too cute an analogy, like training wheels. I lost a little shyness, and I learned to love feeling like a creature, dirty and sweaty and wheeling my way down an old canal towline, taking lots of pictures, looking up the history online when I returned home, checking out books from the library about our little patch of world.

When Husband wasn’t working we’d sometimes take bike rides together. We’d explore dirt paths, and find new launch sites to try in our canoe, and fly his toy helicopter, or swim in the public pool. Last autumn we rode our bikes to the little airport to see the hot air balloons going up. Down a big hill, in twilight, suddenly there was a strawberry floating by overhead.

Last summer I often rode my bike to some quiet spot, to think, and work on wedding planning- or, better, to not think or wedding plan at all. On a solo journey to a new avenue of the bike trail that Husband had told me about, I suddenly recognized where I was: riding past the backyard of the house I’d grown up in. The past and present seemed to hum in alignment- here I was, on my bike, and twenty years ago here I was, on my bike. The intervening years flashed by, I saw all sorts of interweavings and funny coinici, which brought me to the conclusion that, simply, in a nutshell, being grown up is the bee’s knees. And life’s been very good to me.

A few weekends ago Husband and I rode our bikes down that path together, to a big park that is my favorite destination, a beautiful place with a fascinating history. We sat on the benches and shared a sandwich and I mentioned to him that there was a cleanup of the bike trail scheduled, and asked if he’d volunteer with me. Afterwards we went and visited the letterbox hidden in the park. I updated my last entry- which I’d made one week before our wedding.

This weekend, in honor of Earth Day, me and Husband got up bright and early and registered to help with the trail cleanup. It just so happened that we were assigned to that park- and began our work at the benches we’d been sitting on when I mentioned the idea. 6 hours and 16 bags of leaves latter, we’d grown blisters, sunburns, new friends, new plans, and came home feeling good and filthy dirty. I’m pretty sure that I have the best husband in the world.

All this and more came from the bike my husband bought me, that my parents taught me to ride way back.

Why would I want to ride my bike? Hop on one and you’ll know!!

“…Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?
Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then - open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.”

-Mary Oliver, ‘Such Singing in the Wild Branches’, from Owl and Other Fantasies


Posted by Daughter of Diane

Ann Oro said...

Why would I want to buy another book? How else could I turn new ideas over in my head, challenge my thoughts, or lose myself in another world. I could go to the public library, but I love revisiting books at a moments notice. It has also carried over into my children's love of books. What better gift to give my children than a life long love of reading.

Anonymous said...

Why would you want to comment on this post?

It's an interesting thought exercise.

Lionel Valdellon said...

Why would I want to engage in small talk with people I barely know?

Because it's polite. Especially if someone else fired the first pleasantry.

A Keeper's Jackpot said...

Why would I want to fix it myself if I could pay someone to fix it for me?

Because I just saved at least $50 from a plumber visit and I have a feeling of accomplishment.

Besides, what wife wouldn't want to brag to her husband when he comes home that she replaced the faucet head and now the kitchen sink doesn't leak anymore. I can't take all the credit, though, I followed some advice from son-in-law of Diane :-)

Slowly we are becoming competent home owners...

Anonymous said...

Why would I want to be a teacher union activist? I devote my time to uphold our profession, to reclaim some of the dignity and respect that seems to have been lost in the public's mind. I represent teachers' interests for fair compensation for the work that is required of us. It is only right to pay teacher's a competitive salary if you are going to attract future leaders to the profession. I work for the union, because I NEVER believed the tired old adage "Those that can do, those that can't.....".
I have spent long hours negotiating a collective bargaining agreement that would be the best contract we could get for our Association. I have spent MORE hours defending that agreement through the grievance process. I have helped other teachers feel protected and empowered. We are the profession of unparalleled importance. We are educators.

Anonymous said...

@PeterRock - Why would I want to comment here? Because I read all the time and I never respond!

Anonymous said...

@PeterRock - Why would I want to comment here? Because I read all the time and I never respond!