Tag Archives: Chairs

Traditional Philosophy Helping Mold Young Minds

It was the second thing I noticed when I walked into her classroom. A big sign saying “I am who I am because of who we all are.”

Incidentally, the first thing I noticed when I walked into Mrs. C’s room at Awesome Elementary School, where I’m working as a reading tutor, was that the students didn’t have chairs and desks.Oh, they had desks and they were sitting down, but they didn’t have chairs. Instead, the students were sitting, balancing and gently bouncing on large Swiss exercise balls.

Because Mrs. C teaches a lot of kids with learning differences, she said she’s done some research about ways to keep the kids focused. She’s found that having the kids sitting on the balancing balls helps to burn off some of that excessive energy that can make teaching kids with ADD or ADHD or other learning disabilities such a drain on many teachers.

The kids, of course, love them. Except when they get carried away and start bouncing up and down on the Swiss balls like grasshopper on a sugar high. The threat of making them sit in normal chairs usually is enough to get them to settle down.

Despite having what seems to be a bit of a chaotic classroom, Mrs. C keeps things humming right along. She’s got the kids doing what needs to be done in a collaborative method. Heck, sometimes she even gives up the big desk to an especially hardworking student, sitting down elsewhere while the student works at her desk.

But this isn’t a story about how awesome Mrs. C is, or how she perfectly fits into the progressive traditional grove that is Awesome Elementary School (although she is, she does and it is). I want to talk, instead, about the philosophy that seems to drive her educational ideas. It’s called Ubuntu.

The dictionary definition of Ubuntu is quite dry, but illuminating: a quality that includes the essential human virtues; compassion and humanity. When Mrs. C translates it into English, it gains a bit of poetic license. “I am who I am because of who we all are.”

“Originally,” she said, “it was a South African philosophy about interconnectedness and community. It became quite popular after apartheid was overturned. I love it. It says we cannot become successful alone, we cannot fail alone, we are all in this together. It also teaches about the acceptance of others and ourselves by seeing us all through a community lens.”

That’s what I love about this. It harkens back to Hilary Clinton’s go-to catchphrase: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Let’s try and leave politics out of this and look at it for what it is; a plea for involvement beyond your own narrow interests.

Sure we parents would like to think we’re the preeminent forces for moral growth in our little dudes and dudettes, but, if we’re being realistic, we need to understand that society has a massive impact on what our children believe and how they act. Which is why we need to act for the greater good, as well as our own good, because the two are very much intertwined.

We’re running a bit long here, so I’ll be back tomorrow with more from Mrs. C and Awesome Elementary School.

Share on Facebook

Anticipation Nightmare

by Richard

If there’s one thing I forgot to take into account when I decided to take the job as a part-time tutor at the Wonderful Elementary School, it’s that I would have to deal with little dudes and little dudettes.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an idiot. I knew I’d be teaching the little shriekers. It’s just that I forgot I would also have to put up with them.

Especially when they’re wound up so tight they could snap a spring in twain. And, brother, when it’s Halloween and they’re going to be going out to hunt up candy in only a couple of hours, they are wound — the heck — up. Way, way up.

Most of those kids who celebrate Halloween were up and down out of their seats faster than a hyperactive mole trying to escape the hammer. (Sure, there are some kids who don’t celebrate Halloween. I was told by one that his mom considers Halloween to be the devil’s birthday so it’s no reason to celebrate. There are times when I have a very, very hard time holding in my opinions. That was one.) The enthusiasm/excitement was contagious.

Kids who wouldn’t have their parents catch them dead wearing make up because they worry the parents might think they’re in costume, were grabbing onto their chairs with clenched fists to make sure they didn’t accidentally join in on the suppressed sugar-party-to-come.

All I’ll say is it’s a good thing I got to leave just after lunch. If I’d have had to stay much longer, there was a very good chance some of those kids would have had to trick or treat on crutches. Accidentally, of course.

Now my only problem is trying to keep myself calm until I can get out of the house and start trying to scare some people. Or something. I’ve heard. Not that I would do that on purpose. Only, you know, accidentally. Of course.

Share on Facebook

Give The Unexpected

by Richard

Welp, we’re a little more than two weeks out from Valentine’s Day and, more than likely, you dudes still haven’t given much of a thought as to what you’re going to give your sweetie. I know. I know. It’s hard to think about stuff like that. I mean, the Super Bowl’s almost on and college basketball is ramping up toward March Madness. I understand, dudes.

That’s why I’m here.

This year, we’re all going to try and avoid chocolates and flowers like the clichéd plague they are. I’ve already talked about the joys of giving Pandora beads, so now I want to talk about something a bit more practical, but that your sweetie will absolutely love. Once she gets over the idea that you might think she’s a slob.

Let’s talk organization. If your house/apartment/refrigerator box is anything like mine, it’s a mess. There’s (a little of) my stuff, (a lot of) my wife’s, known to me as She Who Must Be Keeping Every Single Stitch Of Clothing She’s Ever Purchased And Look What’s In The Mail-More Mail-Order Clothing, stuff, and (a metric ton of) stuff belonging to the young dudes. That, my friends, is a lot of stuff.

And there’s no one in the house who’s all that good at organizing stuff so it doesn’t look like something exploded or organizing by the simple expedient of cramming more stuff in that closet, you know the one, over there with the bulging door.

Which makes what Kristina Barrett does all the more amazing. Kristina is the owner and main worker bee for Good Egg Organizing here in the Charlotte metro area. She is absolutely, flat-out, cold awesome at what she does.

And what she does is make the rest of us look good. Or at least like we won’t embarrass our various mothers by making the house look like we were raised in a barn. And, no, I’m not shilling for her in the hopes that she’ll give us a discount the next time she comes ’round the house and gets my sweetie straightened away.

She’s just that good.

Not to turn this into an ode to Kristina or anything, but she helps to make living in the house more than just surviving. She works with my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Getting Organized — Eventually, to get the clutter busted, find places for stuff and make things look better. Not only do they constantly reorganize her closet, but Kristina also has helped us to decorate, for instance, our wall unit so it holds knick-knacks and looks good. Not only that, but she’s good enough that I actually let her help us decorate for my favorite holiday, Halloween, and actually enjoyed the experience.

Organization isn’t something that comes naturally to most people. That spare table in most houses basically becomes a shelf for people to put junk on that just happens to have chairs sitting around on it. With Kristina’s help, we’ve been able to actually eat dinner on the dining room table. For a while at least. Clutter does tend to come back.

Anyway, think about it. If not Kristina, then look on the internet for organizers who work in your area. Really. It’s a great gift for her, that will also be a good gift for you.

If you’re in the Charlotte metro area and want to give Christina a call, you can reach her at 704-941-0304, or at her website, www.goodeggorganizing.com, or by e-mailing her at kristina(at)goodeggorganizing(dot)com.

Share on Facebook