Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dream Planning

     A few days ago I mentioned the steps one must take in order to be a good teacher, I mentioned them without giving any explanation or details about them. The steps are: 

1. Planning
2. Listening
3. Communicating
4. Actualizing
5. Opening

So in this post I will try to expand on the first step: Planning.

     It would sound redundant to say that one must plan if one is to achieve anything, but looking closely it is clear that there are many questions related to the planning process and the actions needed for an efficient plan. Not only the things we are supposed to do have to be included but the timing on which they occur and this is the most difficult aspect to plan. Timing. 

     In the book Breakthrough, 

Roger Seip tell us how it is important to have time for ourselves, time that has to be taken out of the business of our lives so we can focus on what is really important and not what appears to be urgent distracting us from achieving our dreams. Seip recommends at least 15 minutes every day to meditate on our goals, a weekly encounter with ourselves, and a quarterly day when we should spend the whole day thinking about what happened in the las three months and what we would like to happen in the next three months. 
Summarizing, we need time for ourselves:
a. Daily (15 - 30 minutes)
b. Weekly (1 - 2 hours)
c. Quarterly (1 day)

     In preparation for our teaching for each lesson plan we must have time open for discussion and time to ponder about the concepts in class, as we review those ideas that have been just introduced we have to remember those that have been introduced and used before. Repetition is time consuming and has to be part of the teaching plan. Therefore the teacher has to make the students aware that as there is a teaching time there is a learning time. For the learning process there must be a plan too, this plan of course should include repetition as part of the learning time.

    On a future blog I will continue talking about Listening but for now it is clear that listening need some space too, some space-time. How can we create this space-time? 

Friday, May 16, 2014

One Never Stop Dreaming

Even though I haven't written about my dreams, I have been dreaming. Dreaming about what is coming next, immediately and on the long run. At 66 I am confronted with situations that make me wonder about the long run. A few days ago we went to visit our daughter so we could spend "Mother's Day" with her. On Sunday we went to a nursery near Everett where my daughter lives called "Flower World" it is a very nice place! It is huge and have lots of plants for sale, one in particular we were happy to find: A fig tree. A black fig tree. My wife goes crazy for black figs, see loves them and when ever we can find them at the grocery store we buy plenty of them. I think she can eat a pound by herself in a single time. Well I am exaggerating here because I think she will take it slow so her figs will last longer. But I think she can eat a full pound in one day.

Anyways, as we were buying the fig tree I was wondering how long would it take to start having fruit? Would I get to eat some of it? Started thinking about all the fruit that I eat now from trees my grandfather planted more than 50 years ago, like the plum tree that just died last year and that I replacing it with a new tree. Did my grandfather dreamed about these trees?

These last day at work we have been celebrating colleagues that are retiring. One has been at WPC for 35 years, other for 25 and so on. I have been there for 14 so it is not long that I myself will have to retire. So what are my dreams until I retire? and what are my dreams for when I retire? and afterwards? One underlying issue of course is good health, physical and mental good health. So my first task is to keep healthy and improve my health with a good diet and exercise. Mental health as physical health depends on exercise, so for my mental health I have to keep learning. Keep using my brain and my intellect so it keeps working in good shape. One thing I am doing is learning something new all the time, from learning how to improve the things I normally do, like using Moodle for my classes, learning more about things I like, or learning something new, like new languages in computer programming.

I have no idea if these new things like planting a new tree will be part of my future. Or if I will be part of their future. But I feel that dreaming is about dreaming and not about the dreams. As someone said: Happiness is the road and not the finish line.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Thank You For Letting Us Dream

Thank you for letting us dream. Is how Andrew Hunt and David Thomas end their acknowledgements in their book The Pragmatic Programmer.
 I have enjoyed reading this book so much even though I am not a programmer, but the underlying framework in this book is not specific to programming but related to the general philosophy of life. How do we prioritize, organize, and accomplish writing great computing code is in a way a metaphor for how do we live our lives.
It was a nice surprise when I read the end of their acknowledgment as I am writing about dreams!

As I have been aware, mindful of how, when, and what I am dreaming I have been dreaming a lot too, but it has been a bit difficult for me to keep up with my writing. Hope that as my regular semester classes are winding down and the summer break is coming in, I will have more time to reflect and write.


Friday, May 02, 2014

Forgotten Dreams

There is some volatility in dreaming as ideas come and go. Yesterday I had very nice day, again the weather was gorgeous, but my classes went well. One particular I'm very happy to report is the fact that a student whom I had supervised in writing a paper about paradox a human condition won the award of best HUM 410 paper for this year. When I summited her name for the award I was aware of the quality of the paper but I knew that there were other very good papers presented so I didn't have high expectations about winning.

I mention this because as I was going about the chores of the day I was dreaming, and thinking about my dreams. One thing I was thinking is: I should write this as I may forget later on, and I did. I did forget!
So now that I am trying to remember what in heaven I was dreaming about, I thought about writing about forgetting your dreams. How often it is that we do things in a way that are not connected to our dreams. We normally do things that are "urgent", things that somehow are imposed on us and we must do. But these things are not really "important" if we consider them in the light of the dreams we have.

Why do we do this? Is it because we have forgotten our dreams?

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Going Back (Just a Little)

Last night I didn't have time to write, so this morning I will be taking a few minutes to reflect on what happened yesterday related to my dreams of tomorrow. Yesterday was a busy day full of interesting encounters with colleagues and students. One student in particular that has been a joy to see him grow and mature gave me the opportunity of having lunch together. It was a true pleasure chatting with him and getting to know him a bit more, a confirmation of my dreams of a great future.
When I dream about the future I think I put a lot of responsibility (and pressure) on my students. My motto is: "I teach so I touch the future". Teaching is a way to change things now so they will become the future. The heaviness of this statement then relies in the fact that teaching is important in the molding of those who will determine the kind of future we'll have.

So what are the skills, and most important, the philosophy of a good teacher? what are the tools that a good coach that will transport the students from where they are to where they will be, must have?

Without getting in detail I can answer with a short list that I will analyze later on.
1. Planning
2. Listening
3. Communicating
4. Actualizing
5. Opening

Is there another one that I am missing?