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Archive for July, 2009

Some of you reading this blog have not been in a classroom for many years and the thought of doing so would cause a bit of anxiety about the new course you were going to take, about the subject matter and the instructor, and how well you would do.

Well, here I am again finding myself on the “other side of the desk” as I embark on a new method of delivering instruction – through a virtual classroom. Tuesday was a day of learning about the student information and tracking system as well as discussing how to be successful in this new “classroom.”

The assembled group of experienced educators discussed an article from eSchoolNews found that the characteristics of :

a.  encouraging student-faculty contact

b.  encouraging active learning

c.  giving prompt feedback

d.  emphasizing time on task

e.  setting high expectations

f.  respecting diverse talents and ways of learning

g. encouraging cooperation among students

that we possessed from having been in “brick and mortar” schools are just as important in this new environment. I guess a good teacher never goes out of style.

I’m a bit nervous about this new venture. (Yes, we are at least as nervous as the kids as a new semester starts.)

As always, however, I come into this with determination, flexibility and a sense of humor.

More to come …

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I think I’ve mentioned my love of musicals. If I haven’t, just ask my kids how I feel about them. They had the “pleasure” of hearing mom sing along regularly to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Meredith Wilson, Lerner and Lowe, etc.

Though I haven’t seen too many on Broadway, I can lay claim to seeing many of the movie versions and buying lots of LPs. (For those of you too young to remember, that’s how we listened to music before CDs and iTunes. They were these very large vinyl discs that went on a turn table.)

I think the very first one I saw was Oklahoma which opens up with Curly, the male lead, riding his horse through the corn fields of Oklahoma on a very sunny day singing, “Oh, what a beautiful morning. Oh, what a beautiful day. I’ve got a beautiful feeling everything’s going my way.”

Wednesday, July 1, was a beautiful morning. Oh, it was an intermittently rainy day, much like the last three weeks or so; and, as I mentioned in the last blog, “celebrated” one year of being out of work.

So why would I say it was a “beautiful morning”? Well, because my evaluation of the quality of the day is not focused on the weather outside but rather what is going on in and around me, and many things happened to make it a beautiful day.

First of all, I was going through some old emails and found one I had sent to a friend, almost exactly a year before:

>>On Jul 1, 2008, at 7:29 AM, Diana Schuman wrote:

“Today is my “official” first day of being unemployed after my position was eliminated earlier this spring.  I know this is the start of something new in my life and have asked that God only let those jobs that I should seriously consider actually be offered.  I’ve done about a handful of interviews and many more letters with no results so far.  I am comfortable with that after getting my Noble HS job in late August of 1982 and my Kittery job Labor Day of 1993.  There’s a plan out there and I am excited about it and not letting the turkeys get me down.

God bless you and yours.”<<

Little did I think when I wrote those words that not only would summer and Labor Day pass by but also Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, my birthday, and an entire school year. My monthly average for interviews was definitely higher prior to July 1, 2008, than it has been since. There has not been ONE job offer. So I guess God is answering my prayers, though not exactly with the speed I would have expected.

I’ll not kid you. I have days where I feel pretty bleak that a job is never going to open up for me. Some days I find it tough to put one foot in front of the other after struggling to get out of bed. Yet, somehow each day has a blessing as long as I choose to look for it. Case in point, rereading the rest of that email affirmed a long-standing friendship and let me know someone was praying for me.

Later on that morning, I would meet with the six to eight members of the support group I am facilitating with folks that are all unemployed. The energy and enthusiasm of the group and the affirmation they give to one another is contagious and is definitely a blessing in my life. I wake up Wednesday mornings eager to see them again, hear what good things have happened during the week and listen to their exhortations for and encouragement of each other.

We are working on each others’ resumes, taking risks by evaluating them together showing them through an LCD projector and laptop. The suggestions are always done with a positive spirit as we are learning just who each other is and what is important to be highlighted and make our resumes reflect those things. I am hoping that everyone in the group will take advantage of this opportunity. Oh, it’s scary, all right; but I think the benefits of creating a unique resume are worth it.

After we broke up for the day, my daughter, a friend and I had lunch and gabbed for about two hours; and then I turned around and headed out to gather with 25 women ranging from a sophomore in high school to ladies in their 80s to see a special showing of Gone with the Wind at the Music Hall in Portsmouth.

So, not only was it a beautiful morning, it was a beautiful afternoon and evening as well, despite the frequent downpours that continued to haunt us.

Oh, what a beautiful Mornin’
Oh, what a beautiful day.
I’ve got a beautiful feelin’
Everything’s goin’ my way.

Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder … Look around; you may be surprised at the beauty in your own life.

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