Hail, the Conquering Hero!

Boris2I am thankful for Joe Boris, a history/sociology teacher at State College Area High School. He is retiring this year, after 40 years at State High. The number of students he’s touched is in the tens of thousands and there isn’t one who knows Joe at all that doesn’t love him. Or at least will admit to it.

He was one of the most popular teachers back in my day (I graduated in ’80) and his reputation with students and colleagues alike has only grown stronger over the years. He has always put the students first…OK, maybe second after his wife.

His “trick” for connecting, motivating, challenging, and changing students’ lives? Trust. You knew you could talk to  him about anything and he’d listen. He’d give you wisdom if you wanted it…or  needed it. He’d help plan out a prank; he’d figuratively hold your hand if you pushed the envelope too far and needed to face the music.

He is a man of faith. Faith in God. Faith in his colleagues. Faith in himself. Faith in his students–and be sure to know that if you went to State High, you were his student, whether or not you actually took any of his classes.

I can easily say that my life is richer for having known him.

We’ll miss ya, Joe! Enjoy the garden!

And now, for something completely different…

I am thankful that I live in the community I do. It’s not everyday or everywhere you see messages like this sent from the local middle school:

CC: PFMS- Please be Advised

Dear Parents and Guardians,
This afternoon we were informed that a bear and her three cubs were spotted in
the Park Forest area. We have spoken to the Patton Township police and also to
the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Both authorities are fully aware of the
situation and tracking the animals. They feel our students walking home will
not be in harm ways  and have reassured us to continue with the instructional
day and dismissal as we typically would.
PFMS Administration

Actually, we’ve seen this sow and different sets of cubs for nearly a decade now. The only time we got at all worried was one year that was particularly dry, so they came wandering in looking for food and water. We were concerned that the dogs would be in danger, trying to chase them out of their territory and the sow getting riled up protecting her cubs. Fortunately, they managed to wander back into the nearby game lands. And more fortunately, the dry spell ended so they weren’t tempted to come into town. That year anyway.

 

(not a picture of “our” bears…public domain shot from http://www.ncrs.fs.fed.us/epubs/ht66.html).

Foodie Friday: Broccoli, shaken not stirred (except in a wok)

I am thankful for broccoli. It has a huge assortment of vitamins (C, for example), minerals (selenium) and healthy bits in it (dietary fiber, and some anti-cancer thingies). And it is tasty, despite what President Bush said.

Whether steamed, boiled, microwaved, stir fried or raw, it brings a vibrant color to the table; usually dark green in the States, but can be white or purple. Purple-ish. Generally speaking, the longer it’s cooked, the more healthy bits are leached out of it, especially when boiling. And a bit of crunch makes for a more interesting meal. imVho.

Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, along with kale, collard greens, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, Chinese broccoli, rapini or broccoli rabe, and of course, cabbage, regardless of type. And, as Wikipedia informs me, a type of turnip.

It is not, however, even remotely related to Cubby or James Bond. Cubby did claim one of his uncles brought the first broccoli seeds to America in the 1870s but Thomas Jefferson had broccoli growing in his garden over a half century earlier. Probably next to the hemp…

Thoughtful Thursdays: On Teaching

animated_thinking_cap

I am thankful for the ability to ponder. To thoughtfully consider. To “split infinitives” as I please. To think. I think…

Thoughtful Thursdays are one opportunity for me to share and showcase some of the ideas, sayings, proverbs, quotations and clichés that inspire and motivate me.

So, what inspires me this week? Glad you asked…

I discovered a gem for teaching on Facebook a while back that does an excellent job of summarizing one of the reasons I bow to the inevitable and acknowledge that I am wired to teach. It is a pithy existential statement answering the question: why.

teaching for outcome

It’s on my Teaching Quotes page as well, but I want to showcase it here.

Dealers for an ebook junkie…

Kindle BuffetI am thankful for Kindle Buffet–a service that provides me with a daily dose of free ebooks, in genres I have chosen.

The real drawback is that I’ve accumulated quite a number & need to actually read them…that and finding storage on my tablet is beginning to be a consideration. Fortunately, as the name indicates, they are all Kindle friendly, so primary storage is in the Kindle Cloud.

Of course, I have both my tablet w/ Kindle Reader and my laptop w/ Kindle Cloud on which to enjoy these treats.

 

Cars

I am thankful for automobiles. Cars. The ability to get me & my stuff from point A to point B in a modicum of comfort, safety, and economy.

My first ride was…not pictured at left. It was a Super Beetle.

 

This is what I wanted for quite a long while…the Aptera. Might as well dream big when dreaming, no?

In that bizarre place we call reality, I might not ever buy another vehicle, although that decision will put very specific limitations on where I live. Mass transit and all that, you know. It is sad that the US has developed such a love affair with the car and has neglected its mass transportation systems. Once upon a time, we had cutting edge railways and street car/tram systems all over the country. I’m pretty sure we’ll have something like that again. Eventually. The question is whether I’ll live long enough to see it.

Maybe I’ll move to Seoul…i hear there’s excellent mass transit there…

Even so, I am still thankful that I didn’t “have” to walk all that far today.