Monday, October 29, 2012

Start With Passion

In his book, "Bo's Lasting Lessons" author John U. Bacon begins Chapter 1 with Bo Schembechler saying, "Let's start with first things first: passion. Because without that, nothing else I'm going to tell you in this book is going to be worth a damn."

Passion? How often to do we talk about passion in education? In our business we have built an entire vocabulary of acronyms. Terms such as NCLB, IDP, AYP, CTE, ELL, ESL, IDEA, RttT, SIP, Title I, Title II, Title IX, GRE, SRO etc. Even our school service organizations have joined the movement, referring to themselves as the PTO or PTA.

If we are to be successful in education, passion must be the foundation of all we do. A passion to work with children. A passion to make a difference, one child at a time. A passion to teach children how to learn and to love learning. A passion to be just a bit better today than you were yesterday.

Take the time to visit a kindergarten classroom some day soon - you will see passion everywhere. Students jumping at the opportunity to participate, to answer questions, to engage in the learning process. It is our challenge to maintain that same degree of passion in the students right through the end of their senior year.

The children we lead deserve passionate leaders. If coming to school each day becomes a job for the adults, it will become a job to our students too. It is up to us as adults to demonstrate our passion on a daily basis.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Reality TV

As the parent of two teens who are too young to vote but who have begun to show an interest in the political process, we have watched the first two Presidential Debates as well as the Vice Presidential Debate. At this point, I have been amazed and frankly disappointed with the conduct of the candidates. Rather than displaying the ability to listen respectfully and respond, the candidates have chosen to interrupt, smirk and laugh at one another. Instead of sharing their ideas, the candidates have decided to attack and call each other liars. As an educational institution, we would not tolerate any of our 2nd grade students finger pointing, interrupting, shouting at one another and refusing to wait their turn turn. However, these behaviors have become the rule rather than the exception in these debates.  

I hope the third and final debate is entirely different. I hope our young people, (as well as the rest of us) have an opportunity to observe two leaders with vastly different perspectives present their thoughts, ideas and concepts to not only the American public but to the world at large in a way we can be proud of.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

World Teacher Day

What do Mary Thomas, Cheryl Heoft, Jack Crabtree, Dave Phillips, Bob Marcero, Mike Smith, Jean Hutt, Ed Gall, Kathy Stacey, Bill Smigielski, Dave Johnson, Marelene Weintraub, Don DiPaolo, Mary Converse, Greg Lewis, Tim Kiraly,  Kathy Kiraly, Jim Wicker, Pat Fowler, Marge McNally and Joyce Jonik have in common? If you answered that they are or were teachers in Saline Area Schools you would be correct in most cases, (one is a professor at Eastern Michigan University). However, the most accurate answer is that each of these individuals was a teacher of mine at one point or another and each made a significant and unique impact upon my life.

These individuals taught me public speaking, consumer economics, physical education, English, (Research Seminar) world history, science, social studies, (anyone else remember the unit called "The Wave") sociology, psychology and the fundamentals of being a cadet teacher. However, they also taught me how to be responsible, accountable, passionate, engaged, caring, competent and empathetic. In short, they taught me not only the skills necessary to make a living, they taught me how to live.

October 5th is World Teacher Day. It is my opportunity, (and I hope yours) to say thank you to a teacher who had an impact in your life. I am fortunate to remain in contact with several of my former teachers and my life is richer because of the positive impact they have had upon me.

Saline, like every school district, has teachers who are having the same impact upon their students today that my teachers had upon me years ago. Take a moment to simply say thank you and job well done.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pancakes & Pep Assemblies

Homecoming 2012 is upon us! The week began with the PowderPuff game and the introduction of the Homecoming Court Sunday night and will conclude with the pep assembly, parade and football game tonight followed by the dance tomorrow night.

Homecoming is a very special time of the year for students and adults alike. Students create memories that will last a lifetime. Who will forget pajama day? Clash day? Superhero day? The pancake eating contest, (I sure won't). You'll remember the pep assembly, the game, the dance, etc.  for years to come. As adults, homecoming week brings back memories of our own and allows an annual opportunity to return to SHS to catch up with old friends, teachers, etc.

Homecoming would not be possible without the extraordinary effort of a few key adults. Many thanks to the class sponsors,

Homecoming is an opportunity to take a moment to pause, have a little fun and enjoy those around us. Happy Homecoming everyone!