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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies



Girl students Yabucoa

At this point, it might be useful for us to ask ourselves…what is this act, what is this scene in which action is taking place, what is this agency and what is its purpose?”

Ralph Ellison, Lecture to Teachers, 1963

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Posted by on in Education Leadership


So, for those of you who have kids or grandkids, book makers came up with the brilliant idea of adding sounds to board books. I have come to the conclusion that these books are fun to give but are awful to receive; worse than fruitcake.

My daughter’s love their Finding Dory book, and love tapping all of the sounds even more. The sound I hear over and over and over again: “just keep swimming, just keep swimming“. I think it’s easy to say that I’ve heard this phrase at least 500 times in the past week. Ironically, it applies very well this week.

It’s been one hell of a week on my end. Besides the typical tomfoolery of my job and putting my dog down last weekend, I now have to deal with a mold and dry rot issue in my house! I noticed it over the summer that there was leakage; that turned into mold, which turned into dry rot, and a portion of my roof needs to be replaced, along with walls, and my floor. My house has been taken over by plastic sheets. If you have ever seen the TV show Dexter, each room looks like a scene from when Dexter was ready to get down to work! The joys of homeownership. 

We all have moments on our lives where we are tested. Sometimes, it feels like everything is hitting you at once. What I am going through at home is almost what I go through at work on a daily basis. Issues arise everywhere and anytime. Some issues are small; some issues are huge. There is no rhyme or reason to it, but you need to deal with it. In many ways, you just keep swimming.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood


This is still a hard story to tell, not because it doesn’t end well, but because it brings back difficult times for me. But, it’s worth telling, so educators might take something away worth keeping… just in case.

Quite a few years ago, my College initiated a dual credit, Early Childhood program at a local metropolitan high school. I spent two years there, getting it off the ground, before handing the baton to a high school instructor.

This high school career/tech center drew students from quite a few surrounding counties. They spent every morning in their respective programs and then returned to their home schools before lunch. My last year there, I had a group of fourteen juniors and seniors, two of whom were boys.

I am always truly enthused to see males interested in Early Childhood, because I see them being so valuable to young children and our profession. Both of these young men were extraordinary students and had bright futures.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning


It is true and incomprehensible that as teachers and education professionals that we miss our student’s signs that they are being bullied. Are our heads in the sand, are we too busy, are their grades and performance in school more important? Are the changes that subtle that we accept what is? Wouldn’t their parent have contacted you? Do we attribute some of the behaviors to parent neglect, parents too busy with their careers or to puberty, adolescence, stages in development?

We do all of these behaviors and rationalizations because it is painful to feel the hurt your student may be experiencing. Feeling pain and hurt is always resistible even when the people we teach every day and care about exhibit changes that may indicate they are suffering silently. It demands action on our part and this is often very uncomfortable especially for those who avoid confrontation at all costs. Teachers are just as guilty. And so we hope that it is only temporary and on their better days, we feel the relief and hope that somehow it all just disappeared. As teachers and parents, we have so many distractions both at school and at home. lCommunication emotionally is limited and we pick up less nuances and subtleties.

If you see those subtle changes, withdrawal from activities, less enthusiasm, less willingness to participate in your class, stop, observe and listen to their comments about what is going on around them. Their language will change. You will hear negative remarks, apathetic to school lessons and related activities, less talk with all around them.  Don’t jump to conclusions, just monitor their everyday choices and words. Make inquiries around school, especially about playground and lunch hours. Ask to speak to lunch aides and bus drivers. Call home! Ask the same hard questions. Do not confront the student until you have all the information and have a plan of action. Get advice from school counselors and parents you know that you can trust. If you can manage it, speak to a professional in your district.

Please, do not let the bullying go on! The effects can be life-threatening and long lasting and certainly affect their quality of life. As teachers and education professionals, it is time to listen more, observe more and step up to the plate. You often Your student more than their parents do.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

In the Olympics, an athlete with significant achievements and milestones is allowed to be the last runner in the torch relay and given the honor of lighting the Olympic Cauldron. On occasion, the people chosen to light the Cauldron are not dignitaries, cultural figures, or famous at all.  Their invited participation, nevertheless, symbolizes Olympic ideals.

The torch is seen by millions as it makes its journey through thousands of miles.  It carries the flame, the very essence of the Olympic games.  Huge crowds turn out to cheer the start of the torch relay. Astonishing spirit from tens of thousands is sensed around the torch convoy. There is, however, a marked difference between the torchbearers and the spectators.  Spectators are unaware that the design of the torch often makes it a heavy carry for the runner.  They are unaware that sometimes the torch must be carried across water and only a skilled diver is able to hold aloft.  They are completely unaware of how long the relay journey can be.  All they will remember is how bright and spectacular the flame glowed through the routes and how it made its triumphant entry into an opening ceremony. 

Over the course of the route, it is not uncommon for the flame to be accidentally extinguished during the relay.  Sometimes – even deliberately.  Many factors can and often contribute to the sudden black out.  Gusts of wind, torrential rain, repeated below-zero measures, and the cries of protesters are a constant threat – not to the relay itself, but to the torch.  

Every so often, just like in The Olympics, our lives are marked by “memorable extinguishings.”  Long passageways inevitably create wind tunnels and no matter what we do – the impending glitch occurs.  The honor we felt as torchbearers – chosen among hundreds of athletes – quickly transitions into an eternal moment of self-consciousness and awkward experience.  At this trivial point, the runner meets the spectator once again.  Except no longer a spectator – now a caretaker, a flame protector.  Vision is impaired for only a moment – until someone from the crowd shares the flame.  You see, redemption is near when a close observation of a lit candle is made.  It reflects two flames.  The yellow one – highly visible, tall and glowing and the blue – much smaller, hotter, closer to the candle itself.  The former is prone to the extinguish because it is readily exposed.  The latter is protected, hidden, for it lies closer to the candle.  When both are abruptly extinguished, the flame of dreams moves through caretakers around and among us as we are charged to carry the torch with high regard.

Should the journey threaten to extinguish the flame – do not be discouraged. Been-couraged.  The torch is simply re-lit by caretakers around you and itwillcarry on.  For unbeknownst to you, the flame itself – the blue one - remains preserved – safely encased inside your heart.



Dedicated to Torchbearers

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