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, June 22, 2013


Adam Lee dreams of becoming a soldier. On our field trip to DC, immediately after I took over his math class in April, the group I was chaperoning followed Adam's lead to the Wall, a memorial to people who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Here, we stopped for a photo opportunity in front of the Lincoln Memorial, the backdrop of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

As we marched from the side of the Mall where we visited the Native American Museum, the African Art Museum, and cut through the Hirshorn Statue Gallery, it never occurred to me that Adam was a student at risk, since he had given no indication to me that Math had become such a hated subject. A few weeks later, I called home to tell his mother, who initially told me that she could not understand English, that Adam was failing and I was highly concerned that, unless he came for help every day after school, he would fail his state testing. I closed: "I'm calling to ask what I can do to help, but also need to know what Adam will do to help himself." Her response, in perfect English, was that Adam would be there.

That I was blissfully unaware that Adam was one of the nearly 50% of my students who had failed the state test as 5th graders probably was probably a good thing. Mr. Farmer, who hired me, had told me that Adam was in my smart class, which led to a Pygmalian effect, i.e., high expectations leading to striking results, even as the data was telling me otherwise.