Tag Archives: “David Truss”

T.I.C. Chinese School PE Program Inspection

This routine is practiced almost daily for a few months before the inspection. At the start of the year it involved skipping ropes, but our school (neighbouring theirs) showed a lot of interest in basketball, so they incorporated basketballs into their spring routine.

Every student was asked to bring a basketball from home. The small items on the ground near them are cardboard rings that they made to keep their ball from rolling around at the back of their classrooms. Often during PE classes you’ll see the younger students wearing these like bandanas on their heads. Cute!

Watch to the end to see the speed at which they run to their line-ups to head back into the school. It’s that fast even when there isn’t an inspection happening.

A neat look into a very different school culture.

Looking into North Korea

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We arrived in Dandong at about 9:15pm. This is the view of the Peace Bridge heading into North Korea. The lights on the bridge end at the border. Apparently a city of almost 2 million about 200,000 people sits in the darkness. Any hint of light is probably a military installation.

We’ll learn more in the morning, but this one image tells quite a story.

an original sin

I want to talk about something sinful. I say this in the hope that it promotes Good, not anger. Please keep that intent in mind as you read.

I’ve said this elsewhere before:

I think the two most noblest of traits are compassion and forgiveness.
Compassion because it links us to others in a way that we lose ourselves.
Forgiveness because more than any other trait, it can not be faked
and true forgiveness is to see love even in the faults of others.

This post is not directly about compassion and forgiveness but it is about being noble: having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals. It is about being responsive in a way the shows high moral principles in the most religious sense… where all great religions share common beliefs.

This post is about two things, Good and Evil. I believe there is capital ‘G’ Good in this world and also capital ‘E’ Evil in this world. I believe these forces are at battle globally, nationally, locally and personally. We have both good and evil wolves within us all and we chose which one we feed. I question which one is being fed in today?

Osama Bin Ladin is dead.

I do not question if he was Evil. Osama Bin Ladin is dead and the world has been rid of an Evil man.

What I fear now, what scares me, is the response I see to his death. It is vengeful, vindictive. It is spurred by hate. I see the only of the 7 deadly sins not necessarily associated with selfishness or self-interest: wrath.

I’ve seen this before. I’ve seen it around the world. My earliest memory of it was when Ronald Reagan was shot. I sat, shocked, watching my friends television after school, one of the scenes shared, a celebration in the streets of an unremembered country, far from the US in distance, diplomacy and idealism. It felt wrong. I have the same feeling now.

And so I seek to see things from multiple perspectives and to understand things that we may miss because we take things for granted in our own culture and in our own fixed perspective.

President Obama said on the death of Osama Bin Ladin and in discussing the tragedy of 9/11, “… And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.”

I remember watching that on television too. Much of the world gasping for breath as towers crumbled. And once again, scenes shared of celebrations in the streets of other countries, far from the US in distance, diplomacy and idealism. This too felt wrong. I have the same feeling now.

How many have died since the towers fell? How many parent-less children are there? …the victims of a war on Hate. Victims: not gun-wielding Evil men and women… Just people in the wrong place at the wrong time.

… And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace.”

Without doing research I would estimate the number of deaths from the war on Hate to be closer to 300,000 than 3,000. But the totals are not shared to be compared, they are both significant numbers that exceed zero, making them painful reminders of Evil. They leave gaping holes in many of our hearts.

It is hard for any of the surviving family members, victims in different countries but with common suffering, to see the Good in this world. But we do have Good in this world. And there is room for more of it. There is always room for compassion and forgiveness. There is always a possible response that is noble: having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.

An evil man is dead. I see celebrations around the world and this too feels wrong.

Will the killing stop? I read a book about ‘The Spider and the Starfish’. You sever a leg of a spider and it is crippled. You sever the leg of a starfish and it grows a new one. I fear that al Qaeda is more starfish than spider.

How do we let the Good in us reign? Where can we now seek love? Where can we show compassion? To whom can we show forgiveness? How can we bring peace to our world?

An evil man is dead. This is cause for relief, not rejoicing; reconciliation, not retribution; reflection, not wrath.

An open letter to the Ontario College of Teachers re: Social Media, Part 2

I’ll start by saying, ‘Shame on The Canadian Press and shame on cbc.ca’, I thought this was a news source I could rely on. Next, I’ll say, ‘Shame on me’, since I reacted publicly, based on a single secondary source for information, and I did not go to the main source. As an educator who makes great efforts to use social media in appropriate ways, I feel embarrassed that I contributed in disseminating exaggerated and miss-informed hype! I will learn from this, hopefully others will too. 

But what was of greatest concern to me was the message to ‘not use’ social networks with students, and that is not the case!  

The Ontario College of Teachers DID NOT say teachers should avoid connecting with their students on Facebook or Twitter.

Here is a great video they have created: 

While I could nitpick and suggest some minor changes, I think that the advisory does an excellent job of saying three key things:

1. Interact with students appropriately 
2. Understand privacy concerns
3. Act professionally

And, they offer sound advice that will help teachers both think about, and understand, that their digital communication is public and therefore needs to be professional. 

Here is the actual advisory:

OCT_Prof_Adv_Soc_Media.pdf
Download this file

I will end in saying, ‘well done’ to the Ontario College of Teachers! 
And again, my apologies.
Kind regards,
David Truss

ps. Special thanks to Ontario teacher Lorna Costantini @lornacost for questioning the news article’s interpretation and for pointing me to the sources provided above. 

An open letter to the Ontario College of Teachers re: Social Media Fears

*Updated post and apology letter:
An open letter to the Ontario College of Teachers re: Social Media, Part 2
I request that you please go to my link above for clarification on this post. 
Thanks to Ontario teacher Lorna Costantini @lornacost for questioning the news article’s interpretation and for pointing me to the sources provided in the link above, and in the 6th comment below. 
 ____________________________________________
Ontario teachers advised not to tweet with students
By The Canadian Press, cbc.ca, Updated: April 12, 2011 6:44 AM

Social media may be the new frontier of communication but not between teachers and students.

The Ontario College of Teachers says teachers should avoid connecting with their students on Facebook or Twitter.

They are also told to avoid contacting them on LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube and MySpace.

The college issued an advisory to maintain professional boundaries, saying it’s vital to the public trust.

It also says some members have groomed a student for sexual purposes, using electronic messages to win their confidence.

Dear Ontario College of Teachers,

I’ve read the article above, and you have one thing worthy to note in your statement: “The college issued an advisory to maintain professional boundaries, saying it’s vital to the public trust.”

However, as a professional, I thought that was self-evident.

Beyond that your statement is nothing less than counterproductive!

You see, by removing educated professionals from the pool of participants who can actually ‘TEACH’ students about appropriate social media use, you invite students to be influenced, and bullied, and taken advantage of by less scrupulous people… including your members who are less than professional and likely to avoid your advisory anyway.

What’s vital to the public trust is that they trust teachers to be current and to teach students to communicate and relate to the current world they live in… or should we still be teaching students to use quill pens?

 

*Updated post and apology letter:
An open letter to the Ontario College of Teachers re: Social Media, Part 2