Thursday, July 27, 2006


I do a pretty thorough review of reference materials that I hope will help me do my job better - Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, etc. I read Peter Drucker, Tom Peters, Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, and others. I didn't think I would get a great lead from a strength coach - but I did! The lead was "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni. I had a tough week confronting some dysfunction in my organization and I'll be using the book as a roadmap for providing a new direction with the management people here.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


My plan is to add Judo to my high school curriculum. Judo's founder, Jigoro Kano, felt that Judo's educational benefits were the most important. Like so many things at the school, if I want to get it done I'll have to do it myself. That will mean that I have to go back to Judo myself on a regular basis. The education for me will be one of dealing with my fear. I have fear of injury, fear of proof that I am aging, fear of being inept, fear that I will quit. Once I get past all this, I can only be a better teacher.

Activities and Coverage

The world of school too often determines success by the number of activities a teacher can provide or by how much breadth and coverage is accomplished. What is ignored is the ability of students to transfer knowledge, the ability to think critically, the ability to answer the question, "so what?"

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Children Are Our Future?

I hope I'm able to avoid the accountability trap that has school success solely dependent on standardized tests. We measure what is easy and relatively cheap to measure. I'm tired of arguing with people about how it's not just about cute activities or whether we've covered the material that's required for the Regents exam. Facts are important and creative activities can bring facts to life but what about understanding? What about the big ideas that allow students to answer the question "so what?"

Aging and Exercise

It's taken me a while but at 48 years old I think I've gotten smarter about my exercise routine. I now know that I really should do some kind of dynamic mobility routine everyday. Mark Verstegen, Martin Rooney, and Steve Maxwell have all put out good products on mobility. I go back and forth about using yoga, particularly after my chiropractor told me how much of his practice is made up of yoga and pilates gone bad. I will probably do more of a flowing "vinyasa" practice.

I think it's important to prepare your body to pick up heavy things from the ground and put them overhead but I no longer feel that it's important to exhaust the central nervous system. Bodyweight calisthenics are going to make up more of my regular routine. A weight vest and plyometric elements will maintain the power I need. Isometrics will also make up more of the work. Deadlifts, military press, bent-over rows, and occasional flat bench will make appearances. Power and strength endurance will help me more with fighting, outdoors activities, and life than will maximum strength. If I can stick to this, I know my joints will thank me.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Plight of black boys

Recently, there have been a lot of news stories about the plight of young black males. Abysmal high school graduation rates, unemployment, incarceration rates, special education referrals, all point to a depressing state of affairs. Mentors, rites of passage programs, job training, school improvement, alternatives to incarceration, are all part of proposed solutions. I believe that the plight of black males is reflective of a similar sad state of affairs for boys generally. Whether you are looking at boys in a farming community in Nebraska, a reservation in Utah, a fishing community in Maine, or a housing project in Newark, there will be large groups of "lost boys." I believe that a large part of the problem stems from society's blindness to differences between the sexes. Boys look for challenge, risk, and danger. If these are not provided in controlled environments, then drugs, gangs, premature fatherhood, etc. will serve as substitutes. This country also has to decide that there are some cultural norms that need to be instilled and can't be left for teenagers to discover.

I have a "rites of passage" program that I am developing that will address some of these concerns. If boys are allowed to be tough then they won't have to be afraid of also being gentle.