Aging is a mysterious process. As I mentioned before, I am amazed at how quickly time passes since I’ve entered my sixth decade. Time flies by and my goal of blogging once a month has again been added to my growing list of “Try Again”. Ah, well.
It has been a busy time period. Our P.O.P.P event went off very well. In the next couple of days, I will add P.O.P.P. 2014 pictures and poems and info to the P.O.P.P. pages of this blog. Katherine Flotz, my partner in pulling off this year’s event, and I were tired and were contemplating not continuing with the project. There is an enormous amount of work that goes into the project and this year it was Katherine and I who waded through it. At our event, Katherine’s husband George, my grandson Luis Cortez, and Indiana poet Beverly Stanislawski provided enormous support.
But Katherine and I were tired. Then we watched our young poets and artists come down to receive their awards. They were filled with pride and looked adorable. So many parents and grandparents as well as our P.O.P.P.ers came to thank us as did our principals and other staff members. Katherine’s husband came up to me as the gym was emptying and said, “How can you not do this next year?” We can’t. We will be back. I have the next grant request form from the Crown Point Community Foundation, our most consistent and supportive grantor. We’ve already had our first committee meeting and two new members from the Indiana Writers’ Consortium have joined the team, Julie Larson and Kayla Greenwell. Be sure to check back in a day or two to see the 2014 additions to the P.O.P.P. pages.
The second notable event was my year-long journey with the Michigan State University Chicago teacher interns came to an end. Watching them move into the profession that I loved for 37 years is rewarding. I have had the privilege of working with interns from three other top Chicago Universities and I was able to see many good teachers move into our profession. However, MSU does an incredible job of preparing tomorrow’s teachers. They enter my class in the Fall with a bachelor’s degree and a solid academic background in the teaching/learning process. They spend an incredibly demanding year in Chicago classrooms putting that background knowledge into authentic practice. The thirteen interns I had this year will be remarkable teachers and many will go on to be educational leaders in the next few decades. I envy the students that will benefit from these teachers. I know that despite all of the jungle of errors we make in our education system, at least these determined young teachers will focus mainly on their students a provide the best education for them.
My mind has been focused on education a lot lately. Each day the newspaper talks about educational cuts. And most frequently this means cutting arts programs, dismissing staff, and increasing classroom size. Each of these steps does enormous harm to our school children. I’m not an economist but I know that there are many other avenues to better budgeting for education.
I’m still not writing much but have been reading a lot. Currently I am reading Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe. It’s a thick book (someday I ‘ll share with you my aversion to thick books and the consequences of such) but incredibly engaging. Granted I am an Einstein Geek. In addition to his genius, I’ve been drawn to his irreverence to didactic educational environs. His quote, Imagination is more important than knowledge…” (1) had been a guidepost to all of my teaching endeavors even before I became a science teacher. Isaacson states, “Throughout his life, Albert Einstein would retain the intuition and awe of a child.” I think this explains why Einstein seemed to have had a deep understanding of the teaching/learning process.
“It is a miracle that creativity survives modern education” (2) is another Einstein quote that resonates with me especially in the light of the current push for high stakes testing. It is also why I believe that organizations like IWC with funding from organizations committed to healthy communities like the Crown Point Community Foundation need to provide opportunities for children to exercise their creativity as they get to do with P.O.P.P.
Well, talk soon and don’t forget to check out the P.O.P.P. pages in the next couple of days.
1) Calaprice, Alice, Ed. (1996). The Quotable Einstein. (p 223). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press
2) Albert Einstein. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved from BrainyQuote Web Site May 27, 2014: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins110039.html