Saturday, July 19, 2014

Why it matters that teaching staff have good relationships with one another

It's been eons since I used this blog, and I have been thinking about it's value as a place to write my thoughts about teaching and learning. This idea was inspired by my graduate work when I realized that my culminating portfolio for my degree really requested very little of my actual thoughts on the subject. My recent experience of having someone else hired for a position I had applied for was the tipping point to get me to actually begin writing what I want to say.

So here's the beginning related to the information I have about why an outside person was hired rather than either of the two known entities who applied for the position (the new guy has more years of experience teaching than I do and said the right buzz words during the interview process):

I believe that students’ needs are actually best served when the adults in the building are in positive relationships with one another. The value of strong bonds between staff members cannot be overstated. When staff are not busy trying to build new relationships with colleagues because they already have ones that work well, their energy is available to focus on the students. The curriculum is what it is – we are relearning it anyway with Common Core and AVID and we are all learning something new about the curriculum.

In the case of families, when parents have their needs for connection and support met they are better parents and can be there for their offspring more fully. In the same way, when teachers and other staff that support students have their needs met, they can provide for students’ needs in a more resourceful manner.

There is much more to say on this particular topic, but it's late (or early, depending on one's point of view) so I am going to try returning to sleep. Writing this down has helped me to empty it out of my head so I can get some sleep.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

5 Secret Words To Unlock Your Creativity

When faced with a problem, how many times have you heard the following phrases coming out of someone's mouth (even your own)? "I can't do it", "It won't work", "It'll never happen", "Nobody can do that", "There's no way", "That's impossible", "There's no such thing".

What if you could eradicate, wipe out, eliminate these phrases from your vocabulary? How would your life be improved? Do you believe it's possible to make a paradigm shift in your thinking? Then here is a deceptively simple and imminently powerful phrase to open a world of possibilities to your brain.

These are five secret words that will allow your creative genius (and yes, we all have it) to start working its magic: "I don't yet see how. . ." That's it. Five words. Let me explain why this is so powerful, one word at a time.

"I" - this takes the statement down to you, personally. It avoids globalizing (i.e. - that something is impossible) and it keeps the ownership of and responsibility for the solution in your power.

"Don't" - a statement of fact. Merely an observation that at this moment in time, you do not see. No judgment is implied about your ability to see, your likelihood of seeing, your desire to see. Simply that you don't right now.

"Yet" - probably the most powerful part of the statement. This word signals to your brain that the solution WILL become visible.

Have you ever noticed something in your environment and said to yourself, "Has that been there all along? How could I have missed that?" The word, 'yet' opens a space in your thinking that allows you to see the solution when it is available. This is another way to express the adage that "When the student is ready, the teacher appears".

"See" - this could be substituted by the word "understand". This indicates to your brain that the solution exists somewhere but you don't yet have access to it. You either don't see it or don't understand it, but it's there somewhere to be seen and/or understood.

"How" - again, a signal to your brain that there IS a way to accomplish whatever you currently see as an obstacle.

Try this magical phrase on for size the next time you run into a roadblock. And as you knock down obstacle after obstacle, help people you love to see *their* possibilities and solutions.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

More Ethics on the Web

The Ethical Society of St. Louis makes their platform addresses available on the Web, too! You gotta love modern technology :-)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Efforts to Reduce Recidivism in Maryland

I am always heartened to see that there is at least a budding understanding of how to help people reintegrate into 'society' after spending time in prison. I think there's always room for improvement in how we treat 'our own'. My belief is that 'our own' encompasses all of human kind. So I am pleased to see the effort described on this Maryland Economic Development Digest page.

Here is an excerpt:
". . .We believe it’s wrong to incarcerate inmates and do nothing to help them change their way of life or enhance employment prospects. Rather, it is our responsibility to treat medical ailments, mental illness and addiction and change behaviors that contribute to the committing of crimes." (more)

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Odetta, Still a Powerful Voice for Justice

I like to post positive, useful information. Stories of the human spirit conquering ennui and other nastiness. This woman is one of those people who has and continues to further the betterment of humankind. I'm so glad to see that she's being celebrated!

Morning Edition, December 30, 2005
Odetta Holmes Felious Gordon has shaped American folk music for over 50 years. Born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1930, Odetta lost her father at a young age. Her mother remarried and read the full article

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Articles on Personal Growth and Development

This list of personal growth articles is quite diverse.

Check it out!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Some religions don't have a prayer

Excerpts from an article dated August 8, 2005
By Sheila Suess Kennedy

Link to full text
On May 18, the Texas state comptroller ruled that the Red River Unitarian Universalist Church was not a "religious organization" for tax purposes. The comptroller based her denial of tax-exempt status on the fact that "the church does not have one system of belief" and does not require belief in a deity.
The public outcry over the Unitarian denial led to a quick reversal of that decision, but Strayhorn remained adamant about Ethical Culture, which then brought suit, alleging religious discrimination. Ethical Culture describes itself as a religious, philosophical and educational movement focused upon how people live rather than on what they believe. Defying the trial court and Texas Supreme Court, which both ruled against her, Strayhorn has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that if Ethical Culture wins, "any wannabe cult who dresses up and parades down Sixth Street on Halloween" will apply for a tax exemption.
The Ethical Society's Web site defines its mission as a "look beyond the differences between religions to embrace the common core of ethics at the heart of all worldwide faiths." Is that really less authentically "religious" than riding the Jesus roller coaster?