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Learning at its Best, Philosophical Meanderings

Please leave a light on—I’m comin’ home!

It’s the day after Christmas–Boxing Day here in Canada. The kids are down for an afternoon nap, and the house is relatively quiet. I’ve put some Rosemary Shortbread in the oven in anticipation of a second family gathering this afternoon, and I’ve poured myself a glass of red wine to help hold open this wonderful and much appreciated holiday space.

It’s been several months since I’ve posted here and I have to admit that, during that time of absence, I have felt rather cut off from what had become a real source of inspiration, challenge and support in my own thinking about schools and education. I had been in the habit of getting up early each morning, reading the latest ideas posted here, responding and writing new posts. It seemed that in May of this year, I let the Cooperative Catalyst thread drop and I’m only now getting back to realizing how important it had become to the fabric of my life. The folks that are part of this initiative represent some of the most thoughtful, provocative voices in education today and, to be quite honest, my the work that I do wouldn’t be the same without these voices.

But it wasn’t until I tweeted a link to a recent blogpost that I had written for the Canadian Education Assocation—the place where a great deal of my energy has gone over the past couple of years—and received an enthusiastic response from Monika Hardy that I realized that I needed to get back here to catch up on your thinking and contribute some of my own to your efforts.

A great deal has happened in my life over the past several months. I lost a brother to cancer, took on a new role as Arts Consultant for our school district, helped to organize EdCamp Toronto, completed a focus group project with teachers from across Canada and found a place to live my life-long dream of having my own radio show. Believe it or not, I’ve also been able to find some connective tissue between all of this.

So on this the day after Christmas 2011, I wanted to let you know that I would like to make my way back into the fold. Thanks to Monika for coming to get me, and thanks to the keepers of the keyfor not removing my ability to come home!

About Stephen Hurley

After working for over 30 years in Ontario's public education system, I continue to work passionately throughout Canada, still very committed to the idea of effective, powerful learning experiences for all participants. A musician, technology-watcher, father, husband, I find life in the world of education, even when the conversations get a little contentious. If I were to be doing anything else right now, it would be hosting my own syndicated radio program on--you guessed it--education. I blog in a few spots. My personal blog can be found at I can also be found hanging around and, most recently, I can be found on twitter as @stephen_hurley


6 thoughts on “Please leave a light on—I’m comin’ home!

  1. Hi Stephen,
    Glad to have your voice back on the Coop! I too haven’t been posting much though I aim to change that in the New Year. I have a lot of things percolating and have been busy procrastinating on most of them :). Just recognized that this is a characteristic of perfectionists; until recently I had not thought of myself as a perfectionist. Am planning on working on that as well in the New Year. Having gone through a difficult period with my health I am thinking of you as you remember your brother during this holiday season. Many good tidings to everyone!

    Posted by Elisa Waingort | December 26, 2011, 4:19 pm
    • Thanks for this Elisa. Here’s to good health and imperfection in 2012. Wait a minute, those two ideas may actually stand in opposition to each other.

      Interesting that you talk of the perfectionist tendency. I have found that the blogging world presents a definite challenge to this same tendency in me. Sometimes it is just a matter of getting the ideas out there, isn’t it? I would rather that every “t” is crossed and every “i” is appropriately dotted, but I’m finding the desire to enter to conversation is taking over.

      Thanks for your kind thoughts and warm wishes!

      Posted by Stephen Hurley | December 27, 2011, 2:59 pm
  2. Oh, Stephen, We are all our own keeper of the key, as we each need keys to different places and spaces at various times. I am just happy you did not lose yours and have made your way back. Your voice, thoughts and ideas are important here and elsewhere- and we’ve missed you.
    My sincerest sympathies about the loss of your brother- I’ve had two succumb to cancer and the pain of watching a loved one fight that battle is not easy!

    sounds like you’ve got some great things going- I’m looking forward to hearing more!

    And, my thanks to Monika as well for pulling you back!

    Posted by Paula White | December 26, 2011, 5:17 pm
    • What a wonderfully supportive response Paula! Of course, you’re absolutely right about the key metaphor. That’s the beauty of this type of environment! Looking forward to catching up on what I’ve missed and moving forward with this substantially expanded community!

      Posted by Stephen Hurley | December 27, 2011, 3:03 pm
  3. Stephen, I am sorry for your loss and grateful for your being here – I like to think that we are all together, even when quiet and necessarily looking outward from the community.


    Posted by Chad Sansing | December 27, 2011, 11:48 am
  4. Chad, many thanks for the warm and welcoming response. I hope that you are enjoying a restful holiday season. Looking forward to connecting again soon!

    Posted by Stephen Hurley | December 27, 2011, 3:05 pm

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