Thursday, April 5, 2007

This Lane Open for Multi-Multi


As Curriculum Facilitator for the English Language Arts department of 19 faculty, there come times when several colleagues need me as badly as the students. The line begins to form and some in the queue don't have eight items or less and I wish I had a "this lane closed" and could say "tell the next customer I'm closed."

My job is "multi-multi," a term I learned from NYU's Marlene Barron years ago and was reminded of when I heard her speak at the American Montessori Conference in New York last month. To hear Marlene talk itself is multi-multi. She's very postmodern in that way, interweaving references, allusions, contexts, circumlocutions. As best I can follow, it has to do with simultaneity, and doing (and thinking) many different things many different ways all at once. Sort of living a life with ADD as a normative state rather than a maladay. It's they way we--or at least our students--think.

Today I found myself reading an email from an art museum education specialist, while writing an unrelated one, while creating a PO for a field trip, while checking the school newspaper's budget, while directing a student-teacher on logistics for a poet-in-residence program two weeks out, while answering a student's question on Beckett, and researching software that captures video and insert it into a PowerPoint. I really needed that sign. Lane closed.

It's amazing what one can get done in a minute or two that way. It keeps me young, while making me old. Multi-multi.

Can I balance these moments with ones of quiet reflection. As I thought about entering a blog entry tonight, I almost hit "sign out" from Blogger.

My friends and family wonder "who has time to blog?" I shrug it off and wonder myself. But I do believe in the positive return on investment on reflection.

Reading others' blogs inspires my practice; creating my own posts helps me put it all in perspective, and pass on an idea or two.

Likewise, no matter how multi-multi my day becomes I find a minute or two to open a little book on my desk of favorite inspiring quotes and favorite poems. Bob Berner, of Slippery Rock U, quoting a teacher of 50 years in his research, taught me to "booby trap your day with positives." It works. And I can keep my lane open to all comers.

2 comments:

Patrick Higgins said...

Great stuff on this one. It is always a great study in facial expressions when someone asks me what I did during the day. As someone who supports faculty in two schools from the curriculum side of technology, my days sound much like yours. From database to discipline, when people here about all of the pies my fingers are in, they look all funny at me.

Staff always ask me when I expect them to blog, and I try to find the best way to tell them what you summed up in the second to last paragraph. Thanks for that one. May I use it?

Anonymous said...

I admire your lack of fear! This learning-to-be-multi-multi-while-resisting-urge-to-medicate-the-constant-ADD-state often feels panicky while trying not to flee. I'd love to read your list of positive booby traps, when you create the time to publish it.

(education specialist extraordinaire)