Remembering a Very Special Teacher

Remembering a very special teacher emerged as I started thinking about my scholastic experience. There were ups and downs, but a few teachers really stand out. Today I’m going to tell you about my English teacher from high school, Miss Barbara Clark.

Remembering a Very Special Teacher

First Impressions Aren’t Everything

She certainly looked different than my previous teachers. Her dress was more sophisticated and her size couldn’t be ignored that first day of school over 50 years ago. Yet soon, her words and her smile were all I noticed. As a serious student, I appreciated her innovation. Rather than face the prospect of boring Beowulf in senior English literature, she convinced the curriculum coordinator to offer specialized classes. I quickly signed up for Creative Writing, Humanities, and Contemporary Authors.

Innovation Offered Me a Keen Interest

Remembering a very special teacherAlthough prior to AP classes, these college prep class choices were probably more fun. Can you imagine receiving a grade for reading your favorite author and writing an essay? I chose Ray Bradbury. Although there was a requirement for the number of books or short stories to read, I easily exceeded it as I read all I could find in the school library and the city library within the time period prior to composing my report.

And Miss Clark took us on field trips in Humanities. Architecture as art was the subject of a trip to Tampa, Florida. She opened our minds and hearts to the hidden significance of a rose window in an historic Episcopal church, pointing out other stained glass art as a method to teach scripture to parishioners during the Middle Ages. The knowledge I acquired in her classes enabled me to ace tests for college credit at Polk Community College (Polk State College now) in both Humanities and English.

Sometimes it Takes Time to Bear Fruit

Creative Writing was my first experience with the concept of the power of words. It sparked a hidden talent that smoldered until I found my voice in Julie Colvin’s May 2015 Wellness and Writing Retreat in Sedona, AZ forty-four years later. An exploration of my published works will give you more insight into my life journey between these writing experiences.

While augmenting my memory with research for today’s article, I found another student who admired Miss Clark, Wendi Wooddell. Wendi graduated nearly a decade later than I. She also went on to college where she chose journalism as a way to feed her love of literature. However, when Wendi graduated, the State of Florida was begging for teachers. Although teaching was not her expectation, Wendi applied for an English teacher vacancy at Winter Haven High School. Since she didn’t have any teaching classes during college, she went through her stash of handouts from Miss Clark to plan that first year as a teacher. As her knowledge of teaching increased, Wendi continued to use her stash of gold from Miss Clark, further validated through professional education and district in-service classes.

Excellence Fosters More Excellence

Wendi went on to excel during her 33-yr career at WHHS. Like Miss Clark had in 1991, Wendi also was awarded the English Teacher of the Year by the Florida Council of Teachers of English in 2010. That led to her receiving the Polk County Teacher of the Year, also in 2010. Finally, in 2011, she received a National Teacher of Excellence Award from the National Council on Teachers of English. In contrast, Wendi felt her highest honor came during her retirement party in 2016 when Winter Haven High School named a building after her.

And Your Favorite Teacher?

These are just two stories of the positive impact Miss Barbara Clark had on her students. How many more examples are out there? I’d love to hear about your remembering a very special teacher in the comments below.

Love from a life-long learner,
Dawn

Three Tips on Finding Your Values

There are many, but today I’m sharing three tips on finding your values. This step is crucial to living a fulfilled life. For me, I had vague ideas on what was most important to me.

The Three Tips

  1. Understand the concept of values
  2. Explore your personal values
  3. Hone in on your top three to five values

What Are Values Exactly?

I want to be clear, I’m talking about personal values that serve as the basis for our goals toward achieving fulfillment and ultimately our life purpose. This article on Physiopedia.com is an in-depth explanation of personal values and beliefs.

Furthermore, values are what you feel is important to you.

How Do Values Affect Me?

If your thoughts and actions are in synch with your values, you are happier, that is, you are calm, centered, content.

Conversely, if your thoughts and actions are based on the values of others, you may be anxious, unsettled, jittery. Empaths are often unduly influenced by the values of others. My blog about empaths will help you discover if this is your reality.

How Do I Discover My Values?

Here is a list of values with further hints on using it. Now, let’s get to it!

  • Gather a notepad and pen or pencil
  • Find a quiet place and sit upright
  • Close or soften your gaze
  • Take three slow cleansing breaths
  • Relax your neck and shoulders
  • Sink into your hips and feet
  • Notice how your body feels
  • Slowly open your eyes and start reading each value aloud
  • When a word resonates somewhere in your body, write it down

My Three Values as Example

Here are my values; Honesty, Tranquility, and Purpose

If I follow these values in my thoughts and actions, I’m extremely happy and carefree. It’s fairly easy if I’m alone and in complete control of my environment. Rather, since I don’t live a monastic life alone, I often struggle to live these values.

Let’s see examples where I’m successful:

  • Honesty: I use my love of creative cooking to create a healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free salad for lunch.
  • Tranquility: While caught in Interstate-4 traffic, I tune into the Spa channel on Sirius XM, smile, and calmly allow merging traffic to, well.. merge.
  • Purpose: Quiet morning time is spent meditating and writing my blog.

Now for the opposite:

  • Honesty: Feeling stressed, I open my overhead kitchen cabinet where ‘fun foods’ like wasabi peas and dark chocolate are stored and grab something, stuffing it in my mouth before anyone sees my loss of control.
  • Tranquility: While caught in Interstate-4 traffic, I tune into the 70’s on 7 channel on Sirius XM, pound my palms on my steering column, and switch lanes over and over to ‘get ahead’.
  • Purpose: Quiet morning time is spent checking email, all my social media channels, reading newspaper headlines and getting sucked into someone else’s drama.

Is There a Theme Here?

Absolutely. The theme is self-care. Once I discovered my values, all I needed to do was practice self-care by respecting myself and these values. And yes, I fall off my self-care regimen all the time, forgetting to honor my values. Above all, I start again.

May you explore my three tips on finding your values and use the list of values to discover a calmer way to live with ease.

With honesty, tranquility, and purpose,
Dawn

Three Tips to Imagine the Best World

These three tips to imagine the best world will raise your energy, bringing you closer to your life fulfillment.

Three Tips to Imagine the Best World

  1. Listen and watch the original 1971 video for John Lennon’s, Imagine
  2. Read the lyrics to Imagine
  3. Open your heart

Imagine Synchronicity

Imagine by John Lennon kept entering my space this week. First, there was the song on my favorite SiriusXM Channel, The Bridge, while I was on my stationary bike.

Florida Imagine TagThen, I kept seeing the specialty Florida license tag shown here. I have this tag, but I rarely notice my own tag.

Finally, I clicked on an email from Thrift Books and there it was again. Only this time it was a blog all about John Lennon and the books written about the different periods of his life.

John Lennon was born on October 9 eighty years ago. The song, Imagine, came out in October 1971 when I was just starting college, 49 years ago.

What If?

At the time Imagine was released, the Vietnam War still raged and the world seemed out of control. That sounds a lot like today, different scenarios, similar energy.

What if each person who read this blog took three long breaths, sat in the moment and sent out an intention of love?

What if each of them sent a link to this blog to ten of their friends who read the blog, took three long breaths, sat in the moment and sent out an intention of love?

And so on… Love would fill the lives of each person, touched by this song. Imagine…

An Invitation

I invite you to send a link of this article to ten of your friends. Let’s see what beauty comes from it!

With Love in My Heart,
Dawn