LOOK AHEAD: Visits during week of September 10
Denver: Colorado Academy, Denver Montessori, St. Anne’s Episcopal, Denver Green School
Kansas City: Barstow, Pembroke Hill
The nature of comfort and risk are skewed to our life experience. I try, utterly unsuccessfully of course, to empathize with those who have experienced war, devastating personal loss, or just the rigors of living each day not knowing where the evening meal will come from, or if it will come. Those who know these know true risk and true discomfort, and so it is with some hesitation that I compare stepping off into a journey with just a fraction of those unknowns. But we are each the sum of our experiences; we cannot be more or less.
Tomorrow morning before dawn I will drive off for three months on the road. I will miss my wife, Julie, who is putting up with the unknowns and risks of this journey as much as I am. The last time I did something like this, I was single, 24, filled a backpack with a few clothes and many rolls of film and bought a one-way ticket to Kathmandu. My goal then was to have no goal, to see, learn, absorb, and understand a world far removed from that in which I had grown up. That journey took me through much of southern Asia, steered me into a teaching and research opportunity in the Philippines, and set my rudder in many ways for the rest of my life. Now, much older, back, joints, and patience less well attuned to sleeping on train platforms, my new step-off journey will be more physically comfortable. $50 hotels may not be luxurious, but they are warm and safe. And of course I have already received hospitable and welcoming invitations to visit with many thoughtful and innovative educators…welcome mats mitigate discomfort in so many ways!
Though separated by 32 years and 180 degrees of longitude, in one way these two journeys are similar. My goal is still to see, learn, absorb, and understand. My questions may be more focused from three decades of thinking, writing, teaching, and talking about how and why we learn, but I will try to be just as open to what the journey has to teach me as I was when my belongings filled a backpack, not the back of a Prius.
Thanks to my sponsors, The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence and Lake Flato for helping to defray the costs. Thanks to Bo Adams at Unboundary for setting up some video interviews that we will post on our respective blog sites…reports from the road. And thanks to all of you for joining the conversation. I experienced some long, lonely stretches wandering Asia solo back in the day, and I am sure happy to know that this journey will be filled with collaboration, learning, and sharing.
Of course Grant, if your journey brings to Charlotte, you have a bed and home cooked meal at the Carolina Lichtman abode!! Though I am not sure Charlotte has any innovative learning going on! LOL. Hoping my daughter, will help lead that as she completes her masters in curriculum management.
I am anxiously awaiting your postings as you seek out innovative education. My organization, East Asia Regional Council of Schools has its office in the Philippines. I would be interested hearing about your experiences in the Philippines. We are always searching for new and interesting voices in education to speak at our two conferences each year.
Thanks for following along, Bill. In terms of my work in the Philippines, it is a long history and I will try to summarize briefly: I taught at Silliman Univ for a year a long while back. About 6 years ago I started an annual trip with high school students for two weeks in conjunction with the Silliman Service Learning group. It has been very successful. We also set up a fund for charitable work and support several organizations and projects in that area, so we have a sustainable presence there. My two main colleagues at Silliman are the president, Ben Malayang, and the Dean of the Ed School, Earl Cleope. In fact the last two years our trip has coincided with the Ed School convocation and I have been the keynote speaker. Let’s communicate more via email or skype; my email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to explore further. Thanks.