Transitions Again!


The school year is winding down! Professional development on Friday and Victoria Day week-end signal that another change is in the air. Working this year has been given me an opportunity to learn from and teach another cohort of children. I especially enjoy a group of kindergarten children who are always asking questions. Inquiry-based learning is one of the current catchphrases but in my opinion, all learning has to come from a child's natural curiosity.

from the rooftop of Oaxaca Learning Center

What is in store for next year, I really don't know. My job was posted this morning in the first round but I can't apply since I'm on an interim contract. I really missed my extended time away this year so perhaps a position on the limited substitute list is in the future. Retired teachers are called after all qualified regular substitutes have been exhausted. It is possible to book off for travel with no repercussions. It seems the a teacher shortage will continue especially in the fields of Library and French Immersion.

Going forward into my "older" years, I'm not certain where the path will lead. The several months that I used to spend in Europe have become very expensive. I'm not so much a traveller as a person who wants to "try out different homes." Since my husband is a homebody, costly extended absences
seem unfair. I enjoy the Oaxaca visits and I have been accepted by the library community there so I probably will continue to visit.

from a children's bookstore in the 6th arrondissement Paris

Last week, I started a faith-based discussion group called Living the Questions. I am learning about theology and the role of religion in the 21st century. I'm unsure in my beliefs but we are discussing uncertainty and the means that people use to avoid it. In humankind's efforts to avoid uncertainty, are we promoting intolerance and global disharmony?

I've taken on more garden areas in our complex. As our monthly strata payments and levies are being used to upgrade structures, our 26 acres are becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain. Lawns are cut and large bushes and trees trimmed but weeding and planting are left to an ever diminishing group of volunteers. I'm still working with parking lot gardens and I'm committed to mostly perennial, low-cost, drought resistant plantings.

peony in Apple Greene Park

Book club tonight! It's The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I've read it twice and I find it disturbing. The shift from historical fiction to fantasy is unsettling as well. The novel is well-written but I hope we'll read something a little lighter for next month.

a disturbing read

This week, my two favourite children's books are Gaudi, Building on Nature by Rachel Rodriguez and illustrated by Julie Paschkis, who I met at a cooking class in Oaxaca.
Teaching gives me a chance to share my travel experiences.

My second is Through Georgia's Eyes by the same team. I shared both of these books frequently before I retired but my Oaxaca bonus this year was meeting Julie Paschkis, who lives in Seattle and whose illustrations have delighted me for years.

This book brings back memories of a New Mexico road trip.

But my lifetime favourite is Miss Rumphius.
After a time of travel, Miss Rumphius came home, planted lupines and told stories to children. Miss Rumphius,  has always seemed to me to be a guidebook for navigating life as a solo traveller.

illustration by Barbara Cooney from Miss Rumphius (SLJ School Library Journal)


  1. This is a post with much to comment on, but what will really stick with me is this sentence: "In humankind's efforts to avoid uncertainty, are we promoting intolerance and global disharmony?" Yes!! So important to think about. I've long held as a motto the command to "Embrace Complexity" -- which I think goes hand-in-hand with accepting uncertainty. Insisting on eradication of uncertainty seems to mean totalization, and we should know by now the dangers that accompany totalizing systems. . .

    1. Why are we so determined to uphold our views at the expense of future generations? Totalitarianism can not lead to peace. We have to accept that life is more complex than we can understand. As thinking people, it is our responsibility to learn to "get along with others".

  2. I like the Voltaire quote: Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one. The last picture of Miss Rumphius reading to children is delightful. So many wonderful illustrations in children's books.

    1. I love that Miss Rumphius picture. Uncertainty is indeed uncomfortable. However, we need uncertainty to grow.

    2. I've missed this post somehow? I usually get an email telling me you have posted and it did not arrive? Have you changed any of the blog settings?

    3. That's strange! I haven't changed anything. I usually get an e-mail when you post a new blog.

  3. Oh, Miss Rumphius. Years ago, I hosted a televised reading show for my school district. It aired through west Texas, southeastern New Mexico and northern Mexico. One of the books I featured early on was Miss Rumphius. I imagined myself growing old and strewing wildflower seeds wherever I went. Seems I have grown old(er) but haven't begun my random 'planting'. Maybe I will!!
    I signed up to sub in the school libraries again next year but haven't been called to work since mid-fall this school year. Missed that extra money and being with children and books. So wish I could just find a job, a few hours a week, that would give me extra money and enable me to do what I have always loved.

  4. Oh I do hope the right teaching position happens for you. And I'm so glad to see these children's books suggestions as I'm needing ideas for my granddaughter's 6th birthday coming up soon. I've made a note of them and will see if they're age appropriate. I hope Through Georgia's Eyes is as she was so important to my artist daughter-in-law.

    I have never done any traveling but I do so enjoy experiencing it through blog friends!


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