Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The day before the last day

It is June, approaching midnight, and I am at home with the curtains drawn and all I hear is howling rain outside my window, and I am certain there was a flash of lightening earlier. It is June... I know where I would rather be. On the balcony in Barcelona to be exact. But I am not there just yet, and I do have a few more things to get through before I can take some time for myself. But instead I am posting a blog - I wanted to post about last week but it turns out that what I'm going to write is really a flow of consciousness which may or may not make sense at the end. It usually works out, so here goes...

June is the month my students take their final exams and I finish my course, and I go back to Spain to take my 'writing break'. This break in which I plan to write my final assignment and begin my research (and to think about the grand purpose of my life) has now expanded it's purpose naturally. Now it has turned into an adventure of potential mountain retreats, mountain trecks, exploring more beaches, and visits from some wonderful human beings. But this is ahead - I must not while time away when what I have is right now is not something I want to wish away; the rain and sounds and the fact that tomorrow I will be waking up to the end of a quite spectacular era.

This past weekend has gone in a blur of pain killers and many attempts at 'feeling better'... yoga, walking, juices, wine, tea, coffee, sleep, friends, isolation... Not much has worked, so today I have chosen the alternative which was just to attempt to 'crack on'. I have completed an essay in record timing - a grand total of three days (really only today) have been spent on this assignment and now it is all printed and ready to be submitted tomorrow (the penultimate assignment of my course). I have to say, I felt a huge wave of emotion when it was finally printed and I realised that what acted as a buffer was no longer there - tomorrow is indeed the day. There is now nothing standing in my way between this evening and tomorrow morning apart from a few hours of sleep.

There was something quite freeing about writing this assignment once I got into the flow of it. I realised that I found the joy in it because my voice was in it. I hate having to tell my psychology students not to write 'I think...' at the end of their essays because 'the examiners don't want to know what you think'. I really hate having to say words of that nature because I question the integrity of our teaching and the integrity and philosophy of education as a whole. If we do not teach students to have a mind of their own, to use their own thoughts to create something wonderful and new, then what on earth are we teaching them at all? If we don't support the expression of that and create a space in which new perspectives and ideas are welcomed rather than shut out, I do truly wonder what the purpose of a classroom is at all... This was not intended to be a rant about the education system, but it does have a significant place in my life. I am a tutor and a mentor, both in full time and higher education. But I am also a student, at least for one more day! Part of the way I tutor is to encourage students to consider their own perspectives as I believe this is how they often learn best. Theory becomes meaningful then, and it becomes more than words on a piece of paper. Even studies of cognitive information processing and memory capacity and duration suggest that when a memory has a meaning attached, we are more likely to engage and recall that piece of information when needed. So I think it is a great shame - I think it is more than a great shame, that most students must go through an education process of never being told that their thoughts are worthy enough of being written on an examination paper because 'it's not what the examiners want to read'.

This does take me back to my own work; my enjoyment in writing it and the freedom I have found. It may well be rambling words, but at least I have a voice and it had a place on my sheet of paper that I can happily sign my name to. Soon I must get some rest if I have any hope of getting through tomorrow. Tomorrow has a lot of endings in store. It will begin in a civilised manner I suspect, and will gradually progress to the point in which the 'drinking game' will be well and truly raised. I am looking forward to the day with both excitement and sadness. It will be the end of something quite significant, but it will also be a celebration... It is not a secret by now, that I have a true love for Grey's Anatomy. Recently the concept that the 'carousel never stops turning' has been going round in my mind. I think it is true for this too; the carousel really never stops turning. I wish I could pause it just for a little while this evening. Just to take stock and pause time before tomorrow happens. I am not sure I am ready, but then nothing I do (really nothing I do) will stop the clock from turning. It must keep moving and we must move with it. Fighting against it only means we fall of and get left behind. So onwards I go - keeping on keeping on.

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