Monthly Archives: January 2013

Frosty Days Ahead

Frosty Morning

By: Tristan Campbell

I don’t know about you, but when I saw this picture as well as Tristan’s portfolio, each photo captures nature in all its glory.

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Wisdom from our Elders

“In youth the days are short and the years are long. In old age the years are short and day’s long.”

Pope Paul VI quotes (Italian Pope. 18971978)
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Resources for Restructuring Schools

From my experience in administration and being a teacher, creating a professional community is crucial for effective learning in a restructured system.  One challenge is that ALL teachers need to share responsibility for ALL students.  A professional community must also be committed to fundamental change in teaching practices.  As viewed on this blog site, elements of an effective professional community include reflective dialogue, teachers being open with their practice, collective focus on student learning, collaboration and shared norms and values.

There are structure resources and human or social resources that enhance a community.  Research collected from restructured school systems have shown that human resources such as openness to improvement, trust and respect, teachers being provided knowledge and skills, supportive leadership and socialization can be more critical than structural conditions.

Structural conditions such as time to meet and talk, physical proximity, interdependent teaching roles, communication structures and teacher empowerment are very important and necessary, but if a school doesn’t have social and human resources to use the structural conditions, strong professional conditions can’t develop. Improving culture, climate and interpersonal relationships lead the way to building a necessary foundation for restructuring schools.

We can learn from our students and the culture that we envision to create.  What do we want to model for the students we teach? Students learn in an environment that has mutual respect and trust.  If students are willing to learn and work together in and out of the classroom they will continue to progress.  Teachers provide the students with the tools to learn and the students have leaders throughout the school to guide their achievement.  The restructuring pathway takes dedication and time but if the fundamental resources are in place a successful school system will reap the benefits of a professional learning community.

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An Old Lady’s Poem

Subject: A poem on being ‘Elderly’
When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was felt that she had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem.
Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.
One nurse took her copy to Ireland.
The old lady’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health.
And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this “anonymous” poem winging across the Internet.

An Old Lady’s Poem
What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise, uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply, when you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try!”
Who seems not to notice the things that you do, and forever is losing a stocking or shoe…..
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will, with bathing and feeding, the long day to fill….
Is that what you’re thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse; you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still, as I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten …with a father and mother, brothers and sisters, who love one another.
A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet, dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at twenty — my heart gives a leap, remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five now, I have young of my own, who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast, bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone, but my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty once more, babies play round my knee, again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead; I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own, and I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old woman …and nature is cruel; ‘Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigour depart, there is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells, and now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain, and I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years ……all too few, gone too fast, and accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people, open and see, not a crabby old woman; look closer …see ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an old person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within…
We will one day be there, too, will you remember?


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Decisions for the Future

Doing The Right Thing
I wanted to share a portion of an article from Yahoo that was written a few years ago.  Having become involved in taking care of my mom with my family, I now realize the unbelievable decisions that need to be made for future care and living for the elderly.  The process may not seem fair and deserving of a person who has always been full of life, responsibility, and love.   Your parent,  family member or caretaker is put in such a vulnerable, sensitive and emotional position.   Each day I learn more about my mom and about myself as I continue this journey.  If you have a parent that you will be responsible for in their senior years, take note.  Be a good listener, talk to your loved one and educate yourself in the decisions that need to be made for the future.  Reflect on your own life and help to ease future decisions that will need to be made with your children or caretakers.  Even though the article was written three years ago,  the decisions are still challenging and the care has become even more complicated.  Educators are guiding and supporting the young people of today for tomorrow.  As life moves on,  we must not forget that we need to be prepared to take part in the future of the elderly.  We all want to do the right thing.
Decisions We Make for Our Aging Parents, by Jennifer Cote
As our society grows old, many of us will wrestle with how to provide elder care for our aging parents. For many of us, it will hit home after our parents suffer a debilitating disease, or take a fall, or even catch a bad case of the flu. At one point, my father-in-law had fallen out of bed; he landed in the hospital with a DNR tag on him (“Do Not Resuscitate”). He was old, had a broken hip, and had caught pneumonia while in the hospital. Family caught wind of the DNR instructions and told the doctors, “You better resuscitate, or else!”  But what can happen when we take measures to prolong life? Applying the wonders of modern medicine, what might the future hold? A likely scenario will feature that resuscitated person a few years down the road, as increasingly frail, potentially incoherent, and incapacitated to varying degrees. Extra care might well be necessary; many older folks will need help going to the bathroom, taking showers, even remembering to take their medications. Wheelchairs might become necessary, and foods may need to be pureed. (This cuts down on the chance of aspiration, which can lead to pneumonia). Short-term memory loss can also be an issue. Confusion will require more patience on the part of caregivers, who will have a lot of extra explaining to do.My grandmother lived to age 90, and insisted on staying in her own house, right up to the end. She hobbled around, watched a lot of TV, but we could still talk and visit with her. My dad would make the 90 minute drive out to her house once a week with groceries. At the time, family felt it would be so much more convenient for her to live closer to the rest of the family; certainly if anything went wrong, they’d be able to get care for her that much quicker.As things happened, grandma might indeed have prolonged her life, had she been closer to my folks, and closer to a hospital. Instead, she died after a fall; a neighbor found her a day or two later. What a seemingly sad way to go, but given the other alternatives, I suspect that this way was perfectly suitable for my grandmother. She never lost her dignity; she lived how she wanted to.It seems that a person should treat aging with great respect, and do whatever they can to ensure the least amount of potential accidents.Yahoo! Contributor Network Jul 9, 2009
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Family Comes First

Just a note to let you know that I haven’t forgotten my blog.  There was a medical situation, and for the end of December and January I have focusing all my attention on family.  I will be back to the blog soon, now that there is more calm at this time.  I appreciate your patience and I look forward to the freedom of expression.  I have enjoyed maintaining and creating new connections on keepitschool.

Take care! and don’t forget to always count your blessings and tell the ones that you are closest to, that you love them!

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