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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Petty Politician or Public Principal?


     To be or not to be that is the question?  There is no denying that politics pervades every essence of our being to some degree.  My quandary over the last couple of decades always returns me to the present day.  As an administrator, educator, leader and  manager  I, like all of us in positions of power and authority, find ourselves having to make decisions constantly.  Often times in making our most important decisions with the intent of magnanimous outcomes, we find ourselves critiqued and crucified.  Our decisions, and those who want to extrapolate either openly or under their collective breaths and behind closed doors, opine, judge and view who you are and what you do constantly as being incorrect, inconsequential and even malicious by colleagues as well as outsiders.

     Regardless of the issue or topic, true servants and leaders are willing to step outside and beyond the realm of prevailing politics.  They are movers, shakers and risk takers.  They constantly dodge bullets and only pop their heads up over the trench line on occasion.  Make no mistake about it, as the Good Ole Boy Network is as alive and well as ever.  Their compromising of their ethics, morals and values super cede any idea or notion of remotely doing the right thing or making the right decision... 

     As for myself, with the knowledge that we all want to be a part of something in which has a sense of belonging and identity, one must stay true to their maxim.  Perhaps this is why some find themselves, leaders or others, aloof and outside the proverbial loop and entrenched within the "network" of whomever and whatever?   Whether providing commentary or opinion on any given subject or issue, there seems to always be two sides who compete for acceptance and acknowledgment versus steadfastness and conviction...  I have heard several times from so called leaders and professionals that the reason(s) why some are favored over others, and move forward and progress in their careers, are because they are able to blend in and don't speak out or offer opinions.

     Whether a leader of a country, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a high school principal, being a servant leader ought to be our calling and charge, no less our true mission and vision.  It should be the notion of doing what is right and what is in the best interests of humanity and nothing more!  Therefore, the question remains; why are there so many uncaring, unprofessional and unworthy would be leaders and petty politicians within our ranks?  "...and that's all I have to say about that..."  Forrest Gump  

 



    

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Tribute to a Titan


    

     Most of my knowledge and understanding of this small man in physical stature comes from listening and watching him as he lived and led the relatively small country of Jordan.  His ability to direct this small bastion of a country amidst the maze, and of the adjoining regional turmoil and violence, amazed me during his leadership. Although short in his physical stature, he stood figuratively as large, if not larger, than many other notable world leaders of the 20th century!  As a statesman and politician at the heart of his views and opinions can be read and appreciated closely at http://kinghussein.gov.jo/ .  Some of his more famous quotes are still being used today by ordinary people and world figures alike.

     Furthermore, as a human being, most of my appreciation and understanding of his ideology and persona came from within the text of the autobiography of his wife, Her Majesty Queen Noor.  In her autobiography entitled; A Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life. http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/14-non-fiction/541-leap-of-faith-queen-noor .  

 Front Cover       I highly recommed this read to any historian interested in Middle Eastern affairs.   Her captivating story of the real person behind the throne of Jordan revealed a man with a reverent sense of compassion not only for his own people, but for all others regardless of their color, ethnicity or race.  His understanding of the complexities and dynamics of the political and religious context and history  in which continues to engulf his region were second to none in being a mediator and negotiator while keeping his country for the most part neutral.  His willingness to compromise, yet maintain his resolve toward his beliefs and fellow countrymen and borders, spoke volumes to leaders throughout the entire world who both secretly and publicly called upon him to seek advice and direction.  All of this while the country of Jordan rests at the epicenter of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim birthplace, and is still in its relevant infancy of nationhood.

     My continued acknowledgement and growing respect for the late King Hussein I came from the people and words spoken by those who lived peacefully as his subjects within the country.  Their admiration and passion for their King was both evident and unrelenting.  They spoke of the aforementioned in which affirmed his character.  A great communicator, humanitarian and statesman were words most often repeated in characterizing him. He was a true servant leader.  He was the kind of leader that often times rarely comes around any given generation.  There a few countries who can attest their allegiance, appreciation and respect for their respective leaders past or present in the entire world.

     Having the opportunity to visit his country for an extended period of time I could see physical evidence still paying tribute to his legacy after his passing over a decade ago.  The character, convictions, kindness and humility of both his presence and leadership continues to be characterized today by the warm and friendly Jordanian people.  As his birthday is celebrated tomorrow throughout the Kingdom I am sure he looks upon his people with much pride and love as they continue to remain positive, flourish in harmony, peace and stability, and love their homeland as much as he still does.  Godspeed to this beautiful country with beautiful people! 

    

Cell Phones in Class Create Community

     The debate over permitting cell phone and mobile technology continues to grow.  Why?  The answer is simple.  Current educational thought regarding their capabilities and potential as a valuable resource and supplement to traditional resources continues to gain momentum, and rightfully so.

     Within a recent article posted by US News & World Report http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/high-school-notes/2011/10/26/teachers-use-cell-phones-in-the-classroom is shared viewpoints from both advocates and proponents of their implementation in the classrooms, to those who still see them as both a distraction, nuisance and potential danger being allowed within school communities.

     The embracing of cellular technology in 21st century classrooms is becoming increasingly long overdue.  Statistics are abound referencing not only their availability to users, but also the amount of time on average used, students acumen regarding their usage, and the speed and efficiency in which children are able to operate them (even at very young ages). 

     Mobile technology is an outstanding kinesthetic manipulative and tool that engages all of the sense except for smell.  I heard a wonderful quote several months ago in which it was revealed that classrooms today literally slow children down due to mandates not allowing them this valuable resource and tool.  Isn't it part of our intent and goal to speed children up in their ability to think and push toward meta cognitive capabilities?  http://www.marketingcharts.com/interactive/cell-phones-key-to-teens-social-lives-47-can-text-with-eyes-closed-6126/ To imagine that children can and have been using and manipulating a cell phone to communicate, calculate, create, discover and organize are just a few reasons their absence from the classroom makes very little sense to me as an educator.  The cost effectiveness of incorporating them as part of the school norm and curriculum alone makes far too much sense for them to not have already been allowed...

     I recently came across a wonderfully comprehensive presentation regarding the delimma of whether or not to allow for their implementation;
 
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     If the video is not embedded for you to play, here is the link to the presentation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRTNnpV_79Y&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL4C16128D3E08F324  I would love to hear other educator's thoughts as to their stance on the issue.  Also, there are are many other clips to view regarding the issue in which are hilarious to say the least.  Enjoy.   Godspeed, and yours in the fight...



Sunday, November 6, 2011

Character Ed. Counts!

     As a building level administrator going on four years now, and having the opportunity to teach and coach in six different school systems along the east coast, one dynamic of public education that needs more attention if not improved is the notion of teaching and nurturing students to become not only life long learners but also quality human beings who CARE ABOUT OTHERS.

     All teachers will tell you that society continues to pressure the schools to be more than just educators.  To that end, it is possible that since many young people having been left to fend for themselves literally, individual schools and their staff can create a program and implement to their specific school needs in teaching the XYZ generation what seems to have been lost over the last quarter century, if not longer?

     Things that have come to matter most to me through my experiences are;

...using terms like please and thank you...
...picking up and cleaning up after yourself...
...opening and closing doors for one another...
...asking and seeing to it that other people who need help or assistance get it...
...showing compassion and care for one another as acquaintances through physical affection...
...different ethnicity's, races and cultures mingling with and hanging out with one another...
...realizing it is ok and acceptable to say Yes Sir and No Mam, etc...
...raising your hand regardless...
...using terminology like excuse me or beg your pardon...
...demonstrating respect and tolerance despite your disagreements...
...a profanity free school...

     These are just a few tidbits over the course of my career that come to mind initially.  I'd love to hear feedback from my colleagues.  I emphatically believe that creating both a culture and climate in which character takes the forefront alongside that of learning and high levels of engagement are the KEY in this transformation!  It must happen one school at a time, and with one leader focused and committed to such a vision and calling with their students.  Children need and want both care and compassion for themselves as well as others, yet it seems as though as they transition to middle school and ultimately high school, all the media and social blitz they have experienced in their short lives has brainwashed them to the point of no return.  Additionally, with the decay of the nuclear family and the rise in bullying and harassment, along with all the violence they are exposed to they are numb to what true character is and really means.  We, as administrators, need to promote, create and facilitate a community of mutual respect and tolerance to other's differences.  So much has been researched and written on the topic it seems infinite. 

     Am I the only one who thinks this transformation is needed?  I know from visiting elementary schools, teachers and leaders are doing a WONDERFUL job in this area, but what about other schools, demographics?  Feedback?  PEACE & GODSPEED.