Saturday, June 25, 2016

Update-Garrett The Wandering Goose

Good Morning BET’s!

Today, I wanted to take a few minutes to update you on my status of “Unpublished Author”.  No, the status hasn’t changed, so don’t get too excited.  After two years of submitting my manuscript to scores of literary agents and publishers, I have come to the conclusion that Garrett, the Wandering Goose’s time, has not yet come.

I still believe this story has a lot to offer, but maybe it will be to a slightly different audience.  I would like to see if any specific sub group will pick up on what I view as good humor with a message.  To that end, I have decided to self-publish this through Amazon Kindle Publishing.  I just want to get it out there and see what people think and maybe get some direction for my other efforts.

Right now, I am looking for an artist to come up with a look for Garrett, hopefully similar to how I envision him.  To me, he is a Fonzie wanna be, in a flock that doesn’t understand retro comedy.  I have a couple of students who I am going to approach to give it a shot, based on work they have shown to me at school.  Anyone else interested, shoot me a message and let’s talk.

I did want to share a few stanzas from the text for your enjoyment(hopefully).  Please let me know what you think, good or bad.  Once again, looking for direction here.  I hope you enjoy it.

Garrett The Wandering Goose

I am but a goose with a story to tell,
Just hoping you’ll listen, and you’ll listen well. 
‘Bout a misguided creature so angry and vain,
Aggressive and sure, but hiding his pain.

His skin it is hidden behind certain shielding
That keeps him aloft and provides a warm feeling.
His feet are grotesque, pale, yellow and wide.
And he wears a down coat made of aged fowl hide.

His lips he has none, rarely needing to utter,
His life it is Spartan, no sign of a clutter.
His voice is unnerving, more bass than of treble.
Some call him a problem, still others a rebel.

His ways they are timeless a true epic struggle
He’s obviously needing a blanket to snuggle.
When his problem grabs you, there is no good end.
I’m speaking of course of not being a good friend.

To speak of him scares me I have to admit.
But his story must carry, this I submit.
So without further fanfare, without any ruse,
I present to you Garrett, the wondering goose.

And remember, if you like what you are reading, don’t forget to follow me on Google Plus, subscribe on the top right, and recommend posts at the bottom of each post using Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook etc.  Thanks again for reading!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Experimental Education...ers! I Just Can't Help Myself

Good Afternoon BET’s!

Okay, so today I am addressing my regular readers…all seven of you.  If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, you are familiar with what I am about to share.

This fall, I am going to be trying some new educational techniques with my students.  These techniques are some that I have come across in my extensive research of leading education…ers…niner.  Okay, this is something that I came up with and has no data to support its effect on learning.  But, it is a cool idea, I think.

Here is the gist.  I want students to incorporate music, poetry, writing, drawing, painting or any other ways of expressing themselves, into the computer curriculum that I have put together.  I want them to feel empowered to express themselves in various ways, and allow that expression to be a part of the lessons that we will be working through daily.

To this end, I have asked my Facebook and Twitter followers for donations of any musical instruments (really, ANY) for use this fall in my classroom.  So far, I have received a guitar a drum set, and possibly a banjo!  So now I extend this invitation to my many readers!

(Most Important Paragraph)
I am also asking for your help with any ideas you all may have regarding how I might accomplish this.  If any of you have any great ideas or experience in this area, your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  Although I have a general idea of how I want to proceed with this, I can use all the help I can get from your vast experiences.  Please comment below and give me all you’ve got.  There are no stupid suggestions!  Please, comment away!

So, I thank you in advance for all of your ideas and donations.  Remember, even a harmonica could have a great impact on the kids this fall.  So, dust off those cellos, bassoons and drumsticks and let me know how I can get a hold of them.  And yes, I would accept the chicken drumsticks as well…just not too spicy please.

And remember, if you like what you are reading, don’t forget to follow me on Google Plus, subscribe on the top right, and recommend posts at the bottom of each post using Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook etc.  Thanks again for your support!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Family Comes First

Good Evening/Morning Break Even Teachers!(depending on when you read it.)

Once again, I start with an apology for not writing more.  Time seems to fill up with so many things I want to do these days.  I guess once a year is not that bad. (He says, with a truly John Lennonesque tongue in cheek!)

Anyway, we are only into the summer a couple of weeks and it has already been a whirlwind.  Just to keep you up to speed, I just finished my second year at Culver Community Schools as the Business and Computers teacher.  When I started this journey two years ago, I really thought I would be back in Sales and Marketing field pretty quickly.  At first, it just wasn’t clicking for me.  So many nights of thinking, “What have I done?  I can’t do this!”  But this last year and a half or so has been truly amazing.  There are so many stories I want to share with you.  Maybe another day, hopefully not a year from now.

So, this summer, I was offered another teaching job in another school district.  It was for more money.  It was a bit closer, so the commute would be less. It would be teaching more Business and less Computers, which is what I had wanted originally.  It seemed to be a perfect fit.  But the more I thought about it, something just wasn’t right.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt as if I would be letting my family down.  Not my wife and sons, but my other family…my Culver Community Schools family.

Now I’m not one to use that terminology loosely, either.  When I first started here, the teachers in my wing talked that way.  “You’ll love it here…it’s like a family.” they would say.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Everybody says that about the place they work, right? After a few weeks with the kids, I felt like I wanted to be more of a foster family.  I just didn’t seem to be connecting with them.  Then, everything changed.  All it took was one student, (who shall remain nameless), that stood up for me to her classmates.  She jumped in there and had my back!  I couldn’t believe it!  It was great!  From then on I started to treat the students differently, and they started to treat me differently, as if we had some kind of connection.  This then, became a wonderful self-fulfilling prophesy, so to speak.  There WAS a connection!

I have wondered for two years what I would do if I were put in the position to make a move.  Now I have my answer.  These students and teachers and administrators and parents have all become a part of me.  I get excited when they get excited.  I mourn when they mourn.  I look at the kids every day and wonder how I can be of help to them today.  They have become my family, and I couldn’t be happier.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Year in the Life?

Good Morning BET's!

Yes, it has been almost an entire year since my last post.  For as much as I love writing, you would think this would be a bigger priority for me.  Oh well.  Today is a new day!

As many of you know, last June, I took my first teaching job at the high school level.  I am teaching Business and Computers in the Culver Community School system, in Culver Indiana.  As the year is coming to a close, I thought I could reflect on what I have found and what this journey has done for(to) me.

As we started the year, I was ecstatic about the opportunity to connect with kids and to teach them so much that I had stored up over the years.  I was wide eyed with the possibilities and my imagination ran wild with thoughts of the intellectual exchanges I would be having with the students.  This alone, made sleep almost impossible for the first few weeks.  And then, reality set in.

The students weren't nearly as eager to engage me in intellectual tennis, as much as they were to just figure out why a 50 something would start his teaching career in this small rural Indiana town, and even why a 50 year old would change careers at this advanced age.  So many questions.  I was the new kid again.  The students wanted to figure me out.

As the year progressed, I found that what the students wanted from me more than anything, was the chance to be heard.  The opportunity for them to speak to me as an equal, and not just as a kid in my charge.  For those of you who teach at the high school level, you know what a balancing act this can be.  But, oh, what a magical dance!  I proceeded with two left feet, but have made strides throughout the year.

As November approached, my rallying cry was "Only ______ more days until Thanksgiving, and then just three more weeks!" Enough said.

As we entered the spring semester and the snow days piled up, I saw a side of the students I hadn't yet experienced.  A realization in their minds that makeup days are worse than coming to school on scheduled days.  While I appreciated the decisions made by the administration concerning our safety, snow days became more of a hassle, and no matter what anyone says, they never seemed like a day off.

As we moved into the last nine weeks, I realized that my complaints from first semester had turned from, "How many days until Thanksgiving?!", to "Why do I lose my students so much for testing?!  I need more time with them!"  The need to put more information in these kids brains seemed to be of more importance now than it had been in the past seven months.

And then it really became clear to me.

No matter how much wisdom or intellectual matter I throw their way, the most important part of what I am doing is the part that can't be measured on a standardized test.  The most important part of what we do, is that we are here, every day for the kids.  We are a great constant for them...possibly one of the few consistencies that they have in their day.  I have come to this conclusion:  I have much more to offer these kids, than I have to teach them.

So, year one, almost complete.  The kids are starting to check out as the final three weeks wind down, and I am very very tired.  It's a good kind of tired though.  It's been a good kind of year.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Kinders Rock! That's What Makes Them Beautiful...

Good Morning BET's!

The end of another school year is upon us, and I am already feeling the tears welling up in my big melon.  The summer is such a long time for me to not see these kids.  The school year will begin anew in the late summer, and the little cuties will have grown.  Some of them will not be little anymore, and will have moved on to the Intermediate school.

So, I have to remember when they were just brand new Kinders here at Jefferson.  I have to search my memories to see the shy little kiddos that first stepped in that big metal door that they couldn't yet open, nearly six years prior.  Thinking of how shy they were and how curious, and how they have become less shy and more curious, warms my heart.  It also gives me joy in seeing the new group of kids that have come so far this past year.  And many thanks to the greatest Kindergarten Teachers in the solar system, Mrs N and Mrs. G!  You two are amazing and loved by so many who see you work and love these kids every day!

So, as I wipe a tear from my eye, I want to share with you a short video that Mrs. N captured yesterday at the annual talent show.  There were many precious moments, but this one is extra special to me.  It will be a time capsule of these wonderful little souls, and a way for them to see the wonder in their own eyes, and the freedom they had in expression at this age, for a lifetime. I had to rig this, so just humor me and follow the link to the video.

Amazing, am I right?!  So, when the world gets on your last nerve this summer, and you need a lift, just remember this video of these wonderful kids!  They don't know they're know the rest.