Friday, June 29, 2012 2:49:00 PM
After reading this post, you may think I've escaped from a retirement home for elderly patients with dementia. (I might even agree with you—maybe.)
I love to learn. I like free things. I spend a lot of time online. And I use Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms. So you would think I'd be going gangbusters for services that combine these elements. Yet—on this day, at least—you'd be wrong.
I am only thirty-something. But I already have days when I feel like a grumpy old man. I observe the hype and cheerleading surrounding new online social platforms, and I wonder if we are right to be so enthusiastic.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 2:03:00 PM
I'm the poster child for feeling like a lonely misfit at the center of the universe. Being the new kid—over and over again at different schools—has a way of doing that. It makes you hypersensitive and distorts your perception of other people. It's not an easy condition to cope with.
So I understand the worry that comes from realizing you may not know anyone at college. The waiting and anticipation between high school and post-secondary school can fill you with crippling doubts. It's a time when you may feel more vulnerable than ever before. It can lead to some serious blues.
In fact, I recently engaged in a heartfelt email exchange with a reader who was desperate for a little reassurance as he stares ahead at this next big phase of his life. His emails made me quake with empathy. I've been where he is. It's not a pretty place.
Friday, June 22, 2012 11:52:00 AM
Few things feel more overwhelming than trying to pick a career. It's so tempting to believe that the rest of your life depends on the path you choose right now. The pressure to make the "one right decision" can consume your emotions and leave you paralyzed with anxiety. But it doesn't have to be that way. Instead, the process can be fun and enlightening. You just need a different way of viewing things. Here's one way. Bottoms up!
Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:36:00 PM
I’ve written blog posts about bullying a few times now, and, while researching the subject, I’ve come across a fair amount of heartbreaking stories. But I have to say that a recent incident (brought to my attention today) is by far the worst. After watching the now-infamous video (embedded below) of 68-year-old grandmother Karen Klein being bullied by a group of adolescent boys—and after wiping away my tears—my first reaction was that I would give anything for the chance to beat these kids to a pulp.
The 10-minute video shows a group of students viciously insulting and taunting Klein during her shift as a school bus monitor. As if calling her “fat” and “poor” weren’t enough, their bullying escalates to an unimaginable level:
They ask her if she has herpes.
They say that if they stabbed her, Big Macs would fly out of her stomach.
They ask for her address so they can “piss all over her door.”
They tell her she has no family because they all killed themselves so they wouldn’t have to be near her.
They ask if she’s crying because she “misses her cookies.”
And when she suggests through her tears that “unless you have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” one kid instantly retorts, “How about you shut the f**k up.”
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:42:00 AM
I generally enjoy watching magic tricks. Illusions are great fun when you're just a spectator. Magic is sexy. It teases you with its seductive aura of the supernatural. But being made part of an illusion isn't always so fun. It's like witnessing how hot dogs get made. Magic loses some of its charm when you're on stage as a participant and can clearly see how an illusion is performed. It feels a bit like cheating. You start to see audience members merely as easy marks for a con—as prey. Then you realize you've been one of those easy marks that whole time too.
Yet, it is natural (and appropriate) to suspend your disbelief when it's for entertainment. It becomes far more problematic when it's for something as important as education.
As U.S. rankings in international education assessments stay low (or fall), more and more people are looking behind the veil and discovering the ugly realities of America's K-12 public-education policies. The problems with No Child Left Behind, in particular, continue to cause rampant disillusionment.
Monday, June 04, 2012 2:21:00 PM
The Quebec student strike—raging in that eastern province of Canada for over 100 days now—has already been explained and analyzed countless times by political and academic minds far more qualified than my own. So my purpose for this post isn’t merely to rehash and pick apart the history and background of the events-to-date (but if you would like further info on the subject, here is a timeline of the strike from CBC News).
I believe there are two sides to every story (The Huffington Post seems to be providing balanced opinions on the subject), and I don’t claim to be an expert on the inner workings of Quebec politics. Therefore, I don’t intend to debate who’s in the wrong or who’s in the right when it comes to the tuition increase or the different stances being taken by student organizations, the Quebec government, and Montreal police. However, I do want to shed light on one particular issue that has been haunting me throughout my intake of the media's hailstorm of strike coverage.