Samurai: An ancient warrior code of strength, honor, and loyalty. ***
Samurai Teaching: Having the STRENGTH to passionately believe in every student; the HONOR to teach them in the way they best learn; and the LOYALTY to never give up on any of them. ***
Sensational Living: How sensationally we do this for them now determines how well they will be able to sensationally do this for themselves and for others as adults.
This is a repost, a very special repost. I've called several times to check on Patrice's status without getting anyone to pick up tonight (3/17/2010). The original post that follows was written two years ago today, linking to posts I had written four years ago when the accident happened. "Patty Boy Blemur" (link below) made me cry again reading it and remembering the deep emotions.
He is still in my heart and still mentioned to my current students.
March 17, 2008
*It's now been three St. Patrick's Days that Patrice wasn't supposed to be able to have, yet here he is having another one. I just got off the phone with his nurses and although he still hasn't made any progress....I choose to believe he will.
I could cry...I could get angry....Instead I'll just choose to continue to believe.
Here's a post my daughter Bella and I put together for him last year.
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone, and especially to Patrice Blemur.
Patrice is a student of mine who was involved in a fatal car accident in January of 2006. His mother was killed in the crash and Patrice was left in a coma. He initially wasn't supposed to be lucky enough to make it to St. Patty's Day of last year, let alone this one.
Today he is celebrating the unexpected, due to his strong desire to live, his great nurses and doctors, and the love of a father who visits him every day. It is a testimony to the POWER of BELIEF!
Last night I talked to Rob, who along with other great nurses like Teddy, Carmelita and Mam, keep me updated on Patrice's progress if I miss connecting with his dad. Fedre Blemur is an inspiration to me, going to his son's bedside every night no matter how long the day has been.
My own daughter is holding Patrice's picture for me, which I keep by my door at home. I can only hope to have the strength Patrice's father has shown, should something similar happen to one of my own children.
Last night at the party Patrice was awake and alert, which is a good sign. He's even attending school outside of his hospital unit. He still has a long way to go, and no matter what your belief systems are, I humbly ask that you simply......believe in him.
Whether it's a two-word statement "I Believe!" right now, or a letter or card, it DOESmake a difference, and it DOES matter.
*p.s. I'm going to make a CD for him of me reading stories and doing the voices he loved (i.e. Jorgan von Jorgenson from "The Fairly Odd Parents"). Don't let your limitations stop you. I supposedly have one of the highest IQ's in the country, yet encounter things I can't yet do all the time, like burning a CD.
Step 1: "Put the blank disc in drive."
- In drive? I can't even get this thing out of park!
Just because it doesn't come easily to me it doesn't mean I can give up. All I have to do is find a seven-year-old at school who knows how to do what I don't :-). EVERYONE is smarter than I am in some way; in that, I learn of them (paraphrasing either Emerson or Whitman).
*Correspondence can be sent to: Patrice Blemur Unit Two Franciscan Hospital for Children 30 Warren St.
Boston, MA 02135
The entertainment for this morning's breakfast picnic will be Charlie Chaplin's famous fork-and-roll dance from his movie, "The Gold Rush". Yesterday it was Sofia's choice and we watched "Singin' in the Rain".
For the past 4 days when we get to school Sofia and I have been having breakfast dates together. I don't do any work. Don't allow any students in before the bell. It's just me and Sofia.
I really like how romantic I can be, and that I'm in that state not to get something, but to give....and what I give is myself.
Five days ago I got an email threatening to take Sofia away from me again. Instead of focusing on the pain and ugliness of that, I focused on all the love and beauty in front of me right here, right now.
Einstein's breakthrough theory on relativity states that space and time tell matter and energy where to go, and matter and energy in turn tell space and time how to look.
No matter what tomorrow brings, I know that every day we have together, beginning right from the start in the morning, I choose to be in a space and time of complete love with my daughter, and everything I'm made of (my matter) and all my energy is going to go towards appreciating this beautiful treasure in my life....while I have it in my life.
One day Great-Grandma Bette isn't going to pick up when we call. One day Sofia won't be in my everyday life. One day I will no longer have life.
But until that one day happens, the one day that matters is this day.
Salutation To The Dawn
Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of achievement,
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is just a vision,
And today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore to this day!
Such is the salutation to the dawn.
Kalidasa (The Hindu equivalent of Shakespeare)
This man was once so humiliated by his wife that while contemplating suicide he looked to the sky and asked for guidance and understanding. Through this intention to hold on versus give up he began a journey of great enlightenment and poetry that seemed sent from Heaven.
This is the same poem I would recite to Brosden every morning while playing with him outside, raising my arms to the Heavens and looking at this three-year-old with a huge grin on my face.
Who says that the most painful and terrible things in life can't lead to an elevation into amazing bliss and beauty?
And now for your entertainment, I present another brilliant breakthrough in human history, Charlie Chaplin and his fantastic roll dance. Thank you you three; Albert, Kalidasa and Charlie, for persevering in pursuing and developing your greatest gifts. Now Adam and Sofia can enjoy them in a space and time of great love and laughter.....together.
Some leading educational experts say if teaching becomes more effective there will be classrooms in the future that reach 90% of the students. This is well above the less than 50% of all students being reached now, and it's questionable that those "being reached" are able to do much more than mimic what the book or teacher has taught/told them to think. I see this as a problem because we are able to get monkeys and parrots to do the same thing......So what are we doing with humans?
A fellow teacher saw me grading a giant stack of papers this morning and asked why I was still working so hard with less than a week to go before state tests. She said, "Do you believe in miracles?"
I paused for a second, letting probably 10,000 thoughts contemplate her query, and then responded with an unquestionable, "Yes!"
100% committed to believing in miracles is the only way to make miracles happen.
A few hours later in reading class we graded the last and hardest test of the book series we've been working on. Not one student failed. Not one! That's a 100% success rate right now in the present! (And most students scored a 100%)
It's taken having to make up to 3,500 different evaluations on student work each night, but it, and they, have been worth it.
5 evaluations per question answered:
1) Did they get the right answer?
2) Were they able to completely explain and prove why it is right?
3) Were the able to completely explain and prove why wrong answer number one is wrong?
4) Were the able to completely explain and prove why wrong answer number two is wrong?
5) Were the able to completely explain and prove why wrong answer number three is wrong?
10 questions answered per student = 50 separate evaluations
70 students answering 10 questions each (reading, math and science classes) = 700 questions
700 questions * 5 separate evaluations = 3,500 different evaluations and feedback on how they can learn and improve today.
And it's taken them, the reading class for instance, to spend 3 hours reading, searching, comprehending, analyzing, justifying and evaluating and most importantly.....thinking and applying those lesson before answering.....all for maybe a two-page story.
Instead of turning in one piece of paper with 10 lines on it (a,b,c or d), they have been turning in up to 10 pages filled with enough brain work to....pull off a miracle.
And after working hard to behave myself all year, I threw over a desk today in jubilation and excitement.
So do I believe in miracles?
Yes I do.
Along with the miraculous effort it takes to make them happen.
And that the miracle I've been working so hard to get them to believe in, and that they now truly do...... is themselves.