Sunday, April 01, 2012


I am getting ready to speak at the Greater Edmonton Retired Teachers Association Second Wind Conference, taking inventory of my resources.
I will start with a good title. A good title gets you going. How about, Audacious Hope and the Search for the Future Me? That’s catchy. It puts your mind where it needs to be for a hope talk, in the future.
I’ll take hope tools. After all, the hope tools have built my speaking reputation. If anything can dig up hope, the hope tools will do it.
I’ll take a little humour, of course. That’s what people want in a keynote speech, a little humour with their morning coffee. Humour coats whatever else you put in a speech for easy digestion.
I’ll take my personal experience with teachers, not so much my experience as a student. Those experiences belong in hope talks at other conferences. But it just so happens that I live in a family populated by passionate teachers, hard-working teachers, retired teachers, first-year teachers, experienced teachers in the prime of their careers. Teaching, I have learned from them, can be an enormously challenging, often frustrating, and absolutely fabulous career. On any given day, in any given year, teaching is more or less of any of these three. I understand the idea of a passionate career. It gives me hope.
Then also, because I have no choice in the matter, I’ll take along my own body, the body of a woman my age, a body which, to my consternation, often requires that I call meetings of its parts to assemble an order of things before agreeing to get up after sitting on the floor, or spending a long night in bed. It refuses to remember those university days when I used to choose sitting on the floor. I’ve tried to make it promise better days. But so far it hasn’t been the greatest listener.
Remembering other times, like the times when I was a parenting expert, those times before I had any kids, I wonder if it would be easier to give a hope talk to retired teachers if I had the body of a 30-year-old.

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