Psst. Whatcha doin’?

Halfway through my breakfast, it happens.

Between the sleepy household sounds of my kids giggling in the basement, my wife shuffling around in the other room, I get a pulse off of a memory. Unprovoked. Unannounced.

And like the surprisingly disturbing realization that a sleepy hand added salt instead of sugar into my coffee, the thoughts were a bit distasteful.

With an ungrateful sigh, I can’t help but throw some shade on my #teacherbrain for calling me out. But just like a willing student, I connect anyways.

It’s the tone that gets me, a sort of AM radio turned down low, starting just on the outside of my awareness and edges into my nerves. The funny thing is, I am nowhere near school thoughts. I’m lounging in the fuzzy field of ‘what day is it?’ playing with butterflies and dandelions. So, this shout out has me tripping on memories that are anachronistically untethered from any reality. Part dream. Part lived experience. Part ‘I need another coffee. ’ type of kaleidoscopic #thoughtfuel. Still I know the message that will appear in one or two more cursor blips.

A voice, maybe mine, taps out ‘time to start prepping…’

When you leave the class, how long does it take for the class to leave you?

And despite the dusty pile of June classroom artifacts still sitting in my office, with their desire to be reshelved, organized, recognized, and respected – their attention has gone unrequited. Denied. Ignored.

Until now.

Whether being a teacher is 24/7 or 9to5 job, I can’t really claim affiliation with either camp. Sipping tea on the porch with ‘always on’ teachers gets draining pretty quickly. With everything as a teachable, makeable, codeable, learnable moment, when is my coasting downtime? Absorption time? And having coffee with the 9to5’ers can get me feeling a bit self-loathing – sans cottage or major travel plans or hot yoga retreats to speak of.

What now?

For now, I am missing the middle ground where I was sitting 5 minutes ago, just happy, being. Truth is, I have a mound of prep to do. So with my chill stolen and my mindset slightly ratcheted I send my first email of the school year.


Prep on Medium.

goofy foot

My brain is not working as I’d like it.

And the fact that it feels like my OS has been changed, kinda rattles me a bit.

First, I gotta go a year back …

S’funny soon after I posted this video, I fell and broke my shoulder. I wasn’t even skateboarding at that point, I was walking back to my vehicle, slipped, and fell backwards with board in hand. Later that week X-rays agreed with the purple and yellow stormy bruising around my left bicep that a bone was broken.

This in itself was definitely a hassle; 6 to 8 weeks in a compression sling, then physio after that. But the bigger hurt was a bit more invisible — the fear was the wall that kept me off my board, long after I had healed, until now.

Last Friday, I got back onto my longboard and realized that I had forgotten how to ride it. The mind blowing part to this is that I noticed I wasn’t sure of what to do, while I was doing it.

The park trail that I chose could not have been a better setting for a dissociative break from reality. The weather was clear and breezy, the trail was smooth and paved well. And there was very little traffic. All factors that make up perfect conditions to go for a ride.

And I gotta be honest, I had major anxious flutters as I pushed off for the first time, again. And even though my previous injury did not happen on the board, the memories of falling and the painful reality of dealing with my breakage really killed my vibe.

But I pushed off and moved slow.

The moment played out like this — I started pedalling and found it really difficult to keep my foot steady on the board. My foot felt squirrely and that kept making the board turn left and right. This made me stutter step a lot, I couldn’t get any long pushes because it seemed like at every moment I was going to do the splits in every possible 180º of direction.

Also, the feel of the board under my foot seemed, as best as I can describe, alien.

Regardless, I grabbed some video and posted it to Twitter to share my ‘back-at-it-ness’. Maybe, also to celebrate a bit.

After 5 minutes I had to hop off the board to cross a bridge. The bridge had sizeable gaps between its wooden runners so I thought it best to travel on foot across it.

At the other side of the bridge, I got back on my board and carried on with my ride. But it felt different again. My balance was settled and my board was agreeing with my direction.

Now it might not seem so profound from the outside, but this forgetting has got me really dissecting some personal intersections like my age, my profession, my beliefs around my self-image, my physical health, my learning tools, and my capacity to learn new things in new ways.

So remembering my game tape from June 2017, I decided to check out my skateboard video I posted last year. I noticed immediately that in the video I was riding with my left foot forward, in my Tweet the right foot was forward. A simple mistake sure, but I didn’t notice it while I was riding. I just knew that it was not comfortable and then suddenly it was.

In not noticing, I pushed through with the activity. The distraction of paying too much attention seems to have kept me from falling into patterns of behaviour. Riding the board felt familiar and new at the same time.

I have always been ‘left foot forward’ on both my skateboard and snowboard, the fact that I did not notice that I switched is no big deal in the big picture. Honestly, there are benefits to riding regular and goofy when needed. Me not noticing the signals that I was doing something different … well that is interesting to me.

It is likely that I will continue to do what’s comfortable and ride regular, but I can’t entirely let go of the thoughtfuel that has leaked out of this moment.

Was fear actually a positive distraction that allowed me to learn a new task?

How does forgetting help me learn new skills?

Is fear also a motivator and a muse?

What other dimensions of learning have changed for me?

What types of tasks do I need to encounter in order to see the edges of my learning style?

It goes without saying that in EDU, the phrase lifelong learner is bounced about often. I am not sure if I have come across a post that examines the process, challenges, and changes -longitudinally in depth. I assumed up to this point that the skills I have honed as a learner and educator were static and reliable.

Now I am not so sure.



What if this is true..?

Alleyne says that in the “culture of being a man,” there’s little room for authentic conversations and connections, because there’s such a fear of looking weak or being judged, or else concerned they’ll say or do the wrong thing.



For boys, empathy can go a long way