LWISD Bullfrog Bulletin

December 18, 2015

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasure of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home! Charles Dickens

“Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.”— Thoreau

This “simple” statement is one of my favorites in literature, not for its literal meaning, but for the big idea in which it implies. Thoreau wrote extensively while he lived at Walden Pond, a place where he fended for himself and probably ate a lot of squirrels and berries. It was through his experiences that he wrote some of the most beautiful words in the English language such as:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die discover that I had not lived.”

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

Thoreau talked about living a simple life, but I think that he meant it in a more spiritual sense. When we peel all of the layers of our lives away that matter very little, we are left with the reality of who we are. I think this is true of education, schools, school reform, and 21st Century skills. We must ask ourselves the question: What is it all about? What is the most important point of everything we do each day? What is truly important? What will students remember during the break? What will they remember at the end of the year? What have I given my students of value?

From The Courage to Teach by Rachel C. Livsey and Parker J. Palmer

“The subjects we teach are as large and complex as life, so our knowledge of them is always flawed and partial. No matter how we devote ourselves to reading and research, teaching requires a command of content that always eludes our grasp. Second, the students we teach are larger than life and even more complex. To see them clearly and see them whole, and respond to them wisely in the moment, requires a fusion of Freud and Solomon that few of us achieve. If students and subjects accounted for all the complexities of teaching, our standard ways of coping would do— keep up with our fields as best we can and learn enough techniques to stay ahead of the student psyche. But there is another reason for these complexities: we teach who we are. Teaching, like any truly human activity, emerges from one’s inwardness, for better or worse. As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subject, and our way of being together. The entanglements I experience in the classroom are often no more or less than the convolutions of my inner life. Viewed from this angle, teaching holds a mirror to the soul. If I am willing to look in that mirror and not run from what I see, I have a chance to gain self-knowledge—and knowing myself is as crucial to good teaching as knowing my students and my subject . . . When I do not know myself, I cannot know who my students are. I will see them through a glass darkly, in the shadows of my unexamined life—and when I cannot see them clearly, I cannot teach them well. When I do not know myself, I cannot know my subject—not at the deepest levels of embodied, personal meaning.”

I hope that you have a time of rest and renewal during the holidays as you spend time with your family and friends. May you return with a sense of purpose and a sense of urgency as you continue to work in the only profession that is about the future rather than the past.

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart.

To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.—Oren Arnold

When we return:

Monday, January 4--Professional Development/Workday

Thursday, January 7--Principal PLC @ 9:00 am @ admin

Friday, January 8--Assistant Principal/Instructional Coach PLC @ 9:00 am @ admin