Sunday, February 22, 2009

Valentine's Day Tea Party

Miranda, one of our 6 high school students roasts me in our Valentine's Day Skit. There were mixed reactions from parents in the audience at her dramaticized rendition of our Career Planning Class. Way to go Miranda!

Jenna, our awesome admin assistant and the infamous Irish rockstars, Jack and Joe

Wisdom from an old book

Philippians 2 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not after your own interests, but to the interests of others... Do all things without murmuring or arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. Corinthians 13 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Boat Ride

My life, yesterday, started by jumping in a friend's fishing boat from the dock in front of my house. I can never pass up a boat ride through turquoise water as the sun calls to life all on the island. We cruised around the ocean in "my neighborhood" and I arrived home in time to get to school for a meeting with a teacher. I became cognizant on the boat of the true awe I am in of my life right now. How many people do I know that jump on a boat from their dock and cruise around watching flying fish soar as the sun rises, just before getting to their job? There is so much to say and write about life right now. It is truly incredible. Paulo Cuehlo, a great Brazilian writer, talks about finding our sword, our way. I used to think it would happen in the way that old cartoons show a person coming to a realization with a light bulb illumined over their head, distinctively clear and permanent. With the unfolding of each day, I am learning that it is a constant path, each day, constantly unpredictable in the way of where exactly it will lead to next, but altogether beautiful. It is overwhelming at times. Watching the actions we take deliver immediate consequences and if our actions are intentional and kind, what an incredible outcome.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Progress and Poverty, by Henry George, 1879

"Increase in the amount of bonds, mortagages, notes or bank bills cannot increase the wealth of a community, since this compromises both those who are entitled to receive and those who promise to pay. Similarily, the wealth of a people would not be increased by the enslavement of some of them, for what the enslavers gained the enslaved would lose.

Increase in land values does not represent increase in the common wealth, for what landowners gain by higher prices the tenants or purchasers who must pay them will lose. And all this relative wealth, which, in common thought and speech, in legislation and law, is undistinguished from actual wealth, could, without the destruction or consumption of anything more than a few drops of ink and a piece of paper, be utterly annihilated."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How Can We Be Great?

As teachers, one of the most critical parts of our job is to be reflective. In the biz they say, ‘ If no one is learning, no one is teaching’. So we strive to understand if our message is getting through. We are asking ourselves what is our message and what message do they, our students, want to hear. This morning, I page through a book Miriam showed me. It is a collection, almost a scrapbook, of a young man who grew up outside of Nairobi, I think. He, at a young age, began to photograph life around him. He was the son of a British reporter and as such, was able to travel extensively, documenting everything he encountered. After he was killed, caught up in a riot he was covering, his mom published some of his work, mostly collaged photos. He died at age 24 and he already had left so much greatness in the world.

Looking at his collages, I feel a connection to a kindred soul. Wanting to identify with the multiple layers of life we encounter around the world each day. I think about my life and where it is headed, I begin to realize that I want to do something great. Of course, initially, I think we as humans, see greatness as evidenced in some type of recognition. A book, a statue, degrees, titles, awards, etc. I realize that our drive to be great is possible every day. When I think of how I can be great, over a lifetime, it is to instill this desire to be great in the youth. It is a numbers game. I can devote my life to achieving greatness in and of my own, small chunk of time I have here on earth. I can multiply this effect, pushing our humanity towards the harmonious side of life, by instilling this in kids.

A dear teacher, mentor and, now as I am an adult, a friend, tells me during our annual conversations that he wonders what his legacy will be. He has been teaching us for decades. I tell him that his legacy is within those of us whom he challenged, reprimanded, confided in and told stories to. It is because of him and others who painted a picture of grandeur in my life, that I strive to always ask where else, or what more?

I think we find ourselves with a difficult question at this time in human history, why am I important? The world, with all of our advancements, is becoming increasingly smaller. Along with this, is a growing monopoly of global power. As a teacher, it is difficult to prepare my students to solve the many puzzles we are facing at present. We look at political, social and economic situations around the world, and strangely enough, the similarities far outweigh the differences. The struggle of the masses to simply live, peacefully, as the power and economic prosperity becomes restricted to a few.

This is our mission. In class, we have a saying to get everyone back together after group work. I say ‘knowledge is’ and the students respond, ‘power’. If this is true, then we all, especially with the availability of information, have access to power. Although we are constantly barraged by vague, depressing, sensationalized information, we are important in the history of the world. We can confront ignorance and greed in our daily lives. This is how we become great.