Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Going Local Before Going Global

As the school year progresses, I have tried to instill an interest among my students for the cultures of the world. It seems that most of them are only interested in the world at home, so I borrowed an idea from a fellow teacher and decided to create interest in the local with hopes to approach the global by the end of the school year; thus, I introduced Fantastic Felix to my classes.

Felix is a class mascot, and some of the students have really taken to him. He appears in blogs that my students are creating about their personal culture. Felix is a true Neville Tiger, and he has been seen at football games, basketball games, and the cafeteria. He has created an instant connection for the students, and they are having fun sharing him on their blogs.

While I could hope for a bit more writing in their blogs, it is good to see students interested in at least one of our class assignments. They are even looking at other students' work and commenting on the things they write. He hasn't been a total success, but if just one student develops his/her writing ability, then he has done his job.

Felix with Daphne and Pickle at Thanksgiving.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

This just in from Rajkot

Instead of a faculty meeting which we expected to attend, we were treated to a tour points of interest around the city. This included a visit to Shri Ramakrishna Ashrama, the childhood home of Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi High School, and a school built by Gandhi which still teaches basic Indian skillls like  spinning and weaving.

We also sampled a local treat - coconut water, straight from the coconut.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Advice from a Guru

The headmaster at the school we were visiting gave A speech about the purpose of a guru. Guru is an Indian word for teacher.

He discusses questions and how to find the answers.

Friday, June 29, 2012

On to India ... Out of Louisiana

As I pack for my trip, I keep thinking of things I might need. I know the baggage restrictions, but I really need to bring "this skirt" or "that shirt". I have fought this habit of packing too many clothes for years. I am afraid that I won't have anything to wear, so I try to stow away as much stuff as possible. This need to bring as much from home with me as I can must be some type of insecurity about leaving, but I can't figure it out. I don't really need all of this stuff; I just want it because it is familiar.

On this trip, I am supposed to discuss "my school environment" which requires an entirely different list of things than a personal trip would. I can't decide what to take at all, so I am taking two DVD's of football from Neville - the state championship game and a highlight reel. I think that the students will be much more impressed with the things our students enjoy than some boring discussion of demographics and teaching practices. I want to leave the students with an experience, and I think that they will understand the family that is Neville High School better if they see that family for themselves. There is no way I could do it justice on my own.

I leave tomorrow, so its really to late to change my plans now anyway. I wouldn't know where to start or stop.

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Moment in Time

I have purposely distanced myself from this arena to grade research papers and catch up on some very necessary school work. I find it easier to deal with long term projects if I live life as it approaches instead of looking constantly forward to the big reward.

Currently, I am trying to get seniors out of high school and on to more gratifying activities. Once again, I find myself surrounded by students who can barely use the English language planning to be doctors, lawyers, nurses, etc. I find that some of them have what seems to me an impossible dream, and I cope less and less with their surreality.

The greatest thing about high school students is their relentless belief that they can do better than those who have come before them.  The funniest thing about them is that the lack of work ethic, basic knowledge, and financial stability hasn't "punched them in the stomach" yet. The world will open to them like the pages of a book and hand them everything they need for success. Unfortunately, they will probably fail to read the material the book offers like they have failed to read any book this year.

It saddens me to think I have failed, but there is always next year. I have hope that one day the student who will step up and take the initiative to make a change that is desperately needed to promote a successful future will magically appear.  Perhaps he or she will find that the definition of success has nothing to do with how much money you make, what kind of house you own, what car you drive, or what clothes you wear. I might possibly convince a student someday that you are successful if you make a change for the better, enjoy your work, have happy children, or simply do no harm to others. These are the true measures of success.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Washington and Beyond

After a day of rest, I find that I am ready to share my trip. 

I arrived on schedule Thursday and checked into my room just prior to dinner at 6:00 pm. At dinner, I met some wonderful folks who were ready to explore the city, so we walked the mall and visited several of the national monuments at night. I found myself wishing I had a good camera because the one I brought did not have a flash, and some of the monuments were not lit. I would like to thank Perry for his awesome tour guide skills, the walk was fun and educational. 

On Friday, there were meetings and food. The meetings were interesting, informative, and tiring. The food was excessive. I have attended many meetings, but I have never been to one where I was fed so well. There was a huge breakfast, a morning snack, a huge lunch, an afternoon snack, and a huge dinner. The food was delicious, and there were many options. I could always find something to satisfy my hunger. 

On Saturday, we finally got to the portion of the symposium that most interested me - actually meeting with my travel cohorts and a representative from my country of  travel. My travel companions were just as excited as I, and we all wanted to learn more about our host country. The speaker spoke swiftly, and I found that I often wanted to stop him and ask him to repeat himself. I restrained myself from such impudent behavior, but I was sorely tempted. This meeting left me with more questions than answers, so I will have to purchase some traveling books and do some research. He did instill me with the desire for my trip to speed. I can't wait to be in country experiencing the culture and meeting new people. 


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Is it me, or does the world seem to cling tighter and tighter to fanciful holidays? I'm pretty sure that my parents never celebrated this day and they were married for 43 years before my mom died. They loved each other everyday and expressed it regularly. It didn't take a holiday to make them appreciate their life together.

I am also sure that there is nothing you can purchase or do that will make someone love you. It seems that we as a modern society have confused gratitude with love. Sure, I like to get gifts just as much as the next person, but in an era of obesity and food related illnesses, is a holiday that thrives on candy and flowers really appropriate?

Also, with as many people in our world in need of real food, real jobs, and real help, isn't it a bit ridiculous for those of us with much to give to waste it on luxury items? Think about it, how many families could be fed for what we spend on Valentine's day alone? Surely, we should attempt to change the focus of this holiday from romantic love to brotherly love.

I am not however a cynic; I am just giving you a little candy for thought. Happy Valentine's Day!