Embrace Nature

Embrace Nature

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Waiting for News

While doing some education news research, I ran across this article in a Harvard Business Review blog, and I thought it interesting enough to pass around. The best part, I think, is the last paragraph:

TFA stands out as a prolific spawner of entrepreneurial leadership in education. Of course, part of this is simply the reality that TFA sets forth to recruit individuals with leadership potential--and is delivering on this aim. Indeed, the TFA application process is highly selective and consists of multiple steps. Its success, however, as an educational entrepreneurial incubator, suggests that it is a potential source not only of future leaders and innovators in education but as a model for educational leadership creation in itself.

Who wouldn't want to be a part of THAT?

Why am I still doing research on education, policy, teaching, classrooms, charter schools and the latest news topics on education, weeks after the final interview has passed? Well, first of all, it's because I've become pretty dang passionate about it in the past 6 months or so. But I'm also getting extremely anxious waiting to hear back from both TFA and NYCTF. I've been back and forth with NYCTF since yesterday, and should be getting a call from them any day now. And the decision from TFA is due Monday. At a good friend's wedding this weekend, a friend (former TFA CM and current PD) of the groom told me that somewhere out there is a computer spreadsheet that already knows if I'm accepted into the 2011 Corps or not. This week is spent assigning the accepted applicants to regions. The suspense is enough to drive me a bit neurotic.

Patience is a virtue I have never really had, and I can't say I'm getting any better at it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In Memoriam

"Ever has it been
that love knows not its own depth
until the hour of separation."
~Kahlil Gibran

Today the wind wreaks havoc on this city, on the trees and on anything not tied down in this City of Trees. The first day of a new season, a season marked by rebirth and regrowth, comes only days after an end. Perhaps apropos, but perhaps just the opposite. So loved, so much the embodiment of family and happiness and mental vitality, the man left his mark on me, even, just a distant friend. I was fortunate to meet him, not once, but twice, and for days at a time. Touched to have spent time with not only him but his loving family. To experience the place they all called home, and where, for summer after summer, the children would gather, reunite, celebrate life together. This end comes suddenly, and forces questions of meaning and a desire to know more. But I know that all who remember him will do him justice, and can be thankful for the time that they were given. Rest peacefully.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Over the course of 23 days, I journeyed my way from one home to the next.

I skied pristine powder in Tahoe. I hiked 3 miles down into the Grand Canyon. I slept in my car in a Walmart parking lot on a 15-degree-Fahrenheit night. I breathed the smog in LA. I climbed Camelback Mountain in perfect weather. I camped beneath the Superstitions. I watched eagles soaring over fields in 3 states, chased a javelina in the Granite Dells and photographed elk on the Rim Trail.

I let myself discover new limits of my own comfort. Physical comfort. Psychological comfort. Emotional comfort. I let myself discover new friends, and discovered the newness in old friends. And I found a deeper sense of oneness with the universe.

Traveling alone opened my eyes in a way that nothing else could. Like performing a solo in front of an audience, you are forced to guide yourself, to make all the decisions. People are probably watching, and you might take a misstep, but you will find a way to recover and move on. And when you're finished, oh, the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment! Try it sometime.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Putting the finishing touches on my bedroom, and it feeling like a place to belong.

Being warm and cozy in my new house.

Running into a friend at my new credit union.

Eating a meal and drinking coffee at the same place almost every day I've been in town since I arrived.

Watching the rain fall outside, listening to moody music and it being perfect.

These things, seemingly so simple, are also so comforting. They lift me up, confirm in my soul that this is where I belong right now. I have been welcomed to this new city with everything good that I could have asked for. I am once again assured that my life is in my capable, eager hands. And I can do with it whatever I please.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

home is where the heart is

a little bit of sun
a little bit of rain
a little bit of love
a little bit of pain

a smile from a friend
a tear from my eye
a heart on the mend
a dove in the sky

find me in the forest
climbing in the trees
lose me in the city
wind to whipping breeze

on the move once more
through fields and mountains roam
settle in again
make me feel at home

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reading Between the Lines

In February, I received this letter from the New York City Teaching Fellows:

Dear Christine,

Thank you for your continued interest in the NYC Teaching Fellows program. At this time, your candidacy for the June 2011 program remains under review. Because of uncertainty about the hiring needs for next school year, we are deferring most acceptance decisions until we have more information that enables us to better project the need for new Teaching Fellows.

Although we are unable to provide you with a final notification at this time, please be aware that we have already rejected many applicants, and you are part of a select group of candidates being strongly considered for our program. Candidates held in this priority group are not ranked. As such, we cannot predict our ability to offer you a Fellowship. We expect to provide you with a final decision by this spring.

We are impressed by your background and desire to close the achievement gap in New York City, and thank you in advance for your patience as we make our acceptance decisions. If you have any additional questions about the Fellowship, please do not hesitate to contact us at fellows@schools.nyc.gov.

Vicki Bernstein, Executive Director
Teacher Recruitment and Quality

I kind of saw this coming.

In short, the people in control of the money don't believe education is worth the expense.

But our nation is under extreme duress. How is education NOT the answer? Isn't educating the next generation the perfect solution? Someone please explain to me what is going on here.