#zerotohero Comment to Post: A Reflective Conversation

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So. Our challenge, Day 16, for the #zerotohero WordPress blogging challenge is to read many and comment on two others’ post from yesterday’s post on a writing prompt [ find prompt here ].

Pause…

I started with my new favorite food blog, because it was breakfast: Made by Steven I enjoy seeing what interesting Japanese, Indian, or other delights he created this time and decided it was time I let him know I appreciate his blog and work:

I love reading your posts and viewing your images; everything looks divine, and the design is pleasing. I especially love your header image — I could reach in and try one, but which? Ah. too difficult to decide. I will one day discover one of your dishes to make. Glad you decided to blog about your passion.

Be sure to follow his blog for delicate delights for your taste buds.

Next, I learned a new word: spraff: to talk a lot about nothing. That’s the blog I read: Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer

I enjoyed the post and agree with your words. “Everyone has different reputations decided by different groups of people,” is so true. And I appreciate learning more about how your music and art are important to you, and part of how you share yourself. I like this line also: “Maybe people would get on with their lives slightly more efficiently if they weren’t worrying about reputations.” So your spraffing today revealed some gems for us to ponder!  Thanks!

He [corrected from She, sorry ] said what I wanted to say — it’s so good to read other’s ideas because their twist of thought sometimes sparks your own, and their way of saying it helps clarify your own. It’s like a conversation in pauses; we learn from each other perhaps more readily because of that pause — that time to reflect that is perhaps deeper than face to face.

And, finally, I discovered a school reputation post from flash fiction author Rob Ross‘s blog Rob’s Surf Report. I could identify with those feelings through the students I have and the sons I raised, who helped me understand the spirit within each child. I told Rob: his post showed

“the spark that rebelled causing a bit of trouble for you in school. I see you survived very well — your blog is interesting, well-designed, and full of diverse postings. I imagine you’ve created a life that is the also full of spirit and interest.

It’s a difficult task for teachers to honor the spirit and also rein it enough to focus on the learning. And it’s an even more difficult task to encourage that spirit to grow in a way that guides without controlling. In today’s schools, teachers are mandated to improve scores, not to nurture nature and help students develop their talents, which, in turn, would lead to success in any area the young person would choose. Since my own boys were those with a reputation, I understood the soul behind the scenes, and always looked to begin conversations with those kids before their year with me — what were there interests? what was it that captured their imaginations? how could I use that to bring them into the learning community, instead of skirting the edges? How do I build in movement and humor? These are the questions I would ask and consider, so “that kid” would find a place in our class. But again, teachers are watched and paced and managed to teach to those test scores; and time is taken that would otherwise be the conversations and activities to honor the spirit of each kid.

Thanks for the reflection; it inspires me to continue the quest to honor each spirit.”

We have many students in our schools who follow different paths, and the current testing frenzy does not honor their spirit, talents, nor intellect. And in my research today I found this post by @EDUCareNow Learning as Belonging. Teaching and learning are social activities as we learn within a learning community for which all students are honored for who they are. It’s a great read and links to a document entitled, The School as a Community of Engaged Learners. Now that’s a goal to achieve. So thanks, Rob — you sent me searching for more support for a different type of education reform.

Play…

So as we post our own thoughts, we also read others, and in both those paused reflections and the continued followed or researched links, we discover a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other. And I am thankful for each connection.

Now, if only we could see this as learning, and build these connections and personalized journeys into our schools so each student becomes what is within.

#zerotohero Prompts — Make them Yours

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The writing prompt for today is

Do you have a reputation?

What is it, and where did it come from?

Is it accurate? What do you think about it?


I’ve been in conversations about this today; there’s “stuff” going on around us, and we’re trying to figure it out. But in those conversations are reputations, how we expect people to behave based on past actions.

The thing is, we only see some of the actions of others, or “hear” about them. And we don’t know the stories behind the actions, or the rest of the story, before or after.  We only have bits of information. As Lord Francis Jeffrey has said, “A good name, like good will, is got by many actions and lost by one.” So in our many conversations, it’s important to remember that we all act with the information we have, and that people are more than what we know.

In that respect, I tried to think of what my reputation might be, depending on one’s perspective.

So. I’m pretty quiet, very shy in fact, except when it comes to education. Then I’m passionate about teaching the whole child — personalized and including art, music, debate, etc. —  and not assigning anyone a reputation based on a number, a test score. So I’m stubborn there, and vocal about its affects, which include less about what a child — or teacher — is, and more about our society’s growing lack of humanity or civility; rather we depend on numbers to prove something, instead of just having a conversation and observing what a child or teacher does, day in and day out in regards to learning and improving. So, some might see me as a devoted, innovative, and caring teacher who inspires her students, while others might see a stubborn tenacity to debate and research of those mandates that make data crunching the goal. Some will see a kind and collaborative teacher working with others to build a positive learning environment, while others will see a questioner, a debater, a reminder that other ways could be chosen. Some will see a diligent and focused learner, while others will see a workaholic. So, it depends. What I do know is this: my heart supports the underdog, my mind meanders down multiple paths to find the best ways, and whenever our school community is transparent and open to all views, that’s when we have found the best solutions for our students.

In reflection, I consider this quote from John Wooden: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” There will always be those who misunderstand our actions, but compassion towards them will diminish their unintended harm, and you will grow to understand them better. We only live once, so we must go boldly, and scatter seeds of kindness.

Live to make the world less difficult for each other. ~ George Eliot


About this post:

So. Our challenge, Day 15, for the #zerotohero WordPress blogging challenge is to write a post — to post on a writing prompt [ find them here ], which are those questions and statements presented to spur our imaginations on those days our minds fail us. Whenever your ideas stop sizzling, take a prompt and personalize it; twist it until it’s tuned to your needs. This was my twist.