Category Archives: education
2. Stuff is overrated…This past year I have worked on downsizing, thinking about each purchase before I make it and analyzing its importance and necessity. I have purchased less stuff by asking myself “What do I really want?” Definitely less stuff!
3. Overeating doesn’t make me feel any better..I’m up about 10 lbs in the past two years. It’s not where I want to be but after working a long day and coming home late, I’m hungry. I’ve overeaten instead of taking the time to eat healthier. I definitely don’t feel better for eating the way I have in the past couple of years. Time for change.
4. Quiet is Essential…My home is busy with two grown children and a grandson. The TV is on almost from the time everyone gets up until the last one goes to bed. The only way I can keep my sanity is to get up early before everyone else for some quiet or retreat to my bedroom for some quiet.
5. Laughing is good…My job is crazy and can be really stressful some days but if I take time to laugh about things that I find funny I can make my day and others better. I’ve learned to laugh at myself.
6. Learning something new makes you smarter…I am stating the obvious here but if you to learn something new you are smarter and you may just learn something new about yourself in the process.
7. I am not a better person for watching TV…We have DirectTV with over a hundred channels. Most evenings after work I find very little interesting to watch on tv. Spending my time reading a new book , time spent writing or diving into a DIY project around the house makes me feel better or at least more productive.
8. Less is definitely more…The less stuff I have the more room I have to be creative. When my kids were little their favorite place to play was the room I had just finished cleaning and decluttering. They would play for hours in a clean room.
9. Hard work makes me feel better…I love the feeling of a completed project or finishing something that just required putting one foot in front of the other and sticking with it to completion.
10. Life with a toddler is always full of surprises…My grandson lives with me and it is always a daily adventure with him. There are times when all you can do is laugh like when the toilet was plugged 10 minutes before Thanksgiving dinner and you find what plugged it was his pacifier he flushed.
Today was one of those days with a long to-do list. My husband and I have been working long hours this past month, evenings and weekends included. We took the day off from work to try to get some things done around home. This past weekend we started loading up things that needed to go to the landfill and recycling center. We are desperately trying to downsize the amount of stuff we have in our home and garage.
We finished loading up our grandson and the truck. We took a slow ride making sure nothing blew out of or off the truck. When we arrived at the landfill we worked to put the recyclable in their proper bins and sort the non recyclable into their containers. It felt great to get that job done. It’s something we have talked about for months but finally got to it today.
When we got home it was on to the next things on our to-do list. Our daughter brought home her broken laptop for her dad to fix. While he was dismantling her laptop so he could resolder a portion and order a new part, my grandson and I headed outside to work on picking up all the branches that blew down in the winds the past few days.
While I was outside picking up branches I thought about how blessed I am to have the husband I do. Over the years he has taught me how to do many things that has made both of our lives easier. I went to college to become a teacher but there are days when I think he is the better teacher. He is careful not to be critical when he his teaching me something new and always complimentary when I have done a job for him that has allowed him to use his time for other tasks.
Tonight was one of those evenings that we were able to divide and conquer our to-do list. Our plans had been to drive to our son’s home this evening and pick him up and drive to the race shop that he works at part-time to pick up a TIG welder and shelving that his friend gave him because he is relocating his shop to another town. As our afternoon progressed it was becoming increasing ly apparent that the evening plans would have to be moved to another day because things were stacking up at the shop that needed to be taken care of by my husband.
Our daughter’s laptop still remained in multiple pieces on my kitchen table although my husband had finished with the soldering but still needed to put the computer back together so our daughter could head back to college this evening. We had a car customer that wanted to do the paperwork for buying a car this evening and a customer’s truck with a bad motor that needed a plan for the repair.
We decided that the only way to get everything done on our list was to set off in our separate directions to accomplish the many things on our list. He finished things that needed to be done at our business and then came home and reassembled our daughter’s laptop and I took the F-650 to the Cities to help my son load up the welder and shelving and deliver them to his home.
It was almost 11:15 when I finally arrived back at the shop to put the truck away when I noticed my husband had taken the time before he went home to move my car close to the truck garage so I wouldn’t have to walk behind the shop to get it when I got home.
Over the 27 years that we have been married we have tried to make a peaceful home. Not too critical, helpful and respectful of each other and our children. We try to work together whenever possible to lighten each others loads. I used to be critical of how a job was done by another implying that no one could do it as well as I do it. I now see the benefits of teaching others and allowing them to do a job their way and not to my specifications. They can feel good about accomplishing something and I have a task completed, just as I feel good about being able to complete something for my husband or he for me.
Last evening when I came home late from work I noticed a star filled sky. One of the benefits to living in the country is the stars are much more visible than in the city lights. Every direction I looked I saw constellations shining brightly. Near the moon was Jupiter just south and west. As I took in the stars I noticed a jet passing between the moon and Jupiter in the sky leaving its contrails visible in the moonlit sky.
Early this morning as I walked the garbage out to the road before sunrise I saw Orion dancing in the early morning western sky. Just as last evening, the skies were clear and star filled. When I grew up in the Twin Cities the stars weren’t as visible unless you got away from the city and all of its lights.
I remember the year my parents gave my brother a telescope for Christmas and the hours we spent looking for stars and spaceships. We saw a whole new world through the telescope that year. When we took the telescope out to my grandparents who lived in the country we saw even more.
While attending college I spent one semester in the planetarium learning astronomy. I couldn’t wait to share what I learned with my fourth grade class when I began teaching. I started a unit on the planets and expanded to the constellations. One activity we did in class was to take a piece of black construction paper and poke holes with our pencils to make the constellations.
We hung the construction paper constellations on the inside of our classroom window. People walking past our classroom in the media center could look in our window and the classroom lights would illuminate the constellations as they peered in. The students loved the activity and made extras that they could take home and put on their bedroom windows. We did the activity on a Friday afternoon, hung them up and left for the weekend.
Monday morning when I arrived in my classroom I went about my usual routine. I made copies for the day, looked over my lessons and watered the plants. Next on my list was to feed the fish in the aquarium. As I walked toward the aquarium I was shocked at the sight. The water was completely black. I could still see fish swimming in the tank but in forty gallons of jet black water.
What happened? How did it turn black and why? I looked up and noticed that a couple of our constellation projects had fallen into our aquarium and the dye had turned the water black. About that time the students started arriving into the classroom and were equally shocked. One student noticed one fish on the floor that had jumped out of the tank and landed on the floor and died. The students said he committed suicide because he couldn’t stand the black water. It was our only fatality.
Next it was time to discuss unintended consequences for our actions and our responsibilities for cleanup.
When life gives you lessons, you teach.
Last evening I watched as my grandson attack my piano with gusto. He sat and played with all he had, sometimes even his feet getting into the act. He’s 14 months old. I learned how to play piano when I was five and took lessons for five years. I was never a great pianist but I play for my enjoyment. The last time that I pursued anything with that intensity like my grandson with my piano, was learning how to fly and before that, teaching.
This past week I read an article that was published in the Washington Post and referenced in The Simple Things in “L”ife by Gregg Hake blog titled Why aren’t our teachers the best and the brightest? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/08/AR2010100802741.html I found the article to be very interesting but it left me with the nagging question. If I were seeking a teaching degree under the approach to teacher recruitment used in Singapore, Finland and South Korea would I measure up? According to the article “these countries make teacher training programs highly selective, accepting no more than one out of every seven or eight applicants. Their governments also limit the number of training positions to match the expected demand for educators, so that those admitted are assured jobs.”
At first I focused on the fact that they sought the top one-third students. I would have fit into that category no problem. Second, the article stated “academic achievement isn’t the whole story in these countries. They screen would-be teachers for other important qualities, and they invest heavily in training teachers and in retaining them for their entire careers.” They never mention the important qualities besides academic achievement that they screen for in the process. It’s something I’d like to know.
I was thinking about the education selection process in Finland, Singapore and South Korea and something sounded vaguely familiar about it. It took me a few days to figure out what it was and then I realized it is very similar to the process that is used in the United States in the medical field for accepting students into medical school. If these top students make it through medical school they are most likely assured a job in their field provided they are willing to accept one where they are needed.
The number of students accepted to medical school is kept low enough so there is always a demand for their services when they finish. In a time when there is a need for more doctors, nurses and other medical personnel it would seem the appropriate time to make openings for more students to attend medical school. The downside of this is there might be students admitted to the program that might only be in the bottom of the top 30%. Do these students have a good bedside manner or bad and does it matter?
After reading the article I walked away with the feeling that I was somehow inadequate as a teacher. Perhaps I didn’t demonstrate the scholastic prowess that they would desire in their countries. I don’t know if I would qualify based on their other important qualities. I would hope so. I do know that not all education students do not have 100% of their time available for study. There are many college students that worked their way through college and had to divide their time and attention accordingly. Does that make them any less of a teacher? Perhaps in their work experience they will learn valuable skills to relate to their future students.
I love to teach and know that just knowing the material is not all there is to teaching. It takes the ability to engage your students in what you are teaching. In order to teach you first have to get and keep their attention. Teaching takes compassion for the student beyond the subject matter. If your student comes to school without eating breakfast or wondering if it’s Mom or Dad’s weekend to have them, little of what you are trying to teach them will be learned. Excellent teachers are able to instill a lifelong love of learning in their students, always yearning for more.