Out With The Old and In With The New

Out With The Old and In With The New
A New Year's Reflection/Resolution Commentary by: Robin-Louise Burkitt

Here it is the last day of 2011, which I might say was not such a bad year compared to some years in the past.  As I sit here writing this blog and thinking of all that has transpired over the last 364 days, it is brought to my recollection the time I was studying to be a music teacher.  My music education professor would always sit us down after a Practicum lesson and have us evaluate (or should I say reflect) on our progress.  He would always ask us to list one strength first and then follow it by one thing to work on for next time.  I have always found his approach to self-reflection so positive especially when you are thrown into a harsh and cruel society of negativity and demands which at times gets you into a point of doubting your ability to do what you are truly talented in.  I have experienced the latter part of the previous statement on many accounts.  But, that is in the past and the past is the past and should stay in the past.  The most important thing is to move forward and stay present-minded. 

My strengths/positive stead-fastness:
1.  In this past year of 2011, I have worked hard at subbing in the school system of my home town.  I have even stepped outside of my comfort zone several times meaning I have taught (subbed) many subjects at all grade levels.  I'm even considered a "preferred sub" to some teachers.  This is proof that I can teach!
2.  I've added a couple students to my music studio.  They are really flourishing under my tutelage.  Even their mother has said so many times.  There is another piece of evidence that I can teach! And in my field, which is music!
3.  A couple months ago I was hired to be a music teacher at a  local Catholic school here in my home town.  So far I have gotten positive remarks from the children and the adults there.  A third piece of evidence that I can teach! 
4.  I have stuck by my music volunteering this year (music festival and community band.....I even got to see Billy Joel and meet my favorite comedy/musical duo: Igudesman and Joo) which shows that I am truly dedicated as a musician let alone a teacher. 

I have read articles on education and how the system is in shambles.  It really makes me sick that nothing has been changed and if there is change it is just a detriment to the children.  It really disgusts me to hear about this teacher-seniority business and this Last In-First Out.  I mean, what about those teachers who might not have a lot of experience under their belt (with me it's a total of 8 going on 9 years) but who have so many ideas on how they want to reshape this country, academically, that they can't even sleep at night due to the wheels constantly turning in their heads and the knowledge of not being able to get a break.  I've always thought that if you want to see change you must be the change.  I know that I might think big when it comes to change, but even though it may be a small step, being given this new music teaching job has been a God-send.  Sometimes the small steps end up being a big step in the right direction. 

What I'd like to work on in 2012:
1.  Even though I have survived the 10th anniversary of my best friend's passing this past Christmas Day, I still need to concentrate on knowing but not dwelling on the past events, whether it is what I just listed or other things that have happened which if dwelt upon still leaves a sour taste in my mouth.  So, in other words, learn to let go of hurt.  Concentrate on the small moments with the ones who matter the most, i.e. my family and friends who have stuck by me through my dark times and who have celebrated with me through my triumphs. 
2.  Learn to gloat more!  Supposedly it's good for the skin :-)
3.  Spend more time in the moment with myself.....whether it be reading, knitting, or taking a country stroll.....Enjoy all of God's splendour that I might not have noticed before. 
4.  Read as many mind-challenging books after I've read the dreaded Marcel Proust's "Swann's Way"! 
5.  Eat more vegetarian-style....lots of soy and tofu products.....
6.  Do more challenging exercises.
7.  Add more pieces to my piano repertoire (of all genres)
8.  Start Christmas gifts early (homemade)
9.  Make a habit of scheduling in a regular mindful meditation to purge all negative thoughts from my mind. 
10.  Don't try to make someone like me.  If they don't want to get to know me I'll just move on to the next person who might be willing to give me a chance. 
11.  Try to strengthen my support system.  Power in numbers.  Everyone needs friends, right?
12.  Instead of finding love from another individual, let love from that individual come to me.  Hopefully that is in God's plans. 
13.  NEVER DOUBT my abilities, whether it be as a teacher or as a person.....and NEVER LISTEN to any person who will bring on that doubt. 
14.  Think pink and purple.  These were my favorite colors as a child and have always brought me comfort, warmth, love, and security.

Now that I have listed my strengths and what I want to work on, I can now lay 2011 to rest and bring on the birth of a new and glorious year!

Remember: Be kind, Be good, Be understanding, Be honest, Be loving!  PEACE and GOODWILL to all of you <3


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