Monthly Archives: February 2011

T.I.C. – “This is China” – Community


There is a Chinese school right behind ours, and their main entrance to our shared field and school is at the side of our building. It snowed last night and when I walked by their entrance there were about 15 parents and a few older students shoveling the front walk.

Many hands make light work:-)

I’m sure there are a few small communities around the world where this could happen, but living in a city of 6 million and seeing this community effort makes my morning!


*Update: There is more to this story… See the rest on my Pairadimes blog. 

BYOE- Be Your Own Editor

After blogging for almost 5 years now, I’ve come to the realization that I really appreciate the fact that I am my own editor. 

Today I saw an article that I wrote for a local publication. This is the second article I’ve done for this magazine. In the first one, there were some liberal edits and emphasis was added throughout the article with what I considered over-use of italicized words. 

This time there were only two ‘minor’ changes to my words with respect to a short article on my recent “No Office Day”.

This sentence: “Our ‘Light the Candles’ Holiday Concert was fast approaching and everyone was getting into the spirit of the holidays”, was edited to say “… getting into the spirit of Christmas”. But I distinctly chose ‘holidays’ as I work in an international school where many of my students do not celebrate Christmas.

The second change was to the last sentence of the article: 
I think I’ll need to make “No Office Days” a regular event in my schedule!”   was edited to say, 
I think I’ll need to make “No Office Days” a permanent part of my own curriculum.” 

But as a principal, I don’t have a curriculum and although I get the literary appeal to ending the article this way, it was neither my words nor my intent. 

I guess I’ve shared all this just to say, “I like being my own editor!” My blogs have spoiled me that way. I want my words to be my words and my emphasis to be my emphasis. 

It’s quite liberating to BYOE- Be Your Own Editor! 

Here is the article as I wrote it:

A Principal has a “No Office Day”! 

As principal of a school, office duties can often consume a large part of my day. At Dalian Maple Leaf Foreign Nationals School we go through British Columbia, Canada Government certification every year and these requirements, followed by first term report cards going out shortly after, kept me pretty busy at the end of November and early December. So, on Friday December 10th I decided to have a “No Office Day”. I purposefully left my laptop at home, and I spent the day visiting classroom after classroom, joining in on the learning activities at the school. 

A highlight of the day had to be visiting a Senior class where our teacher had given the class a descriptive paragraph assignment. Their job: describe everything they could about an orange. So, what made this special? Well, when I entered the room, there in front of each student was a peeled orange, and students were touching, smelling and tasting them as they had their laptops open, busily describing this hands-on experience. I was even offered an orange although I came to the class with a full mug of coffee in hand and the two flavours together did not interest me. What did interest me was the incredibly descriptive paragraphs that students were writing… this was a clever, (and healthy), learning experience! 

Another highlight came in an intermediate class where students were country representatives in a mock United Nations Security Council. The Council was deciding what their actions would be to solve the crisis in Syria & Lebanon. The discussion was rich and the comments were thoughtful and well researched. It was also nice to see that more peaceful approaches took priority over sending troops into Lebanon. Voting even took them a few minutes into lunch, but the Council new they had work to be done! 

I ended the day with the Grade 2’s making seasonal decorations. Our ‘Light the Candles’ Holiday Concert was fast approaching and everyone was getting into the spirit of the holidays. Overall it was a truly fantastic day! It’s days like this which remind me of why I became an educator in the first place. Being around great teachers and wonderful students for the whole day is certainly an event that I will plan again soon. I think I’ll need to make “No Office Days” a regular event in my schedule! 


ps. I think we should remember this when editing student work in school, and be sure to give kids some choices in how their work gets edited to a final product.

Thinking about positive thinking

I’ve been thinking a lot about thinking today. I recalled my sister telling me about a Japanese Scientist who froze either pure or distilled water drops to examine the ice crystals… except that first he treated the water in a special way. He would ‘apply’ thoughts, and words, to the water containers first: things like ‘joy’ and ‘happiness’ or ‘sorry’ and ‘anger’. The results were remarkable! Beautiful patterns with positive thoughts & words, and patternless, blocks or ‘broken’ patterns with negative thoughts & words.

It makes me wonder about all this talk I hear about broken schools and our ‘failure’ to prepare our students for the future?

It makes me wonder about all the negative self-talk our media perpetuates… We aren’t pretty enough, we are too fat, we look too old, we aren’t rich enough, we can buy happiness, our future is bleak!

How much of this is real, and how much of it is unintentionally willed by our own (weak?) thoughts?

If we could accumulate a day’s worth of thoughts and place that on a frozen water sample, what shapes would we get? Beautiful patterns or broken formations?

What if we did this for our family, community, city, nation or world?

I know what it would look like for every newspaper & news media stream that exists, and find this disturbing… a reason why I avoid the news altogether!

There are some amazing things happening in this world. Kindness, generosity and love can be powerful and potent catalysts in changing what our daily thoughts accumulate to.

At the end of today, think of what the crystallized accumulation of your daily thoughts would look like. If you see something beautiful, congratulate yourself! If you see something less than beautiful, know that you have the power to change that, and also know that begins with acceptance, not blame… with forgiveness, not anger… with love, not self-loathing.

Gandhi was right, we really do need to be the change we want to see in this world. And that starts with our thoughts that drive us.

Think good thoughts,
Say good words,
Do good deeds.