If you heard a “thump” earlier today, that was probably me. Today seems to be the day when my worlds collided, and I have to say: it was kind of cool. It all started much like any other Monday. I woke up, grudgingly, and made my way to work. When I got to work, some of my students were already there. I teased them about being “morning people”, and went up to the photocopier to make a few extra copies of the material I planned to use that morning. At “the front” I noticed ‘my book’ just lying there. I was half way through saying “who left my book lying around” when I saw the sign “Congratulations AEC Teacher Linda Guest on the publication of her first book, Survival of the Flirting Impaired“.
How cool was that?! I felt so grateful and blessed, and I would be lying if I said that didn’t put a bit of a spring in my step as I headed back to my classroom. Little did I know that was only the beginning. As my class progressed, I saw my book on a couple of desks: two of my students had purchased my book, and bravely decided to use it for their assigned book study. I was quite proud of them, and all my other students present, because they all seemed to have their books, and they came to class prepared to work. The attendance for an adult learning centre on a Monday morning can be poor–especially if the students know that the class is a “catch up” class. Yet, here were my students present and ready to work. Some students even went so far as to come prepared to do their book presentations–ahead of time.
Before I entertained presentations, however, I walked around the class helping students. As I worked with students I would hear this errant giggle. At first, I just assumed the giggle had sprung forth from some side conversations. But, the giggle continued, off and on, for the next few minutes, and I soon realized it was not as a result of some side conversation. The student giggling kept looking up from the book she was reading (my book), looking at me, and giggling. I tried to smile graciously as I continued working with students. Eventually, the giggler looked up at me and said “I just love your mom–she’s hilarious”. The only response I could muster was a sheepish “Yeah, I love my mom too…”
It was around then, a sweet and gentle student approached me: she wanted to do her presentation. She shyly requested that she do her presentation to me, in a space outside the classroom. Honoring her shyness, I led her to the tiny work room so that she could do her presentation. When we got there she said, “I finished your book over the weekend, and I want to do my presentation…”
Cue the “thump” I mentioned earlier. There I was, a teacher evaluating a student’s analysis of a book…there I was, an author hearing a reader’s review of my first published work. It was all kinds of weird and wonderful. I got to hear about how my book was chalk full of words she needed to look up (incidentally–she acknowledged the benefits this served to her vocabulary), and how, in places, I seemed to gloss over details so quickly that it offered her a little confusion. I also heard (with surprise and joy) that this book (my book) offered her pause to review, evaluate, and reconsider her present relationships. She also said–sincerely and more than once–she hopes I write more books. All biases aside–it was a very good presentation.
Later when checking in with Facebook, I found a post on my page from a former student. He invited me to honour Lou Reed’s passing/memory by watching his shared performance with David Bowie during a 1997 concert celebrating David Bowie’s 50th birthday. I couldn’t help but smirk–yet another example of worlds colliding–wrapped in a musical example of worlds colliding. Still smirking I “tipped my hat” to the universe. It was a message of high and holy proportions: when worlds collide, you evolve, and amazing things happen.
Well played Universe….well played. 😉