Who am I? Why am I the way I am? What am I doing with my life? Where am I going to be in the not so distant future? In the very distant future? How did I get here and where will I be going? All questions that can probably be answered in just one picture –
Yes, you are right.. I am a Pirate.. a mighty, mighty Pirate.
They were the best of times, they were the worst of times.. Ahhh high school.
There will be people who state that high school was a low point in their lives or that it didn’t matter at all and made no difference to them in regards to how they turned out as an adult. Maybe they hated it or thought it was a complete waste of time. However, it cannot be denied that by having gone through it, high school exposes a person, to a certain level, on how to become (or not become) an adult. It’s a place where you must decide what is important and what is not; how you want to be treated or how you will never treat someone else. High school, if done right, is a place where you might meet some of your longest standing and best friends in life.
I do understand that high school today is a much different beast than it was when I attended (1981-1985). We did not have to worry about someone coming in and shooting up the school. We had authentic learning experiences that were not focused on taking tests. We didn’t have a lot of parents suing schools, so most of the science experiments and field trips were more spontaneous and exciting than some of what I have seen in schools today. We were also not monitored as much as kids are today (rightfully so) because we knew that our neighbors would rat us out if we got too out of hand. We were also given “breaks” by some of those same neighbors resulting in a different kind of learning lesson. There was accountability in the school as well as out of it, which in my opinion, led to a greater amount of freedom because we all knew that we were being looked after. There is a certain amount of safety connected to discipline and accountability which is not as prevalent today as it was when I was growing up.
Another thing that we had in the 80’s were AMAZING teachers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying at all that teachers today are not amazing, or at least not trying to be amazing. The problem is teachers have so many more constrictions and confinements today than my teachers had. The issues might be the same, but the tools and freedoms to solve the problems are not as available and often times not considered as acceptable.
Teaching to a state/federal/national test limits how much spontaneity a teacher can use in the classroom. When I taught in California, our administration stated basically, “As I walk by one 1st grade classroom I should be able to hear the beginning of a sentence and as pass the next first grade classroom, I should hear the end of that same sentence.” This of course is ridiculous, but that is just one example of how tightly planned a teacher’s day sometimes is.
The 80’s were an amazing time of transition as well. A time of loosening up of some of the more stringent ideas of what should be taught in school so there was a little more play in the school. I remember our teachers being pretty hip. It was the beginning of an era of group motivational speaking. We had so many convocations about self-esteem and enjoying life. We had a leadership weekend once a year where our entire class could sign up and go to a campsite and sing songs, compete in team building activities and just learn how to bond and enjoy each other while receiving messages about how to be a better person in general.
I think these things that happened to me in my high school years made me the person I am today. I do realize this is not the case for everyone in high school and that I was fortunate to have gone to the school I went to and had the friends I did and even fortunate to have survived it all unscathed. I’m still friends with many of the friends I made in high school and actively try to find the ones I lost contact with because they are that important to me.
I had several favorite teachers and coaches/counselors/mentors in high school. I remember one teacher randomly stopping me in the hallway when I was going through a very low point in my life and telling me how amazing I was and how I was going to be an inspirational and remarkable woman one day. I don’t even know how he knew I was going through some tough times but he did. At that particular moment in time I didn’t believe him and I didn’t think it would actually happen at all. Guess what? It did. Sure, I’m no more amazing and remarkable than the next woman, but when I feel down or beaten those very words start echoing in my head and push me on. This man was not an anomaly. This was a message that many of us got from many of our teachers.
Another teacher/coach/mentor/counselor always wore purple and gold clothing to school.
I saw him several years after graduation when I was substitute teaching in a different school and strangely, he wasn’t wearing purple. In retrospect, purple and gold were probably not his favorite colors. These colors were obviously our school colors but to him they were a little more than that. They were a symbol to him. A sense of pride was demonstrated in this man for being who and what he was while he was what he was. His only objective in life seemed to be wanting to instill that same sense of pride in each of us. His convocations were always full of life and humor and hoping that we would all be able to acknowledge at some point who and what we were while we were what we were.
More than that though, our teachers seemed to want to help us understand that what we were right now was only temporary. What we were going through at any given moment was only what was happening at that moment and it was all a preparation for everything that was to come.
One of my favorite convocations we were shown (I think 4 years in a row) a video entitled “Greatest Days of your life (so far). This film has also echoed in my head when I’ve felt down and out and even when I have been as up as I could be. I’ve been able to apply it to nearly every situation and time period in my life. It’s also why I am who I am today and I just wanted to share it and hope you all enjoy it as well. Thanks for stopping by.
P.S. For some reason I could not actually attach this youtube video. When I did try, some Mindy Mcready videos popped up in their place. At any rate, take some time to click on the links.. they really are good, if not a little dated. Again, thanks for stopping by.
This award winning film, “Greatest Days of Your Life,,,so far” written and performed by Mark Scharenbroich (Mark Shake and Bake) in 1981 has been seen by more than 10 million students
- Invest in teachers (thegazette.com)
- VIDEO: Flipped Classrooms (nbc15.com)
- Media: This ELL Teacher Has Way More Klout Than You (scholasticadministrator.typepad.com)
- Hair on Fire (www.npr.org)
- Keeping Kids First (keepingkidsfirst.wordpress.com)