The Problem with the Cat Squad: Writing and Thinking

Today I am writing to discuss the dancing mumble jumble of the early beginnings of the classical swing and sway of turbulent female bonding gone tragically wrong. A typical feminist will recognize the innate, positive qualities that exist in another woman and seek to hold that person strongly aloft, high above the fray of angry meanderings and petty jealousies of the frantic and dramatically superficial class of thinker. But I am not to enjoy this type of strong hold because I have been dropped into a shrieking palisade of surface thinkers, a menagerie of spite and pettiness, with a faded and dying disco ball twerking its last twerk. How did I get into this sometimes humorous but never painless amateur dance amid a cliquish cesspool of languishing performers? I was duped—that is how. I was sold a bad bargain, and I was convinced that I would be protected. I listened to a detractor, and as you know, detractors want nothing to do with strong women. The typical detractor (male or female) is looking for women that will handily destroy other women, and by doing so the detractor can continue an egotistical power trip. Maybe I should speak the truth, and just tell it like it is—the word ‘detractor’ is insufficient, while the word ‘quitter’ is more accurate.  A ‘quitter’ is always happiest with the status-quo. Quitters never analyze the depth and honesty of their actions--they just stop trying to grow.

At any rate, I have only myself to blame for this death-march-waltz because even if I were completely androgynous and I hid my feminine power side, I would remain a target. Basically, for those who manipulate so that they can continue to live in a state of languor, any sprite of positive energy is a threat; intelligence becomes as unwelcome as a broken heel during the fox trot.  I could try slide stepping my stronger moments on a soft shoe, and maybe that would endear me to my attackers, but I simply can’t; I refuse to bore my audience by becoming a wall flower.

I want every woman I meet to succeed in a place that is appropriate for her, but I am unwilling to support the kind of woman that is a traitor to her own struggle. We all must practice at becoming more self-aware and be cognizant of what it is that we are aiming to do—we need to study our motives and question our ethical assumptions about what is right for others. Only until we are completely conscious of our innermost motivations, can we be assured that we are treating each other with respect and kindness.

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Somewhere in the Middle East, Late 50's

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If you recognize this scene, leave a comment and tell me what you know 😊

        It is so much like me to post something and then write about a completely different topic, but this time I’m doing it because I really don’t know much about this picture. I know that my father took this shot somewhere in the Middle East during the late 50’s. He worked and lived there, and all that I know about this part of his life is that he enjoyed the experience. I can’t remember much about my father, but I can remember some of the most important things that he told me. I asked him why he traveled so much, and he told me that he was a gypsy. He said that most gypsies travel by road, but he liked flying. I remember thinking about him flying on his planes as I rode down the highway in my grandmother’s big Buick with my hands out the window, watching our shadow race along beside us.

        Whenever someone would ask me “what” I was, I would proudly tell them, “I am a gypsy.” I started to dress a bit Bohemian as a kid, but then I took the thing to the next level when I dropped college for long distance trucking. I lived out of my truck just like a gypsy for decades, and I finished school in between because I knew I didn’t want to live on the road forever. I wanted to be able to experience people from all over the world without having to continuously travel. I wanted to stay home in Texas. Now that I live in the most diverse place in the United States, I am able to work with people from every corner of the world, and I think my father would be happy with my decisions.

            When I look at this picture, I am struck by how the little boy is marching behind the line of soldiers. We know that our actions and our traditions impact our children, and this picture is a representation of that. Just as my father influenced me with his open mind and love of travel, the little boy in the picture is following what he knows. I hope his life is a happy one.

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John Eckert Sr. (somewhere in the Middle East)

 


Five Ways to Survive the Drama King or Queen at Your Workplace

            Just when you started to think that your life had become dull and uninteresting to other people, you suddenly realize that you’ve been a long-running target of the weak-minded and categorical. I say weak-minded because even with a solid education the cause of your misery is still oblivious to common sense and the surrounding world with all its peculiarities, and I say categorical because even though they (he, or she, or the person in transition) rejects insulting classifications and stereotypes that could easily be applied to them, they fall into the trap of outwardly embracing what it is that makes them repugnant in the first place. Happily playing at therapy and liberally applying labels to other unsuspecting people is just daily business for people running on an intellectual deficit.

So, how do we outmaneuver and protect our finances and career, our sanity, from this abuse and assault on our character?

  1. Don’t play nice and don’t help them. People that run around slapping labels on coworkers and acquaintances do not deserve your help. No matter how tempted you are to point out the obvious, or cover for the person, resist. If they are running around judging you, they are somehow in deficit. This means they will lie to obscure the truth about themselves. Labeling other people makes it convenient to dehumanize. In other words, they will never care about anyone that isn’t a convenience to them.
  2. When you are targeted by a person in deficit, do not turn the other cheek. I’ve done this before, and it does not work. Be totally proactive and completely truthful. Do not allow them to bully you, and do not share in any of their blame. I’ve tried to compromise with a person like this before in an effort to make peace and, sadly, it does not work. When someone is pretending that they are qualified to psychoanalyze you, or if someone thinks they know your character better than you do yourself, beware, because they are in search of drama and attention at your expense. This tendency to slap labels and stereotypes on other people will create a sense of isolation ultimately lending itself to inauthentic and dishonest, two-faced relationships.
  3. Keep your sense of humor even as they devalue you. Remember, those obnoxious lips and mouths are really crying out from pain and insecurity, and you can help them coexist without exclusion if you demonstrate your own courage and resilience. Most of the time they are operating from that lonely place of deficit, and that is a place of fear and uncertainty. The attack on you is an act of cowardice. Recognize it for what it is and be glad you are not in that place.
  4. Practice articulation. If you are unable to explain to other interested parties why you think you are a target, then you might be misinterpreted. This happened to me, and this inability to share my thoughts in an articulate and powerful way hindered my ability to convey the truth. I was simply underprepared, blind-sided, and in a state of shock. Prepare to defend yourself at all times. People that backstab you and label you will stop at nothing to destroy you. You have been reduced to a category, a label, or stereotype. Do not soft peddle your defense in an effort to protect your own humanity. The deficit, the cowardice, is real.
  5. The five-year rule. I always tell my students that they will never know how they will feel about someone, or some situation, in five years. Never take an action against your attacker that might cause you shame in the future because nothing is more destructive. Instead, mitigate the damage to yourself by maintaining a sense of dignity. You know that you are more valuable than the careless and irresponsible label that your pretend psychotherapist, or attention seeking gossip, or fake friend, has tossed in your direction. Be strong and resist the temptation to take revenge.

Finally, I would like to say that it is important that we do everything in our power to keep our children safe. That means doing our best to monitor their movements and give them rules that we are able to enforce. If we give our children mixed messages, if we fail to support them with consistent discipline and structures, then we not only endanger them physically, but we also create mini-dramas that will produce more confused and intolerant adults with social and intellectual deficits.

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Leadership and Qualifications? Oh the Irony!

I'm writing today just to reflect on a few things that I find extremely pathetic and boring, the kinds of things that are just tiresome and ridiculous. This is just me having an informal conversation with you. First of all, when someone is qualified to do the work, then he or she should get the job without any question. The boss should put on his or her biggest set of underwear, grab a dose of courage, and just lay down a set of rules to the whiners and the uninspired. The reason that workplace hostility and bias is allowed to fester is because leadership can't do what needs to be done, or can't see what needs to be seen. This inability to do or see is the cornerstone of our problem. 

In my own unimportant, but brave, corner of the world, I can see what needs to be done. I see some big underwear that should definitely be taken back down to small. I see this metaphorical big underwear almost everyday, sometimes on the television or social media and sometimes right there in person. From my own unimportant position in life, I observe a ton of people putting the cart before the horse, and it saddens me.

This weekend I've been reading James Comey's book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership. I'm not that far into his nicely written and rather shocking book, but it appears that the overriding theme is courage versus cowardice. He discusses how maladjusted leadership has a tendency to wrap itself with sycophants and chronic liars, and he discusses how he worked to solve that problem in his own offices. I know we tend to look to Washington when we think of this kind of moral decay and pandering favoritism, but what about right there at our own job, or in our local politics? When people are getting fat off of the land, then they don't want change or any real effort to present itself in the form of a new and truly qualified person because that would interrupt the flow of daily nonbusiness. Mediocre outcomes are okay as long as they can successfully destroy any outside competition. Mean-spirited people tend to take decent people by surprise, and that gives them an unfair advantage. At the end of the day, profits and scores are lower for everyone because the sycophants have out-politicked the unsuspecting competition. Now everyone is just mediocre...but no fabulous gains are made. But the threat of having to do honest hard work that takes qualifications, instead of self-improving and self-monitoring, is at least partially contained. The big britches crowd works hard at what they enjoy most (gossip, lies, and manipulations). Slandering and destroying somebody that might change the status quo equates to a fun day on the job.

We always talk about the sin of low expectations, and I really believe the concept should apply to everyone, even if they are not a student. If you've been promoted without any qualifications, then shame on you. I have been working my rear off for nearly three years on an advanced degree. My degree is not from Harvard, and it is not in rocket science. But my degree is more than what the majority of people can achieve, and it does make me qualified, even if it is not complete. My degree makes me qualified to take on the job I want, a job that doesn't pay much. My hard work should buy me an opportunity to remain in poverty, to remain where I belong, even if it isn't what other people might think is good for me.

Which brings me to another topic, irony. I've been studying irony quite a bit lately. It is so complicated; and if you think irony is simple stuff that's because you just don't know what you don't know about writing in general or the relative problems and glaring importance of irony. I know that doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you haven't really thought about it before, but neither does irony if it's done wrong. Anyway, what I learned from all of these months of studying the subject of irony in depth and acquainting myself with all of the theories around it, is that whatever is happening on the ground with you is the most important factor. If you are having a problem with what is taking place over your head, but the situation on the ground is temporarily livable, then you will eventually have to deal with irony. Stick with the situation on the ground; ironically, something unpredictable will happen to the situation overhead. 

I want to leave you this weekend with this very meaningful quote from an important writer, and a not-so-random political thought that circulated for quite some time on social media. The quote is important because Rachel is implying that issues of sensitivity and the processing of exclusion are tough on people of an artistic nature within the business. But, ironically, her quote really says more about the people that engage in the exclusion of others than it does about the art world itself or some notion of weighing in on rejection slips versus published materials. She can, admittedly, rise above the harsh cruelties of an insecure art world because she is independent and fearless. What does the subtext of this say about those who exclude you? Do they even have one piece of art to stand on? Probably not! 😊🌹

I like the social media posting because it clearly demonstrates the large scale consequences of failed leadership.

Anyway, have a happy week!

I think the art world heightens the intensity of desires for inclusion, and the humiliations of exclusion, which is why it's a great place to circulate when you are in the lucky position, as I am, of not wanting or needing anything from anyone. ∼Rachel Kushner

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Thoughts on Trump, Literacy Coaching, and Writing for My GIS

Like usual, I couldn't be more disturbed about the incompetence going on in Washington. I've been reading this book by Kurt Eichenwald about Enron and why it failed, and so many of the people at the top of that organization had no business working with large sums of money and creating financial vehicles like hedge funds. They had no business buying up water utilities and shuffling funds around. This compares to the Trump administration in a bunch of frightening ways, and I am tired of just watching the train wreck in slow motion. Some nights after reading in that book, it's hard to sleep well. And then I wake up in the morning and turn on the news, and Trump has already been up since before dawn making a fool of himself and taking the entire country along on his weird little ride.

My theories about incompetence isn't confined to politics; I'm worrying about other places too. When you are depending on your leadership to make good choices (because it's like you are on a bus careening down a dangerous mountain with a bunch of other helpless people when you are subject to the decisions of an incompetent team), your life is on a kind of holding pattern, like at an airport. For example, I went on an interesting job interview last year. The school was in a tough neighborhood and the principal was young and inexperienced. Honestly, she looked like she was just out of high school, and she even had a squeaky little voice to go along with her tiny, young appearance. She had the campus instructional coach sit in the interview, and at the time I didn't see anything wrong with that. And then in January of this year, I read an entire text book on coaching. It turns out that the instructional coach should never chime in on personnel decisions because that interferes with the trust that is needed between the teacher and the coach. The student's success in the classroom should be the goal of coaching, not deciding which teachers should win or lose during hiring season. To help students succeed, the coach has to be trustworthy and ethical so the teacher can feel comfortable asking questions and demonstrating teaching methods in the classroom. The coach is suppose to support the teacher in an objective and professional way. A coach that is critical and unethical, willing to gossip, or seek power over an individual's employment, is unworthy of the position. Coaches should never verbally abuse a teacher or make hateful and derogatory comments either, but most of us in education have seen this kind of unprofessional conduct at least once. 

But my answer on that day was pretty blunt. I told them that I respected credentials and experience, and that I was hoping to work with a team that had a campus wide learning strategy. But in some ways just relying on a person's credentials or education is an invitation to open Pandora's box because as soon as someone thinks that his or her terminal degree means it's okay to stop learning from colleagues, then the department or institution is limited to something that may not be what it appears, similar to Enron's CFO, Andy Fastow. So, if a team is looking up to someone that is believed to have all-encompassing knowledge, overloading this person's ego with decision making power or influence, and grooming them to serve at the top, then the institution will never know what it has been missing in the way of growth or innovation because it has chosen to overlook other perspectives. When an organization centers its attention on a particular individual, and relies on that individual as a source of guidance or constant advice, then the organization threatens its very existence because of this insulating factor. It's important to listen to every voice. Let's take a look at the relationship between Ken Lay, CEO of Enron, and Andy Fastow, the CFO. Anything that Andy did or said was supported by Ken Lay, and it took a string of whistle blowers and mini-disasters, and finally a major disaster, to get anyone outside of the company to believe that the entire organization was near financial collapse. It was basic incompetence 101 that brought Enron to its knees after years of mismanagement, and the fact that Lay was enthralled with an erroneous idea and image of Andy Fastow. 

This is why I have been thinking about writing some ideas about literacy coaching into my GIS. The way we do education in this country does need some revamping, but the reforms that have been tried so far have done nothing but harm students and teachers. Maybe if more teachers were encouraged to take advanced coursework this would help with student achievement. But ignoring professionalism has done nothing to improve outcomes, and just allowing anybody to coach, teach, or lead a school, is just as crazy as relying on a perceived guru. When I say ignoring professionalism, I think of the instructional coach example.

My first instructional coach has since retired, but I met her one night last fall on a moonlit bike trail. It was the strangest way to meet back up again, and I was so happy to see her. She had so much to offer me back at my old school in the way of knowledge and expertise, but she had no clue about the actual learning environment between her visits because all she was ever shown was numbers and data, so she was unsure of how to guide any of her teachers on that campus (an example of how misguided leadership can hurt kids). But our conversation was tinged with sadness since we both already knew from watching the news that my old school is in its seventh year of "improvement required," and will soon be closed, proving in general that drastic reform strategies fail our kids. 

Anyway, my GIS is my capstone course for my master's degree, and I want to expand on how standardized testing has affected student writing. I've already done some work in this area in previous courses, but I would like to offer some solutions on how to mitigate the classroom tragedies that are taking place everyday in public schools everywhere. I know that the emphasis on writing to an examination has overshadowed the creation of student writers per se. The drill and kill method of grammar instruction is once again overshadowing the more effective literature based method. Standardized tests cater to a certain demographic, and the writing prompts are evidence of this. I know that I can't change policies, but one voice at a time can help one child at a time. I hope that what I learn from my capstone course will help me become a better teacher.

Vogt, MaryEllen, et al. Reading Specialists and Literacy Coaches in the Real World. 2nd. ed., Boston, Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, 2007.

Eichenwald, Kurt. Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story. New York, Broadway Books, 2005.

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Trump and Tillerson: Fascists Hate Dissension

The fact that Trump keeps kicking people to the curb that disagree with him makes me think that he's so demented and hard line that he finds even the slightest bit of advice repugnant. If that's true, and by all accounts it is, then our country is in even deeper trouble than we imagined. His arrogance is unmatched by anyone, and he is the quintessential adult bully.  

As he becomes more authoritarian, his followers become more defensive of his behavior. The other day, when I was driving home from school, I tuned into Sean Hannity's radio program. I listen to Hannity so that I can hear the other side of the argument, and he is generally so facetious and such a liar that he makes me feel slimed while I listen. But he was one-upped last Friday by a whining female caller that couldn't get over the fact that the "liberal media" wouldn't admit that Trump is a "Godly man doing God's work." 

This kind of talk is sickening to say the least. Nothing anywhere is further from God than Trump, unless it's the devil himself. But the incident today ushers in a new low-level of hate mongering and potential violence because Tillerson's replacement, Mike Pompeo, supports and promotes torture as a method of extracting "information" from terror suspects. Even though it has been proven that evidence and intelligence garnered from torture is generally false or inconclusive, it appears that it will now become formal US policy. 

I can remember the first time it occurred to me that my country would actually officially torture a suspect, and I was in shocked disbelief. I knew that rogue military personnel would torture prisoners, but I had no idea that this behavior would ever be accepted by the leaders of my country. The unbelievable and hideous hypocrisy of these so-called Christians is just mind boggling. All of this is extremely disturbing, rather reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

Getting Trump and his mess out of our highest office must be a priority.

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I Don't Want to do it Myself: Teaching Writing with a Worksheet

This week some of my fellow students (I'm in a composition pedagogy class) shared some worksheets that they would assign during a writing workshop. First of all, I am completely confused by this assignment because I have attended numerous writing workshops around the country, and I've never had to do a worksheet. My own composition classes have all been of the workshop style, so I really didn't even know there was any other way. I have met people that teach writing at the secondary level that have never attended any workshops and don't know what they are, but I have never met anyone teaching at the college level that doesn't use this methodology along with writing pedagogies and theories.

I am totally confused. I don't know what will happen with my grade in this course because it seems as if the professor is more of a constructivist (the Kenneth Burke variety), and I am more of an expressivist (the James Berlin variety). All I can do is look at what most of my classmates are offering in the way of writing exercises, and think about how I could see myself getting into a whole lot of trouble for handing the worksheet back to the teacher and declaring a big "no thanks." I believe if you don't want to do the worksheet yourself (or any kind of classwork for that matter), then you shouldn't be passing it out to somebody else. 

We all know that post-secondary educators are all crying the blues about the low level students they are getting. I keep hearing that none of the kids can write, and that some of the kids can't read, and how close reading exercises have had to be added to classes and textbooks, and how some of the kids have no library skills, or classroom etiquette, and the list of grievances just goes on and on forever. Some institutions are even bucking back against accepting any dual credit or Advanced Placement scores because they think the kids still can't write or think critically.

And all of this makes me wonder if the worksheets are some response to this perceived problem with literacy skills, at least in the undergraduate writing class. So, with this in mind, I would like to recommend a change based on my experiences with math. Schools have transformed the way they teach math, and it is working. Students do small group tutorials on a regular basis regardless of skill level (it is sometimes important to have a mixed ability group). Math tutors are everywhere, and most of the instruction has the look and feel of a workshop. The classes are more cohesive than ever before. I honestly envy what I see math teachers doing, and I can't figure out why secondary English teachers aren't attending workshops and taking advanced coursework so they can do the same thing. And, of course, math has some differences because students have to constantly do worksheets because repetition is important to memorizing an equation or learning how to operate a calculator. But, even so, math departments have their own versions of the writing workshop and writing lab.

Just like a mini math lesson, a mini grammar lesson can be fun. Students can revise pieces in class, and teachers can choose texts that are relevant and engaging. Every now and then a worksheet is okay. But drill and kill grammar lessons with worksheets and computer programs that are out of context with the student's life is oppressive. Students should never be handed a grammar worksheet without some context. Reading and fixing sentences that you didn't write yourself, and that no identifiable person wrote, is boring and tedious. For example, one of the future educators that I'm working with in my course created this elaborate worksheet for citation creation. On one side it has the text information, and then on the other side it has a bunch of lines where you would try to write your citation. If you need to make a bibliography for the sources you have used, you can look up how to do it in a handbook and follow the container pattern. It is really that simple. Teaching how to make citations is okay, but you don't need a worksheet for that, and it's a major waste of time anyway when you can just copy it out of a book. 

Students should be writing for a larger audience than just the teacher. Student writings should be published on school walls, school websites, blogs, or local newsletters and papers. When students are no longer isolated by the teacher, when they are no longer working out of context for some unattainable goal, when they have options about who reads and values their work, they become writers. 

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Why would someone that is a true reading specialist with years of experience trot out all of these computer based learning programs that are basically ineffective and a waste of time? If a district has talent at the top, then why would it resort to this kind of instruction? Sure, I agree that a bit of this computer based reading and analyzing is okay, but to make students spend hours upon hours gazing at a screen, and then complaining at teachers for not making kids gaze at this screen for hours upon hours, seems like the height of educational malpractice. Instead of providing instruction and creating meaningful lesson plans, these teachers are basically sitting at their desks doing nothing, or walking around the classroom trying to make sure that these kids are on the right website. How is this going to improve social skills, reading fluency, an appreciation for literature, or basic speaking and listening communication? Why are these kids not reading great stories and poems and sharing them in the classroom? Why are these kids not writing in the classroom for a variety of purposes? Obviously, the people that promote these kinds of programs are in it for the profits, and they could care less about teachers and kids. But it seems sad that an entire district would decide that it has such contempt for its English department that it would try to diminish its capacity for creativity and instruction by replacing it with a Chromebook. I have only met a small handful of teachers that I thought wouldn't improve with professional development and support. It must be easier and cheaper to support a computer...I wonder what kind of message this sends our kids...
But more importantly, what is all this screen time doing to the brain? I've been reading about kids spending hours a day on a computer at school, and I have seen some of this in action. This doesn't count after school hours that kids spend on phones or other devices at home. In light of the research and the unanswered questions, I would say that making students sit in front of a computer for hours on end is irresponsible and cruel. Parents should begin to ask districts how many hours a day their child is sitting in front of a computer. The answer might be shocking.

Books Matter if You Want a Real Life

What in the world is a secure life and why does it matter? After sitting around in coffee shops and hotels for half of my life, you'd think I would know how to handle the obvious, the obvious being a well-situated camera in the break room somewhere near the copy machine. But that's not really how the narrative goes because when all is said and done the truth is as real as time itself and not nearly as bendable or mysterious. Back when I was begging others to "get to the root of the animosity" I was still trying to be polite and pretend I didn't know who it was, but that went away with four months of my pay, something you just don't get back by "starting over." So, what is the basic problem? The problem is a set of book ends, both short and round, one light, one dark, one loud, one stupid. That's how it started, an innocent discussion about literature, and an immature, fit-throwing drama queen. 

I watched the hair tossing, and the strutting about with the cellphone in the dark, angry face, and I kept to myself, but the harm was already done--the child came back to school, limping. I held an illustrated children's story in my hand, and the kids were having fun. They were listening and laughing (I'm good at reading aloud) and they were happy at peace, criss cross, applesauce. I sat at my desk with the mission statement taped to the wall over my head and I watched ShortnStupid bobble like a fish on a line, and I could hear the tap-tap-tap of Chronically Sick coming down the hall, and all I wanted to do was crawl under the desk because I felt shame for both of them; the phoniness of it all was just too much for me to bare. The scene went one clip too far: lies too embarrassing for me to hear; my face shriveled in disgust; down my shoulders did sink, and I remember wondering how those people had risen so high; why were the expectations so low?

The expectations are still no higher for all of them, but the standard is different for quite a few others; that's where the question of a secure life is raised, and why does it matter? It matters because the camera sees more than you think it does; the scope is much broader because the audience goes on forever, and ever. And once you expose the pretense for what it is, just empty pretense, the hate blows off of them like hot gas, their image deflated. You can take it on if you want, but a wise person would pass.


A Few Exciting Ideas for the New Year: Kicking Resolutions, Making Goals and Studying Travel Journals (It's all about me 🥂🎹😃✏️📓🎓🔱)

        I am just happy to report that after a short drought, I now have another A in my grad studies. I worked hard last semester studying the sublime and how it is used in Victorian literature. The sublime was not a topic in my class, but I think it should have been. I am so excited about next semester, and I look forward to pushing those boundaries again (my way of saying that I'm not happy with the usual course of study because I need to get out of the box).

        I am thinking about taking two courses, and if I do that, I will be set for my research piece next fall. I want to analyze travel journals and road stories because they are so vital to the human experience. For example, I recently visited with a man that had journeyed to America via several foreign countries, and then lived around the North American continent. That kind of story would be interesting to analyze against a working-class person’s experience of living and traveling in different states. How do they compare linguistically and structurally? What is important about the narrative itself? What about the use of confessional and memoir? Uprooting yourself and moving into a strange culture, or traveling for work, is an experience that creates wisdom and versatility (more organic and useful than simply vacationing). Does the white-collar experience somehow mirror the blue-collar experience? What difference does the level of education make? If these experiences and insights from moving and traveling are shared across economic, racial, ethnic, and educational levels, can they be used to create dialogue and understanding?

            I am also excited about the goals I am setting for myself this year. I plan on purchasing a nice travel trailer. I don’t want a cheap one; I want an Airstream. I can use my Airstream to work on my research, and I can also use it to teach in areas where housing is unaffordable or unattainable. Unaffordable and unattainable could be a problem in Houston if we have another big flood. I don’t even think we really need another big flood because we are already experiencing some housing shortages and spiking rents.

            One of my previous classmates writes a blog and in his New Year’s post he focused on not making resolutions. I think he is on the right track, but goals are a bit different. A resolution admits to some weakness. By acknowledging your weakness to others in the traditional New Year’s kind of way, you give it additional power over your daily life. I already critique myself enough, so I’m going to pass on resolution and set goals instead. I think kicking the resolution is a smart idea.

Jason Walker's blog address:

jwalkergs.wordpress.com

Happy 2018 Everyone!

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Cover of my new planner by Tools4Wisdom

 

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This planner is full of well-organized goal-setting pages in different formats