Tag Archives: passion

The Muses Go To School

13 Mar

As part of our seminar and tech class, my group created an RSA-style video about the book The Muses Go To School.

I really enjoyed reading this book, because it emphasized a fact that I firmly believe: Teaching The Arts in school is a vital part of educating children. Not all children will grow up to be professional artists/actors/directors/poets/musicians etc… However, every single person (child) can benefit greatly from the inclusion of arts education throughout their schooling.

We made an RSA video to mirror the importance of art in schools – an artistic form of assessment for an artistic book!

Hope you enjoy!


3 Mar
Photo credit: Danielle Walquist Lynch, via Flickr

Photo credit: Danielle Walquist Lynch, via Flickr

This morning, I woke up before the sun came up. I got dressed, put on my running shoes, and drove to Seattle Center. Then, I voluntarily ran 3.1 miles.

This is not something I ever thought I would do. Running seemed pointless. I didn’t understand why people would force themselves to do something so unpleasant. However, before I even finished the race, I found myself wondering when I would have a chance to do it again.

I ran with several of my friends from my teaching program, and since education is pretty much the only thing I think about at the moment, I very quickly began making connections between running and teaching, running and learning, running and the education system… You get the point

Learning: Many students think reading or math (or any other subject) is boring, pointless, and unpleasant. It may be painful at first. You may stumble. You may fall. But if you keep getting back up, and trying – you will get there.

Teaching: I was lucky enough to have awesome friends pushing me and keeping me going.I used iPhone apps and GPS trackers to motivate myself. As teachers, we have to either be those motivators, or find what works for our students. Sitting next to them giving encouragement, or finding a program that helps them learn – there are many paths to success, but all paths need support.

Education: Ten Thousand people showed up for this race. TEN THOUSAND. If ten thousand people can get up before 6am on a Sunday, park, gather, and run a carefully organized race course, then why can’t we make schools better? What can we learn from this?


The most important lesson I learned – don’t give up. When I started training, I couldn’t run a mile. Now, I can run 3. It feels great!

It’s almost Thanksiving! (Giving Thanks, day 20 & 21)

21 Nov

Yesterday, I left my house at 7:50am and didn’t get home until 10:30pm. And I survived! I am thankful for that 🙂

Today I’m thankful for this 5-day weekend. I was going to get right into the homework swing, but I haven’t. And that’s ok, because I have four more days (well, 3 and a half because I plan on doing nothing but eating tomorrow afternoon). I am thankful for the awesome show I am working on, which has a preview on Friday night. I’m thankful for professors who take time to chat about stress and workload and who give good feedback – but most importantly make me feel heard.

I’m thankful for the fact that my awesome man-friend went to the store for me yesterday so I didn’t have to go today. I’m thankful for friends who are hosting a “Friendsgiving” tonight. I’m thankful for my awesome ridiculous, extended family – many of whom I’m not actually “related” to (by blood or by law), but who provide me with support and inspiration every day.

With that said, I’d like to ask you something. Can you try, in the frenzy of “The Holiday Season” that is rapidly approaching, to remember the things that are really important in your life? Can you tell your friends and family how much they mean to you, give the waitress a tip, and the bookstore employee a smile? Can you think about those who have less than you, those that have to work on Thanksgiving in order to pay rent, those who can’t afford gifts for their children? I’m not saying you have to drop everything and go work at a homeless shelter, but just remember to be kind, and thankful for what you have.

With that, a reminder from one of the most influential people of the 21st century:

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.   – Oprah Winfrey

Thanks-vember 16

16 Nov

I’m thankful for people who are enthusiastic about their jobs. People for whom a career is not just something you do 9-5, Monday – Friday, to get a paycheck. Specifically, I’m thankful for educators who are passionate and enthusiastic about what they do.

Example 1: My friend Ms. D teaches Drama and English at a local high school. Tonight I am going to see her drama kids perform a modern adaptation of a Commedia Del Arte play, A Doctor In Spite of Himself. She commissioned a local playwright to adapt and modernize the play for her students. She then spent hours designing, directing, and rehearsing the show. Not during school hours, but after school and on weekends. Remember, she is also teaching English, so she has other students. Papers to grade. Tests to create, administer, and score. But because she cares about what she does, because she enjoys it and wants her students to enjoy it as well, she puts in the extra time.

Example 2: My 3rd-grade student teaching partner and I met with our principal today to present the idea of a school garden. We want to create a school garden, in the vein of Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard. It’s an ambitious project, and we knew we would need a lot of teacher support. We presented the idea, and he loved it. He had ideas of his own to add, and after we left and were inspecting a possible garden site, he literally ran out of the office to tell us that another teacher would be interested in working with us. He obviously loves his job, and our school, and wants it to be the best place possible.

I’m sure there are other professions in which people love their work to this extent, but when you work in education, passion pays off. Students respond to teachers who enjoy what they are doing. Teachers respond to principals and administrators who refuse to quit. Returning, if I may, to my post about the lecture given by Pasi Sahlberg, I believe that teachers who are passionate are more respected – because they clearly care about what they do. They can afford to be passionate because they have spent 5 or 6 years preparing to be teachers. They know that teaching is the place for them, and they work hard to get there.

What kind of education system could we have in the US if every teacher was passionate about their job?

The October Cry

1 Nov

They say (and by “they” I mean almost every teacher I’ve ever talked to) that, in your first year of teaching, you will cry in October. Probably more than once. Whatever it is that sets you off, it will boil down to this: teaching is hard work. Harder than you imagined. You will be tired, you will be frustrated, and you will not be sure you know what you are doing.

Friends, I hit that wall last week, and I’m not even “actually” teaching yet. I still have another year until I’m “supposed” to hit that October wall.

And yet, I found myself there, sitting in class, feeling completely lost, completely exhausted, and completely overwhelmed. I may have teared up a little.

Then I got home. And my house was a mess. And it was almost Halloween, which was, once upon a time, a holiday I really enjoyed. And my cat threw up. And that was it. I cried.

I cried as I cleaned the rug.

I cried as I washed some dishes.

I cried as I tried to fold laundry.

When my boyfriend came home, the real waterworks began.

What am I doing? Am I really cut out to be a teacher? I can’t even keep my house clean, who is going to trust me with a classroom full of children? And so on, and so on.

Luckily, I live with a supportive, caring man who told me to suck it up (in a supportive and caring way, of course.) He reminded me that I am impatient, and want my life to immediately be how I envision it – but that’s not how the world works. He reminded me that I am used to things coming easily for me, and don’t know how to handle it when they are not. He reminded me of how much I want to be a teacher, and how many people I have supporting me, and how lucky I am to have him. (He didn’t say that last part, but I think it’s obvious, don’t you?)

And the next day, I got up, and went to class, and discussed life and school with my classmates and professor, and discovered that I was not alone. We are all hitting a wall, in one way or another. And we are lucky to have each other.

I think that may be the best thing about this program I am in. I have 25 other people who understand what I’m going through. Twenty-five people to discuss teaching, classes, students, art, music, books, Halloween costumes, silly stories, and whatever else with. We are not all alike. We range in age from just-graduated college to having-college-aged-children. We are liberal, conservative, male, and female. And we are all passionate and excited about teaching. We support each other, care about each other, and listen to each other.

I am so looking forward to becoming teachers with these people.

Also I’m excited that October is over. November resolution: Don’t cry over inconsequential things like a reading about lesson plans.

Becoming a passionate teacher

9 May

Watching the talk given by Ken Robinson really got me thinking about my educational history.

When he said:

Math, science and English language at the top, then the humanities then the arts way down at the bottom. And in the arts there’s always another hierarchy. Art and music are always thought to be more important than drama or dance. There isn’t a school system in the world that teaches dance every day, systematically, to every child, in the way that we require them to learn mathematics… Why is dance such a loser in the system? … People never saw any economic point in it.

I recognized my educational history, and pictured how arts education is always the first to go. I saw a school I once worked at with no art program, so the teachers tried to incorporate art into their classroom lessons.

When Sir Robinson went on to say: “You probably found yourself benignly steered away from things you were good at in school towards things that other people advised you would be more useful to you.” I saw myself, and my experience in high school. I saw my advisor forbidding me to take auto shop because I “needed” more Advanced Placement classes. I saw my teachers faces when I announced I was going to attend an Acting Conservatory program instead of go to Tulane.

Sir Robinson (yes, he’s been knighted) has really inspired me and I’ve been looking into more of his talks, watching this TED talk he gave with a group of friends (I can’t embed it, but it’s a short video) http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

This led to a pretty interesting discussion – most of the people I watched it with are involved in theatre as performers, writers, designers, or directors. The “Orange juice” was also flowing pretty freely, so people were getting quite passionate. This led to watching a lot of other TED talks, and talking about how education is changing and what needs to happen to foster creativity. Have you heard of TED? It’s a nonprofit group for “Ideas Worth Spreading.” TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design,” and they have two annual conferences where they “bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). ” There are a ton of awesome talks on the website, and I hope to incorporate them into my personal learning as well as my teaching.

I’m lucky to have found my own passion, even if it meant flying in the face of everything I was “supposed” to do – go to a good school, major in Western Lit or Business, and become a good little worker with a house in the suburbs. I’m also lucky to have supportive parents, friends, and to have found a community of like-minded people with whom I can have these awesome, random, discussions.

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