Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Monday, November 23, 2009

From my point of view, one of the difficulties of modern education is the lack of a coherent, unifying goal for education. In my classrooms I have always told students that the purpose of American Education is to provide an educated electorate. In order for a democracy, or a democratic republic to survive, the people must be educated in order to evaluate what the candidates are saying, what they mean by what they say, and what is deliberately left unsaid, but may be learned. Things like past voting record, statements about beliefs and values can be discovered more easily than ever today through the internet. However, what is not happening is that students are not being provided with the skills, ability, and experience to think. Only an educated, thinking person has the least chance of deciphering the rhetoric of polished political candidates. It is a view that I vehemently advocate.

Historically, schools were formed with that goal in mind. One needs only to take a look at the urgency and intensity of schools in the South immediately following the American Civil War. The recently freed slaves understood the concept of education and its importance in participating fully in government. Those who had somehow received an education were able to hold public office and attempted to persuade others to vote for them. It was a laborious process, but one that was well understood by the African-American population at the time. The importance of education in this electoral process was also understood by Southern racists. Schools, teachers, and preachers who worked to educate the newly-freed slaves were the target of KKK raids and other destructive racist groups with a design to shut down schools, churches and to silence anyone who participated in the educational process.

If one goes back to the earliest American schools, most schools were religiously based. Students were taught a particular dogma along with reading and writing and arithmetic. But at the same time, there was a strong current of the importance of self-governance in those early schools. America was founded largely to prevent “taxation without representation.” Therefore the ability to write laws for oneself was of utmost importance. Thus, the early students in American schools were largely Northern European males. The belief was that white males had the intelligence to govern the people, therefore, they needed the education.

Following the Civil War, the idea that all men (and later, women) needed an education was a revolutionary idea. It was an idea that changed the face of this nation.

Modern schools have strayed far from this ideal of education as a medium for promoting thought. It concerns me that many of today’s students have lost that ideal. Education for them is simply a way that children must spend their days until they are of such age that they may work. For some, education is the means to a better paying job, or at least a job with more status. For others, the middle school and high school are stepping stones to college. However, they still have little concept of what it means to be an educated citizen. At this stage they are simply thinking about a job and making money.

Granted, I teach 12-13-14 year olds who have not developed conceptually to the point of abstract thought. Or to use Piagetian terminology, they have not yet reached the formal operations stage. However, I do not see the concept of education as a tool for participating in a self-governing political structure discussed in many classrooms albeit in rudimentary fashion. To my way of thinking, that concept should be basic to the tenets of American education. If our students are not educated to the wider world around us, introduced to the opportunities of participating in government, and oriented to the issues facing their generation, we have failed them. Educators would do well to remember that learning how to learn, is key to our students’ future success. Learning how to think and think about thinking (metacognition) will serve them well to become responsible citizens in a participatory government.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cleaning out my email, I found this. And it spoke to me today. Hope it speaks to you, too! (Author, unknown)

Best Prayer I Have Heard In A Long Time... Heavenly Father, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children. Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester. Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares. Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that -- based on the biopsy report she got back last week -- this will be the last year that they go shopping together. Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those that are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Am I a week early for my appointment?" I greeted my therapist yesterday.

She burst into laughter, "So, it's been that kind of week?"

She should know. The day before I had missed the massage appointment completely.

Right now I'm seated on the floor with my back resting on a movable partition at O'Hare. My eyes are firmly glued on concourse "L" watching for Teresa to get here from Ecuador.

I've already done this act once -- for the 8:00 flight. Now it's a repeat performance for the 11:00 flight.

At least she's not at the gate waiting for me to come get her -- what I feared earlier. Meantime, try to find something to DO while waiting two hours in the visiting portion of the airport. It's worse than a bus/train station -- tried that this summer.

Outside of the secure areas, there is no seating, no food, no stores -- nothing. Okay, there's a scaled-down S-Bucks with two little ice cream parlor tables, two chairs each. I didn't feel like arm-wrestling the young athletic types sitting there for the seats. So I opted to go across the street to the Hilton. However, on the way there, I discovered an employee area with seating, adjacent to the parking lot...and it had more food than the coffee shop.

Then I realized that it also hid a shortcut to the parking lot. Change of plans. I found my car and got paper to write and a book to read.

Forty-five minutes later, I've had my exercise. Armed with a Sun-Time, a book, a notebook and a bottle of orange juice, I'm settled in to wait for my friend.

As long as security doesn't run me out for vagrancy!

Monday, November 02, 2009


I just gotta say, God has the most terrific sense of humor. How could I ever doubt that he's in charge of things! His lessons are so clear!

Sunday, I preached from Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world--like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house."

God's intention is that we affect our world. That we make a difference.

Then I added Ephesians 1:12-14 "The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him."

So that God's intention for us is that we would influence our world -- He has given us the power to do so. When we obey, it is to the praise of his glory.

I talked about everyday opportunities to come out of our walls that we build to protect us from the world ... to let down our defenses and go forth to relate to others, one at a time.

Then...THAT SAME NIGHT...I get a phone call that an old friend is coming for an extended stay. Now I love my friend...she's a wonderful person. But I'm sure you understand that having another adult move in with you is an adjustment and definitely breaches whatever "walls" one may have set up. It's laughable especially considering that the last house guest we had was not as positive as one would have hoped. And...left less than one month ago.

God does not intend to let me occupy my "Walled house" with only hubby!! Like I said, God has a sense of humor. And...I'm sure that I'm in for some serious life lessons.

I'm delighted to be able to assist her, and Teresa is a marvelous person. She's helpful. I'll have to encourage her to do LESS housework, etc. because she's just like that. But...another female in one's personal space, is still another person in one's personal space. Ergo. My wall's coming down fast. Really fast.

She's arriving November 13!!!

I hear God's smile. At least he hasn't forgotten me. He hasn't given up on me. He believes that he can still teach this old dog new tricks!!!!

So I'll just join God and enjoy the joke on me.... LOL

And do my best to learn these new lessons.

Bloggers Over 50

Personal DNA

Personality Profile

My Bloginality is ENTP!!!