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One day, while standing on the playground, I had an epiphany. I looked out over a hundred children, playing, running, yelling, laughing, and crying. It hit me that I stood in a place where millions of journeys had begun – on blacktops like this one. More than a playground, I was standing at a starting point, at the mouth of the river itself. What tremendous, unthinkable good luck to have traveled to this point, on this day, in this ineffable time. 

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Also, in Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach a diverse group of ninety teachers describe the complex of emotions and experiences of the teaching life – joy, outrage, heartbreak, hope, commitment and dedication. Check it out at . . .




Let me admit up front that I have long had rescue fantasies. I have long dreamed that one day someone would save me, recognize me, and lift me out of the many tight spots I’ve created for myself. Even as recently as this afternoon, I caught myself dreaming of rescue from stressful circumstances. Then, two […]

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Over the weekend, I rode with family on a stretch of road that runs along the edge of a cemetery. On both sides, old maple trees tossed in the wind and dropped thousands of leaves. I had a quiet moment where I followed a single leaf as it descended in crescents until it came to […]

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On Tuesday, I had a good feeling about Kennedy. I held on stand-up meeting with my team on the playground. We talked about her progress though she had been a girl who had worked everyone’s last nerve. She was coming to school more and fighting less. Progress! Our efforts appeared to be paying off. We […]

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On the playground some weeks ago, a kindergarten girl called out to ask me to watch how fast she could run. I complied with her request and away she went. Of course, I told her she was quite fast. I went to far as to declare myself impressed with her land-speed capabilities. This exchange reminded […]

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I watched a young man make a pointed comment about one of his classmate’s the other morning. The comment struck me because it seemed unprovoked. The young lady, having just been slammed, responded with an inappropriate (but apt) gesture and they parted on ill terms. Two boys, looking on, laughed. Then kickball and foursquare resumed. […]

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I went through an experience a couple of years ago where I had rebuild just about every process, procedure and team at my site. The sheer quantity of transitions among staff opened up  a chance to pull together people in different arrangements who would 1) want to work together, 2) bring out the best in […]

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I often tell my staff that health and family first. As I examine how my life is structured I find that I am not following my own advice. As it turns out, I am not as available to family and loved ones as I would like to be. So, I’m asking whether it has to […]

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I may never know how it feels to fly in a rocket or to hover above the Earth from miles above. I will not know the gift of flight like a hawk, nor behold from such a height the painted squares that divide playgrounds. But after school today, I did at least walk up a […]

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I have a lot of practice in sorting through tricky situations. Among the good that happens each day, other things unraveled and cause hardship. The variety of collapse scenarios is wide and colorful. And, no matter the hair gel, the shine of the shoes, or the quick turn of speech, no one looks good in […]

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This morning I went to a school fair at a neighborhood recreation center. The event was designed and produced by parents who are looking for good schools for their children. “Packed” would be the right word for that small auditorium Curious mothers and fathers inched around the auditorium, snagging flyers, promotional material, and anything else […]

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