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The Commute: The Blueberry Story


Fri, Aug 8th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Everyone I know, and not only teachers, thinks this summer has gone by too quickly. Since I am a teacher, the month of August is spent doing lesson plans, or at least feeling guilty about not doing them, while Id rather be drifting on an air mattress in a lake somewhere.

But we teachers have learned to complain only to each other: the rest of the world is not usually sympathetic. To be a teacher means to hear frequently, "Gee, must be NICE having summers off! Sure wish I could have a job with summers off!"

Im never sure of the best way to respond to these comments, but my friend Marion has a standard comeback: "Considering that you feel its such a great job, Im surprised you didnt become a teacher yourself." Most people will grimace and say, "Oh, no! I would never have wanted to be a teacher."

Indeed. Its a hard job. Not like any other. To do it well, one must possess a variety of skills. And yet the students visiting from almost any other country are shocked at how little respect is given to American teachers.

I believe there was a time, not too long ago, when education was seen as everyones business. It was generally accepted that having a well-educated population would benefit all of uswould allow us to continue to make advances in science, technology, art, medicine, you name it. But more and more, education, especially at the college level, is seen as the individuals responsibilityyou want an education? Pay for it yourself! The cuts to education funding and financial aid are a visible sign of this attitude.

Sometimes when my students are having a hard time seeing a situation objectively, I have them use the "alien" test. (In seventeen years of teaching, I have found that my analogies have had to get bigger, broader, and less subtle over the yearsbut thats another column). I ask the students to try to consider the frame of mind of a space alien visiting earth for the first time, knowing nothing about human beings.

Take, for example, the trend to cut funds to the most vulnerableschool children and the elderlywhen the economy is hurting. If you were an alien, what would that fact suggest to you about the values of humans? What assumptions might you make about the fact that so many humans (Americans) strive to be able to purchase luxury items, recreational and entertainment gadgets, but fight the idea of having t .....
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Township Roads: Wild Times in the Sweet Corn

Fri, Aug 8th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Our new habitat is thirty miles closer to a city than our old home, but we are in many ways more rural than ever. It smells more like hogs here than it ever did at our old place. This doesnt bother us too much as we expect that living in the country ..... 
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Of People, Places & Things: Local leaders are faced with difficult decisions

Fri, Aug 1st, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Governing at the local level can sometimes be very complex, Lanesboro council member, Joe OConnor told me the other day. Its not like you can hop a plane after making a vote in Washington. The decisions you make here affect your neighbors.[Read the Rest]

Prairie Notes: The Thrill of the Hunt

Fri, Aug 1st, 2003
Posted in Columnists

There are those who grab the sports section first when the paper comes; others flip to the editorial page; I seek out the tiny part of the classifieds reserved for auction advertisements. These I read thoroughly, plotting Saturdays based upon the dis ..... 
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Township Roads - I need a garbage truck

Fri, Jul 25th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Moving is not an event. It is a process. Moving the "stuff" of ones life is tedious enough, but the process of getting over the feeling that one has moved is really tough. Not only is it walking around boxes and feeling like youre living in a motel ..... 
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Are you game?

Fri, Jul 25th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

As August draws near, sports begins to get more interesting. The NBA off-season is more exciting than the NBA Finals themselves. With Jason Kidd and Alonzo Mourning joining forces in Jersey, the Mailman and the Glove striving for a title in LA, and K ..... 
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Another One From Flaherty.... A second opinion

Fri, Jul 25th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

At one time I thought that I might amount to something. I soon realized that I would never make it as a doctor because I didnt wish to expose myself to the various ills and complaints that any of my patients might have and if I didnt have any patie ..... 
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