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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Free Speech

As a parent and educator, this speech resonated with me, as I see my children and students struggling with this ideology. Someone disagrees them, and they think it is bullying. Someone doesn't ask them to play or participate, and that is why they are having a bad day.

There are two parts of Brooks' speech that I think are really important. First, he says that we have to choose how we react to others - and I want to add whether it is actions or speech, we choose how we react. That is really hard, for adults and kids. Second, he says that we can not be friends with someone but be friendly to them. I have seen too many times in the media or on the playground, where if someone disagrees with someone - their lifestyle, their religion, their background, etc., - that person in their enemy, or that person is bullying because they disagree. I think it is very important to know that you can disagree with someone, even on a fundamental value, and still be friends.

Finally, the last part of Brooks' speech that I think we as a nation need to listen to is the part about everyone being able to speak their mind. In the last year or so, a number of campuses have made it impossible for speakers to go to their campus UNLESS they were talking about points that those students agreed with. That is not free speech, and as Mr. Gibbs pointed out, this is not how to end hate speech.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

My favorite summer activity

I was very busy this summer. I did not have a lot of time to play, but we did manage to get away for a couple of family reunions. My family goes to a lake and my brother has a boat. We spend time swimming, fishing, tubing, skiing, and surfing. I personally like to surf behind a boat more than ski or tube at this point in my life. The best part was just sitting around and reminiscing with my siblings and cousins, talking about what we used to do as kids, and catching each other up on what we have done in the last year. It may not sound exciting, but it was relaxing and fun.

Monday, October 17, 2016

New class format

For the past few years, ever since I started teaching, I have tried to be open to new ways of teaching, using this and that to come up with what I think is the best mix of traditional and progressive teaching for my students. One thing I have studied a lot about is how student's learn better when they have more ownership in how they learn. I have also studied and read a lot about how learning should be "real life" so that students can use what I do in class to help them succeed in whatever pathway they take later on. Much of the new format - getting away from worksheets, working in groups, hyperdocs, self-assessment - are all skills that students will need (or are getting away from skills that students won't need) as they progress in their scholastic and vocational careers, as well as in their relationships in the future, for both business and pleasure.

Compare and Contrast 2 of the 8 keys

The two keys that I need to work on the most are flexibility and balance. I many ways these are similar keys. Flexibility and balance both deal with time management. How do I spend my time? Do I have wasteful habits, or do I need to change some of my habits? They also both affect how we interact with others. Do I spend enough time with friends, family, etc.? Do I interact in a positive manner and listen to what they say?

Flexibility and balance affect different parts of my life. Flexibility is about not getting stuck in a rut, or never changing my mind. It is more outward, listening and interacting with others and being respectful and open-minded about their ideas and needs. Balance is about focusing on what is important at the time for me. It is a more internal check list of what is important.

What I Have learned from the 8 keys

There are many things to learn from the 8 keys of excellence. These 8 keys can govern just about every aspect of our behavior, from honesty and integrity to hard work. They teach us how to get along with others and how to not give up. They even cover how to accept your failings, and resolve to do better, how to manage your time, and how to be open to new ideas. Although I have studied the 8 keys for a number of years as I have taught this class, it is always a good reminder to me that I can always do better, work harder, and remember that the 8 keys are trying to help me be a better person.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Flexibility and Balance

Flexibility means to allow yourself and others to change. You don't always have to be right, and things don't always have to be done your way. As the only female in my family, there are many things that I would like done differently, such as the cleanliness level of the house. However, if I fought with my husband and kids all the time over my house being spotless, we would not enjoy each other's company and we would both be frustrated all the time.

Balance means to not let yourself concentrate on one activity to the exclusion of all else. At times in my life, this has been a weakness of mine. When my kids were babies, I didn't play volleyball, I didn't go out very much, and I spent all of my time looking after my young kids. Many young parents do this, partly out of necessity as it is expensive to hire a babysitter. Even though my kids are now old enough to be on their own, I still feel guilty when I take time for myself to go out with a friend to a movie, or play volleyball instead of being home to help them with homework or cook dinner. This key is a constant struggle for me to take time for myself and not just work (teacher, mom, maid, cook, etc) all the time.

Commitment and Ownership

Commitment is to do what you say you are going to do. This happens often in my life. When I was younger and played on a team, commitment meant showing up for all the practices and all the games. As a teacher, commitment means showing up everyday, prepared with a lesson that will hopefully be the best for my students.

Ownership means to take responsibility for your words, actions, and thoughts. This is another key that happens everyday in my life. For instance, I accidentally broke the top to my husband's portable printer. He was really angry. I could have pretended I didn't know what happened. I could also have pointed out that he left it out and open on the floor so that it was easy to trip over and break. Instead, I admitted I had broken it. There are many instances when our thoughts, words, or actions aren't correct for the situation. We need to be courageous enough to remedy that.