Monday, December 21, 2009

Xmas Traditions

Thursday, November 26, 2009

When a Teacher Learns

On the very last day of school, during the very last class, the teacher turned to the students. He looked at each of them slowly and started to speak.

“Each of you knows what you have learned from me. All of you know what you have learned from your other teachers – or not, as the case may be.”

The students chuckled nervously. It was funny, but in a way, it was not.

He continued with a question, “How many of you, however, know what your teachers have learned from you?”

Eyes widened. What did he mean?

“Today” said the teacher, “I will tell you.”

“I have learned from you that different people learn in different ways.”

“I learned that some of you learn at different speeds, different paces.”

“I learned that all of you have your good days and bad days. I do too.”

“I learned from you that I forgot what it was like to be a student, and I want to thank you for reminding me how hard it was.”

“I learned that if I really wanted to know how to teach, I need to listen to what my students tell me, even when they do not know that they are telling me anything at all.”

“I learned that if I want to be a better teacher, I have to learn how to listen first, act second and judge last. I learned that I should ask my students what will make me a better teacher as well; for if I expect them to be better students, they ought to have at least as much say in what will make me, make them, such.”

And the teacher did listen; and at first it was like the echoes in a large empty room. Then, slowly, slight murmurs rose to sound and voices became clear. And here is what they said:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Real Honduran News

Three blogs posting a variety of new regarding Honduras include: narconewshondurancampesino and lagringasblogicito.  Beware the feuding between the last two -- but if you read between the lines of all three, you can get a clearer picture of what is happening here.

Living Under A Curfew

Remember when you were a teenager and thought the curfew imposed by your parents was bad? Now try a 4 pm to 7 am curfew imposed by the government and you just ran out of drinking water! And no, you can't drink the tap water.

Then you hear the curfew is extended from 7 am to 6 pm! I'm going to have to start collecting rain water and boiling water from the tap -- and hope the electricity stays on.

These are some of the few joys of living in a developing country like Honduras. I just hope things do not turn violent and that this coup situation resolves itself peacefully.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Phrases to live by...

1. Fix the problem not the blame.

Often attributed to the Japanese, I first came across it in the movie Rising Son with Sean Connery.

2. Asking forgiveness is easier than asking for permission.

Read Admiral Grace Hopper created this one. Amazing Grace.

3. There are two kinds of fool. One says 'This is old, therefore it is good' and the other says 'This is new, therefore it is better'

Guess I've been all kinds of fools.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ottawa Valley teacher shot in Honduras

A former Ottawa Valley teacher is fighting for his life in a Honduras hospital after he was shot several times in a brazen drug-related carjacking on his way to a goodbye party for a former colleague.

Dennis Spencer, 58, the principal of a respected international school in northern Honduras for the past four years, was stopped at a traffic light in San Pedro Sula sometime between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday when two armed men forced their way into his car.

They pushed a female colleague, also a principal, into the backseat and then at gunpoint ordered Spencer to drive. Within a few minutes, they were overtaken by two men in a second car who opened fire, striking Spencer in the arm, shoulder and skull, before speeding away. No one else was hit, and the two carjackers fled.

Spencer’s colleague, dazed and frightened, wandered through the neighbourhood knocking on doors to get help, eventually finding someone who called for an ambulance.

Spencer, a teacher for 25 years in Renfrew County, was rushed to Cemesa Hospital where he was placed in medically induced coma early Saturday after surgeons operated on his brain. It is believed he was hit in the head by shrapnel, possibly shards of glass sent flying by bullets.

Doctors often place head injury victims in comas to keep brain activity to a minimum while they assess the extent of the trauma.

Ron Vair, the Canadian who runs the Escuela Internacional Sampedrana where Spencer has worked since 2005, said Sunday that doctors hope to gradually ease him from the coma today. The brain has shown no abnormal swelling, and doctors remain “guardedly optimistic” he will recover.

Spencer’s wife Barb, who was in Pembroke visiting one of the couple’s two adult children when her husband was attacked, flew back to Honduras Sunday.

In the meantime, Spencer’s colleagues from school have been lining up to visit the popular principal in hospital.

“There has been anywhere from 10 to 50 people there at a time to see him,” Vair said. “He is a real good fellow. The staff really love him. I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about him.”

Spencer was principal of Esceula Sampedrana’s smaller elementary school campus in La Lima, a mountain community about 30 kilometeres from San Pedro Sula, a city of half a million and the site of the school’s main campus.

In all, the school has about 2,000 students and 200 staff, more than 30 of them from Canada, according to David Schult, a Kitchener, Ont. native who is a vice-principal at the main campus.
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