Archive for November 22nd, 2012


We’ve Come a Long Way

November 22, 2012

A day to give Thanks!

Today provides the opportunity for me to be with family and celebrate the traditions of Thanksgiving. Before we eat we take turns to say what we’re thankful for. As my sons grew the thank yous, of course, have changed. And today as adults it has more to do with “being together”, something as the “mom” I can not seem to get enough of, no matter how long the visit lasts.

Today I find myself reflecting on how much education has changed since my first teaching days in 1976,  and the progress we’ve made. I remember when the philosophy was “don’t smile until Christmas”, “watch for the “bad” kids and split them up immediately”, “make an example out of what you don’t want so kids won’t do it (whatever “it” is), and in my early days some teachers slapped students and the louder teachers were the more scared kids were. I had a colleague who used to say (I think jokingly) if you could skin one kid out and hang them on the lawn you’d never have to deal with disciplining kids. Yes, I say, thank goodness, we’ve come along way!

As we recognize Thanksgiving today and I sit down to a big meal with a large extended family of which I am sooooo grateful, I reflect on the changes in my 36 years of education. I give thanks that from my view……..

  • The philosophy has changed and we approach students in a kinder, gentler way.
  • We respect and value what students say and do.
  • We look at the strengths of students and build on those, believing that all students can learn.
  • It is not only about the destination but the journey, not the product but the process.
  • We strive to put students in the center of their learning, empowering them to grow and develop to be the best individual that they can, to contribute in a positive way to society and to be happy in whatever pathway they choose!
  • Day to day we are transforming to an educational environment to be more integrative, collaborative to expand on problem solving, innovation and creation.
  • And that the culture of our communities shift along with schools to be an extension and supportive of the learning environment.

When I read this Thanksgiving humor below I wondered how it relates to education – the old way and the transformation of education….

BAD Parrot

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to ‘clean up’ the bird’s vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.

Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.”

John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up, very softly, “May I ask what the turkey did?”


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