A Life More Ordinary

Source: via Elsielynn on Pinterest


I’m in pursuit of the ordinary. It may sound pesimisic, defeatist, bland. It’s not. Far from it actually. It’s a heartfelt, overly difficult thing to focus on for the rest of the year. It’s a challenge.

Talking through this idea with my friend and trusted colleague, Ben Jones, we came to the firm conclusion that going in search and perfecting the ordinary is something most of us have left behind in place of the hard fought battle to be exceptional. Make no mistake, doing amazing things is a noble cause; but if everyone did this, then really, would things be so amazing?

There’s no question; this has been a tough year. And there’s still a solid 4 months to go of 2012. I’ll take this opportunity to share with you; I’m back in Australia. Life happens and choices need to be made. Hard choices, but in the end the right ones. If nothing else, I can say that I have perfected the art of choice making this year, and while things have fallen apart, good things have come together. And good things have in turn fallen apart. Life has happened thick and fast in 2012. A friend said to me recently, that people are so interested in my life, because somehow in the pursuit of a simple, ordinary existence, I find myself in extraordinary situations. This is so true; and it got me pondering…

Make no mistake, this isn’t an invite to a pity party, nor is this post trying to ‘make sense’ of my life. Far from it. I’m quite cognisant of the process and open to the learning that continues to throw itself in my path each day. Everything happens for a reason. This post is simply a digestion of a multitude of conversations with Mr Jones that seem to make sense.

I’ve done some amazing things. I’m proud that I can firmly identify with what I do and the passion and drive I have in my field. But does this mean that every move need be outstanding, noteworthy, awe-inspiring? Isn’t there so much grace in perfecting and spending time in the less breathtaking? There’s no doubt here; the ordinary can be awesome, and perhaps that the real challenge here. I mean, to put in in Ben’s words ‘There’s pizza, and there’s pizza, right?”

SO what is ordinary, and how can you make it count? I can think of many examples in school and education, and in fact, it is in the perfection of the ordinary, that extraordinary and the most meaningful things can take place. I will leave you to list them off, but it’s safe to say that is is all about soaking in the simple interaction with people, listening to their story and sharing memories…this isn’t the stuff of legend, but it is the stuff of life.


I’m looking forward to finding my way back, again, to the core of that matters to me, and generally, getting back to me. I’ve got my health, good friends, and the love of my family, with a passion and fire that still burns strong in me and the pursuit of always wanting to know and learn more about education; particularly furthering the cause for middle schoolers and driving innovation in learning spaces. This makes me happy.

What is the ordinary we should focus on in schools and in education? Are we missing ‘it’ by always wanting to do the ‘undone’ thing?

I welcome your thoughts.

Summer Howarth

I'm driven by student engagement, by working with people who are invested in a notion that we need to work together to shape an education worth having for all young people. I am on fire with ideas; shaped by the people I've met and work with, the possibility of education and a future of what the teaching profession could be. I am deeply passionate in advocacy for Middle Schooling and young people, directing my energies to causes promoting the efficacy of the teaching profession through strengthening the experiences of learners; influencing students and student teachers. When I am able to personally connect with people from my online Professional Learning Network (PLN) I am further inspired to learn more, think widely and dream up better things for students. Currently working with teachers and stakeholder from across Australia and colleagues at The Innovation Unit on Learning Frontiers. #lovingit. Continue the conversation on Twitter; @EduSum


  1. As they say, “ordinary to you, amazing to others”. But, that’s not what I really want to say; I say, yes! You’ve got it!

    I once wrote a blog post Learning to be ordinary, reflecting on the movie Ben X. The common threads amuse me but the content is far from amusing. Life is life.

    Oh, and welcome back to Australia, Summer!


  2. OK, I am an ‘Incredibles” fan…this post reminds me of Syndromes quote at the end of the movie “I’ll sell my inventions so that *everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone’s super..no one will be.” So true. I love how we are all so different and fascinating. It makes the world tick and keeps Us on our toes. Life is a journey, sometimes smooth, other times rocky. Sometimes it is great to be comfortable in that journey so you can take time to look at the beautiful view :-) Welcome to Spring dear friend. Xxoo

  3. Welcome back, we missed you. We missed your smile, your energy, your enthusiasm and more. I am sorry if life did not work for you in the States but happy that Australia wins you back. Connect soon please.

  4. Ordinary = life…ordinary = smelling the roses. Most people are so afraid of being “ordinary” that they forget to live their life. Count your blessings, never stop learning, be content and happy, and pursue the ordinary.

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