Skip to main content

Posts

Stress

Recent posts

Time

Time. Is it something I find? Is it something I make? Is it a priority? How do I spend it? Do I waste it? I can’t get more of it. How much do I have anyway?
How often I find myself asking these questions!
If my starting point for these questions is information-seeking, I may reach one set of conclusions. If; on the other hand, my asking the questions is more rhetorical… more meditative, I may reach an entirely different conclusion.
Right now, I am sitting in a very quiet room on the campus of the University where I am blessed to teach as an adjunct.  The day began at 3:40 a.m. I woke an hour early and worked my way through a cup of tea and a fresh shave before noticing my mistake.  Time.  Time gained or time lost?
At 5:00, I woke my son so that he could prepare for school and the zero hour that we both share. It begins at 6:23 each morning and thrusts us into another language before most weary eyes begin to quiver themselves awake. While having a short morning prayer and feeding our still …

Water, Tea, and a Spot of Time

Life seems full of coincidences.  We run into people just after we think about them.  We hear a song in our heads and shortly thereafter hear it on the radio. Sooner or later; though, what seems at first to be coincidence actually proves to have more purpose.  
Here’s an example…  I recently read the story in John 4 where Jesus was tired on a journey.  Being near Jacob’s well, he stopped for a while to refresh himself with a drink of water.  What came as a result of this water stop was a conversation with a Samaritan woman at that well.
Coincidence? Perhaps, but what came as a result of the conversation was life.  The words exchanged there were nothing less than an example of hospitality, love, care, and a model for us to follow.
Just a few days after reading this passage, I was blessed by an encounter with a student while I was on my way to fill my water bottle.  This student didn’t have the life matters of the woman at the well, but life was indeed weighing her down heavily.  She too was…

Window Streaks and Learning

Early in my marriage, my wife and I would infrequently haul out rolls of paper towel and window spray for the detestable work of washing windows.  One of us worked on the outside and the other from in the house. Inevitably, one of us would tap in the window and point to a streak or spot that the other had missed.  The trouble was that the person with the spot or streak couldn’t see it.  We simply needed to trust each other’s eyes, follow the pointing finger, reapply the spray and wipe a bit longer.   At times the work leads to laughter, sometimes not. Just this week I relearned the wisdom of this lesson again, twice: once in my classroom, once in another venue. Both reminded me of how much I need to continue learning. The classroom application came in a class in which I had been practicing a concept that I had been teaching the students for over two weeks and which would be on an up and coming test.  Though the students could work magic with the concept in a closed context (a school conte…

We each process differently. Speaking and listening in Teaching(or training, or training, or…)

We each process differently.  Speaking and listening in Teaching(or training, or training, or…) Over the years and decades of learning and teaching (and coaching and training…), I have been placed in so many different sets of circumstances in which I needed to stop, look, listen, and reflect about what I was doing. It always came at a time when what I was doing was either not working or not as well as I had hoped. Several weeks ago it happened again. During an evening class, I was pulling out all of the stops to teach a concept to a group of students. They too were putting themselves into the learning.  Yet, despite everyone’s effort, the connection I had hoped my class would make with the material fell short.   At the end of the evening, I asked the group to review and share with me what they had learned, and they did so quite well. Nonetheless, I sensed that their words masked the lack of depth of understanding. Their eyes, on the other hand, revealed all. Upon leaving the building I wa…

Technology: a Blessing with Responsibility

Technology: a Blessing with Responsibility Each day, we see students as young as elementary school age weaving through schools with cell phones in their hands. They check text messages and social media more fluidly than many of their parents. Tweeting, snap chatting, instagramming…they do it all. If we take only a quick look at the technology picture around us, we can be fooled by what it means. One perspective is that every student holds a cellular key to the world in his or her hand or pocket. Is it true though? Why is it important to even ask? I was recently confronted by this question in a new way. Why? It’s partially due to the ongoing thrust of technology and the encouragement to use it across education. Each week I stumble upon new apps or websites that could enhance learning or teaching in some way. Some offer promise in my classroom; others present solutions to students. In as far as I appreciate this, I am forced to take pause for thought. Do the many hours of digital content cre…

Caring for our Students through the Work we Assign

November 20, 2015
Caring for our Students through the Work we Assign
When I was young, I worked on my grandfather’s farm from February until the harvest in the fall. One day during our lunch break, my grandfather began reminiscing about the “good old days”. Whenever grandpa told a story, we listened, partially because he didn’t tell very many stories. It also owed to the fact that his dry sense of humor usually left you laughing, if you listened well.
Grandpa related a story from growing up during the Great Depression and how, to help get people back to work, certain jobs were created. One particular job that Grandpa could remember was the moving of dirt. Each morning, when Grandpa and the other men arrived on the job site, they were handed their shovels and work gloves and sent to the task of moving a pile of dirt and gravel from one side of a work site to the other. By the end of the day, if the men worked hard, the job would be complete. Then they would sign out and go home, just as the…