Tag: quote

Growing Slowly or Standing Still?

Posted on July 11, 2012 by

How many of us feel this way?

Teenagers, so desperate to be mature, try on new styles, trends, and personas in their attempts at growing up quickly.  Watching my middle school students evolve over the course of a school year crystallizes my belief that it’s all part of the process of life.

I remember one of my 8th grade students who was typically a nice, ‘normal’ type of kid- not a trouble maker, well liked,  quiet in class.  Over the course of a week he started acting out – being a bit disruptive, more aggressive, and walked with a bit of swagger.  My teaching partner and I started noticing and became concerned.  When we approached him, he smiled and said, “Oh, no worries – I’m just trying something new.”  And sure enough, after a few weeks he was back to his old self.

I wonder what happens to this urgency when we hit adulthood.  The desperation seems to be replaced with fear, the excitement with sadness, the hopefulness with complacency.  When adults ‘try something new’ we often are accused of having a mid-life crisis; it’s no wonder that so many retreat back into their old habits, more content with the familiar than the unknown.  Where is the creativity that so absolutely bursts out of a child, only to be smothered by so many logical plans in adulthood?  Does it get buried deep in our souls, or does it simply evaporate in our quest for the ‘American dream’?

But in those quiet minutes before we start each day, how many of us consider this: are we growing slowly or simply standing still?  Are we reaching deep for that lost self that intuitively knew to go out into the world and try?  Where is the tipping point where we dip our toe into an unfamiliar location, wade into a new experience, or dive into a new part of ourselves?  Are we really too old to grow?

Where are you today?  What are you afraid of?

primark

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Weeding

Posted on May 10, 2012 by

“All gardeners live in beautiful places because they make them so.”
– Joseph Joubert

Some days it feels like weeds are overtaking my life.  Those dreary March and April days spent looking out my window made me ache to smush my hands in the dirt, prune back the overgrown branches, and clear out winter’s accumulated debris.  It’s not very beautiful out there.

Now that the sun is shining and I’ve had a few solid weekends in the garden, I’m questioning my eagerness.  Everywhere I go, I encounter weeds.  The unwanted stuff, the clutter, the dead relationships and outgrown friendships bog up my mind and consume my free space.  It’s not very beautiful in here.
They creep up next to the stepping stone, through the sprinkler heads, and crowd my lavender bushes.  They sneak next to the day lilies, snake their way up the Japanese maple’s tender stems, and root themselves firmly and cleverly amidst the heirloom roses.  They consume my free time, crowd my in box and rest on empty spaces.
Depending on my mood, I pull, or dig, or bust out the sprays when I just can’t get a handle on them.  Some days I carefully unwind them, desperate to leave the host unharmed.  Other days, lack of patience gets the best of me, and I curse and yank, decimating both simultaneously.
As I’m down on my knees, I occasionally upend an earthworm and send him wiggling back into the soil, or startle a mourning dove feasting on scattered seed.  Sometimes I unearth a new bloom, resilient from the winter’s frost.  Or an abandoned baseball, leather long gone.  Sometimes I close my eyes and breathe in and out, searching for an answer.
Plowing through the weeds gives me time to think, to meditate, to wonder about what might emerge next.  I strategize, sensitize, and surrender to what is yet to come.  Sometimes I just sink.
Pushing through winter’s debris to uncover, to create some breathing room, I sense an opening, a space for clarity.  I see progress, I sense some control.  I inhale, exhale, and look around me.  Blooms, new growth, and possibility are in sight.
Just for today, a little bit of beauty, made by me.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Education Issues April, 2012

Posted on May 2, 2012 by

 

via Pinterest

Last month, education made the news daily. At this time of year, school districts are winding down and gearing up at the same time. Educators are finding it hard to keep motivated in the face of declining support from state governments for our profession. Parents are celebrating their children’s college acceptance letters while wondering where the tuition money will come from.

These controversial education issues weighed on me last month. It’s not an easy time to be a parent or an educator. I think it’s time to start thinking like Einstein, and come up with some new solutions, don’t you? What do you think about schools using advertising to increase revenue, computerized teaching, grading systems, and the cost of college? Just follow the link to read the full articles – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

On school advertising: Imagine walking into your child’s school and seeing the expected: a lunchroom with folding tables and bench seats, a stage, the office doors, a lost and found box, lockers, classrooms, and a blacktop with basketball courts.

Now imagine your child’s school with a lunchroom advertising on the tables endorsing eating habits and nutrition, a stage with offers for drama education, office doors advertising organizational skills, classrooms endorsing local services, and a blacktop with banners on school safety.

Many public schools today, searching for innovative funding sources, are considering advertising on their campus. Should schools allow ads on school grounds?

On computerized teaching: It’s an educator’s worst nightmare: technology. I’m not talking about the common, everyday kinds of technology that our students carry in their pockets, or we use to read our emails.

I’m talking about the kind of technology that is replacing teachers.

In Virginia Tech’s largest classroom teachers are not required. Can teachers really be replaced by computers?

On grading practices: How does a student know when a teacher likes them? How does a teacher show they like a student? These were the questions I grappled with this week with a freshman AVID student.

While making my rounds in the classroom, I overheard him saying, “Why does she hate me so much? She never gives me 100% on my work. She doesn’t think my answers are good enough. She says other people’s questions are better than mine.” As I walked up and stood behind him, he sensed my presence and stopped. Do you think simply completing a school assignment should earn an “A”?

On the cost of a college education: When I entered the University of California at Berkeley in 1987 as an English major, I really wasn’t thinking about the high cost of education. Tuition was under $2,000 per year; add in books and living expenses and I still wasn’t coming close to what today’s students face. In 2011, tuition costs were up to $12,834 for California residents, and $35,712 for out-of-state students.

Two senior UC Davis students working as tutors in my public school classroom report they will graduate with $14,000 and $20,000 in student loans, despite having entered college with scholarships and their work study jobs.

Something is wrong with this system. What if we did something crazy, and offered free UC tuition?

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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“Mommy, please read me a story”

Posted on April 17, 2012 by

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” – Philip Pullman

The author of The Golden Compass has a good point.

Parents know to provide the basics for their children: keep them fed, keep them protected, keep them company and all should be well. Kids beg for one more thing: our attention. One of the most gratifying ways I met that need with my children was through sharing a story.

Storytellers can take many forms. In many cultures, children learned life lessons and the natural world was uncovered through the oral folktale tradition. Families share boasts about ‘back in the day’ to instill values.

When my kids were very young I read to them constantly. Hours of repetition began with Goodnight Moon, then Richard Scarry, and Curious George. I remember reading a children’s version of The Nutcracker Ballet for twelve months straight because my daughter insisted and I gave in.  


Please click over to Yahoo! Voices to read more about storytelling…

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Swing the Bat, Not Your Fist

Posted on April 10, 2012 by

“Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.”    Yogi Berra

Two JV high school baseball teams meet up in Yuba City, California for a tournament. It’s the sixth inning, the game is tied 3-all and suddenly the dugouts empty and players, coaches and umpires tumble on the infield in a fist flinging brawl that lasts several minutes.

KCRA’s headline, “Was JV Baseball Brawl preventable” made my jaw drop. Tsunamis, tornadoes, and earthquakes aren’t preventable. All human behavior, at some level, is. The problem is, it takes effort to teach kids to swing the bat, not their fists.

From the moment a child is born, they are looking to the adults around them to teach them how to navigate the world. When a baby cries, they look to an adult to feed them, change them, or pick them up. When a toddler throws a temper tantrum, they look to for their parent’s reaction. When a six -year-old pulls another child’s hair, they watch to see what will happen next. When a 12-year-old doesn’t do their homework, they expect a reaction from their teacher and parent. When a teenager lies about where they went, they hope they get away with it.

To read more about Basebrawl and poor parenting, head over to Yahoo! US Shine.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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