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love song for EA Simcock

August 20, 2012

We moved from Albany to Perth over 16 years ago and a single truck load of books and household belongings moved with us; our daughters were aged 2 and 4. This is where we moved:


More than things we owned, or perhaps even the house that we settled and grew into, I have come to appreciate the immense value of sharing with others who help me live, reinvent and sustain my teaching practice.  One of these people was EA Simcock.


photo credit: <a href=””>kevin dooley</a> via <a href=””>photo pin</a> <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

I never met EA Simcock, but I imagine she looked like the teacher above wearing glasses and a brooch. This is a woman who looks as if she’s been a continual learner in classrooms, and dedicated too.

For me, continual learning also requires passion:

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Sylvia Plath “Morning Song”

Perhaps this love affair with learning is part of a default set at birth. The simile of the fat gold watch encourages me to believe that learning and life are precious, just as Plath’s words to her newborn resonate half a century after they were written. Plath evokes not the gold watch of retirement, but a trusted timepiece held in stock as a family heirloom – steady and promising much in the way of good fortune.

EA Simcock has been a ticking mechanism within my teaching life-as-a-lived-experience. For starters, her heritage was teaching in a West Australian country school (same – 6 years). Second, she had clearly come to the end of a teaching career as I began mine both as a mother and continual learner. The legacy that EA Simcock left, which I gratefully acknowledge, was her collection of books, her library. And this treasure I discovered one morning in a secondhand shop in Albany.










Have you experienced that serendipitous meant-to-be-moment when your your hands tremble and ache simultaneously? That was me with the books that once belonged to EA Simcock; her name and address were inscribed as a firm identity inside each of the flyleaf covers. So I took them all for myself because their presence filled me with joy:  What I could do with those books! And what I have done since….

Books may have given way to thumb drives, online resources are stored in the cloud, cached via Dropbox, curated on, shelved in Livebinders, bookmarked in Diigo, or delivered in Tweets, but the magic of connecting as people who love learning sustains.

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