Let's Change Education

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Month: March 2016 (page 1 of 3)

Plant a Tree: Morning Minutes, March 31, 2016


Came across this in the Twitterverse this morning.  It speaks to me. One, it reminds me of my procrastinating ways, which I will get around to changing some day. Two, it provides more fuel for my personal fire to change education, especially at this twenty-year juncture of my journey.  Again with the destiny–sorry, but as I waffle and waver over my plans for next year, it gives me some strength to venture forth and get some roots in the ground, making me then a steward, a caretaker of that which I would see done.  And thus three, it serves as a reminder of my charge as a teacher. Little makes one more accountable than that for which he has been given charge, that for which he is responsible–my students. They, too, their own trees that, though I did not plant, I do have to help cultivate in the time that they are in my care. And while it is rare that I see the fruits of my labor in real time, for most of the growth is not plain for the eye to see as it happens at the root level, I believe that even the smallest shoot of root helps the health of the saplings struggling to capture the sun around me. And while some will grow more than others–now or later, all I can really do is my best to keep them healthy as I pass them along to their next stewards. I owe them that.  It is my charge, even when I am not at my best, lately I have not been at my best, but I am lucky for the saplings in 219 are rather resilient, and I returned to find them just fine.  Maybe I am not as important as I think.

Happy Thursday, all. It’s great to be back in my little grove of trees in 219, a restorative force not unlike that found in the awe of nature.  Kids.  Sometimes, I think that is all we need.


A Step at a Time: Morning Minutes, March 30, 2016

Well, gonna give it a stab.  I was able to stay out of bed for most of the day yesterday.  I even took a short, slow walk with the dog. And I actually slept decently last night. So, even if all systems aren’t fully go, I am going to venture back into the world today.  Granted, it will be a gingerly, reserve-my-energy step, but a step nonetheless. I know the kids will take it easy on me, and I in turn will take it easy on them…well, kinda easy, they do have stuff that needs to be done before break.  Thanks again to all who wished me well over the last ten days.

Happy Wednesday.


Maybe…not. Morning Minutes, March 29, 2016

So, thinking maybe I could go back and make it through the day, but I am not gonna trust maybe, and I am going to stay out one more day. In truth, most of my kids are gone all morning at a college-planning convention at SFCC, so I may as well use that as my reason for not really needing to be there.  Plus, my little buddy Ms. Tamura next door is willing to open the wall and cover my classes, which is always far preferable to a sub.  Thanks, Ms. Tamura. I owe you big time.

Anyway, another boring day at home, but I think–I hope–that I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Been no fun. Thanks for all the well-wishes.  Your thoughts and prayers have helped me make it through the most miserable parts.  Happy Tuesday, all.  Looks like the sun is gonna shine.


Are You Kidding Me?: Morning Minutes, March 28, 2016


Ugh.  Reaching the point of ridiculousness! So, turns out I now have pneumonia.  Feeling considerably awful Saturday morning, I went to the doctor–enough was enough.  Well, after listening to my lungs, doc thought I might have pneumonia, and he ordered x-rays.  Yep.  Pneumonia.  Right side.  His diagnosis determined that I had started out with a good old case of influenza, which then led to a secondary infection–pneumonia. Good news?  Finally knew what was ailing me and now had the right drugs to fight it.  Bad news? Long recovery. How long? Varies by individual.  Sweet. Well, this individual is going to try to make it back tomorrow, but that strategy failed twice last week. So, maybe I should play it day by day. Ugh, indeed.

Mustering what little strength I had yesterday, I crawled up to school to get sub plans done.  I left my kids an apology on the white board, but whatever little sympathy that bought me will go out the window once they learn they have to write an essay today.  Another essay!? Someday they will thank me.

Happy Monday, all.  Check in with you tomorrow morning.

Among the Living: Morning Minutes, March 25, 2016

Finally feeling less terrible.  Enough so, that I will be back among the living today. Of course, what’s lost is lost, and I can’t turn back time, but I will do my best to salvage what is left and get us moving forward again. I am just thankful to be back, doing what I do, because the past days have been a miserable, purposeless existence. Not sure what I would do without the best job in the world.  Truly.  Lost without it.

However, being gone wasn’t a total loss, for I had lots of time to think about the not-necessarily-sane journey I plan to take over the next two years in 219.  Too early to reveal yet, but present planning suggests the possibility of two books and a re-imagined purpose of my blog.  I am excited to move forward with this as I gather the necessary materials to not only get started with but also continue my journey over the months to come . Of course, I plan to lean on my faithful few who have taken to following me in the short time my blog has been around.  Thank you, all.  I am truly inspired and energized by your continued support. Can’t do it without you.

For now, though, I am just going to focus on getting things back to normal in 219.  I will reveal the plan by the end of the year.  Have a lot of homework to do first.

Happy Friday, all.  A big shout out to my teaching partner Jenna Tamura.  Thank you for taking care of things in my absence. You are the best.



Again: Morning Minutes, March 24, 2016


Still out.  Can’t remember the last time I missed this much school for sickness. Try again tomorrow.

Grumble, Grumble: Morning Minutes, March 23, 2016


Morning, all.  Be back in the saddle tomorrow.  Being sick is such a waste of time.  Grrrrr.

Opportunity: Morning Minutes, March 22, 2016


Inevitably, as we studied the dark past of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust during WWII, some of our own shadows from this time revealed themselves, namely our use of Japanese internment camps.  Kids are always shocked to learn that we, too, had concentration camps. And while we don’t spend nearly the same amount of time on this topic as the Holocaust, how we will spend the time is pretty awesome.  Today, the kids will get a rare treat.  My teaching partner Jenna Tamura’s grandmother and her family were interned at a camp in California.  Today, Jenna’s dad, a teacher at Roger’s High School, is going to spend the day with us sharing not only the history from that time but also his mother’s–his family’s–story. Possessing and sharing original documents and artifacts from this time, he will provide an authentic look at a darker time from our history.

Every sophomore in the school will get a chance to hear his story today.  Jenna and I have an accordion wall between our rooms that we can open, allowing sixty kids at a time in the audience.  A special shout out and thank you to Jenna and her dad for orchestrating this opportunity for our kiddos.  I’ll share more details tomorrow.

Happy Tuesday, all.  Still feeling shcrappy, despite staying home in bed all day yesterday.  Thinking of wearing two Superman shirts today.  May have to get the cape out.


Off Track: Morning Minutes, March 21, 2016

Not sure a Superman shirt’s gonna be enough today.  Monday’s tough enough, but Monday when one doesn’t feel well is brutal. Oh, nothing serious.  As many of you know, I have had some “health developments” in the past few years, and while I generally have a handle on it, I experience setbacks from time to time.  One of those times is right now, but I cannot afford to be gone, so I am gonna tough it out and face the day.  However, as far as my blog goes this morning, I got nothing.  Survival does not readily lead to inspiration.  The well is dry this morning.  But my kids will make my cup less empty once I get to school. They always do.  Thank goodness for kids.

Happy Monday.  Be back on track tomorrow.


Some Spring in My Step: Morning Minutes, March 18, 2016

Good morning, all.  So, I want to talk about a few things this morning.  First, I wanted to make a reference back to Tuesday’s post, “To the Egde”(http://www.letschangeeducation.com/?p=443), a post that reflected my rather gloomy disposition of late as I have been working through some recent professional changes in addition to the self-inflicted pressure I have put on myself to make next year a pivotal one in my purposeful pursuit to change education. Well, gloom be gone, for I have found that which I sought.  I found a seed to plant, a plan to grow.  I have discovered what I will do over the next two years to push the change I seek.  And while I am not ready to reveal the plan that is still processing, I am excited to share that I have a spring in my step again.  Of course my plan is nothing short of crazy, but I believe it’s gonna take a little crazy–maybe a lot of crazy.

Second, I wanted to share a “you-had-to-be-there moment,” from yesterday’s independent learning projects.  As you know, the kids had to get out  of their comfort zones this time, challenging themselves in some instances to face their fears.  Yesterday, Natalie faced her fear of singing in public. As Natalie prepared at the front of the room, we prepared for the possibly awkward moment of the band, not-choir kid singing an entire song to us.  Accompanied by senior friend Kayleigh on the guitar, Natalie closed her eyes, opened her mouth, and transported us all to a place none thought possible.  She nailed the song “Riptide,” and as Destinee said, revealing what we all felt, “I had chills the entire time.” It was amazing.  Truly. We all knew we had been witness to something special, something that maybe will create a “we-were-there-when” moment when she makes it big.  Man, I love my job.  Nothing better in the world than kids shining in their moments

Happy Friday, all.  Have a great weekend.  It’s spring!


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