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.
EliseComments Off on 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.
It’s been a few now but New York Times Magazine referred to him in those days as a “Y2K guru.” ABC featured him in a prime-time head-for-the-hills news story. And Wired called him “a historian and early leader in the Y2K preparedness movement.” His name is Gary North and the media had anointed him as their official Year 2000-survival poster boy. But who was spinning whom then?
“My concern about Gary North is that there are a lot of innocent citizens out there who are taking his information as the unadulterated truth,” gripes Steve Davis, co-author of Y2K Risk Management: Contingency Planning, Business Continuity, and Avoiding Litigation (John Wiley&Sons). “Y2K just came along and fit his agenda perfectly.” While Y2K is a real problem with real consequences, it’s uncertainty provides the perfect cover for a whole slew of millennial panic profiteers.
Unfortunately, the details of North’s agenda are not revealed because reporters are too busy lapping up his end-of-the-world sales pitch when they should be checking his background. If they did, they’d discover that North is using the Y2K problem to promote his larger agenda of Christian Reconstructionism. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
EliseComments Off on 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.
Growing up in the middle of boonies, the nearest store to our house was a little “Mom and Pop” gas station called King’s One Stop. It was about a mile and a half from my house and I used to walk or ride my bike up there on almost a daily basis.
Of course this was back in the day when you could let your child go past your front yard without worrying that you would never see them again. This was also back in the day when you could send your children to buy cigarettes for you.
About 7 miles from our house was another little gas station called Stone’s. One afternoon when I was 10 or 11, we were out of aluminum foil and my mom needed me to go get some.
Happy New Year to everyone! This means a lot of wine tasting and things brings the following to my mind …
I vividly remember the house my parents and I lived in before they separated and my mom and I moved to the house I grew up in.
I remember the kitchen tile and wallpaper, the green carpet that ran up the stairs and down the long hall, the wooden banister I used to slide down when my mom wasn’t looking and the upstairs bathroom, with its glamorous shell-shaped sink and the Wisteria vines that poked their way through the window screen.
It’s the bathroom I lost my first tooth in and the room that Bradley, one of my more rebellious little friends, almost set on fire while playing with matches one day. It was also the room that attracted the most spiders.
Caught with a chill and a terrible bout of flu, for the first time in my life, I could not even drag myself out of bed.
I was attending the Certification Program, and had caught the flu bug on Saturday, the last second day of the program. However, I did manage to get out of bed on Sunday just-in-time to receive my certificate but my battery was flat for the next 2 days.
What is life without health those last few days?
I could only sum up in these words: Terrible. Uncomfortable. Flat. 2-dimensional. Dull like looking at a black and white TV. Tasteless meals…
The pressure ultimately got too much for you. What with all the television commercials (featuring young fit clones climbing mountains, wrestling alligators, and sipping lattes to the sound of victorious and brawny jingles), the print ads and the beckoning sales lots, the freeways and country roads and urban streets all swarming with emblems of your inadequacy.
Who can really blame you? All your neighbors have one. All your friends have one. Rock stars and politicians have ‘em. Even your mom probably has one. Besides, not only do the Thule racks make you look thinner but you—unlike nearly everyone else—really need the extra space.
So, like the camel with the broken back, you finally bent underneath the weight; fevered and senseless, salivating with Pavlovian lust, you signed on the 158 dotted lines and became the owner of a SUV. What complete joy it must have been to join the ranks of the millions who came before you.