May 8th National Teacher’s Day

Having worked in  the school system I know that like in any job there is, there are good teachers, and there are bad teachers. The good ones are there because it is a career for them, they want to teach and help others, the bad ones are those who just use it as a step to get to the next job. What the good ones have to do is beyond ridiculous. The mass of paperwork and responsibility of being better to peoples children than the parents are themselves is unreasonable.

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Elementary school is a constant effort to get kids to pay attention, middle school is a constant effort to make a child realize they don’t already know everything and then high school is right back to trying to get children to pay attention again. The biggest problem is that as children get older, the more they think of themselves and the less they think at all!

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It can be a demanding job physically but it is a constant mental strain. Since no two people are alike, the way to reach them is equally as different. Most class sizes are 26 people theses days and means you are dealing with 26 different identities at once.

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True teachers are very special people, and not always found in schools. A good mechanic can be a great teacher, a musician can be a great teacher, a lawn care person can be a great teacher… but none of them have gone out with the idea that they are going to teach, they just happen to do it. To become a teacher and actually want to educate children rather than just get a paycheck is a very admirable position.

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I admire those that commit themselves to making someone else grow and be better than they could be without help. And the stupid, stupid rules society forces educators to take only shows just how bad the teachers were when they went to school. And society is making it harder everyday. We need to understand we don’t deserve getting a good education, we earn the right to be taught.

How to celebrate – Thank a teacher for what they do. Learn what society actually puts a teacher through. Become involved with your child’s education.

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November 8th National Stem/Steam Day

S.T.E.A.M. stands for educating children the fun in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. It has been created to try and help our children to catch up to the rest of the world in those fields after falling far behind the rest of the world over recent years. The idea is a good one, it certainly beats common core and any of the other ridiculous ideas our supposed leaders have come up with over all those years that our children fell behind.

It use to be (As recently as last year) S.T.E.M., someone forgot the arts. This is not an unusual situation as the arts, history and practical applications have been long forgotten by the educational system. (Please note that history is still not listed as a part of the agenda.) MGA Entertainment at least got the arts put back into the equation with Project Mc2. Of course, it’s promotion for their Netflix show about 4 smart girls, McKeyla, Adrienne, Bryden and Camryn, who are a part of a super spy ring organization called NOV8. (Also the name of the show which stands for Innovate.) I have to blame common core for the lack of understanding of NOV8 since instead of trying to read the statement for what it actually says you have to sound it out to make it work.

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Schools instantly picked up on STEAM as the symbol 212 degrees, the temperature that water turns into steam. Many school have begun using the train to indicate children getting on the right track. Cute.

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They do, however, fail to note the cars and industry that also runs on steam. That’s okay though since the system also forgets to teach other subjects as well. I have worked for a public school system and asked simple questions like… “Who was our Second President?” kids do not know. “Who fought in World War 2”, kids and adults do not know. “Where was the War of 1812 fought?” No one seems to know but they all claim it ended in 1812.

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Now the system is good about teaching kids how to build whatever it is in the above picture. It fails in telling them why “whatever it is” is useful. Now I am all for education and I think science, technology, engineering, the arts and math are important and I commend the educators for this attempt at getting children well rounded in those subjects.

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But some of us do believe that you have to know where you have been to know where you need to go. You can not pop into google maps where you want to go and get direction telling you how to get there if you don’t add in where you are first. How did we get here? What mistakes can we correct? And just how does 9 dollars and 12 cents equal $10.00? Try rounding up your money and see if you can buy that $1,000 television to watch NOV8 for $912.00.

How to celebrate – Watch NOV8 on Netflicks. It may not teach you anything but at least you’ll be supporting the producers of the show. Participate in your schools Steam program. Spend some time in a sauna and melt your cares away in some real steam!

October 24th National Food Day

Today is National Food Day, the day we are supposed to recognize real food as opposed to the junk we often eat. It is defined by two words, “Eat Real”.

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So much of what we eat contains high levels of sugar, salt, and fat. It tastes great but it is really bad for us. In truth, the real foods, those not processed in a factory, really do taste better. Fresh fruits and vegetables have an abundance of flavor without adding anything to them. The meat we eat is often processed in such a way that much of the protein is replaced by fat leaving us the factory farm version of what we think we are eating.

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Sadly we get use to the flavoring added by the factories and when we taste the real thing, we think something is wrong with it. All the nutrients have been cooked out of the food leaving us with an artificially flavored substance. Sugar is added to mask the disappearing taste and gives us a watered down version of the real thing and something far less healthy for us. If you look at the contents of a can of soda you will see it contains nothing that we need to be adding to our diet.

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And while it’s bad enough what we are doing to ourselves think of what we are doing to our children. We are practically guaranteeing them a life of health issues, weight issues, and the same lack of energy we are suffering from ourselves.

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The Center For Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) started this day back in 2011 with the target date of October 24th 2012 to accumulate all the work done for the year. The day is celebrated with over 3,200 festivals across the US and a national conference in Washington, D.C. There are also thousands of schools that participate throughout the year.

How to celebrate – See if there is a program in your community celebrating “Eat Real”. If there isn’t, see what you need to do to start one. Check with your local schools and see if they are teaching the children to “Eat Real”. Go pick some fresh fruit from a u-pick farm and enjoy!

October 5th Walk To School Day

When I was a child I had to walk seven miles every morning to catch a bus that drove me another fifty miles to get to my school. It didn’t matter if it was snowing, raining, or hailing outside. The saddest part of all was the fact that the school was only about five miles away to start with.

Seriously though, I did have to walk, with my sister, about 2 miles and pretty much enjoyed every minute of it. Of course, we lived on a farm so we had to get to the highway where the bus could pick us up. We were very fortunate to have had that experience because nowadays most of our kids have to walk past the potential of drugs deals, street violence, and sexual offenders. It is more important now than ever before that we take our cities, and our children’s paths to school, back. Supporting Walk To School Day is a large step forward in doing that.

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Walk To School Day came out of Safe Kids Walk supported by FedEx. Over 8.2 million children have participated since it started in 1999. 16,000 FedEx employees have been involved with 10,000 schools making the program work. In fact, I have had some 23 years of experience with schools and know there is a place for this, and it serves a good purpose. We do need to make the paths to our schools safe again. No government, no school board, no policeman, is going to be able to do that, only we can make that change happen.

Now I know, we adults deserve our own time, work is important and we have all that shopping to do… but what’s most dear to us… all that stuff, or our children. This is not a day to hand them lunch and send them on their way, this is a day to walk with them, see what they see every day and what they have to contend with. In short, it should be what our parents did for us and what we expect of our children when they become parents.

Remember when Halloween use to be safe? Why isn’t it anymore? Is it because there are so many crazy people out there, in part… yes… but it’s also because we allow them to be out there and it’s something we need to be more aware of.

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How to celebrate – Walk your kids to school today, or walk them home tonight, or better yet… both! Learn what school programs are in place and if there aren’t any, get them started! Don’t just suggest it to someone else like it is their job to do it, do it yourself! Help take our communities back from those who would use it for their ends, not ours!