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Category: Writing

Unstuck Life

- Dreaming about the only life I ever wanted - #silverfalls #silverfallsstat

It seems my life is full of lists: groceries, meetings, projects, goals. I plot the points on a plane, hoping someday to transcend this two-dimensional existence. I dream and plan and strategize the use of time and money. I try to jump off the page — to fly — but I have no wings. What is it like to lead an unstuck life? Will I ever know? And yet I push, let go of possessions, chase away old friends, throw overboard the ballast of grounded living.

I have many admirers.

If they only knew.

My so-called courage is little more than desperation to escape the stifling expectations of a 9-to-5 world.

From whence comes freedom? I do not know. This journey I’ve set upon seems little more than random rambling, shuffling steps in the dark, feeling along the walls, stubbing toe on bookcases and nightstands. I’m searching for an exit. I have faith it can be found, refuse to consider

that it might not exist.

I try to jump off the page — to fly — but I have no wings.

Kindergarten Colors

A friend of mine teaches kindergarten at a local elementary. She asked me to come volunteer in her classroom. I thought about saying no but realized this could be an incredible opportunity to shape future followers of “The Muhr.” So I agreed. My assignment: Supervise four students, who have trouble completing work.

Dane, Courtney, Sierra and Demi sat at my table with pictures of a goose and her eggs.

Sierra didn’t color the pictures because she got stuck while titling the page with her name. The S wasn’t good enough, so she drew and erased it at least six times. Then she had to fix the A because it looked too much like a Q. Then she arranged her crayons in her crayon box. But they didn’t look right, so she found a paper cup. But they kept tipping over, so she put them back in her box. Then she quizzed the other students to see if any of them could guess her favorite color. Turns out it was a trick question. She likes all of them best.

Demi couldn’t arrange her crayons because they were broken. “That’s so I can share them,” she explained, taking time to tell me which students in the class had used each one. Her favorite color was blue or black or purple. But she colored the goose’s eggs red “because they’re really hot.” The teacher reminded Demi that she needed to color the entire picture. But Demi couldn’t find a white crayon “for all the snow,” so she had to leave it uncolored.

Dane made the goose brown and the nest green and the sky black “because it’s night out.” He refused to color the mouse “because he’s dumb.” And the dragonfly didn’t get a color “because he bites people.” In between coloring, Dane talked about Demi: “She won’t leave me alone. I need my space.” And his mom: “My pants have a hole. She should patch them.” And his progress: “I never finish my work.”

Meanwhile, Courtney was quiet. She finished early.

Then she quizzed the other students to see if any of them could guess her favorite color. Turns out it was a trick question. She likes all of them best.

Data Collection

Looking back on my trip to #SilverCityID. The Silver City schoolhouse. (http

I volunteered just over a month ago to help the local school district revamp its writing curriculum. They needed a community member and originally asked the editor of the daily newspaper. She couldn’t do it but recommended me. I didn’t have anyone to recommend, so I said yes.

At today’s meeting, the discussion circled around the topic of data collection for close to 30 minutes. How do we find out what teachers are teaching? How do we find out what kids know and don’t know? How do we find out what schools need? It could have gone on forever.

A wise teacher pinned down the problem and brought the conversation back to earth with this insight: “No matter how much data we collect, we’re going to discover what we already know: The elementary schools don’t give teachers enough time to teach writing, and instruction at the secondary schools aims too low.”

We should have applauded the lady for getting us out of that mess of a conversation. Instead, we quietly agreed and moved on to the next topic.

No matter how much data we collect, we’re going to discover what we already know

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