The Lecture That Wasn’t

Sometimes, not always, I yearn to tell the truth. I want to walk into the classroom some days and announce: I feel your pain, or numbness, or defeat, or indifference, but that doesn’t stop me from pretending that what we do here in this sacred space called a classroom, three hours each week, can change lives. But I chicken out each time.

Anihinga Trail

At other times, I just want to waltz in and say: Look at me. You see this fat? It didn’t just appear over night. It took a lifetime to get into this shape and it will take a lifetime to get out of it. Now, in this moment, is the span of our entire lifetime. A next moment, let alone tomorrow, is not guaranteed. There’s no point waiting. As The Drummer said in the film of the same name, “Life is full of thousands of moments and I am one of them. I am that moment. That moment is me.” Imagine. We know we are this moment and yet, we allow the opportunity to “make” us instead of taking the dominion that is already ours and using it for the greater good. Nothing like informed self-interest, is there?

Anyway, I think up all these things to inspire my students and instead, on certain occasions, I inspire myself yet remain scarcely to make the changes I desire. It’s slow going this moment by moment stuff. But, as Harvey Jackins was fond of saying, Fortunately or unfortunately, I happen to be the best person available for the job. Oh, you’re wondering perhaps, what’s the job? Leading your life, of course. Who better to do it?

Advertisements

We Care Therefore We Are

So very many things seem blogworthy coursing through my head during the day. But by the time I actually sit in front of this laptop, no matter what time it is, early or late, nothing seems to matter more than going to sleep. After a class in which a student actually asked why we should care about one another, debriefing the exchange that followed in a circle of six caring professional educators working at one school but coming from several continents, let alone five different cultures and countries, I realize students are not alone in their chronic indifference, and that we must all keep trying to care and then act on it. Thanks for the reminder, George Lakoff. TED’s Kathryn Schultz invites us to begin by suspending our obsession with being wrong or right. Touché.

President Obama’s Town Meeting on Facebook

I was impressed that the environment was actually as stable as it was. Technology keeps on advancing. I wish we could keep pace with advances in humanity the way John Naisbitt suggested was necessary in Megatrends. I was with a student for part of it. Was education / funding our future addressed?

Democracy is based on empathy, that is, on citizens caring about each other and acting on that care, taking responsibility not just for themselves but for their families, communities, and their nation. The role of government is to carry out this principle in two ways: protection and empowerment.  George Lakoff

When The Country We Believe In embodies this aspiration, she is at her humane best.

Welcome to the Desert of the Real

So, for my eight-week online sections of College Success: Academic and Life Skills (ALS 101) it’s midterm. Two out of 8 teams posted their presentations early and three out of 8 teams have decided against using the dedicated Team Liria Discussion Boards for planning. I’ve given advance feedback to the early postings and hope that this is one kind deed that does indeed go unpunished. If what appears to be such a poor showing actually materializes, do I give up the commitment to collaborative learning in this way or not? Past and current research still lists it among best practices but present levels of engagement, decoding and encoding skills suggest otherwise. Education, teaching and learning as we know it, is definitely in transition. I am eager to see its next face / phase. Lord, let it begin with me.

Unforgettable…Not.

There are days in a teacher’s life when she does not meet her own standards. Today was such a day. All that I managed was not to scream, not to ask a rhetorical question laced with sarcasm, not to reveal the ire that rose when a student confessed the truth surrounding her late submission. I count on tomorrow’s grace being all-sufficient.

Quickening In Progress

One might think it strange that during today’s praise and worship someone not unknown to me left her seat in a pew somewhere in front of me and I felt compelled to follow her to ask her about the concern that appeared to be etched across her face. As I left the sanctuary, I asked an usher if she had seen the direction the sister I described had taken. An attendant at the information booth affirmed that such a one had not passed to the right and so I went left to check the bathroom.

When I entered, a new mother was just being faced with the challenge of rinsing and wiping soapy hands with her newborn in her arms. I offered, and she accepted, placing the slight bundle of blessedness in my arms. Returning the wee lass a moment later, I checked the stalls to find no one there. As I turned to leave, another sister was behind me asking for my contact information so I might help her husband with his first assignment in the doctoral program. I gave her my email and phone number and left the bathroom once again aware how mysterious are the Lord’s ways.

It often happens that what we think is not quite what is going on or intended yet it is always within God’s plan and purpose for us, no matter what the enemy has in store. The challenge is to remember that the enemy has already done his worst and failed at the very Cross at Calvary. This was confirmed when Jesus rose on the third day with all power in His hands – the same power He has given us.

Recommendations For Re-entry

A good time was had by all in Denver, but it’s so good to be home. Tonight’s picks for celebrating our reunion include: The Power Plant if you want to be the fit and green change you would see in the world; Sammy’s Wood-fired Pizzawe’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto, especially when we’re talking roasted veggies and grilled chicken breast – not to mention the shrimp and creamy corn chowder soup! Then, although it’s positively unAmerican to construct anything smaller than a 1/2 lb sundae in this location, I personally recommend four inches of each – mango, guava and blueberry frozen yogurt at Yogurtland. I topped them off with a single lychee, half a strawberry and quarter of a kiwi for a buck 29.