Dec 27

Teacher-Sap Moment

There are times when I am a complete and total sap. I was just watching the West Wing marathon on Bravo. It was the episode with the sub-plot where Donna Moss tries to convince Josh to get the President to sign a proclamation for her retiring high school English teacher. Josh spends much of the episode explaining what a ridiculous idea that is… but, interestingly, there’s this very cool moment where both Donna and Josh mention the teacher who was most influential in their lives.

Dec 26

All Consuming.Net

For the sake of footnotes, I was looking at Joe Luft’s site which led me to Tim Lauer’s site which led me to, which allowed me to set up my own "Currently Reading" list on the right hand side of the site. More likely, this should be titled "Books in the Knapsack That I’m Trying to Get Through," but "Currently Reading" will do for now.

Expect a post about the Moore book, "Dude, Where’s My Country" any day now. It’s an interesting read to say the least.

Dec 23

Winter Break

There is something fun about the last week before break. Everyone at Beacon is exhausted but happy. There’s a sort of general agreement that we all want to go on break for a little while. And that’s a good thing.

For basketball, we’re going to go into the break with a win, which is always a good feeling… in both English classes, I feel good about where folks are… I’m loving having a few weeks away from grad school… and generally, as I sit here, framed by a menorah and a Christmas tree, life feels pretty good.

It’s a good feeling.

Dec 22

The Death of Horatio Alger

Paul Krugman writes in this week’s Nation about how even Business Week is reporting that fewer and fewer people are doing better than their parents did. Krugman really does an amazing job of writing about how the Bush Administration policies are doing away with the Horatio Alger dream of social mobility in favor of creating a caste system.

Krugman, especially in the Nation, writes in an inflammatory style, but he also is raising really important points. Bush’s vision of this country is different than most people’s views. This is not a man who is interested in the American Dream. Everything he’s done – from his economic policies to the bidding process on the Iraqi contracts to his non-policies on CEO white-collar crime – suggests this is a man making sure that he and his continue to amass wealth and power.

Dec 19

Tale of Two Grad School Classes

(or why pedagogy matters…)

This was my last week of classes for grad school. My experiences in my classes have been about as powerful of a contrast as you can imagine. In one class, the professor created the most amazing atmosphere I’ve experienced. It was part personality, part experience, and also part pedagogy. Student ideas were valued. He taught about an ethic of care, and he modeled that for us powerfully. He taught about transparency in the classroom, and his teaching was. He talked about teaching as transforming, and he made us believe that our thoughts could change him in the same ways that his transformed us.

When he finished his closing remarks, the class gave him a standing ovation. We didn’t want the class to end. The most distracting thing about the class for me was that, as the class went on, I found myself getting meta in the class. How was it that he was creating that environment? How did he make a bunch of cynical grad students try to out-do each other in a friendly competition to create something wonderful?

Dec 13

I Hate Losing

Girls basketball dropped a Friday night / Saturday morning series yesterday and today. Friday night, we lost 42-34 to Justice Academy and Saturday, we took a pretty serious beating, 45-25 from Brandeis. Friday’s game, we could have and should have won, but Brandeis just out-played us today. We scored a grand total of five points in the second and third quarters. We just couldn’t find the basket.

What’s so frustrating is that we show moments of really doing exactly what we want to be doing, but, as a young team, we tend to follow them up with mistakes. Our goal is, clearly, work hard, get better as the year goes on, and then do some damage to an unsuspecting team in the playoffs. This is the kind of team that is going to make me prove to myself that I know how to teach basketball. I know this can be a very, very good team. I think I’ve got to convince the girls they can be.