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What’s next?

What’s next?

There are some children who are always asking, “What are we going to do next?” Right in the middle of a project, class work, a field trip, or family vacation, the question is blurted out with some urgency. The adult in charge is frequently miffed by the child’s seeming disregard for the present joyful task, [...]

Virtue

Virtue

Simply put, virtue is moral excellence. Those characteristics that one holds most dear, perhaps in an idealized form or an unattainable goal, are virtues. They are moral targets for which we aim. And they’ve been cataloged since at least the days of Plato! Prudence, Justice, Temperance (or “restraint”) and Fortitude are the classical, or Cardinal, [...]

Just Who Do You Think You Are, Anyway?

Just Who Do You Think You Are, Anyway?

We know more about deep space than we know about ourselves. I don’t know where I first heard this concept, but the speaker went on to prove the point. “Who among us can pass by our reflection in the glass without looking at it and wondering: who is that person looking back at me?” At [...]

Don’t Go To College

Don’t Go To College

Does anyone ever tire of the debate regarding whether or not a college education is a good idea? I remember playing Milton-Bradley’s “The Game of Life” as a child. It didn’t take long to realize that the odds were in your favor if you chose a college path instead of entering the workplace right after [...]

Training, Education, Breathing

Training, Education, Breathing

When I was a young teacher, already in the classroom but also enrolled in some grad courses at the College of Charleston, I began to wrestle with the distinction between “education” and “training”. At first these two words seemed interchangeable, but as I struggled to understand them on a deeper level, it became apparent that [...]

Responsibility

Responsibility

Responsibility is a tricky thing to learn. It’s even trickier to teach! Most educators will underscore the need for their students to learn responsibility regardless of the grade level or subject. Although it’s rarely seen in curriculum benchmarks, this goal (a combination of self-reliance and maturity) is woven into the fabric of schools from coast [...]

Changes

Changes

A young Richard Dreyfuss, driving a 1962 Corvair in the opening scene, begins his career as a music teacher in the 1995 movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” Each successive chapter of this wonderful film effectively reflects changes in dress, attitudes, and even speech as the years progress. Crew cuts and long skirts give way to long [...]

A Class Act

A Class Act

Winston Churchill, best known for being twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (including during WWII), was also a linguist. He advocated the use of words with Anglo-Saxon roots when precision was warranted; Latin roots when flowery oratory was needed. Now few of us have a sufficient command of our language to make such a [...]

Swamp Tromp

Swamp Tromp

As you are reading this I am knee deep in brackish water, surrounded by dwarf cypress trees, mangroves, and eighth graders. We’re all keeping a sharp eye out for Burmese pythons and alligators as we explore the Florida Everglades, conducting a field study of this fragile and magnificent ecosystem. The idea of a field study, [...]

Just When I Thought I’d Seen It All

Just When I Thought I’d Seen It All

A high school student slapped himself in the face right in the middle of my lecture. He later explained that he was “trying to wake up.” I suppose people of all ages and in all occupations do oddball things. Having spent most of my life in schools (which I believe are the perfect images of [...]

Secret Good Deeds

Secret Good Deeds

It takes enormous self discipline (and lots of practice) for many of us to do a good deed in secret. There is evidently great benefit in accomplishing such a thing, and philosophers and prophets and even Jesus himself urge us to do just that. The trick, of course, is keeping it a secret. Once the [...]

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