Tag Archives: education

Life After Working in Education

There is life after work.  Actually there is life after teaching for 30 years in our broken down, politically charged education system….and Ms. D proves it.

How I loved this post!

I’m not sure how she survived 30 years in education except it must have been for the kids.  I’m on my 3rd year (out of retirement) and I am stunned by the amount of energy given over to politics and the pettiness with so little time left for the students.

One of Ms. D’s comments just made me laugh out loud.  She is listing things she will NOT miss about her teaching career and this was my favorite – “Endure being told that I am blunt and intimidating because I have decades of experience and am not afraid to say what I think.”

I got that in corporate America with the added insult that my behavior didn’t go down well because, and I quote, “You are a woman.”  A-bloody-mazing.

I read then re-read this post of a woman who has and is reclaiming her life and herself and I was so impressed that I had to share it.  When I finished I sat in front of my laptop with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face knowing that Ms. D probably saved a whole lot of kids from the trash heap of their parents’ and neighborhoods’ lives, that she endured…despite the odds.

I hope you enjoy this.  The Year in Review « FARMHOUSE BY THE FALLS.


Filed under arm wresting, Education, Gifts, Inspiring People, Life & Death, Work

The Creative Adult is the Child Who Has Survived | LinkedIn

I have long thought that each and every adult has the opportunity, every day, to help grow a child’s imagination and dreams or at least keep the spark of the dream alive.

Unfortunately many adults don’t even know they have this power.  They blunder through their lives wounding young souls, stepping on dreams, breaking small hearts.

The very first time I thought this, I was walking to work.  I was on 11th Street  when I heard shouting.  A big, burly woman was leaning over a tiny child, screaming at him that he was stupid, that he was worthless.

I walked over to her, got between her and the little boy and told her to find someone else to hurt.  If she wanted someone her own size, she could try me.

Time stopped for a moment.  Her eyes glittered in her angry face which was inches from mine; her fists balled up and rose slowly.  The little boy’s face was upturned, fear struggling with wonder at what was happening right in front of him.  I waited.

Suddenly all the bluster went out of her.  Tears welled in her eyes. Her hands dropped to her sides.  She talked about her lost job, her failed marriage, her fear, her sorrow, her anger.

I put my arms around her and  held her while she cried.  Slowly, we both realized that the boy, her son, had wrapped an arm around her leg and an arm around mine and was holding on, tight.

The mother and I smiled at each other. We smiled at him.  She knelt down, held him and said, “I’m sorry.”  His face turned toward me, his eyes wide and his smile wider.  When she stood, she leaned toward me, smiling, and whispered, “You have God in you.  Thank you.”

I hugged her back, told her that if she ever needed help, I came by this way 5 days a week and would be there, for her.  We turned in opposite directions and walked back into our separate lives.  But there, on the corner of 11th and Filbert, outside the Greyhound Bus Station, the two of us had worked a tiny miracle – we gave love and laughter back to her young son.

I never saw them again, this mother and child, but I know that things between them were different after that day.

I always thought that moments like this one hold the power that each of us carries, within.  I know that one word, one touch, one smile can make a change.  Now, someone has written about the power of one adult to hold one child and help them reach for their dream.

I hope you enjoy this post.  And I hope all the people in homes and schools, on street corners or buses, people everywhere understand that words, which we use so easily and hold so cheaply, can keep a child’s dream alive just as easily as they can kill it.

Think…before you speak, please. Speak when your words can help a child.

The Creative Adult is the Child Who Has Survived | LinkedIn.

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Filed under arm wresting, Gifts, Inspiring People, Work, World Changing Ideas

Shaping Our Children’s Lives & Futures

The theory that children are shaped, for life, in the first 5 years of their small lives has been proven to be true.

The effect of how they are loved, taught, held, or hurt can be found in the hallways of our schools, every day.

This essay is one of the best I have seen on the power for good or evil that all adults but especially parents hold when it comes to their children.All adults have the power to kill a small child’s life before it ever begins.  Killing doesn’t mean murdering the body; it means murdering the soul, the spirit and the mind of the child before the child ever has a chance to live and love in our world.

This post clearly states the case for all of us to make the effort to make our children’s lives safe and happy places for them to live, learn and love.  Please read it.  Please share it.  Please try to think about it before you choose (and it is a choice, folks) to snap at your child, to slap your child with words or your hand, to do damage to your child that lives inside of them, forever.

My Dad used to tell me this when I started dating.  “Don’t listen to what they (boys) say; watch what they do.”  This same perspective is what your kids, our kids do every day.  They do NOT do what we say…they do what we do.

Please try to consider the fragility of these wonderful, bright shiny children who arrive so eager, so willing to learn and think about what you teach them.

Think What You Want.


Filed under Death & Dying, Education, Life & Death, Love and Marriage

Project 365: Education At The Frontlines

Sticking with education because it is so important to our children, to our lives and to our future, there are a man and a project in Harlem that deserve to join the ranks of those who are changing the world.

Like Sal KahnGeoffrey Canada believes in the power of education so much that he has given his life to it.  Unlike Kahn, who uses the internet to reach as many people as possible, Canada’s quest is more focused and more personal.

Canada is the man behind The Harlem Children’s Zone Project (HCZ).

Founded 20 years ago as a program to address problems that poor families in this drug-riddled neighborhood were facing —  crumbling apartments, failing schools, violent crime and chronic health problems, HCZ grew into a life-changing force.

At the outset, the project centered on classroom education but Geoffrey Canada recognized early that this approach was not working. What they were teaching children inside classrooms just couldn’t counter what those same children learned about in the street, every day — drugs, shooting deaths, dire poverty.

That realization led Canada to look at the whole picture, the child within the community. It also led to expanded efforts to include after school services to kids as well as programs on parenting, early-childhood development, mental health counseling and drug and alcohol counseling for parents and care givers.

Understanding that education alone would not save these children from repeating their parents’ history, one of the  primary objectives of the overall project became “…to create a critical mass of adults around them who understand what it takes to help children succeed.”

Dubbed, “…one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time” by the New York Times, The Harlem Children’s Zone Project started with one block in that city; today it covers 100 city blocks and touches the lives of 8,000 children and 6,000 parents.

Based on HCZ’s data that show that it’s  impossible to separate education in the classroom from education in the streets, Harlem Children’s Project has also become the template for President Obama’s Promise Neighborhoods program.

Geoffrey Canada is definitely changing the world, one child at a time.

On a personal note, as someone who pays an enormous amount of school taxes, as a person who is in the process of being disenfranchised by the autonomous school board in our district, I will say here, now, that I would gladly pay my school taxes to help support a Promise Neighborhood program.

I would even pay them to support HCZ because I know that the dollars going into these programs help teach children and adults how to live better, healthier lives.  The dollars in our district seem to go to larger administration buildings and bigger salaries for the people who work in them.

By they way, if you know a group or an individual that is helping to change our world for the better, please share their story with me so I can share it with my readers.



Filed under Education, Gifts, Inspiring People, Project 365, World Changing Ideas

Project 365: The Man Who Is Teaching The World

You gotta love this guy.  He’s literally a genius at math and science.  But he’s also a man who reached out to help his own cousin navigate these terrifying subjects.  Now, Salman Khan helps millions and millions of people learn, online at Kahn Academy.

And the topic list is amazing, ranging from Algebra (pretty much the subject that started the whole thing) to Venture Capitalism.  In between, users can learn about art, history, economics, information technology and health and wellness.  In fact, Kahn Academy now boasts more than 2700 video lessons that are offered free of charge to anyone who wants to watch and learn from them.

How did this happen?

As I mentioned, Khan started tutoring a young cousin remotely in 2004 after learning that she was struggling with math. They lived pretty far away from each other so Kahn decided to use the Internet and create some videos to help her.  Soon other relatives were asking him for help.  When he posted a series of lessons on YouTube, they went viral, and donors like Bill Gates offered to help him expand his efforts.

And Khan did just that!

Today, the academy has more than 250,000 YouTube subscribers and his videos have a total of 108, 697,000 upload views.  Khan Academy is the second most subscribed to non profit organization on YouTube.

This former hedge fund analyst quit his day job a few years ago to focus on teaching.  Now, he posts short video lessons to his site, khanacademy.org—where kids in dozens of countries learn about everything from Hubble’s Law to the French Revolution and get a chance to reinforce what they’ve seen with practice exercises designed for every level.

And Khan Academy isn’t just for kids.  Coaches and teachers who use this tool can access all of their students’ data. Summary data for the whole class is online as is data that allows teachers to dive into a particular student’s profile to figure out exactly which topics are problematic.  Again, it’s all free.

Running this enterprise is a lot of work and up until 2010, Khan was dipping into his own savings to help foot the bill.  Why do it?  Khan says he wants to provide extra help that kids  may not be getting at public schools like the ones he attended near New Orleans.  But he also wants to reach kids who don’t have access to schools, at all.

With $2 million from Google, Khan, who now has a small team (check out Ben Kamens who leads interns at Khan Academy) is translating his videos into languages like Mandarin, Hindi, and Spanish, broadening the base and extending the reach of his organization beyond the limitations of the English language.

For a  lifelong learner like me, Khan Academy is a bit like a candy shop – full of lovely things to learn and all of them free for the asking.  And I am not alone.  A whole lot of people are watching and learning using a teaching tool developed by one man to help one young girl.

Sal Kahn is helping millions of children and he is changing the world.  If you want to learn more about Sal and his mission, check out these FAQ’s or see what Oprah had to say about him in the October issue of her magazine.


Filed under Education, Inspiring People, Project 365, Uncategorized