Saturday, January 21, 2012

Starting Over

It's apparent, to me, that I need to change the vibe of this blog.  For some reason, probably an insecurity, I felt the need that every post had to be profound and life-changing.  I wanted readers to walk away with chills.  I was writing for the reader.

First of all, that was silly.  If I want readers to walk away with chills I should go into writing screenplays or dramatic novels.  Second of all, it was doing very little for me.  I need to reflect on my practice, share thoughts and ideas with other educators, get criticized, and have the result be a better me.  So, that's what's to come.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I'm not really sure how or where to start...

About two weeks ago I start getting an itch.  A nudge.

(Caution, the following is jumbled.  Proceed accordingly.)

I want to be a school leader.  A great one.  That's not the itch.  The itch is I'm thinking maybe I'm close to being ready to pursue my doctorate.  Then my co-worker tells me her husband wants to take me to lunch.  Her husband was the principal who hired me for my first full-time teaching job.  In 2004.  We go to lunch.  He drops mad knowledge.  He's got his doctorate.  We talk about it.

I've had Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich" on audiobook for a few years now.  I started it a few times and just didn't get into it.  For some reason I wanted to start listening to it again.  Perhaps you've heard of "The Secret."  I can only imagine the amount of money that author has raked in.  Read the first there chapters of "Think and Grow Rich," and you've covered "The Secret."  Crazy, especially considering that "Think and Grow Rich" was first published in NINETEEN FREAKING THIRTY SEVEN.  So I don't know, out of nowhere I wanted to start listening to it again.  It strikes a chord.

So I talk to a few people about the pros and cons of going to get my doctorate.  I think I'm wanting to do it for all the right reasons.  Those are the pros.  The cons?  $50k.  I talk to my best buddy today.  I've known him since I was six, so he's fairly well acquainted with me.  We talk about the pros and cons.  Then he hits me with this (by the way, he's a man of very strong faith): "I'll be praying for you man, and I encourage you to pray on it too.  Just recently I've been feeling like God has been putting thoughts in my head that I swear aren't coming from me.  So pray on it."

And all along I've been thinking about emailing Dan and seeing what he has to say.  I've never met Dan in person.  I look forward to the day I do and get to shake his hand.  But we've talked over email and blog comments a few times.  I look up to him (and not because I'm 5'7" and he's 6'7").  But because he's awesome.  He's getting his doctorate at Stanford.  S-T-A-N-F-O-R-D.  Yeah, he's awesome.  But I hadn't written him yet.

Here's my hang up with getting my doctorate....what can I gain by getting my doctorate that I can't gain by not getting it?  A job?  A promotion?  Those things, sure.  But in relation to knowledge?  If I want it bad enough, in the way that The Secret and Think and Grow Rich and God all say that it's available, will a doctorate really help?  Can anything really stop me?

Then Dan hits me with this.



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lessons From Under Center, Part Two

(Part 2 of a 3-part series.  To be expanded soon.)

4.  EVERY person can contribute, but each person contributes uniquely.
5.  There are varying definitions of winning and losing.
6.  At some point the mama bird has to let the baby bird fly.

On A Daily Basis

This isn't groundbreaking or anything, but at the end of each day I'd like to ask myself:

Did I do something that helped students learn, helped students gain confidence in themselves, made students feel capable and valued?

Did I do something that helped teachers grow, helped teachers reflect, inspired teachers to help students learn?

Was I patient?  Kind?  Empathetic?

Did I see the big picture, and paint the small details?

If I can answer yes to each of those I think each day will be a productive, fulfilling one.