Friday, August 5, 2016

Where do teachers go to relax after a difficult day at school?

They go to the lake…

East Lake in Airdrie, Alberta.


First of all, I need to say why I am choosing this place…
So here it goes: as Ellis (2010) argues,  "A place is above all a territory of meanings. These meanings are created both by what one receives from and by what one gives to a particular environmental context” (p. 394).
This lake has a great importance to me; as I walk around the lake almost every day, I have developed a huge appreciation for this place for its environmental aspects and for some other personal aspects that I will reveal in the next segments of my analyses.

                     Real Picture of the lake:  (From my personal archive)


Why this place is important to me:

This place is important to me because this lake has been part of my life since I moved to Airdrie, in 2009, and I have been walking around this lake since then.

I first found this lake by accident; of course, the city of Airdrie had advertised its parks all the time on its website and on the local newspaper. But, I never took the time to go and visit the parks.

One day, as I was doing my daily walk after work, I took a different path and that path took me to this lake! The lake was just 30 minutes from my house, but because I was always followed the same trails I never been to the lake before.
I was amazed; it is such a beautiful and peaceful place.
That was early in November 2009, since then I try to walk around the East Lake every day. Sometimes I take my dog with me; sometimes my daughter comes along; other times my husband comes with me.

I have already built such great memories about this lake! I remember walking around the lake very excited with the possibility of a new teaching job coming up. Other times I was sad, walking around the lake, thinking about the things that had happened during my day that were not so good.

                                           Aerial View of the Lake:
  Extracted  from:  

Teachers need a place for relaxation...  I found mine, a place where I go after school to re-energize for the next day :)
I love to walk around that lake just to get some fresh air and to organize my mind and thoughts.
I love to walk there and look at people strolling by the lake in different directions; some of them alone, others with one or two dogs, some with their children; a few of them even texting and walking. A few people like to bike around the lake instead, while others prefer to skate or just do a quick jog.

They all seem to be part of a dance-ballet, suggested by Seamon (1979), "the groundstone of place ballet is the coming together of peoples' time-space routines and body ballets in terms of space.” (p.144).
I feel part of the dance too…sometimes I feel like I am dancing a salsa, as walk happily around the lake. Other days it feels like I am dancing an endless tango as I pace around the lake thinking about some of the problems that I need to solve…

I have developed a sense of attachment and dependence for this lake, so much so that when I cannot go there for my habitual walk, I feel that there is something missing in my day... And there is something missing… my connection with that place, my time alone, and my break from the pressures of my workday is being neglected.

I can get quite moody if I don’t get to walk around the lake for too many days in a row. I can totally see how places can add value to our perspectives and be so intrinsically part of our daily lives. As Ellis (2011) has argued, "our experiences are circumscribed by our places and our personalities and perspectives are developed from the experiences we have in the places available to us.” (p. 355).

I go to so many places during the day… I go to my school then back home, to the grocery store, to my friends’ houses, to the local fast food restaurants, etc.
But, that lake is where I feel rested, I feel re-energized, and this place is so close to home that sometimes I feel like it is part of my home!

I really like Relph’s (1976) quote: “but one thing at least is clear – weather the world we live in has a placeless geography or a geography of significant places, the responsibility for it is ours alone.” (p. 147). This idea resonates so much with me… This lake is available to me everyday, at any time of the day, and I take advantage of its proximity and peacefulness.

As John Muir’s famous quote says: “The mountains are calling and I must go.”
I paraphrase him and say: “The lake is calling and I must go.”

My personal view of the lake: (My own drawing, it was not done by a kindergarten student!!! LOL)


Ellis, J. (2004). Researching Children's Place and Space. JCT: Journal Of Curriculum Theorizing (1057896X), 20(1), 83-100.

Ellis, J. (2010). The importance of attending to children and place. In G.S. Goodman (Ed.), Educational psychology reader: The art and science of how people learn (p. 386 - 402). New York: Peter Lang.

Muir, J. (n.d.). Retrieved August 4, 2016, from Web site:

Relph, E. (1976). Place and Placeness. In Research in Planning and Design. (141-147). London: Pion Limited. Retrieved from:

Seamon, D. (1979). Place Ballet as a Whole. In A Geography of the LifeWorld. (142-153). London: Croom Helm. Retrieved from:


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