Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Keeping up. LOL ;-)

I stood in front of the photocopier.

Sorry, I'll start again.

I stood in the queue in front of the photocopier.

Sorry, I'll start again.

I stood in the queue for the photocopier, looking at my watch.

As time goes by.

I might have spent my time learning a new song, practising origami, watching a Humphrey Bogart movie, going for a walk with the kids...

Nope, I was "stuck in a queue" for the photocopier.

With every second passed, my stress level went up.

With every minute passed, my anger level went up.

Hatred is such a destructive emotion.

A triumphant teaching tenant of the photocopier was holding a large ream of copied paper.

The teacher in front of me was also clearly in a hurry

"Do you have many more copies to make? I have a class in five minutes?"

The TTT (triumphant teaching tenant) launched another 40 copies with nonchalance, gave a large smile, waltzed past the desperate queue of professional copiers off into the teacher's room.


As life is short, I made two promises to myself:

  1. Search before death all means to eliminate all aspects of my life which I hated.
  2. Search before death all means to amplify all aspects of my life which I loved.
Photocopying, came pretty high up on my 'hate list'.  I stopped all photocopying in 2009.

Meeting new colleagues with whom I could have fun teaching was high up on my 'would love to' list.


As I worked using these two simple principles, extraordinary things started to happen.

  1. I was loving teaching as never before.
  2. I was experiencing less and less frustration doing what I loved.

At the begining of 2014 things were going too fast. I decided to slow down.

Trying to build a community can take a lot out of you, I decided to concentrate on having fun. 

I joined Dave Cormier's Rhizomatic Learning Course #rhizo14 for fun. 

The irony of what happened has not escaped me. 

Rather than slowing down my learning, my learning accelerated. 

Rather than having less time to do things, I was finding I had more time to do things. 

I joined #clmooc for fun. 

The irony of what happened has not escaped me. 

Rather than blogging, (I was tired with blogging), I spent my time doing drawing. 

Rather than feeling under pressure, I felt rejuvenated.

I joined Connected Courses for fun. 

The irony of what has happened has not escaped me. 

Rather than learning from #ccourses to develop #clavier, I am beginning to understand that #clavier and #ccourses and #ds106 and the whole caboosh is actually the same thing.

(time to go and buy an ice-cream, look out the window, whatever)

Instant Karma

Back to class.

I arrived in class to find our partner librarians ready to teach our students. 

I had forgotten about the pleasure of this part of our year. 

After the intensity of the start-up for the year, they come into our classes and give us a break and help our students with developing information literacy. 

I was able to take time, to chill out.  

I read Tania Sheko's post 'The art of slowing down.'

I commented leisurely on Tania's post.

I wandered out of the classroom into the nature on the campus. 

I felt the warmth of the Indian Summer on my back, I sat down on the grass.  

My attention was taken by the beauty of the wild flowers and a dandelion swaying in a light breeze. 

I imagined the plateau without the concrete. It must have been a beautiful place for a picnic... before they stuck a concrete university here.

Breakfast with Teresa

Today we were having synchronised breakfast with our partners in Warwick University. 

I chatted with my friend Teresa Mackinnon, that was nice.

It was lovely to smell the toast in a university classroom.  

I love the smell of toast.

Some of the students were busy working out how to extend our CLAVIER networking to all students on the campus. 

I showed them what to do. 

They then went and did a marvellous job, networking for themselves.

As they were busy, I scrolled a little on my Twitter stream for #ccourses,

There was a tweet from Maha Bali about how she wanted to keep up.

There are so many things going on, there is a temptation to feel that one must keep up.

I sent her a gif. 

Go Maha Go!

It helped me to write this post. 

She favourited the tweet. Clarissa favourited the tweet.

Maha replied with a  LOL tweet.

Keeping up.

I remember a few years ago that I had so much energy, I was running up and down mountains. 

I went beyond my physical limits because I had so much energy. 

I was euphoric, I didn't feel the pain.  

The knee injury slowed me down.

There is that adrenaline rush or maybe a dopamine rush which we get when we are caught up in an exciting movement. 

It is rather the opposite of that non-feeling of being undead one can get when one looks at one's watch every two minutes to see when the working day will be finished.


Imagine for a moment all the beautiful people who are doing exciting things at this moment somewhere in the world. 

Imagine for a moment all the sad people who are doing horrible things at this moment somewhere in the world.


There is a beautiful dandelion blowing in the wind.

It is within touching distance. 

Sit down, look, study its complex form.

Seeds in the wind

Each seed may be carried far by the wind.

Each seed may become a beautiful yellow dandelion lighting up a meadow.

Maha, Teresa, Tania and Clarissa et al, you are a beautiful dandelion lighting up a meadow.

Thanks for the inspiration.


  1. Some of my favourite lines #1: The irony of what happened has not escaped me.
    Rather than slowing down my learning, my learning accelerated.
    Rather than having less time to do things, I was finding I had more time to do things.

    We do move back and forth through time just like your writing - reading and commenting in real time, thinking a bit later about things read earlier, thinking about a new post and older post simultaneously, melding post reflections and projecting into the future.
    Thank you, Simon.

    1. Thank you. That reminds me of a remark I made - I am not only 52, I am also all the ages before.

  2. Simon, I am finding that I now search for your posts. They are inspiring and insightful. You may never now how timely this one is for me. I just traveled to Michigan today from California, stressed because the travel day would make me "behind" in everything. Instead, I read on the plane. For pleasure. It was lovely.

    And now I'm reading blogs on Connected Courses and I'm reminded that this work we does't suck. It's pretty awesome in fact.

    Thank you for the creative and thoughtful insights.

    1. Hi Kim many of us suffer from feelîng behind, under a pile of stuff, when there are real crises, or real passions - our relatiôn with time changes. I think I learnt a lot from analysis, acting, and aikido about being in the moment. I think much of schoolîng is about stressing kids with that feelîng they must work to an unnatural rhythm.

      I am very pleased the dandeliôn travelled so far away from the campus meadow :-) bon courage for the day.

  3. Reading this post of yours is so much comforting.. As I read through, I thought, how much better you way of dealing with 'not being able to keep up' is. In my post, I said, I was not bothering to keep up, but, when I read your post, I see clearly that this is how you will feel when you are really not bothered about it. And, I realize, I am still bothered, and my post reflects that, doesn't it? :-) I guess, I will have to learn to enjoy the passing moment as much as you seem to be able to do well.. I am so glad that you mentioned this post, I had missed to read this.. I guess, now, this is the reason why I am bothered about not being able to keep up, missing to notice such nice posts and shares..

    1. Thanks Aparna. We will be around for a long time yet he hopes :-) If you want to connect your students now to others around the world - tell me!