Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Live, Laugh and Love....and Overcome!

Today is the last day of waking up to a hot house (no air) and taking a cold shower (no hot water)......and then going out to do my part to create a more abundant world (no limits).

Tomorrow I move into my friend's place. I will wake up to a cool house and take a hot shower.....but will I wake up and put myself into a positive, forward-moving mental state.....or will I paralyze myself with an angry, the-world-isn't-fair state of thoughts and feelings?

Tomorrow is too far away, and I am too tired to believe I can be that strong 24 hours from now.......But I can be strong in this moment.....and I can face the facts in a way that empowers me v disempowers

I have a chance to live in the only space and time that is real and holds any real power for change.....this moment.

The girl in the pink is the one who wrote the thank you card for helping her find the beauty that was inside of her. That is an amazing thing to teach someone about themselves....and can only be done in those powerful, teachable moments.

The girl in the black is showing me a math project she created and explaining her knowledge of the math principles and how she applied them to her project.

She has gone from scoring 40% on the Fall math and reading tests to 90%-100% on the Winter ones, and now taking that knowledge and creatively applying it to higher-level thinking projects.

This change in her reality has come from moment-after-moment of watching her work out a problem, then asking her how she knows her answer is true, whether it's right or wrong, and letting her evaluate her thinking v. just telling her how to do it and rushing off to the next student.

She is now out of her seat and "thinking out loud" on the board......just as Einstein did to develop his thinking.

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."  ~Albert Einstein

In the beginning of the year she didn't want to think through her work or stay with and struggle through the problems. Instead she distracted herself with drama of the past and worry of the future to the point I drew a line in the sand and told her she was either going to come with me on this journey of her best self and break herself free from this limiting and imprisoning drama.......she was going to be fully present working with me in this very moment......or I was going to kick her out of class right then and there.

This decision of hers to give up the drama and give 100% of herself to the moment she was in probably was the defining moment of the year for her, and what led her to be able to do things she had never been able to do before.

She ended up with all A's that quarter for the first time ever and is on her way to doing it again.

Life is a journey, and when we dedicate ourselves to living completely in the moment we're in we always seem to have more than enough energy to give everything we have......moment after moment after moment.....

And it does change the world around us when we do.

(outside the next day after the class participated in her project and before we cleaned up.....goofing off with another student who has made incredible growth this year).

Live, Laugh and Love......and Overcome!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This is Why

This is why we believe in ourselves and others. This is why we hold onto that belief no matter how difficult it is to do so.

This is why.......because it matters to somebody else that we do.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Before I Die...

Yesterday was another day when I just wanted to give up. If a terrorist succeeds he has the next day off (and the next and next and next because he's now dead). If the person opposite a terrorist gives all of their life and is successful in bringing out the life in others, the next day he or she wakes up to do it again. 

Sometimes it seems just too much.

On my way to work I told myself, "Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all that life really means." - Robert Louis Stevenson

It didn't help. So I asked myself if I was going to give up right now in this moment. The answer was "no". "OK", I thought. "Then that's what I have to do today. Live moment-to-moment, nothing more than inside the very moment I'm in. One second at a time. One student at a time. One personal challenge at a time. One positive thought at a time. This is what zen is for me anyway. So I'm being forced to live in the most ideal way, and that is good."

Then I asked myself another question: "If I were to die today....whether physically or giving up and dying inside because this way of life just got to be too much.....If this were my last day to be really alive......How much will I really live?

How freely and courageously would I play the music I hear beating inside of me? (I used the Gypsy Kings this morning to wake me up and get me going)

And what proof do I have that playing this music (the unlimited potential of the human spirit) is worth the cost?

That depends not only on how alive I feel, but on how alive others feel around me.

Do they find the courage to see and dream of brand new worlds of possibility within themselves?

Do they develop this ability to create a bigger and better world by being able to do bigger and better things than they've ever done?  

How BIG and DEEPLY do they THINK and DREAM (picture of Socrates in background) and how BIG and DEEPLY do they FEEL and DO? (300 pic of King Leonidas on other side of room)

I still haven't figured out this whole "how best to educate students on an individual basis" thing, (pic of my son discovering how to paint to remind me to let my students discover knowledge and develop wisdom)

but it has to be pursuing the answer to the question, "How can we get each one of them to dedicate their lives to creating their highest and greatest lives?" (two of the lowest performing math students at the beginning of the year, now two of the highest)

And anyone can live their lives, no matter how fully, for one more second at a time.
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