The State of the Union speech last evening reminded me how quickly time goes by. Eight years ago I was not yet in my sixties. I was still working at KIPP Houston High School and my mother was not only alive but appeared to be incredibly healthy. Most of my grandchildren were still toddlers or very young school children. It would have been impossible for me to even imagine the many changes that have taken place in my life and the world at large. As is the usual case with most of us I assumed that things would continue just as they were back then. It never occurred to me that I would lose loved ones and good friends in the coming years. I was not even thinking about retirement nor did I ever consider that one day I would spend hours writing every single day. I barely knew some of the people who are now so important to me. I was completely caught up in my day to day routine and had little time to reflect on where I had been, where I was, or where I hoped to go. In other words I tended to take everything for granted. Continue reading “Morning Will Come”
When I first met Ina I was admittedly in awe of her. She had the reputation of a rockstar, a teacher who somehow transcends all of the complications of a classroom and soars above the rest of us mere mortals. It would take time before I found myself on a team of teachers with her, time when I was finding my way in an educational environment that was far more difficult than any that I had ever before encountered. Luckily I had the opportunity to enjoy a kind of apprenticeship with some of the finest teachers in the school, especially Ina.
The years when I was on a team with Ina were some of the best and happiest of my career. I learned much but mostly I found an endearing and generous friend and unofficial mentor in her. She helped me to understand that a classroom is so much more than just a place for learning facts and ideas. She taught me by example how to elevate my instruction and to understand and love my students. She was a gifted and generous woman who had been blessed with an abundance of talent that she wanted to share with the world. Continue reading “Losing Greatness”