28.9.09

Notable Quotes

The past is never really done with, unless you consciously close the door to it with ritual and prayer. Otherwise, it will follow you forever.

27.9.09

Imponderables

Recently at MPOW, I received an invoice. Accompanying said invoice was a piece of paper saying that the vendor was, among other things, going green. So, here's what came out of the envelope:

That's right. Five pieces of paper, two of them copies of other pieces of paper.

Am I missing something in this whole Going Green thing?

24.9.09

Better Late Than Never (part one)

I should have posted this two days ago, but 10098 Days Till the End of the Year is still a healthy chunk of time, right? As Beth suggests,
For the past two years I have done the Goal's Guy 100 Day Challenge which supports you in your finishing up some of those goals... I want you to think of at least one goal you'd like to focus on for the rest of the year. You can make changes to your life.
I've been pondering the ways in which I can change my life in the next 98 days. One of the extra duties I have at MPOW is to be the Monitor on Duty. This requires me to stand in front of the Middle School for about 30min each morning for a week, greeting students as they arrive. We now have a No Talking on the Cell Phone While Driving rule on campus, but more important to the lives of our students is the way in which they're tied electronically to each other and their parents.

What's the connection? Just one post previously, Beth pleaded with us to Enjoy the People You Are With
Today was a gorgeous 74 degree day with a light breeze. The kids and I saw tons of people on our walk.

I also saw something that surprised me. Many of those people were talking on their cell phones completely ignoring the people they were with. Most which looked annoyed. Kids trying to talk to moms who aren't listening. Wives walking besides husbands who are listening to someone else. Husbands being ignored by wives chatting on the phone. Friends walking together, but one of them is talking on the phone.

What if we all resolved to enjoy the people we're with - to really listen to them, to turn off our electronic tethers to other people and be with just one person at a time? If "always" seems to be too much, what about just for the next 10098 days?

14.9.09

Music Meme

For a while over in Facebookland, people were listing the 50 music groups they'd seen live. I've seen no where near that many, but I think my list might qualify as one of the most eclectic:

David Bowie
Jethro Tull
Charles Aznavour
Bonnie Raitt (3 times)
Spyro Gyra
Rolling Stone
Eric Clapton
Lou Reed
Clannad
kd lang (2 times)
Li'l Ed & the Imperials / Koko Taylor
Charlie Musselwhite
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Bjork / Sigur Rus
Steely Dan
"Guns & Roses"
Blondie
Kiss / Aerosmith
Cat Power
Marianne Faithfull

And next month I'll see Leonard Cohen. Make of that list what you will!

3.9.09

Not the battle we need to fight

Several people pointed out this article in the NYTimes. In it, the "new, experimental" method of allowing student to choose their own books is highlighted. Nothing new there, and the comment that "Letting students choose their own books, they say, can help to build a lifelong love of reading" should inspire a huge DUH in all readers.

One of the comments I read was "where is the school library?" Really? That's what we're focusing on? Seriously, stop. This "we're the trained book people" has got to end. English teachers are perfectly qualified to help students choose books - at least, I'd hope they are! And who's to say that at these schools, the children don't choose their books from the library? So it's not mentioned. Get over it.

Monica's post about teaching reading sums up what I hope teachers are doing. No one could accuse Monica of not having a good relationship with her librarian (the incredible Fairrosa), or of working in a school that doesn't value the library..

I'm more concerned about Cushing Academy, where the library is being gutted in favor of electronic resources. At MPOW we're moving to more eBooks/databases than before, but the value of print still resonates. Even worse, at CA they don't appear to have librarians (or it's sloppy reporting and no one asked a librarian what they thought of this new phase). As one friend pointed out, they're using free resources, not paid-for databases. Free's good, don't get me wrong, but the implications of only using free is problematic: what if the resource suddenly becomes "pay for"? who assure the accuracy and usefulness of the resource and/or information? And devaluing the library in this way smacks of balancing a budget without thinking about the consequences. I'm also troubled by the statements from the students of using Google and Wikipedia as sources, rather than being taught how to do research and evaluating the information they find.

In short, let's pick our battles more carefully. A school encouraging readers does not necessarily mean it's a school that doesn't believe in libraries - but a school decimating its collection in favor of an internet cafe is to be fought at all costs.

Priorities, people.


ETA: There's a wonderful post and discussion on the YALSA blog about CA's decision.