Saturday, April 18, 2015

No Man Is an Island
There is no question that there is a new fragrance wafting on the breeze around campus. It has been around for a while as a faint, hard to discern aroma, but has blossomed into a heady scent. Some would call it the bouquet of spring (Okay, it's practically summer in Florida.)  Others would call it the smell of freedom. I'm not sure what to call it, but it has cheered me, despite the loss of instructional time due to student testing and field trips. This has been a good week and I fully expect to have six more of these before June 2nd, the last day for teachers this year, and for me, period. The book that I announced last week is progressing nicely. I received the proof copy and approved it. It looks great, if I say so myself. They are now converting it to a Kindle ebook format that will be available on Again, as soon as that is ready, I will let you know. Trust me.

This week I have started using my planning and lunch periods to walk around campus and reflect on my time in the classroom at Pine View and at Norfolk Christian High, where I graduated and taught for ten years before moving to Florida. PV's campus is so big and departmentalized that you can go nearly a year without seeing other teachers in the 'north 40' as I call the new building. I have decided to make deliberate stops and visit with some of the other teachers I never get to see, while I am still on campus. This has been cathartic. Reconnecting with these people has been uplifting and encouraging to me and reminds me again and again, what a great place I have had the opportunity to work. Are there issues with the place? Sure. Are there things I would change? Yes. Is this a great place to teach. Oh, YES!

Each quarter in astronomy the students do a report that is a biography of someone who made significant contributions in the field of astronomy. We start with historical figures and work our way to the present. This quarter students will make a presentation instead of a report. I additionally made the requirement that they make note of the names of people in their astronomer's life who influenced them or who they influenced or collaborated with. Which made me think of the people who have influenced me in my career and life. I know when you start lists like this, there is always the danger of leaving someone off the list who definitely belongs. If that happens I will make an addendum next time.

My favorite teacher in high school was Don Emmett. I had him for math, physics and as class sponsor. When I went back to teach at my alma mater, he was still there, so I got to be his colleague as well as his student. We have kept in touch and spent a day together last summer. Great man to know. Keith Phillips, 'Coach', taught American History but was the basketball and baseball coach. I was team manager, so got to spend much time with the team and Coach. A great experience being manager. In college there were two: my physics professor, Elmer Nussbaum, a great and humble man who was a great teacher and mentor. Also my computer science professor, Wally Roth, who was a huge help. We kept in touch and we even worked together as APCS readers one summer. Great role model.

When I started at Pine View, a teacher was designated as my mentor for my first year. I will never forget, Sol Malinsky. My first year at PV turned out to be his last. I am grateful for the chance to get to know this loud, boisterous, obnoxious sounding man who had a heart as big as all outdoors. He would gently poke fun at the students and had crazy nicknames for many, but they knew he liked them and they loved him for it. He died in 1990 and the service was packed with students, friends and family. Bernie Brenner taught next door to me on the old campus. She taught English. We attended the same church for several years and I appreciated her skills as a teacher. She passed away and her memorial service was touching and memorable. Sharon Griffiths was, I believe PVs first full time computer teacher. The program was growing and they needed another, so I was hired.  She was on the committee that interviewed me. I was grateful they made the decision they did. Sharon and I were the Tech Department for 5 years.

I may add to this list, because there are so many who helped and encouraged me along the way. I hope that I have done the same for others. God has been good to me. Thanks for reading this post.

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