Why We Strive

This has been a tough year to feel like fighting. Every time I turn on the news I find another reason to be discouraged. I had a death in the family which was long in coming and very draining. Work has been as busy and as stressful as ever. But I am not alone. Many of us are tired, all of us are overworked, and no matter what side you are on, the divisions in this country are raw like a rope burn. We all need to find reasons to get up, put serenity in our hearts, and carry on. I find my reasons in my classroom, in the emails from language teachers from around the country, and in my garden and cats. My students need an ally in their learning and in dealing with the stress of the world. We, my colleagues, need each other in finding strength and courage to face what comes at us. All of us also need something or someone at home to provide solace and peace.

My garden is a wild thing. I love flowers and the idea that I can let something go and watch it thrive, but my garden also needs weeding. I am a relatively new gardener, so I am realizing this fall how much weeding it needs just when I thought things would be calm at the end of the season. This week I even found myself out before dawn with a flashlight so I could get a few feet further around the path—I am a stubborn one. Am I trying to put order in disorder or reassert my control over chaos? Perhaps, but I am also trying to give room for the flowers to grow next Spring, unchecked by Canada thistle and Bishop’s weed.

What can we do to help metaphorically weed each other’s gardens? to give each other the help we need to grow? One tiny step would be to attend the WAFLT Fall Conference next month in Appleton. Renew ties with teachers from across the state who share your joys and burdens. Find a new skill to employ in the classroom or a new colleague with whom to discuss pedagogy. Please attend the WAFLT Advocacy session, “Promoting Languages at all Levels,” on Saturday morning from 8-9 AM. My colleague, Karen Fowdy, and I will let you know what WAFLT does for you now and, more importantly, we will take your ideas on what we can add to the resources we offer. Wherever you are in your career, you have something to gain and something to offer in attending the Fall Conference. We hope to see you there!

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