Procession to the local Buddhist Temple on the Thai-Burma Border to celebrate and offer new robes and gifts to the monks.
During my third year of college – and my first year at LIU Global/Global College – I traveled through four countries studying religion and culture. Half of the second semester was in India and I got the chance to take a short trip to Bodhgaya and see where the Buddha gained enlightenment. The picture above is a yellow and orange marigold garland decorating the stone wall of the temple.
In true form I have fallen behind in updating my blog. I promise to be better!
I think my trouble is a lack of focus, procrastination, and a new development in my life. I hoped that focusing on education would drive the blog but I fear that might not be the case. Instead, it is a part. I consider myself a “jack of all trades”. I have extensive interests and experiences and it continues hinder find my “one true passion” (which is probably a load of bull for me). Thus, education is a part of this blog but not the soul of it. From now on this blog will be an intersection of education, travel, teaching, art, reflection, and any other random happenings I come a cross.
Will I go MIA again? Probably
Will I come back? Definitely
On my new life development? I have been accepted into the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET). It is a well known program run by the Japanese government to place native English speakers in Japanese schools. I will be an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT). At this point I don’t know what grade I will work with or where I will be placed but I have about four months until I leave.
I am ecstatic about JET and returning to Japan. JET take up a lot of posts over the course of the year, but right now I think I will just post about whatever until it all comes into focus.
Until then, ta!
or….The one time I wish I went to Harvard
To my excitement and dismay I found out that Pasi Sahlberg, lauded Finnish and International Educator and author of Finnish Lessons, is currently a visiting Professor of Practice at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. He is teaching a course called The Teaching Profession Around The World and I would kill to sit in his classroom. Fortunately, Sahlberg posted the course syllabus on his website complete with required texts and focus questions.
I decided to turn myself into a “ghost student” and self-study my way through the course. I am not ready for grad school but that doesn’t mean I should not challenge and expand my mind. I want to learn as much as I can about education in the United States and in other countries. I know from experience some of the best lessons come from personal intention and unexpected opportunity. I can’t sit in on his lectures or hear his guest speakers, nor do I have classmates to bounce around new knowledge, experiences, and ideas, but I do have the opportunity to explore new resources and guide my thoughts with critical questions.
So here is the plan:
I will post bi-monthly summarizing what I learned, responses to the focus questions, and my own personal thoughts and ideas regarding education. Since the course is broken down into weeks each post will contain one week’s worth of work.
You can check out part 1 and 2 of the syllabus here:
Check out Pasi Sahlberg on his website
After graduating in May 2014 from Long University Global I was done with academics. Not for forever, but my brain was fried and I wanted to drift for a while. Drifting allowed me to do nothing and reflect on my last four years and the future without pressure. I had plans but nothing ready to set in motion. I still wanted to teach – though I bounced around ideas of where. Spending two years living out of a suitcase made me reevaluate where and when I wanted to plant roots and start “real life.”
I drifted from New York City back to Minnesota and started working two jobs. On passing the six month mark my academic batteries started to recharge. I started itching to learn and move forward. I started to set plans in motion – completing a TEFL certification course and applying for the JET Program – to satisfy my urge to travel and gain more knowledge and experience in teaching.
A month ago my passion reignited. While perusing the shelves of my local bookstore I came across Amanda Ripley’s The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They got that Way. Where was this book a year ago? I had spent the last year trying to small-scale, short-term version of Ripley’s book. Her insights, conclusions, and resources would have been an immense help. There was no way I could not read this book. I wrote in the margins, marked passages, and learned what I could have done better.
I started poking around the web and found that Pasi Sahlberg had published Finnish Lesson 2.0, an update version of Finnish Lessons, in December. My brain was – still is – on fire. It was time to return to academics and on my own terms. That is what this blog is about. It is my exploration and documentation of my strange path towards becoming an educator and joining the conversations at home and abroad. I want to revisit my thesis, become a ghost student of Sahlberg’s Harvard class (his entire syllabus in online!), and document my experiences in multiple education systems.
My path in not straight forward, it is complex and organic. My goal is to become the best teacher I can be and pay it forward to my future students and colleagues.