Why I Teach

Childhood Dreams

As early as kindergarten, I identified teacher as a potential
occupation
in my “School Years” book, a collection of elementary school Kindergarten teachermemories. My kindergarten-self chose nurse, teacher, model and mother as possible career and life choices, although the options were limited to traditional girl-jobs only. (I’ve wondered why I didn’t dare to select baseball player or astronaut. Was it because those jobs did not interest me or did I not consider the boy-jobs? Or why were airline hostess and secretary NOT of interest to me?) Female stereotypes aside, by fourth grade, I had wisely eliminated model and nurse (yuk and yuk!!), leaving teacher and mother.fourth grade

I was interested in learning and teaching as soon as I was old enough to work my way through phonics, spelling and math workbooks, just for fun. And then creating worksheets and math problems, grading spelling quizzes and making lesson plans became my childhood joys. My brother was my first student and I worked him pretty hard. I remember taking the graded assignments I’d given him to my fourth grade teacher, proudly showing her what I was helping him accomplish outside of school hours. Rather than receiving the anticipated (and sought-after) praise, she promptly told me I should back off and not force him to be my student anymore or he might hate school—my first humbling opportunity at professional self-reflection.

BooksLaura Ingalls Wilder was my childhood heroine. Pioneer girl turned teacher; wide-open prairie sky and her own classroom, from Little House on the Prairie to These Happy Golden Years —I wanted to BE Laura. I admired her sense of self-confidence and independence, how she encouraged students to overcome learning challenges, many not much younger than she. (I am such a huge fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder that when my daughter could barely read I bought the entire book series,  picture books and television movies for her and also road-tripped to Mansfield, Missouri to see the house where Laura penned all of the Little House books. Quite a thrill!)

All the evidence indicates that, if I wasn’t born with the desire to teach, the passion was stirring when I was very young.  Continue reading “Why I Teach”

From Fingerpaints to SoulCollage®: My Creative Kid and her College Project

I was absolutely tickled when my daughter, Jessica, asked me to help her with an Environmental Politics project. Not only would it focus on SoulCollage®, one of my passions, but she had requested special permission to use a different research idea than those suggested by her professor. I find that kind of creative thinking pretty cool. But, then, I think she’s a pretty cool kid.

From finger painting and Play-doh as a toddler to crayons, markers and watercolor in Science Fair 019elementary school and later to SoulCollage®, Jessica has always been willing to try new things. We’ve always had an “art drawer” at our house and an evening at the kitchen table creating was a favorite way for us to spend time together. I believe it has become a form of self-expression, self-understanding, even a way for Jessica to visualize her future.

Rather than putting words in her mouth, though, I decided to ask her to write about her experience with SoulCollage®: Continue reading “From Fingerpaints to SoulCollage®: My Creative Kid and her College Project”

Earth Gratitude

earth day card jodi gehr

We need to care for the earth so that it may continue, as God willed, to be a source of life for the entire human family.
~Pope Francis

Card name: Earth Gratitude

I am one who believes in the Divine birthing of our planet and the life-force that is poured out for us by our mere existence in this dynamic, evolving, growing, breathing earth home. I am one who exists as part of this environment, receiving the mysterious flow of energy and outpouring of nourishment with open hands. I bow my head at the splendor of shades and shapes, the rebirth of nature through the sacred spirals of the seasons, the purpose and patterns that are sometimes evident and always sought after. The waters of life flow through us—cleansing, renewing, blessing us with existence. Nature gives to us without hesitation. I am one who receives with awe. Continue reading “Earth Gratitude”

In God’s world every day is Earth Day.

nature GodGod has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. ~John Muir

Celebrate the 45th annual Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, by combining your love of nature and creativity in a project called “Soul Collage® and the Environment”.

Create a collage that represents your feelings toward our environment and/or your feeling about how humans interact with the environment.

Be creative!! Show your love, anger, doubt, concerns, joys, gratitude… however your creative spirit leads you. After you create your collage, post in the comments or email a picture and a few sentences explaining what it means to you: jodigehr@gmail.com OR jessicamgehr@gmail.com Continue reading “In God’s world every day is Earth Day.”

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