A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Magic of Words

Words contain powerful magic. They have the power to shake empires from their foundations, sending towers tumbling into rubble, nations descending into anarchy, and the afflicted into a black hole of a personal hell; or, they can lift downtrodden spirits to the heavens on wings of angels.

The words "I believe" contain powerful magic. Simply repeating "I believe, I believe, I believe," and continually reinforcing that belief with action strategically aligned with that belief, can generate enough momentum to shift the course of the outcome of a sporting event on a single play, lift a nation out of a Depression, or change the destiny of child who has been told since his earliest days in school that he is incapable of learning or is unworthy of enriched learning experiences.

Regardless of religious affiliation, the "power of prayer" has been associated with miraculous outcomes for as long as people can remember, which is long as stories have been passed down around bonfires to rapt audiences, connected by a continuous conversation, heartbeats synchronized by focused attention. At the gym and while walking Mabel, I have recently been spiritually healing my soul to The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Obviously, Dr. Dyer was an inspiration for Rhonda Byrne's The Secret, which expresses a similar philosophy, language, tone and tenor to The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Psychology of Winning, by Dr. Dennis Waitley, and Live Your Dreams, by Les Brown, some of my all-time favorites. Dr. Dyer's voice and Michigan style of speech reminds me of my dear family friend, the late Carolyn Mano, another product of Michigan, who worked some of her Jedi Mind Tricks on me 10 years ago when I seriously doubted I could continue pursuing a teaching career, which I feared was leading me on a path towards financial ruin and conflict with authority figures who expressed philosophies and behaviors more from a business mindset which I had walked away from, than from my developing vision of what a quality education should look and feel like.

The first "intention" expressed by Dr. Dyer was simply, "I want to feel good." He connected that intention linguistically to "I want to feel God," which carried with it a host of other powerful associations. So, I adopted that first intention, "I want to feel good." I texted a message to Yasmine, why became my study partner in Dr. Ball's class on Diagnostic and Corrective Teaching: "Something good is about to happen."

Just before the end of the first quarter, and immediately before grades were due, a young lady of about 30, Tara, told the other Special Education Teacher in her self-contained classroom, Jane, "I'm having some problems with my Baby Daddy and am going to need a few days off." She never came back. I happened to accept a half day a few weeks ago for a young 3rd grade teacher who exuded kindness in every word and gesture with her students. While preparing for the hand-off, like others, Ms. Park was wondering why I am still "just a sub," then suggested that I express my interest in the position to Anne, the Assistant Principal.

On Tuesday, I began working in the classroom that Tara used to share with Jane. Tara's children, categorized as Category B, had been doing worksheets for a few weeks, under the bored eyes of substitute teachers who had zero idea how to teach the neediest learners. After the first day in which I continued with the emergency sub plans which had continued for a few weeks, and saw the utter lack of value in the activities, I wrote concept building lesson plans for "regrouping", using the OPERA planning format that Dr. Melideo taught me at Marymount University, based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), drew from my experiences working under the kind, but frustrated guidance of Kim Witteck, currently a Gifted and Talented Resource Teacher, who worked with me during my painful first year of teaching, as the Title I Math Coach, Responsive Classroom guru, and Mentor, borrowed from Raif Esquith's Teach Like Your Hair Is on Fire, and its recommendation of Marcy Cook's Math Tiles, applied the knowledge that I absorbed in a summer dissecting John A. Van De Walle's Elementary School Mathematics: Teaching Math Developmentally, worked the process described in Rick Smith's Conscious Classroom Management to teach two procedures per day, suggested by a classroom management coach, when I was struggling, and left Friday at 7 pm after "rebooting" the resource room.