We’re spending this week out in the Hungarian countryside, staying with a family in their two hundred year old house amidst rambling wilderness and wheat fields. The brick walls are thick, ceilings high, corners dusty. Knick knacks, mismatched furniture and a million bottles and jars of homemade preserves, cordials and teas abound. The place is thick with a heavy silence and stillness that is lengthening my heartbeats to the drawn out spaces between…
"For many Americans, modern medical advances have made death seem more like an option than an obligation. We want our loved ones to live as long as possible, but our culture has come to view death as a medical failure rather than life’s natural conclusion."
If you happen to click this link and let the video load, then start it playing from 12:08 on, you’ll be treated to a vision of what my life would look like if I got stranded on an island with Channel 31.
"Best entertainment in Melbourne since the hey-day of ‘Hey Hey’. And best laugh, since ‘YOLO!’ on YouTube." - David Stratton
How important is the origin story of your relationship to you? Have we removed the meaning from photos by making cameras a peripheral device on phones? And will we soon need to attend retreats to bolster our tolerance for criticism? This and more, on JnJ.
In this episode we look at Facebook and selfies and ego squarely in the eye. I really enjoyed this episode. For some it will be challenging, and for others, it will affirm their own theories about where a combination of these aspects of life may take us.
Hi, I was just wondering if you had your own teaching philosophy and how you went about developing it if yes?
Hi, Teacher-Dreamer. Great question. And I was reminded of it tonight when I got in touch with my sponsor teacher from 1995. He’s well into his retirement now but he was a legendary teacher in his day and head of the English department in our city’s largest high school. He took me under his wing and I got to observe how a master teacher runs his class. And I’ll be honest: I didn’t see anything. I had to report back to my faculty advisor all the things I’d noticed in terms of methodology and classroom management. But I didn’t “see” anything. It took me a while to realize why: he made it look easy. He had internalized everything a teacher is supposed to do. I even confronted him about it one day to ask which educational philosophy he abides by, and he answered: “Listen to what they’re saying.”
That was it. It drove me crazy because I couldn’t very well report that back to my university in thesis form. But eventually it clicked. He was saying what Bruce Lee used to say in his “Be like water” mantra. Listen to them. Respond. They will give you something. Respond. Keep doing this with the aim towards making them even more curious and stoked about the process of learning.
But I’ve added my own stuff throughout the years and I can distill a bit of it here for you since you’ll be entering the profession soon, I hope.
1) If you can’t address a student’s immediate needs, he won’t be available to your teachings. Basically, if a kid is in your class and he’s hungry, you need to address that first. So keep a bunch of snacks in your filing cabinet where rodents won’t get to them. They will never come up to you and say they’re hungry. You have to “listen” and watch for that. You have to become curious. And give it to them secretly so that they are able to retain their dignity. Which leads me to my next point.
2) Do not compromise a young person’s dignity. By this I mean there will be situations in which you can easily embarrass a student in front of her peers. And I’ve seen teachers do this, not because they’re mean, but because they’re human. People who have never taught forget how unnatural this whole thing is: asking young people to sit in rows in rooms all day among people they might not readily even like to listen to some stranger try to impart wisdom to them. The whole thing smacks of condescension and waste. So when you see 30 different teenagers every hour, don’t be surprised when some of them act out at you. And as a teacher, you can’t be hurt by it. You have to be above it all. And even in the face of humiliation, we have to think about ways to help kids save face and feel success. Remember that very few teenagers get to really “feel” success in school. This leads me to another bit.
3) Do not take anything personally. Remember back to when you were their age. Every little slight, every look in the hallway, every word by some popular kid carried a sting. So, a young person wakes up and his day starts with his father yelling at him to hurry to school. Then, he has someone in the hallway make fun of his shoes or something as a joke, but he takes that personally. Then, he forgets to do his homework so a teacher calls him on it. Then another teacher calls on him for an answer in class and he wasn’t paying attention because he’s thinking about how much his parents fight and how he wants to be anywhere but here. And then he shows up at your class. And you ask him a question, and he doesn’t know. And you ask him again in a different way, and he blows up at you and calls you something he will regret. You can’t take that personally. At that moment, you are only a symbol of every other adult in his life that treats him like crap. He doesn’t see the cool teacher who helped him with his girlfriend problems the month before. He only sees you as a symbol. So never take it personally. He will apologize later. They always do. And this leads me to my final point.
4) The teacher I mentioned at the start of this, my sponsor teacher, said something that I’ve carried with me to this day: “I would do this job for free if I didn’t need money.” At the time, I found this statement disturbing because there was no way I’d do it for free. But I see now that he was talking about joy. There is joy to be had in this career. There is nothing more exhilarating than seeing a student suddenly “get” a concept she’d been struggling with. There are few things more smile-inducing than watching your grade eights help each other out with assignments while joking around with each other. And the pure happiness of watching them really, truly enjoy learning—man, that’s the reason I returned to teaching after an eight-year break.
There is, of course, a lot more to teaching, but you will enjoy learning all that on your own. I’m always discovering new things about pedagogy and the ways in which teens learn. Teaching is about being a learner yourself. That’s why, when it comes to being an effective teacher, we have to listen to what they’re saying.
“White Australia doesn’t have a sense of belonging to this land, it only has a sense of belonging to establishments, its institutions, and its cities its built here. It doesn’t understand this country.”—
Occasionally Merlin goes on a pretty serious rant and drops some knowledge that is so simple in principle, you wonder why everyone doesn’t get it. This excerpt from Roderick on the Line Ep. 83 is such an instance. This needs to be printed on a Van Hoet-sized shirt and handed out to the masses for committal to memory.
"Part of the problem is that, right now, trans-gender rights are indistinguishable from liking Android. And people want to have the same kind of…incredibly heated argument that goes nowhere, that basically comes down to, "I wish more people agreed to be like me." And that is generally not a fruitful way to go, and I think history has borne that out.
Part of the problem with the parade thing…in my opinion, is that if you want a parade, go start your own fucking parade, and don’t care who comes. And don’t care who likes it or not. That’s empowerment. Empowerment is not sitting around and waiting for people to use the right word to make you feel like a whole human. It’s going out and living your life the way that you want, and being impenetrable about people that see you as less than you want to be. And there’s no amount of parsing language that’s going to fucking improve that. It can’t be done. Maybe in time everyone will evolve, but the best way for that to evolve is everybody who wants to be in the parade, all walking the same direction and not worrying about who likes it or not.”
It’s “amazing” what I can conjure up in my mind … be it an internal story centred around paranoia, or falling in lust with another being; it’s quite a solitary experience that can colour my entire experience/world.
I’m practising recognising that difference, though; the difference between what exists there in the moment, outside of my mind, and what is fabricated in my mind that effects the speed of my heart beat and the adrenaline or endorphins created in my body.
I know that the realistic dreaming from the latter can help bring the former into existence, but I’m trying to live outside of my mind when I’m with those situations or people so that I’m reacting to what is, rather expecting the fantasy in my head to line up with what’s in front of me (which surely to leads to defeated expectations and disappointment).
Life. Adam and Dan discuss the planning (or lack thereof) of one’s life; the social pressures to conform to the norm that exists within one’s friendship group; and the lifestyle that one chooses and/or can tolerate.
Adam and Dan consider a future where technology enables passive aggressive shaming of anyone in public that strays from the collective norm. Daniel suggests a counter culture to utilise human narcissism, via the use of hashtag, #GoodDeedSelfie. Good Lord.
Even now, the paradigm lives on. In my experience, well-educated white Australians, trying so hard to be politically correct, often still seem to find it difficult to escape their childhood image of “primitive” Aboriginal people.
We must overcome the intellectual inertia that keeps us in that old paradigm, stopping us from recognising the enormous contribution that Aboriginal culture can make to our understanding of the world, and to our attempts to manage it.
More fascinating research into how light effects our health.
What is most startling is the way our bodies respond to light. Gloomy winter days are known to trigger a form of depression—seasonal affective disorder—which can be reversed if the sufferer sits by a large lightbox every morning. But light eases other forms of depression too: an Italian study found that bipolar patients in east-facing hospital rooms stayed nearly four days fewer than those in west-facing ones. Even physical conditions respond to doses of daylight: people recuperating from spinal and cervical surgery in bright rooms took fewer painkillers every hour; in sunny Alberta in Canada female heart-attack patients treated in an intensive-care unit recovered faster if they were exposed to lots of natural light. Mortality in both sexes is consistently higher in dull rooms. But why is it a matter of light or death?
Are the youth of each generation slowing bringing society to its knees? Adam puts Dan and his doilies somewhat at ease. And how ‘bout those internet freedoms? Are they quickly drawing to a close? Put on your Google Glass and take a peek behind the kimono.
Münchausen Syndrome [Wikipedia] Münchausen syndrome is a psychiatric factitious disorder wherein those affected feign disease, illness, or psychological trauma to draw attention, sympathy, or reassurance to themselves.
We discuss the whole “older generation thinking the world is going to hell because ‘youth doing CRAZY THINGS!’”. And I learn of some ways that I’m judgemental of the way some people choose to spend their time – which is always enlightening!
Perhaps for some, there really isn’t anything in life more fulfilling that spending twelve hours a day playing WoW! Who am I to something something.
After watching a live taping of Shaun Micallef’s “Mad as Hell” television pogramme, Adam and Dan talk urban urination and being a good audience member. They then hop over to the topic of jealousy and security in monogamous and polyamorous relationships.