Bird Droppings November 20, 2009
“Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
So often the morning goes one direction and then shifts I was reading John Dewey and pondering the concepts of constructivism when I was thinking about how so many times the real starting point is within ourselves. Actually it was in Dewey’s comments and thoughts I came back to this. Many of the students I am involved with have a difficult time defining themselves often because they have never had anything really to define about themselves that could be construed as even acceptable to most.
“A person’s worth is contingent upon who he is, not upon what he does, or how much he has. The worth of a person, or a thing, or an idea, is in being, not in doing, not in having.” Alice Mary Hilton
“Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.” John Locke
Asking students to describe themselves or define themselves can be quite a task. Have you ever sit down and tried to describe who you are. Generally we tend to hit on physical aspects first, hair color, eyes, size all very easy to come to for most people. But these are simply the package, it is what is inside, and here we begin to vary in detail and in depth. Many who feel sure about themselves often have difficulty without using definitiona others have imposed.
“I’ll always be number 1 to myself.” Moses Malone
“Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.” Doris Mortman
I was so many years ago I asked a child to draw his house, a standard question in evaluating children. In minute detail he drew a simple box house with the numerous and creative parameters of a five year old. The doors had hinges and panels, windows had frames and latches, which amazed me in the detail for so young a child. As I watched in amazement the house took form. There was one point however that kept getting more attention, the keyhole in the front door. He worked and worked at details within the keyhole. This child had been diagnosed as autistic. This young man drew the inside of his house looking through the keyhole. In his reality he was locked out he only saw through the keyhole. I saved the picture and still have it now nearly forty years later.
“Until you value yourself you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” M. Scott Peck
“Whatever good things we build end up building us” Jim Rohn
Thinking back to my Dewey reading earlier, it is about now, not some futuristic lofty goal. We need to start with what we have to work with be that a child and build upon that child’s understandings not our own. We need to facilitate more than dictate. I have used so often my Twelfth grade Moby Dick paper that was to be about my opinion of Moby Dick. I wrote my opinion and had a great big F emblazoned across the page with in large red letters, “Your opinion is wrong”. Many of the issues the negative aspects of education are teacher imposed. We restrict and limit and then want simply tape recordings of what we taught. I was working with a student on a biology review and was questioning not answering trying to build on what she could recall and knew. After five minutes of this and she was getting it she asked me whay did I not teach biology. It is amazing when you start with what they know.
“No one can disgrace us but ourselves.” Henry Wheeler Shaw
“All the extraordinary men I have known were extraordinary in their own estimation.” Woodrow Wilson
We need to encourage and embrace individualism. We need to encourage self esteem. We can make a difference each second of each day simply being at the right place at the right time. Many the time I will state this I am often in the right place exactly where I susupose to be at the exact minute. I was reading a statement from a student a few minutes ago about a past teacher they had and it was to the effect all they could remember from that class was the teachers cat stories. As I am thinking back and ahead often wonder what is remembered about anything I might have taight? As we cross through this week and into a weekend please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your heart.