Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Nike slogan and Lent.

A wee story about myself:

At school, I did better in the Humanities subjects and art but was ‘persuaded’ to follow a science path because ‘there would be a better chance of getting a job’, which in reality was true. In my late twenties I had a bit of an early 'mid-life crisis '. I knew I was in the wrong profession and needed to get out of the oil industry, despite the good money I was earning. I did OK in the job I was in and became qualified in electronic engineering and applied physics but the company owned me and I was unhappy.  

There was a ‘creative urge’ inside me that was being ignored. So I turned to self help books to see how I could move from one career to another. The good thing about reading these self help books, which many people mock, was I started to study with the Open University and gained my Honours Arts degree and got out of the oil industry, did a Post Grad Teaching course and eventually got into teaching. 
I became a Principal Teacher and settled into that position, a job I love doing. But I realised I still wasn't satisfying the creative spark inside me that had been snuffed out by guidance teachers and adults who said art was a waste of time and something you can do when you retire. After a Diane Arbus exhibition in Barcelona a few years back, I decided there and then that photography would come back into my life.
The point I’m making here is I became a bit of a self help expert and came to the conclusion that 'Just Do It' is probably one of the best pieces of advice you can give anyone. Stop thinking and start doing - have no worries or fears. Making a complete mess of things was OK as long as you learned from it and progressed. I try to overcome that fear of failure by failing and the only way I can fail and improve is to just get on and try it. Each time I learn from my actions and efforts, my self confidence and self esteem increases (well, most of the time!). 

I still struggle with this approach in some areas of my life, for example doing some DIY around the house like plumbing or car maintenance because the consequences can be a bit messy and costly to put right! However, for Lent 2012, I thought I would try hard to think less and do more. (I'm trying hard not to think about what a bad idea this is because I will probably fail!!) Wish me luck. 

(Above is a picture I took of the Peel of Lumphanan last weekend. The Peel is difficult to photograph because it is hard to isolate the Peel from the surrounding countryside. I thought I had it when I saw the dusting of snow on it and none elsewhere. Sadly, I didn't quite execute this shot as well as I could have - a bit of a failed shot but I know why and learned from it.)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

When the teacher 'gets' his own lesson!

Last week I was teaching a Religious Education lesson (that’s another story) about worship. To get the pupils thinking, I drew a flower growing from its roots underneath. I asked them to think about their hobbies or what they are passionate about. Then I got them to think of all the outward signs of their hobby, e.g. photography would be a camera, a bag, going to places of interest, taking pictures, processing pictures, printing pictures,etc. and place these around the flower. Next, I got them to consider the more ‘inward’ signs of participating in their passion, e.g. happiness, relaxation, self-confidence, de-stressed, at peace, excited, etc. These were placed around the roots. 
The pupils got it immediately - they could see how one feeds the other. If they couldn’t do their hobby then they felt unhappy, frustrated and stressed. Likewise, if they were unhappy or stressed or lacking in self esteem, then they tended not to perform their hobby very well. 
It was one of those lessons when I felt we were all having a wee ‘light bulb’ moment, myself included!

(The above picture was just a snapshot taken with the wee Canon Ixus 70 camera whilst I was out for a morning stroll. )