Thinking in Themes

Oh dear…there are times when I realize how deeply ingrained “Teacher Thinking” is in my brain. When my own children were little, every once in awhile they would say to me, “Mom, you’re acting like a teacher again.”  This morning I ran into a blatant example of my teacher thinking…

I went to my bookshelves to search for a good read for Dolce Bellezza‘s Japanese Literature Challenge #6.  I enjoy Meredith’s challenges, and thought this would be a good way to gentle myself back into challenges mode after my long hiatus from blogging. I was surprised to find, on different bookshelves, the following books. I realized that I think (without intending to do so) in themed connections!

Theme #1: Professors!

Theme#2: Summer!

Parker Palmer, in his book The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Mind, describes the art of teaching this way:

Good teachers possess a capacity for connectedness. They are able to weave a complex web of connections among themselves, their subjects, and their students so that students can learn to weave a world for themselves.

As surprising as it was to find all these books on my shelves, I realize that I have always thought this way… If I look back at my childhood reading, I find similar patterns. Since I am a 4th generation school teacher, I can only conclude that there must be a gene in the family for that “capacity for connectedness”. One of my college professors, who knew my family well, joked that it was a “mutant gene.”  I’ll bet that many of my book blogging friends, teacher friends, and librarian friends all have this same way of thinking!

5 thoughts on “Thinking in Themes

  1. Tabor

    I am not sure that I agree that connectedness and themes are quite the same thing when reviewing patterns of thought. To me, one connection to another shows how we break out of the theme or pattern and enter a new theme. Oh well, just ignore me, I am tired today.


  2. Kristen M.

    I am totally a “theme” thinker. I spent a lot of time as a teen thinking about “theme” playlists of songs and now I do the same with books. If it wasn’t for other conflicting aspects of my personality, I most certainly would be a teacher or a librarian!


  3. Robin Post author

    Hi Tabor, no ignoring you. Your comments are food for thought. I agree that connectedness and themes are not quite the same, and you are probably right about patterns of thought. My Mom used to say that I was “getting in a rut,” when I immersed myself in one of my “themes” (although that word wasn’t used way back then). I’ve always been interested in thoroughly exploring around an idea, whatever that idea was, so maybe we should be talking about obsessive-compulsive tendencies? 🙂

    Hi Kristen, I love hearing that your playlists were “themed,” because I enjoy that process now a lot.


  4. Nan

    I just loved this! Amazing. Really. And that photo. It took me a while to figure it out. At first I thought it was colorful little ‘fairy’ lights. :<)


  5. Bellezza

    What a wonderful quote about teaching/teachers! Thinking in themes that way didn’t come automatically to me, but now I can see that I have achieved that skill. It’s best for the kids, after all.

    As to your professor themed books, I do hope you have a chance to read <The Housekeeper and The Professor. So loved that gentle, beautiful novel of what I see as a family. Although not technically so…



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