By Patricia A. Schmidt
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Additional info for Beginning in Retrospect: Writing and Reading a Teacher's Life
This time she stared and reached out to the empty air. " This time the sprite thought seriously about the offer. She remembered that the wise old woman loved Page 9 her, but something, some doubt, some new sense of fear stopped her from going. Time passed as it always does. Years passed. The sprite grew and grew and grew up. Now she was a woman. And this young woman married. One day as she gardened in the sun in her yard, she noticed the sun was going behind the hills and the colors on the horizon became brilliant, and she knew.
From writing this book, though, I have learned that this fear I have struggled with has been there much longer. I've had to ask, Was this fear always there in me, latent, waiting only to be awakened by the sleeping python of the teaching life? " That image and those words are powerful, for during many of the 17 years that I taught high school English I was that chicken perched at the top of the cage, frozen in fear, awaiting imminent death, waiting to be swallowed by the sleeping python, my school, my marriage, my family.
Each moment we live is gone except in memory. However, we can write and read them and learn from them. I keep journals, teaching journals, reading journals, life journals. They are in one notebook these days, for I tired of trying to juggle the parts and began to view the teaching life and my life as a whole life. So the various parts are together in one journal and I critically reflect on life and teaching regularly. This process is a way of being. Just last year I wrote this story. I particularly like this story, for it is a story of hope.