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, September 28, 2013

More Dog Walks: Dyke Marsh

I will probably "catch a little _ _ll" for this post, since I revealed to Mom this morning that Interim grades are due, along two IEP Teacher Narratives, the need to complete my IEP software certification, not to mention the typical instructional preparation side of things, but I will make this a quick post. Tick, tick, tick ...

Part of the way my particular ADD mind works is that I tend to filter all experience through a set of cognitive lenses which cloaks everything I do in a layer of excitement or fun. I tend to avoid doing the boring things like sitting at my desk and taking care of professional paperwork obligations unless I have something fun or exciting to look forward, or I feel the breath of some catastrophic threat breathing down my neck. Thus, I habitually look at things as fun and exciting or catastrophic, which is the only way I seem to be able to marshal my powers of focused attention. Ergo, danger is fun! Posting, thus, moved to the top of my list ahead all of my staggering professional responsibilities. Can't do the boring stuff until I've walked along the razor line.

My canine "daughter" Mabel views things through a similar set of cognitive lenses, which is probably why we get along so well. Lately, Mabel has been able to cleverly exploit my feelings of guilt for working so many hours by persuading me to take her in my "Twuck" in search of better parks. She loves hanging her head out the window.

Today, Mabel helped me discover two hidden gems that have been sitting side by side, right in my own back yard. Instead of being satisfied with our normal Saturday morning 1.5 mile walk around the neighborhood through Accotinck Park, during which we often meet up with other dogs she looks forward to sniffing, such as Bandit the Basset Hound, she tugged me toward my old Chevy truck. I often try to drive to different parks, so Mabel and I have been getting bored with simply going around to normal park entrances. Today, I got on the Beltway heading toward the Wilson Bridge and the GW Parkway, in the general direction of Mt. Vernon. The Belle Haven Marina looked like a good place to pull over.

Little did I know, the Belle Haven Marina sits next door to one of the premier Bass fishing places in the area, Dyke Marsh. Mabel tugged me over to a rental hut. A man was getting help from the dockmaster, loading his bass boat on to his trailer. I inquired about about the kayaks, and in the course of conversation he mentioned  how great the bass fishing is. I responded enthusiastically, this would be a great place for a weekend family few hour get away, during which, I could reconnect with Joe, Mabel's "bruddah." The life of a teacher and the life of a student athlete pull us in different directions, but there's always vacations.

As I was walking over to Dyke Marsh, my phone rang. Dad called to inquire about the naming convention for programs of study, curricula, objectives, units, and activities. With the recent republication of a lost Fulton Sheen book, and the encouragement of Guy Stevenson, dad is preparing for a possible meeting in Los Angeles, CA with a person who is responsible for the curricula for all of the Catholic schools in the USA. Dad is hoping to find someone to develop justice-based curricula for high school and college students consistent with principles of social and economic justice, which he considers a moral omission that is plaguing public education. My input was to steer him in the direction of the idea of "engaging learners" by developing activities where students were responding to real life projects such as "build a model justice-based city from the ground up," or "invent a groundbreaking new technology" using principles of economic and social justice.

I reminded dad of my brief association with Dr. Larry Kohlberg, who in the 1980's was using "moral dilemmas" to teach school governance in developmentally appropriate ways. After a CESJ annual conference, Larry invited me to attend his Conference on School Climate and Governance at Harvard University, where I practiced using Larry's tool, Moral Dilemmas, along with educational leaders from inner city schools, who were implementing many of Larry's student adjudication procedures.

As I was walking through Dyke Marsh, cellphone in hand, which must have annoyed all of the birdwatchers, I discussed the need for any curriculum designer to be able to generate assessment data, to show that the curriculum was having measurable results, and the need to develop visuals for the central dichotomy he hopes to insert into all humanities curricula, "own or be owned." My suggestion to dad was that, if he wanted "own or be owned" to be inserted into every curriculum, someone needed to develop an icon as recognizable as the icon for Coke.

Tick, tick, tick ...