Going to Sea

I appreciate how my (down-the-road) colleague and friend takes the time to not only notice but also reflect upon the small things. From his writing about an osprey’s nest to his sons’ ongoing learning adventures, Bo Adams uses http://boadams1.posterous.com as an “observation journal (think pad) of short posts and single images.”

Sweet summertime seems to afford me the opportunity to notice more, to reflect more, to read more, and certainly, to write more. My previous post, “Opening Doors,” is an example of what this added time allows me to do. I yearn for this mindset during the school months…to do more of the noticing, reflecting, reading, and writing in an open and transparent way would only make me “do better and be better.” Perhaps I am building my writing muscle. I hope that I’m establishing good habits this summer that will carry with me as the school year begins its fall-winter-spring march.

Either way, I thought this passage from Verghese’s Cutting for Stone merited a place in my own observation journal and think pad of sorts. It reminds me of something @fastwalker10, my friend and down-the-hall colleague, talk about a lot which is teaching instinct. It also gave me pause  (as I sat on the beach) and thought about the purpose(s) of schooling:

Sound Nursing Sense is more important than knowledge, though knowledge only enhances it. Sound Nursing sense is a quality that cannot be defined, yet is invaluable when present and noticeable when absent. To paraphrase Osler, a nurse with book knowledge is like a sailor at sea in a seaworthy vessel  but without a map, sextant, or compass. (Of course, the nurse without book knowledge has not gone to sea at all).

My wondering is this… all schools have missions. A school’s mission is incredibly ambitions and almost always speaks to the advancement of every single child in the school’s care. So with the creative tension (a la Senge and The Fifth Discipline) that comes when one places the current reality of a school in 2011 with its respective mission and/or vision, what happens? One would hope that we make our reality move toward our vision rather than the other way around. How do we change the things that need to change to ensure that the children in our care actually want to go to sea and are pushed out to sea in seaworthy vessels…and with maps, sextants, and compasses (if needed and desired)?

I think Verghese would remind us to tell the children in our care that “it’s okay…you can be you.” And then he would remind us that both knowledge and skills are important. And finally, he’d implore us to tell students that we’ve created a place where they are invited into “a world that wasn’t secret, but it was well hidden. (They) needed a guide. (They) had to know what to look for, but also how to look. (They) had to exert (them)self to see this world. But if (they) did, if (they) had that kind of curiosity, if (they) had an innate interest in the welfare of (their) fellow human beings, and if (they) went through that open door, a strange thing happened: (they)left (their) petty troubles on the threshold. It could be addictive.”


I want all of the

learners at Trinity

to be addicted

to “going to sea.”


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