Friday, September 30, 2011

Is It Live or Is It Virtual?

“Every day, think as you wake up, ‘Today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’”

— His Holiness, the Dalai Lama

The idea of writing a common place book does seem a bit odd the the twenty-first century world. The practice of copying out a fair copy in your own hand as a reminder about bits and pieces of useful information constituted a form of scholarship. Thomas Jefferson filled many volumes, mixing useful facts, opinions and sketches for further investigation. My pages of quotes online is a homage to that spirit, a virtual common place book. The HeinSite structure gives a hint at my thinking. I'm writing this on my iPad on my way to the AMIS Board Workshop at Church Farm House, using Pages for the iPad. Syncing it all together is Dropbox, although could do the job. Let's explore...

“There is no shame in not knowing. The shame lies in not finding out.”
Russian proverb,

Knowing your boundaries is useful in life. Physical, mental and temperamental may come to mind. You want to play the flute. You get a flute, take some lessons, practice and...what do you mean? It's that easy? Ah, if that were only true. You haven't set a boundary, a goal for your flute playing: "to get a professional standard", "to play along with the hymns at church" or "my spouse plays the guitar and I want to play duets” and “I thought that's good sound." Whether you want to spend the requisite 10,000 hours required to achieve mastery at a psychomotor skill level or play for you own entertainment, the choice is yours. You've set a goal, a target.

Intellectual curiosity comes under this as well. The mind hungers for a challenge, right? Your always stimulated to know more, know better, know deeper. You are in the business of providing your students with authentic learning, meaningful goals and achievable, yet challenging, standards. We need a wilderness, a wild place to test us. Which leads us to next maxim:

“‎Not all treasure is silver and gold.”
— Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean)

Relationships are precious. Those you love are more precious than gold and silver. They are your rock. They are your support, through thick and thin. Cherish your relationship; nurture it with love.

The love the teacher has for his students and the work that achieved are without a doubt the most satisfying benefits of the job. The bonds you make through teamwork and practice are strong. You may influence a career choice, have a crowning achievement, discover an 'a ha' point or a knowing smile at the end of the concert that says "Yes! We did it and we did it well!". As the ads say, priceless. Which leads to...

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”
- Francesca Reigler

That goes without saying, but from time to time we need to reminded of that fact. Life is what you make it. Seeing the good instead of the bad is an acquired skill and needs practice. Remind yourself of the first quote on this page. I'm giving you time to read it now. Then on to the final statement. You will be shocked and amazed at the simplicity. Visit to take a look. For once, I have no further comment.

“Looking back over a lifetime, you see love was the answer to everything.”
— Ray Bradbury