A Little Shaky Sometimes

My favorite musical growing up was Fiddler on the Roof.  I first saw it when I was about 8 years old in Hazelhurst, Wisconsin, at the Northern Lights Theater.  I was fascinated by the Jewish religion and culture portrayed in the musical as it was completely foreign to my experiences as a young person from a rural Wisconsin town that was largely Protestant and Catholic.  In one scene, Teyve, the poor farmer and father of 5 daughters feigns a nightmare in order to trick his wife, Golde, into letting one of their daughters marry the tailor rather than the butcher.  As a child, this  “dream scene” terrified me!

The show came around to the Northern Lights Theater again when I was 16 and I saw it with new eyes.  This time the flying ghosts were more entertaining, humorous even.  I understood the impetus for the dream scene –it can be terrifying to broach tradition.  Tevye needed help from the spirit world to convince his wife this was the right thing to do!

Fast-forward 25 years (yikes!) and my kids and I were playing around on our shed roof, getting a new perspective on our backyard I couldn’t help myself but think of the song, “Tradition.”

Who day and night, must scramble for a living, feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers….

Who does Mama teach to mend and tend and fix…preparing her to marry whoever Papa picks?

Tradition!  Tradition! 

I have followed traditions in many aspects of my life.  Career-wise, my mom was a teacher, an older brother was a teacher, I became a teacher.  Also, I was fortunate enough to have had many inspiring teachers over my lifetime.  Why wouldn’t I want to follow in their footsteps?  By the same token, I’ve often reveled in doing things a little differently, rather than traditionally.  While I enjoy cooking and sewing, I also know how to mix and pour concrete, tape & mud gypsum board and use a wide variety of hand and power tools pretty proficiently.

For nearly 20 years, I have been a classroom teacher.  I’ve taught children ages 6 through 18, in public and private settings, both in the US and abroad.  Several summers were spent earning a Master’s in Education.  Yet this spring, I felt a a strong pull to do something else and resigned from my full-time teaching job.  Yikes! What will this Wetzel do next?  Stay tuned, folks!  I have a feeling I will no longer be following a traditional path but forging one of my own.

As always, I’m curious:  Why did you follow your chosen career path?  Did you follow in someone else’s footsteps or go off the beaten track? Have you seen Fiddler on the Roof? What were your impressions?


What’s Behind the Name

What’s the story behind the name “Wetzelslearn” you, like others, may wonder.  Here’s the scoop.

Until I wed, my last name was Wetzel.  While I chose to hyphenate my last name, I still answer to Wetzel and am proud of my family…my name…what I know of my heritage and all my many incredible relatives.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE learning.  Whether I’m learning how to weld or just deepening my understanding of a word, I deeply enjoy gaining knowledge and skills.  Over the years, I’ve found that I retain more information and internalize knowledge better when I’m engaged in different ways, especially in some physical way.  This is true for many learners or so say “current researchers.” I also will wake up with an “ah-ha” after muddling through something– another sign that our brains are working even when we are not.

Wetzels is plural for a reason, too.  When I started this blog, I had the idea that I’d invite family members to be guest bloggers.  Growing up, I was always learning something new from older relatives (and there are a lot of them!)  My son gave a clear  and concise explanation of how to change pitch with his euphonium mouth piece one day.  My daughters teach me about who they are becoming on a daily basis.

The bottom line is that I hope to inspire others to KEEP LEARNING.  So that’s it –short and sweet.  My name and what I love.

I’m curious.  What do you LOVE learning about?  Under what conditions do you learn best?  What are your top sources for information? What are you exploring or researching right now? I’d love to hear your thoughts.