living. loving. laughing.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

a room with a view

I wish you could see the view from my room. It's breathtaking. I've been in Florida for the past week and a half, the first five days of which were at Young Life's ASC - All Staff Conference. it was a mass of 3500 staffers + some significant others all rolled into one big mass at the Marriott in Orlando. It was exhilarating and exciting and exhausting all at the same time... I saw many staff friends from WA, and...it....was...good. I played mostly with my Bay Area peeps and continued to feel right at home, even in the midst of the cattle herding crowds.

so now I find myself in Daytona Beach, land of the slightly white trash "top two spring break destinations!" beach town; the hotel we're staying at was halfway destroyed in the hurricane two years, and one can continue to feel the effects of such devastation and recovery, all at the same time. We've been here in area director training, and this is what it feels like:

I used to assign my students a fatty research paper their junior year; it was molded after my own high school research paper experience, and it was intense. "Hated" was a daily word of the kids in their vocabularies towards me. One of the initial projects they had to do upon gathering information was compile 100 note cards, each with a separate citation on it. So here these cards from their five or six different sources would be put together, and between slit-eyes, they'd start to build up their bundle of paper. Soon the stack would be completed, and then the "fun" would begin: they'd have to start organizing the information they'd received.

They'd take their cards, and lay them out on the table in front of them, and start grouping and color-coding them together. And eventually they'd begin to see the different sections of their paper come together, with main paragraphs and sub-points and everything in between; at that point, they'd be able to "plug" the cards into their rough draft, and "hey, the beauty is that your paper is virtually written now!" I gleefully say to them. But of course that would only - again - be part of the process, and the outline would turn into a final outline. And then a first draft, and a second draft, and a final draft edited by another teacher, until it was time for the final draft production (including all previous drafts, and of course, the note cards).

So that's where I'm at: I've got all my note cards in front of me. And there is SO much information - great information! - at my finger tips, but frankly, I don't even know where to begin. In this job, I don't know where or how I should lay my cards out, or how I should color code them, but the cards are there, and the nerdy English teacher passion to start "writing" the paper is present as well. But it's daunting! And what if it doesn't work? And what if my first draft is rejected or isn't turned in on time? what if I disappoint? What if I fail? ...

And these questions, regardless of whether they're aimed at an 11th grade American Lit class, or a Young Life area, can be daunting and can eat us up, to the point that we just sit there, and do nothing...

The choice is in front of me.

And it's real.

And I know that in the midst of this, as one of my cheesy - but witty - friends said that I have the best "graders" one could ask for. I already got the A.

But sometimes I'd just rather watch TLC.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh how I can relate...Grapes of Wrath term paper as a college freshman...book read...notes in head...and I froze. In my case, the pape was 3 days late and graded accordingly...ouch! Daunting to say the least. Muddah

Anonymous said...

Oh how I LOVE TLC! :) However, today, I decided to read a great book instead of making decisions about my life.... there are so many easy ways to avoid making those darn decisions and taking the first few scary steps! I am glad I remembered to come back and re-read this blog... the timing is impeccable! Love you, Hobbit!! :) your greenlake roomie - J.