FTY: Dont Know Mind and Questioning

June 21, 2012

Today’s Friday Thank You goes out to Teachers and Parents.

Two things my family is working on is asking each other more questions and embracing.. don’t know mind or beginners mind.  By embracing don’t know mind we shed our perceptions and biases of what we think should be. It is very similar to letting go of expectations–as the 12 step programs say.

Using questioning with the 4-6 year old age group has been difficult for me to embrace. I have noticed a remarkable improvement in kiddo’s behavior since I embraced it. I’m used to giving choices and being open to children’s suggestions with the elementary school age group and not preschool. I’ve had to let go of the idea that I’m The Adult and my kiddo should just do what I say. It also brings up uncomfortable feelings about cultural differences. I must say my thoughts have fluctuated between thinking– Yes, ma’am and Yes, Sir seem a little rigid—but at the same time it makes sense to me. I particularly like asking a question and if the answer is no telling kiddo, “The answer is Yes ma’am”.<—this is me embracing the paradox of it all>

Also, not every family gives children choices. So, what happens when I give a student choices and it overwhelms them. This is a particularly sticky question I’ve been asked as a ‘White Teacher‘. And, I haven’t found an answer I am completely comfortable with yet. I think I would look to veteran teachers around me to help me with children uncomfortable with making choices.

Through some reflection my husband and I noticed that we weren’t even asking each other questions regularly. I also realized that I wasn’t asking him questions because I thought I already knew what his answer would be.<Silly, silly thoughts.>

Some of my other thoughts on questions are that I need to question myself more. So far I compiled these 5 questions <I can’t remember where I found them>

5 mindful expressions/ questions< I’m sure they are similar to ones in 5 Questions that help us wake up.
1. I don’t know.
2. I was wrong.
3. I made a mistake.
4. It happens.
5. How can I help?

chaotic notes

As I’ve been trying to keep the house and other things cleaner recently, I find this as an area where I cannot control my tone of voice. It’s hard not to get exasperated when kiddo brings in a large bucket with the bottom coated in mud. Now as I write this I see that she is only following my example of having a little glass jar with moss growing in it to show her what an ecosystem is. It’s very similar to these jars but I reused an old spaghetti sauce jar. I realize the reason I gave up trying to have a neat house is that it causes me great aggravation to have to continually pick up things, instead I’m really trying to see the clutter as a reminder that people I love live here and I do appreciate their presence.

My Moss Jar Experiment

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Poise, Paws, and Pause

June 19, 2012

Following Scattermom’s How to Laugh at Yourself series beginning, I thought I would write a post just like that. Next, I thought of the mess that was my last ‘laugh at yourself’ moment; it was also a ‘if I don’t laugh, I will cry’ moment. <punctuation is hard> Luckily, it was followed by a rather cleansing laugh at yourself moment…which was me wishing my dad Happy Birthday on Father’s Day! Oh, it was memorable. Later he called to make plans for our trip and I got to wish him Happy Birthday again! Plans, are hard to make for the technologically and memory challenged.

My laugh at myself moments are becoming overwhelmingly glaring. And, I have been skipping some meditation times. I keep telling myself it is because of the summer schedule, but I’m becoming so aware of how not here I am most of the time. And even when I am here, It is difficult to position myself in a way to respond most appropriately to a situation—–Pause.

My new series will be called Poise, Paws, and Pause. This is a title I came up with while taking my class in Principles and Practices of Mindful Leadership at The Center for Mindful Inquiry. <I think I may sign up for their new class Compassionate Action in Education.>

As a result of this class I installed a Mindfulness Bell on my Android and have it set to go off once an hour. I have noticed that a few times while I was surfing I was very annoyed and turned the bell off. <hyperfocus?!?! Oh, the ADHD paradox> Now, I’ve successfully talked myself into taking a moment to breathe no matter what I am doing.

chaotic notes

Martin Seligman on Positive Psychology


FTY: What I’ve been Reading

November 11, 2011
Voracious reader that I am I cannot seem to bring myself to write something. Ack.  My two most recent reads are Training Women in the Martial Arts: A Special Journey and
I am still stunned by this sentence…
<—- pg.46  “Most people are unaware that Mahatma Ghandi publicly acknowledged the influence suffragists had on his belief in civil disobedience and non-violent revolution.”     
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

chaotic notes

Why Teachers must become community organizers and justice fighters
Given the complex challenge corporate education reform poses, today’s teacher activists cannot just have a strategy which is solely school or teacher centered. They must become community organizers who fight school closings, the proliferation of tests, and the weakening of teacher bargaining rights as attacks on the ability of working class people and people of color to fight for better opportunities for themselves and their children. In this setting, Teacher Activists must put forth a vision of Radical Democracy which envisions an education which empowers students as critical thinkers and agents of historical change, not just as obedient test takers and which envisions schools playing a central role in neighborhoods united and mobilized to get a fair share of the nation’s resources. Occupy Wall Street has provided a language and an example to put that model of Radical Democracy into practice. But it cannot work unless teachers link their own fate to that of the students they work with and the people in the communities where their schools are located. Unless Teacher activists become community organizers and justice fighters in the broadest sense, they will lose the battle to defend their classrooms from the incursions of corporate interests.
And
Us solidarity economy
The dominant feeling within North America social economy and solidarity economy practitioners is that no real change will come about in the economic system unless economic alternatives are built from the ground up. Building concrete alternatives provide examples that show that there are other economic paths: that worker owned and run enterprises with good working conditions and environmentally sound practices are achievable and viable. No amount of protests or demonstrations, or even elections, will change the “system” by itself. In other words, we must roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty to show that this other economy is possible. Indeed, more and more people feel that this is the only way. After all, other changes in economic systems did not come out by sudden upheavals or revolution. Capitalism did not replace feudalism by a sudden revolution. It took something like 3 to 5 centuries for the bourgeoisie to overtake feudalism. It was a long process and they fought hard to take hold of the economy. In other words, they strengthened their class until it got stronger than the old forces. Of course, this way of explaining fundamental changes in society is open to debate. But, certainly this is a possible, or plausible, explanation: we need to have a long term approach. Even if we could all hope for rapid and radical changes, we must recognize that they could take a long period of time. The society and economy we strive for is a people‟s centered economy. By definition, this means that this new economy will be governed to the greatest extent possible through direct participatory democracy at all levels..
Along the same lines from Yes Magazine Best Job in Town and They Own It

Not Disney

June 15, 2011

Where am I? Not Disney…

Neck deep in life balance questions from You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! Including such questions as What can I do well? what can I do adequately? what can’t (or shouldn’t I do)? while i simultaneously lust after Kate’s and Peggy’s other book ADDed Dimension

Also Reading

articles on mindfulparenting, critical reading <–studying for the GRE and learning that different combinations of sentence types signify relationships between ideas.> Must have missed that in English class.

chaotic notes

From Rough Guide to Disney~ <my favorite parts>

It seems like a lot of what you end up doing as a parent is trying to figure out ways to save your children from you.

There’s usually one thought, from any binge, that will seem true even afterward, and sometimes for the rest of your life, and it was this, that if there’s no free will, as I more and more doubt there to be, we don’t need to go crazy with guilt and worry about our children. We’re not responsible for them. For their upbringing, yes, but not for their existence. Destiny wants them here. It uses us to put them here.


FTY: The Worst Mother, Tim Wise, and Daisy

April 16, 2011

From The Worst Mother

I’ve been playing with making a few of my own versions of Rules for Moms…this might take me a while so stay tuned

I just finished reading White Like Me by Tim Wise. It was a fascinating and eye opening book. Funny that I’ve just finished this and Daisy has a post up at Womanist Musings called “What Can White Women Do?“. <Which I am grappling with right now in my work with MomsRising and also have been inadvertently involved with as a “white teacher” in Northern and Southern public schools.>

Something Tim Wise said on p. 149 of White Like Me <WLM> I think applies to what Daisy is trying to do over at Womanist Musings. Here’s his quote…

The goal of the larger antiracism movement must be to get enough white allies to join with persons of color so as to launch meaningful and repeated challenges to the vestiges of institutional racism that still litter the landscape of the American polity and economy.

I think its tricky to join with persons of color because our privilege does get in the way. And some of the reactions to Daisy’s post are good examples.

In the end we have got to let go of the outcome, which makes us more effective and healthier. <paraphrasing WLM p.154>


Under Construction: Philosophy of Education

February 18, 2011

So, I’ve started another blog called OpenSkool where I am going to deposit my educational ideas/ resources. I know my politics may not be as popular as my ideas about schooling. Aw heck, I’m just a bleeding heart liberal that is too lefty for the mainstream. Just to prove that I am ADDish and stubborn I started it at blogspot and that is where it will stay, for now. The following entry is cross-posted there.

I’ve been asked during the course of my career as an educator to state my philosophy of education. It is currently getting a ‘make over’ due to the fact I’ve got a kiddo to educate. She’s four and showing all the signs that she’s ready for it to begin. So without further ado I present the foundation of my philosophy of education.

From Out of the Garden: Women Writers on the Bible-In Search of Pharaoh’s Daughter by Patricia J. Williams

Cultivating the extraordinary richness of what children offer us depends on neither a mother nor a father alone but is a responsibility that extends to grandparents, friends, neighbors, and civic community–across fences, across religion, across class, and across town.

Take Back Your Education by John Taylor Gatto

To know yourself, you have to keep track of your random choices, figure out your patterns, and use this knowledge to dominate your own mind. It’s the only way that free will can grow. If you avoid this, other minds will manipulate and control you lifelong.

I’ve made a folder that has each of these headings on the top:  three powers, three weaknesses, and  keeping track of kiddo’s choices. I’m going to start talking to Kiddo about my strengths and weaknesses and how I build upon them. She seems to be noticing how I think about this already, she told me that I wasn’t good at driving/ navigating. It’s one of my professed weaknesses.

Thus the foundation has been dug.

chaotic note

rethinking schools

protest songs: meaningful music

An Informed and Educated Electorate

Besides the dates of his birth and death, he chose to be remembered for three things that he did in his 83 years of life on earth:

Here Was Buried Thomas Jefferson

Author of the Declaration of American Independence

of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom

and Father of the University of Virginia

Writing the Declaration of Independence was an obvious choice, and declaring forever his opposition to integrating church and state also made sense (although it got him demoted in 2010 in schoolbooks in the state of Texas). But “Father of the University of Virginia” being more important than “President of the United States of America”?

Jefferson, it turns out, had this wacky idea. He actually believed that young people should be able to go to college regardless of their ability to pay, their station in life, and how rich or poor their parents were. He thought that an educated populace was the best defense of liberty and democracy in the new nation he’d helped birth.

So the University of Virginia that he started was free.


FTY: Internet Video

January 28, 2011

I like internet video, more than I like cable.  Here’s a few thoughts I’ve had lately…

What’s going on in the gulf in 2011? Kindra Speaks

Shouldn’t what’s going on in the Gulf still be national news?

TED: intersection of economics and ecology @ plastics aka Don’t feel all that good about recycling plastic.

I think it is that time in the season for me when I start feeling crappy. Currently my kid has six open kiddie paint containers next to me. <I really want to yell at her about putting the caps on>  All I can picture is the paint getting all over my clothes somehow. I’m off to NCWU’s Wake County Agenda Assembly tomorrow morning. I’m sure I will have tons to say after the meeting.

chaotic note

Another org I like: Environment North Carolina


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