Monday, August 30, 2010

What Teachers Make

This post offers the following:

1. My heart gushing appreciation for Teachers
2. An email forward worth posting (how often does that happen?)
3. An inevitable call to action

1. My heart gusheth over

I've never been a teacher. I have all the respect in the world for teachers and hope to be more like them. My mother has been a teacher all of her adult life. Even while she was a full-time mother taking care of my brother and sister and me, she taught us half of everything outside the classroom. Thanks to my Mom, who also sent me this forward. I love you!

2. What Teachers Make (I hear that credit is due to Brad Wolf for the following. Thanks!)

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

To stress his point he said to another guest;
"You're a teacher, Bonnie . Be honest. What do you make?"

Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began...)

"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.

You want to know what I make? (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table):

I make kids wonder. I make them question.

I make them apologize and mean it.

I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.

I teach them how to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding isn't everything.

I make them read, read, read and read some more.

I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.

I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.

I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, One Nation Under God, because we live in the United States of America .

Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.

(Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)

Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make?


What do you make Mr. CEO?
His jaw dropped; he went silent.

3. Don't just sit there, sit there and click that little mousey!

Send this to every teacher, every CEO, every person you know. Even all your personal teachers like mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, coaches and your spiritual leaders/teachers.

Thanks to the big Coach in the sky. Put me in there, Coach!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Australian Elections and USA on AUS

In my ritual of reading The New York Times, I was charmed to find my current home finally made the headlines. The frontpage story addresses last night's cliffhanger in the Australian Federal Government Election.

Seeing Australia in the morning news triggered a reaction from me I wasn't expecting. In addition to my personal perspective on the election itself, I'm prompted to share more about Australia's general newsworthiness.

In the following few paragraphs, then, dear reader, I will cover the following three topics:

1. Australia's 2010 Federal Government Election
2. The United States 2000 Presidential Election
3. Promotion of Australia in the US and abroad

1. Last night I was pleased to attend an election party thrown by my dear friends a generation ahead, also known as my girlfriend's parents. In their living room, the big screen TV showed the results of Labour (government) and the Coalition (opposition) in a dead heat for the seats in Parliament necessary to win the election.

The focus was primarily on the House of Representatives, (the lower house) as the members of the lower house determine the party of the Prime Minister, while the Senate (the upper house) determine, by majority, which party has an easier time getting bills through parliament. The NYT article mentions the official tally still in the low 60's on either side, while the final number of seats will reach into the 70's once all mail-in votes are counted and the Independent and Green parties reach their final numbers.

Julia Gillard represents the Labour Party after her party ousted Kevin Rudd, and Tony Abbott represents The Liberal Party. If your paying attention and less familiar with Australian politics, you may ask, "What about the Coalition?" as I did, spoiled as an American with the simplicity of a two-party duopoly between Republicans and Democrats, or Democrats and Republicans the way I see it. We share Independents and Greens as well, however Australia gives greater weight to their third parties than the United States.

The Coalition, dear reader, is made up of the Liberals and the Nationals, who pooled their votes together for the first time between the Labour leadership of Bob Hawke and the Liberal leadership of John Howard. The Nationals serve rural districts in the northeastern inland regions of Australia while the Liberals populate the metro areas 'right across Australia' to use the local parlance.

2. The uncertainty of the results reminds me of the US 2000 Presidential Election between Al Gore and George W. Bush. As an outsider looking in I'm not sure exactly how Australians feel about the 'hung parliament'. I can express, however, how distraught I was in 2000. Not only was the result less satisfying, but it actually seemed to threaten the system of democracy that keeps hopeful progressives like me sane, focused on the potential of honest and continuous improvement.

I have no doubt in Australia that the result delivered will be more honest and upstanding than the shame Jeb Bush in Florida shed upon the United States and all democracies 'right around this planet' when the dangling chads were used to cover up what I believe was the worst offense to US Government since the ratification of the sixteenth amendment in the early 1900's.

The US 2000 Election I feel was unlawfully stolen, as is the individual federal income tax collected from US tax payers every year, ratified in the 16th amendment when the Robber Barons, in the middle of the night, pushed it through Congress while the majority of elected US politicians were on recess.

The year 2000 was only the beginning for what I endured as the longest eight years of political shame I think any Americans like me could have imagined. No protest in Washington or anywhere else I rallied in the streets could have prevented the rape of democracy I remember.

As the US officially, and quietly, removes combat troops from Iraq next week, I can only hope that all's well that ends well. Thank God for Barack Obama and the integrity he has restored to the White House, the United States, and to democracies around the world.

My thoughts and prayers are with Australia to come to a fair and upstanding election result, free of the incestuous theft of the Bush dynasty. I love both countries, and want only the best for both moving forward.

3. Which brings me to how it felt reading a rare article about Australia in the New York Times: Why stop now? I witness daily in this country news that's fit to print. In fact Australia is in the future of the United States, not only in time zones but in the technology in practice, both social and technical.

While some leaders in the United States boast our country is a beacon of freedom and democracy, I question their judgement. Given the social errors of preventing a Muslim community center in Manhattan and all the bigotry I am altogether too aware of, Australia has a lot to teach those in the US. The Land Down Under matches the international melting pot of New York on a national scale, with levels of tolerance generally higher than the US average.

Let me end on a technical note of newsworthy progress. To all politicians in both the United States and Australia, I offer your destiny to fulfill all the promises you make. Everything we need can be delivered with the advent of renewable energy and the supporting technologies it brings.

To frame that statement I'll close with the five pillars of democracy I refer to as "Effigy", or EEFGHI:

Foreign Policy
Health care
Information freedom

Educate people about the Environment and they will embrace renewable energy. Leverage global sources of technology with a tolerant Foreign policy that allows Governments to work together towards a carbon neutral reality.

If people needn't fear their access to Health care and can work more effectively, the freedom of Information on the Internet and elsewhere can be leveraged by all individuals motivated on a path global peace and sustainability.

Despite Presidential races and the divide of political parties, we are all in the same human race and I want it to feel like one big party. So I urge you, dear reader, to embrace the unity between the United States and Australia.

I feel the most tangible way to create opportunity in this mindset is to promote renewable energy using Australian photovoltaic technology with implementation in the United States. Please comment and we'll keep the conversation moving in the right direction.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Friday, August 6, 2010

First of Many Mobile Updates

Let it be known that the fun in the surgery theatre was short-lived. As much as I enjoyed meeting the doctors and nurses in the initial experience, I must close the chapter of skin-cancer surgery on a sober note.

In retrospect the $400 I payed to the anesthetist lasted about four hours, after which I began the most painful and humbling experience of my life.

If you've ever undertaken an MBA course you will know it can already be a painful and humbling experience in and of itself, so this seemed like insult to injury.

The surgery got infected and by Friday I ended up spending three nights in hospital on an intravenous antibiotic. I was released in time for Services Marketing class on Monday morning at AGSM.

The humbling experience of the MBA now seemed less humbling in comparison, and I completed the degree under the cover of many hats, protecting my tender skin from the harsh Australian sun.

The final hat of the MBA was the ubiquitous mortar cap with tassel (rented at a premium of $150 for 3 hours in Australia as opposed to purchased for considerably less in the States).

This hat's matching gown was a great improvement over the backless hospital gown, and I feel my life will continue with subsequent improvements.

I feel lucky to be alive and cancer free, and happy to be working and living in Australia, hat permanently in place! More information to come on where I've hung my hat.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone