Texas teacher makes physics her fulcrum

Hands-on techniques and enthusiasm leverage student interest

To put learning in motion, physics teacher Peggy Schweiger puts students in motion. Schweiger’s Klein Oak High (Spring, Texas) students design fettuccine bridges, pipe insulation roller coasters, and straw towers. They wire dollhouses with three kinds of circuits and build cardboard boats to row in a regatta.

Near Schweiger’s desk, hanging from the ceiling, is an 18-pound bowling ball on which a teddy bear named Newton rests. As a pendulum, the bowling ball is a dramatic lesson in energy conservation to her students and a lesson in trust for the volunteer who stands nearby. Schweiger pulls the bowling ball to a position near the student’s nose and let’s go to show that, on its return, the ball can’t hit the stationary volunteer in the nose, because it never gains more energy than it had at the start.

“I don’t have one of those classes where you walk by and kids are sitting there working with a book. This atmosphere really represents my personality,” says Schweiger, a member of All-USA Teacher Team, selected earlier this year as representatives of the nation’s outstanding teachers.


Teaching as a fine art

All the world’s a stage for this larger-than-life New Orleans educator and his students

With peeling paint, institution issues, cracked linoleum tiles, broken windowpanes and hopelessly scuffed wood floors, the building that houses the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Academy shows all its 100 years.

But a palpable energy thrives within, feeds on itself and intensifies, thanks largely to a dedicated staff of professional actors/dancers/artists-turned teachers and their extraordinary young charges.

Henry Hoffman is among the teachers whose unflagging enthusiasm for and belief in his students make the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts the success story it has become since its opening in 1974, with alumni including jazz greats Wynton Marsalis and Terrence Blanchard and stage actors Anthony Mackie and Mary Catherine Garrison.


Math Skills and Your Confidence

I have a client who is 39 weeks pregnant with her first full-term pregnancy.  It is a very exciting time for her and I am honored to be her Doula.  While we have been spending the last several days texting and talking about the progress her body is making, I have also been serving my massage therapy clients in my office.

As you may have read in my last blog post, I really love my job.  I love giving massage and helping women find comfort to cope with stress and the physical pains caused by it.  I also really love working with women as they enter the homestretch of pregnancy in preparation for their baby’s birth.


What I don’t like is math!  I’m in the process of preparing to write a grant to hopefully get some money to expand my business and relieve some of the financial stress on my family (teenagers are so expensive!)  As I began this process, I have realized that the business plan I prepared 6 years ago in massage therapy school is no longer adequate. Fortunately, I benefitted so much from the from Covcell GED prep that I passed my GED and could go to college to get my massage therapy diploma!

I am so very thankful that I have reached all the goals I set up for my business back then, but I would much rather have my hands on someone’s body, helping her muscles release, than having my hands on a calculator and my laptop!  Some people enjoy the exactness of math, the way that there is always a formula that ends with an answer that tells you that you are exactly right.  I, however, enjoy the idea of possibilities, that there may be outcomes we don’t expect, and surprises that we don’t plan.   (more…)

Are We Shooting Ourselves in The Foot?

Recently I had a prenatal massage therapy client come in for an appointment; we’ll call her “Client A”.  On my prenatal massage client form, I have a spot for the client to request information about my birth doula service.  If she requests that information, I take a few moments to discuss what her desires for birth are and explain how my support can help enhance her birth experience and help her have a positive memory of how her baby was born.  I did this with Client A.

Allow me a moment to briefly share my background:  I have 2 boys who were born vaginally, but with medical interventions.  I have personally experienced induction, episiotomies, use of vacuum extraction, narcotics in labor, epidural, spontaneous water breaking, and AROM.  I know how some of these interventions were beneficial to me or my baby and some were harmful.  Fortunately, my children are healthy, happy, and show no signs of birth trauma. (more…)

Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover

I have been very busy the past week trying to get my life rearranged. My biggest priority is finding a way to get some extra income into the household. I have a possible lead right now working part-time as a personal care assistant to my neighbor who has Cerebral Palsy. She and her husband both have CP.

He gets around pretty well and is starting a new job on Tuesday as a case manager for United Cerebral Palsy. She, however, has a more severe form and needs a wheelchair and assistance with feeding herself. I have spent a lot of time with them both the past week and have really enjoyed getting to know them.

They both are very intelligent people with college educations and are extremely witty and funny. I feel that I have truly found great new friends in them. I admire them for their courage and strength of character and find their love for each other inspiring. (more…)

The Good And Peacful Rural Life

Whoever says living in the country is peaceful, is lying. Well, they’re lying to a certain degree, because even though there are lush green paddocks, lots of trees, scattered houses and the obligatory farm animals, there is still a lot of noise and unpeacefulness (I don’t think that’s a word, but I don’t care).

For example, I live directly under the flight path of two airports, Auckland domestic/international and Ardmore (think small commercial aircraft, helicopters and private planes). This means that at around 5:30 a.m. every morning we get nice big jumbo jets literally shaking the foundations of our house, and we also get small, loud, warcraft-type planes. While they’re pretty cool to watch in formation*, they don’t sound so fantastic at 10:30 on a Sunday morning when you’re trying to do your psychology report.