Anybody can be mediocre

By John Gardner

When I asked my son why he had chosen a particular college, he answered,

I’m tired of being the geek. I’m tired of ruining the curve. I’m tired of people getting mad at me because I do the extra credit anyway. I want to go somewhere I can be normal; where it is okay to be an achiever.

Pressure surrounds teens. Parents push them to do better. Teachers need performance data in the ever-increasing “prove-you’re-teaching-and-they-are-learning” world of government schools.  The strongest pressure, however, can come from peers.

In handing out a “pre-test”, a beginning of a semester assessment to find out where students are on a subject, a teacher was explaining to the class.

“This is NOT for a grade. This is to help me find out where to start. If you already know most of what is on this pre-test, I’ll be able to give you higher-level work.”

A student in the class spoke up, Continue reading

7 Reasons To Hire Workers Over 50

Credit to  Ron GrimesSr Software Engineer, Web Applications, Silicon Valley Firm

My seven reasons to hire a 50+ worker:

Person Holding Hire Me Sign in Crowd1) We won’t spend half the day surfing websites that have nothing to do with our job.

2) We won’t exhibit a Pavlovian response to our cell phones every time they make a sound.

3) We don’t think text messages and emails require an immediate response; we know how to schedule a specific time slot in the day to respond to them (if they’re not an emergency).

4) We won’t be taking maternity/paternity leave for 2-3 months, leaving you wondering how you’re going to get that project done on time now.

5) We won’t have to take off early to pick up a sick child from school.

6) We don’t have to Google how to do something because we actually know how to do it, based on having done it a hundred times. We don’t pretend experience, but actually have it.

7) We’ve seen a hundred different ways to do things, and aren’t limited by the narrow mindedness of thinking everything has to fit within how our college professor told us is the “right” way to do it (e.g., we’re not as prone to being pedantic).


Works for me. I’m over 50. Check me out here.

VMO Business Card

 

And…..they’re OFF!

By John Gardner

College Dorm MoveMost of the college students are on campus by now. I’ve been enjoying the posts (more from the parents of the freshmen than anyone else) about their first (or even their last) child going off to school. As for wife Joan and I;

“Been there. Done that.”

Parents express concern that their children won’t call — or come home often enough. That’s legit, but if we parents have done OUR jobs…..they will. Ours did….and yours will too.

As a teacher I am grateful and appreciative when graduates that shared four years of their high school life at least leave me on their “friend” or “follow” list so I can continue to follow their personal and professional growth. And no! That’s not creepy. Its caring.

Sometimes I wish grads would touch base more, but I can’t judge as I didn’t keep in touch with my high school or college teachers. And I think I know why…

Few of my high school teachers ever took a personal interest in much more than whether the academic overload they were heaping on me was soaking in….at least so that my test scores would help them keep their jobs. The ones who DID take interest, I was never comfortable with how to approach or respond after graduation. I regret that.

As a teacher, I invest interest and energy into students. I want to know more than just whether or not they can pass my class. And I would love to hear from them after they go. I know. I’m just a high school teacher. And the reality is that for many, I am just the part-time assistant. So I get it. And I deserve it.

But I hope for more…..

Graduates, most of YOUR high school teachers DO care and would love to hear from you. Never feel like you are interrupting. If you don’t know what to call them (are they still Mr/Mrs/Ms?), then ask. If you’re not comfortable with first names, that’s ok. They just want to hear from you.

Maybe a note sometime about something you discuss in a college class that reminds of you of something from high school — or maybe that you have finally realized the value of some of those talks about making smart decisions — or maybe that you have bounced back from a hole you fell into during your teen years.

Never assume that you cannot encourage a teacher mentor.

Some of my favorites have been……

  • someone now working on a doctorate who just found that reference letter I wrote and asked for permission to use it again.
  • a college grad who wrote to say that, “I wish I had listened to you….but I’m okay now….finally.”
  • “can I take YOU out to dinner. I want to say thank you.”
  • stories from the students I taught who now have children in high school and college.
  • …and probably something YOU posted or wrote to me.

Oh, and by the way — now that I am no longer your teacher and you are no longer my student, whether you continue to call me by first name or last — is totally up to you. I answer to just about anything, you know.

Have a great college life.

John

10 Excuses From Unproductive People

By John Gardner

From a post published at: http://www.inc.com/john-brandon/10-excuses-unproductive-people-always-use.html?cid=readmore

If we are going to "Aspire to Greatness", we must reduce the excuses. We must put marching band at the TOP of the list. Yes?!1. I’m overworked.
2. That’s not my job.
3. I’ll finish that later
4. I don’t have all of the answers yet.
5. I’ll wait for the boss to tell me what to do.
6. I don’t understand all of the variables.
7. I don’t see the benefit for me.
8. I might not get the credit.
9. I’m worried about my quality of work.
10. I might fail.

My thoughts on Robin Williams

By John Gardner

Watch Jimmy Fallon’s tribute to Robin Williams, which includes his first appearance on Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show”.

Here’s one of several tributes from ABC News


No one questions his talent. I grew up watching Mork and Mindy and saw many (not all) of the movies he was in. When we hear of his amazing success, it is difficult to understand how someone with a $35 million dollar house can be depressed. Yet, like so many others who have “made it”, he went through addictions, divorces and financial struggles. 

Now that he is gone, everyone talks about how badly he was, yet how much experience and medicine there is with successfully dealing with his type of mental illness. Why didn’t they address that sooner?

A local facebook user posted how his was, and we’ve heard the phrase, a “permanent solution to a temporary situation”. 

Was he selfish — or just sick?

Oh……but no one addresses this part of his problem:

He didn’t know Jesus.

In one of his monologues, he mocks Christians. Sad.

Of course Christians can experience depression and some deal with it via suicide. But can you imagine how awesome it would have been to have a fired up Christian Williams in revival?Now those are sermons I could stay awake for.

Thanks for reading,
John

Pics and Videos from this Week

John Gardner:

This is a reblog from the band’s web/blog. If you have good motivational, band related pics, please share. Thanks, John

Originally posted on Huntington North Bands:

In case you missed them on the band’s Facebook Page

Aspire to Greatness

If we are going to "Aspire to Greatness", we must reduce the excuses. We must put marching band at the TOP of the list. Yes?!
If we are going to “Aspire to Greatness”, we must reduce the excuses. We must put marching band at the TOP of the list. Yes?!
People who write motivational books talk about being willing to fail. But that means "pulling out all the stops", it means "going for it". But in the world of Marching Band, "Failure Is Not An Option", right?!
People who write motivational books talk about being willing to fail. But that means “pulling out all the stops”, it means “going for it”. But in the world of Marching Band, “Failure Is Not An Option”, right?!
This is a random post I found. But just imagine filling up our room like this. It takes ALL of us. YOU need to tell people that being in band is a good thing. WE need to teach, encourage, mentor and recruit. WE CAN DO THIS! Here's a thought..... let's make them build us a NEW band room because we don't fit.
This is a random post I found. But just imagine filling up our room like this. It takes ALL of us. YOU need to tell people that being in band is a good thing. WE need to teach, encourage, mentor and recruit. WE CAN DO THIS! Here’s a thought….. let’s make them build us a NEW band room because we don’t fit.
No! No violence. But seniors, YOU can step it up a bit, be the example and EXPECT perfection from those around you. Let's just get it done, okay?! No! No violence. But seniors, YOU…

View original 13 more words

School Backpack or No Backpack

By John Gardner

Attractive student back to schoolSchool has started where I teach. I completely support the logic behind my school’s strictly enforced “no back packs” rule. When I took a ‘personal day’ to visit another school for my fundraising business, it took me a while to notice what was bothering me — nearly every student was carrying a book bag, most of the back pack variety. Two different schools with different reasons. Without criticizing either, I’ll share a little about both.

NO BACKPACK SCHOOL. 

1700 students
Grades 9-12
In City (Small Town)
Students from City/County
Only school in the county
Students carry iPads in protective covers

RULE: Students may not carry back packs / book bags to classes or have them in the hallways. They may use them to transport materials to/from school, but are to place them in locker upon arrival and retrieve them after dismissal from last class.

REASON: Too easy to hide or transport unwanted or illegal items; mainly weapons or drugs. 

BACKPACK SCHOOL

500 students
Grades 7-12
In County (just north of small town)
Students from County (no city)
3 High Schools in County (2 rural, 1 city)
Students carry Macbook Airs

RULE: Students must transport school-provided Macbook Air laptops in a protected, student-provided manner – book bags and back packs recommended.

REASON: Computer protection during transport


What is YOUR school rule and reasoning?

Thanks for reading,
John

 

Fed-Ex Fun

By John Gardner

When pkg coming FedEx, didn’t know they don’t leave it if you’re not there. Had to take my bar-coded Door Tag and drive 40 min x 2 and go thru some cool security to pick it up from a well-hidden, interestingly secure facility. It was almost like getting into a school bldg with the buzzer, but included a iron swivel gate across a parking lot, then again into the building. Had to show ID. Lots of signs about carrying weapons and such. I do understand and appreciate the attention toward protecting packages…. but for all that fun and inconvenience, thought I’d share this video with apologies to my church friend. http://ow.ly/AjJ6h

 

Wind Farms, Car Bumper and Killing Animals

By John Gardner

Wife Joan and I just returned from a drive to Colorado. Along the way were several wind farms. One rest stop had an actual blade and a lot of information about the energy produced.

When you see these from the highway, it is difficult to grasp the size. i suspect not all are the size of the blade in the picture here and the one with me standing in front of it (below), but I found them majestic and fascinating.

First the pics, then the controversy and my bugsy contribution.

This is one blade, donated by the manufacturer for display at an Iowa rest area. I am standing in front -- and the top is not in the picture.
This is one blade, donated by the manufacturer for display at an Iowa rest area. I am standing in front — and the top is not in the picture.
wind turbine size
To appreciate the size of the turbines, compare with the trees and farm buildings.

Video of one wind blade close up. (It is a facebook post, so if you can’t see it, “Follow” or “Friend” me.

These wind farms are not without controversy. There are sites dedicated to counting the number of animals (mostly birds, bats and eagles) killed by the turbines. You can read about “Eagle Slaughter“.

Because there is a proposed wind farm locally, there is an organized group against it: Against Wind Farms.

Here’s a page by the manufacturer of the above pictured turbines. Renewable energy by the manufacturer of the Iowa Wind Turbines.

I am particularly bothered by the arguments against wind turbines because of the birds. I consider myself an animal lover. I don’t hunt or fish. But think about it – people have been against constructing dams because the lakes created kill trees, cover farm land and probably kill some animals. Those against building nuclear plants talk about wildlife or wetlands.  Driving across Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado, I saw dead deer and other animals on and alongside the road. And look at my bumper:

Bugs on car bumperDo we ban highways and fast moving traffic to protect deer, possum, skunks and whatever those are on the front of my bumper?

Ok, no more rant. No politicking (please) — just enjoy the pictures.

Thanks for reading.

John