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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in relationships

Posted by on in General

My teaching career began thirty-five years ago in Coolidge, a little Arizona city located midway between Phoenix and Tucson. Before I received the call for an interview and subsequently traveled the desolate 70 mile freeway drive from the Valley, I barely knew of the city's existence.

By day, I taught Biology to freshman at the high school. By night, I taught their mothers.

Coolidge is one of those towns, much like fictional Mayberry, where everyone knows everyone else, and nobody's business is their own. Everyone is connected somehow.

Mrs. Ramirez, who taught Spanish down the hall from me, moonlighted at nearby Central Arizona College as some sort of director in order to supplement her family income. She was working closely that semester with the women in town who were employed by the Head Start program. These ladies needed a science class added to their transcripts in order to continue with their employment. Mrs. Ramirez marched into my science lab between classes and informed me that I was just the person to get the job done. I didn't protest. I was a new teacher - I hadn't learned how to say no yet!

Despite the fact that I had never taught adult learners, and despite the fact that I had just begun teaching high schoolers - the first time with my own kids (student teaching didn't count) - I accepted the challenge! I was green, yes, but I was not easily frightened!

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Posted by on in General

red thread

Doris and Carl Malone sat at their usual table in The Forgotten Crumb enjoying the performances of slightly inebriated patrons searching for their fifteen minutes of fame at the karaoke microphone. The couple had met here nearly twenty-eight years before, fallen in love, and married on the very stage that was now a platform for a middle-aged woman trying her best to sound like Barbra Streisand. She was followed by a young construction worker channeling his inner Barry Manilow and then by an elderly couple singing “I Got You Babe,” expertly and comedically nailing the mannerisms of Sonny and Cher.

Doris relaxed, enjoying the music, but enjoying her time with the love of her life more so. When Carl impulsively rose and moved toward the stage though, she gasped and blushed. This was something she would never consider doing in public despite the fact that she was in front of a demanding crowd of third graders every Monday through Friday. Carl, on the other hand, had no inhibitions, and moved confidently toward the microphone.

With the first few notes of “Song Sung Blue,” Doris felt happy tears rolling down her cheeks. Our song, she mused. Better even than Neil Diamond himself.

“Song sung blue, weeping like a willow,
Song sung blue, sleeping on my pillow...”

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Last modified on

Posted by on in Education Leadership

Here’s a recent conversation between my wife and me:

Danielle: “Don, it’s freezing outside, wear a coat.’ 

Me:   It’s not that cold. 

Danielle: It's windy? Do you know how strong the wind is? Don, the wind is blowing 50 miles an hour.

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Posted by on in General

smile2.jpg

Riding home from a friend’s house on a warm Friday night with my daughter is a privilege I know I wouldn’t have much longer. She is only twelve, but it won’t be long before her Friday nights are spent socializing with her peers while I anxiously await her safe return. So I cherish every moment. We spent the drive trying to see who was faster at naming the songs and artists on the local radio station. Lucky for me they played mostly hits from yesterday.

But as we neared home, the songs being played were becoming more current. Then Taylor Swift’s Style came on. She not only knew the artist, but she was able to tell me the entire story behind each and every lyric. The fact that it was written about Harry Styles, her imaginary crush, didn’t hurt. Was this a sign of things to come?

Then as we were minutes from home, my daughter caught me by surprise. She hit me with a series of questions that I wasn’t quite sure how to answer.

“Daddy how did you become such a good father?”

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

disciplining kids

Then…

I (Brent) am a former student pastor turned public educator. Upon leaving vocational ministry, I moved into a position as a teacher and coach in southeast Texas. I taught science at the seventh and eighth grade levels for seven years and loved it. However fun my science classes were to teach, science was never my passion. My passion is in helping students learn from their choices (good and bad) and grow from one day to the next. During my time that I was in the classroom, I told my students on a regular basis, “My goal is for you to be a better person on the last day you walk out of my class than on the first day that you walked in. If you learn some science along the way, that’s awesome too!” Obviously, I wanted them to learn science and I wanted to do a great job of teaching it to them. After all, that’s what I was getting paid to do and I want to be great at my job. That doesn’t mean that science was my main goal for my students.

Like Brent, I (Jeff) spent 11 years as a student pastor before I transitioned into public education. I knew the call into the classroom was about relationships and helping kids to be better today than they were yesterday. Having taught both elementary and middle school students you come to find out that meeting the basic needs of students is universal. I can remember my first year teaching 4th grade, I had a parent of one young man indicate to me that it was the first year in his young school career that he had not been sent to the office. During that year we had several one on one conversations, where being 6’ 4’’ I would crouch down to eye level, and remind him what he could do. I always shared that  I expected more because he was capable. The power of high expectations seemed to resonate equally somewhere deep inside this little guy’s mind and heart. We developed a strong relationship by the time the school year finished. Though I was teaching english language arts we were all learning what it meant to live out the art of doing life together - what it means to become better with the help of another.

Now…

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