Author: R


If you had the opportunity: iPads or laptops for faculty?

I’ve been asked to make long-term assumptions that will affect how our community goes into the last phase of finally rolling out a 1:1 program at our school. For various reasons we are committed to going forward with this initiative. For year1 we need to mobilize our faculty since currently all are tethered to a classroom PC. So….since we are strongly considering that students will have an iPad instead of a laptop in Middle and High School, I am wondering if it does not make sense to equip faculty with the same gear. Sure, it will tick many teachers since it means learning a whole new way of working, but the argument that it is not possible to do all the work in an iPad now-a-days stands less of a chance to totally hold back such an initiative. Computer monitors would be readily available in classrooms for those needing more screen space, and w/less keyboards would be available for those who wish to still type on a traditional keyboard. Also, using our GoogleApps system we would have the same basic text editing capabilities as those we are used to having now. We have other cloud-based solutions already available for e-text-books, video streaming, test taking/grading, printing, graphics creation/manipulation, music editing, etc….but I am still not 100% sure.

More later as the plan comes together….

Play, Work

Indeed; we need better parents!

Yes, superhero teachers have a lot to do with the development of a child, but occupying 15% of a child’s time from birth to his/her 18th birthday is not nearly enough time to make a dent if home-life is contrary to what is being taught in the classroom. Values, modeling, habits, traits, teachings, behavior and other lessons at home must coincide with those at school, else the superhero teacher is pushing against the waves all alone. Here is a great article by “The Earth is Flat” author: read article here

About Life, Play

Any given Sunday in Sarriá

Barcelona, Sunday morning, in the middle of a sigh!

Anyone who knows me will have undoubtedly heard my “fortunate” comments around work, life, family, travel, opportunities, or other things-life at some point. Yes, self righteous, I know, but there is no other way I can express how I feel when I live these scenes.

Not long ago, in the late 70´s and early 80´s while I was still a kid in El Salvador, life was very different. Having no money, my family could barely afford to dress me in the required school uniform. One of my older sisters was a dress-maker and she made me my one uniform which I had to care for in order for it to hold up the whole week of school. Shoes were worn until the sole came off. Pencils where used until the eraser what the only thing between little fingers trying to write. Clases where multi-grade multi-age classes where one teacher was in charge of 30+ students of many different grades/ages. Going home presented the challenge of staying away from army soldiers who would, at will, take young boys into an immediate draft. Forget about bullies, I don’t remember any bullying problems back then.

Afternoons or weekend walks to the center of town often included a must-visit to the town hall where the day’s previous casualties of the ongoing civil war where laid out in wooden boxes in public view such that families could come down to claim the loved one(s)’s body. It was part of growing up.Though morbid, it became my source of news for the day and I got to go home to tell my older sister who I’d seen. If I knew the family of the deceased I would pay a visit to their house to let someone know that they should go to city hall to claim their loved one. I didn’t know better.

Sleeping in a one-room, one light-bulb room, my bed space was right below my sisters’ bed, on the floor. My memory of childhood dreams is filled with middle-of-the-nigh waking up biting down on the bed sheet that served as my pillow as I rarely went to bed with a full stomach and the hunger and dreams of eating would wake me. So, now that I’ve traveled, done, seen, eaten, slept, loved, life is sweet. Seeing the sky every time I step out of my apartment is a delight, it is something to savor. Walking the streets and hearing and smelling the lazy Sunday come to life brings a smile to my lips. I can’t help it.

About Life, Play, Work

Education Philosophy

I am fortunate that when I entered into academia, entirely by accident, I did not go right into the classroom as a teacher. I came from the corporate world to work with a US State Dept. sponsored educational initiative launched by the Clinton Administration that was headquartered within the City University of New York university system. Some time after I was recruited to help an American school get their technical-house in order. I would have been an awful classroom teacher at the time, I’m sure of it. In both of those previous academic experiences I had the pleasure of working with great teachers and seeing them in the classroom. This made me hungry to be in there as well. Now that I have a few years of teaching under my belt, and quite a few friends who are former students, I can state with certainty that having classroom teaching be a part of my otherwise techie-job is the single best thing that has ever happened in my life.

Education is the number one practice throughout the world that stands a chance of truly improving the lives of us all. It is through education that we have the opportunity to instill in children a sense of respect for the unknown, inquiry, understanding and awe. Awe at the possibilities of the human mind, the creative power of our brain and of the imaginative resourcefulness of our forbearers. It is through formal education that we introduce young students to the wonders of nature, the grandeur and mystery of our galaxy and to the potential of creation and imagination within them.

It is my belief that in formal education teachers are placed in a privileged position. We are experts, guides, leaders, specialists, and at times, even heroes. Indeed, teachers are superheroes. With that designation comes a great responsibility to use any superpowers responsibly, and to use them to do good. It is up to us to engage and to interest. It is on us to create a channel for the energy, hunger and creativity within each student who walks into our classroom or teaching space. It is our responsibility if a student falls out of love with a subject that at first seemed interesting to them. It becomes our job to keep up with students’ pace if indeed they are interested in the subject we are teaching them, as they will want to know more and more.

Teaching is an incredible specialty. Anyone who takes it lightly aught not be in a classroom. The young mind always wants to know more, wants to experiment, is eager to create, and is open to learning from mistakes. It is this last component of learning that needs to be at the top of the list of any good teacher; that students feel safe to make mistakes in the classroom. A perfectly timed mistake is the single best teacher in life, and thus should be a formal part of any classroom. Students should be fearless when entering new territory of learning, they should want to do it all, and they should have comfort in knowing that their superhero-teacher will be there to support them when they realize a mistake has been made. I love teaching!