30 May 2011

Running Dab

Running Dab: When a bicyclist unintentionally dismounts his/her bicycle while in motion, landing on his/her feet at a running pace. Typically executed off the front-end of the bike, such as over the handlebars. Point are added or deducted based on the duration of the rider's run and his/her ability to avoid entanglement with the bicycle, as well as the rider's good fortune to remain upright while in motion.
Something like this:



Gave myself a 9.8.

27 May 2011

Blue Turning Gray

On our trailer-bike ride today my daughter sang me most of the songs on the soundtrack to the movie Tangled, as well as a few numbers from The Sound Of Music, too.  We also discussed many things as we rode along through the woods together, including whether or not angels have wings, and what the Earth was like before God did anything with it.

Perhaps most importantly, after she accidentally peed on her shoes while taking a break behind a tree, we had a long talk about how important it is to have a mountain-biker's attitude when you're out in the woods having fun.
"When things go wrong, what does a mountain biker do?"
"A mountain biker deals with it."
It's an important lesson, even if you've never peed on your shoes during a ride.  Another one of those great bike-makes-life lessons.



16 May 2011

Bike Parade

We rode our tandem-plus-trailer-bike over to Wildflower Bread Co. on Sunday morning for three oatmeals and a cheese danish to share. After breakfast, we rode downtown to ride in the annual Bike To Work Week Bike Parade. Such fun!

"Hey, a three-person bike!"
She got a temp-tattoo
There we go!

06 May 2011

Ghost Dancers

It's a tough time to be a public school teacher. Not as in end-of-the-school-year tough; the end of the school year is always tough, and comes as no surprise.

Received 5 May 2011
No, it's a tough time to be a public school teacher as in it's historically, a tough time to be a public school teacher. Sometimes it feels a bit like we're all just part of another big, hopeless Ghost Dance, albeit under somewhat less dire circumstances than the first Ghost Dancers faced.

There are lots of reasons for this, and I'm not going to go into them in any detail here and now. Which is probably a cop-out.  To be sure, Public Education needs a good apologist right about now. And I truly believe it's for-certain a system well-worth defending. But I don't think I'm called to be my profession's Great Defender. I'm really not equipped.

But, for whatever it's worth, I look around lately, in this small pool of educators with whom I swim, and a see a lot of beat-down, discouraged, bewildered teachers who never banked on any of this. I follow @DianeRavitch on Twitter and through her posts I read about similar sentiments all over the nation.  Universally, or so it would seem, public school teachers feel maligned and seem never to have imagined that they would ever feel the things, or hear the things, or be compelled to carry out or defend the things teachers seem to regularly face these days.

Fortunately, while being stripped of so much: a livable wage, our professional dignity, and the due-process assurances, benefits, and securities that previously made the job do-able, there is one thing that cannot be taken from us. Our legacy.

Received 26 April 2011
I've always loved being a teacher.  Well, almost always.  But the art-of-teaching, as I once knew it, is gone.  Five or ten years from now, perhaps even sooner, public education as we've all come to recognize it in this country really won't exist anymore.  There will still be public schools a decade from now.  But they will be very different sorts of places by then.  Almost unrecognizable.  That's what I think.

Nevertheless, regardless of what the future holds for our profession, for those who have spent the better part of half a lifetime teaching, as I pretty much have, there will always be one thing worth hanging on to: the knowledge that there are hundreds of former students out there who were once ours, and who perhaps still bear our imprint.

It's a prideful thing to recollect, this idea that you have taught several hundred students, and that you did your very best by each of them, and that some of them might remember you fondly from time to time.  But if it's prideful, so be it; these days, it's also a great thing to hang on to, too.

Because no one can ever take that away.