Saturday, December 31, 2011

Something good is going to happen to you this year!

Though I write this blog of encouragement, I have to work hard to be positive to whatever extent I am. The blog is as much to myself as to anyone; I am not naturally optimistic. So it's odd to me, to feel optimistic about a coming year. Most New Years I say to myself it's really arbitrary when a new year begins and ends. And the start of the school year always feels like more like an beginning, because it clearly is. Springtime too, is obviously a new beginning, as things become green again. Jan. 1 is so in the middle of things.

Nevertheless I feel oddly optimistic about 2012. I like the sound of it. "Twenty-eleven" is so odd- and prime-numberish, it feels like you're just hangin' there. "Twenty-twelve" sounds so much firmer. Hope the world doesn't end.

But no, I don't think it's going to, and I know there are many good things in store. Eons ago a friend introduced me to the motivational speaker, Joyce Meyer, via an audio cassette. Her prescription for worry and doubt was to repeat the phrase, "Something good is going to happen to me today." Saying this might not change the physical universe, but it surely changes how we view things. Colleague, many good things are going to happen to you, with you, and through you in 2012. Enjoy the ride as you bless others!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thanks for Pasteur-izing kids who will forge all our tomorrows.

Thank you in advance for preparing some future thinker/discoverer:

"In the fields of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind."

~ Louis Pasteur

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Babe Ruth wants to tell you one thing that could affect what you achieve.

I had a very nice day this past week. After presenting my civics classes detailed pie charts on federal revenue and spending, I formed them into groups to balance the budget. I didn't know how it would go; whether they would "get" it, or think it was dumb, but it went great.

Hearing them argue within their groups, seeing them bust out their calculators to do the math, hearing their frustration over why the real Congress can't just cooperate, hearing their ideas of how they would balance the budget . . .  a very good day for thinking and collaboration here on the shores of Lake Michigan. I'm glad I tried it. I learned some things to do better next year, too.

Here's what Babe Ruth had to say about taking a chance on something new: "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

David Lloyd George offers you this, if you're pondering a decision.

I am a cautious person, but several times I have taken a big risk and enjoyed the payoff. One was motivated by hearing our chorus sing Garth Brooks' "The River" at commencement. "I'll never reach my destination if I never try. . . "

So here is a thought that might have some meaning for you this week:

Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.

~ David Lloyd George

Monday, October 31, 2011

You're planting seeds. Good job!

If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old.

~ Lord Chesterfield

Have fun, O gardener.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"AARGH -- change!!"

My head is swimming from all the new technology we have, and room changing, and construction, and a new course and, and . . .

(I have three remotes, now, plus my old, beloved wireless mouse!)

Change happens. The cheese gets moved. So you can cry or pull your hair out (I would have, several times, had I any), or try to adapt as well as you can and keep pressing on to the prize of helping young people become more able.  Alan Cohen offered me this anonymous inspiration this morning via email:

Resolve to evolve.

I so resolve. Though I can't totally guarantee you won't see one or two tufts of hair on my classroom floor along the way.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

If you feel like collapsing, it's for a good reason . . .

"Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges 
over which they invite their students to cross, 
then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, 
encouraging them to create bridges of their own." 
~ Nikos Kazantzakis

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Whoops! Now ad-free again!

I was experimenting with how ads would look (bad!) on this blog and they got left up longer than I thought, so my apologies for inflicting them on you. I make no money off this here endeavor, and I don't want to mess with that karma. MAYbe you'll see a couple specific ad-links to Amazon in the future, but that would be for specific resources I think are good.

Peace. And enjoy the funny ad at left.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back to Work! And Some Encouragement.

It has been a very discombobulated start for me, thanks to construction and a new course to teach. It's US Government and Economics; showing news clips of the Occupy Wall Street folks has already resulted in a parent phone call saying his daughter had come home sounding like a miniature Hugo Chavez. Great. I showed news clips of several Republican debates too. She forgot to mention that, I guess.

Teachers of the world, unite.

The school year is well under way, the bloom is off the rose, and perhaps you, like me, need some encouragement now.

You are a torchbearer, an enlightener, attempting to lead people to be more competent adults composing an enlightened society. Often it feels like remediation, trying to undo lack of parenting and a culture of loud stupidity.

Take heart.

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."  ~ Ben Sweetland

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gone fishin'.

I've been on vacation from posting, what with the end of the school year. I hadn't announced it, though, so I thought I better make it overt.

While I have you here . . . I'm looking into how to publicize this blog much more widely. Advertising in the NEA magazine is what initially comes to mind.  Any ideas? Drop a comment or email.  See you mid-August.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Remember to celebrate the positives!

"The more you find broken, the more you need to fix.  The more you find whole, the more you need to celebrate."  ~ Alan Cohen

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's not for nothing you do what you do.

Had a sub yesterday. One of the things for the kids to do was read an information sheet about Sandra Day O'Connor and journal about her.

Today I checked with the kids about their day, and a girl -- totally unsolicited -- said, "I thought that was really interesting."

How nice. And unexpected. A normal, run-of-the-mill school activity, and it clicked with her.

Keep fighting the good fight, colleague. It's not for nothing we do this.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Keep holding fast to what is important.

I am now, after 21 years, "that" teacher who has seen countless fads be the Next Great Thing in education, only to disappear in two years.  It's happening again.

I'll not name our Next Great Thing here, so that you may fill in that blank with whatever "it" is in your own district.

In addition to this unnamed fad (which will of course make more work!), there's the ever-present "tyranny of the urgent" over what is deeply important.

So, here, a little reminder from Gen. Omar Bradley:

"We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship."

Colleague, keep holding true to what is truly important, as best you can.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Love now! Miracles await!

"Let God's Holy Spirit breathe new life into you, and then let that love uplift you and uplift your students! Hurry! Classroom miracles await!"  

~ Wendy Byard,

Monday, April 11, 2011

You can help someone discover inner riches.

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.

~ Disraeli

Friday, April 8, 2011

You should be paid more . . .

. . . in order to attract the best and brightest to our field. This op-ed from the Times explains why it wouldn't just be nice for me and you, but a good idea.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You can inspire dreams.

"The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth."

~  Dan Rather

Monday, March 21, 2011

the foundation for success

Breathe in compassion.
Breathe out compassion.

not always easy
you can do this

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tom Edison thinks you can be astonishing.

"If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." ~ Edison

(Note the picture: What is Tom hearing you do? Astonish him . . . and yourself!)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mistakes are not the enemy.

"Instruction does not prevent wasted time or mistakes; and mistakes themselves are often the best teachers of all."

~ James Anthony Froude

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let's try to light a fire in a kid today.

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. "

~ William Butler Yeats

Sorry for the long absence, due to family illness. 

But, let's light a fire today. In word or deed. He or she may pass it on, today or years from now. You are doing important work!