Tag Archives: Education

Book Review: Speak



Speak begins at a party.  Speak wraps around a time when we transition from Junior High to High School.  Speak is a story of a girl who lost her voice due to an unspeakable act.  Speak is her journey to find her voice again, to heal, to refusing to be a victim.

Laurie Halsie Anderson writes a compelling story that doesn’t shuffle away from the negative reactions and poor decisions of friends and family.  This story has been out some time but I continue to recommend it to anyone who likes to read a story that is real, a story that one can sink their fingers into, a story where one can feel the emotions of the main character.

And if you are not a reader, Speak is also a movie, well done, closely written to the novel.

Daily Post Prompt: Heal



The Old Gym: Ghostly Post #3

The Old Gym:  Ghostly Post #3

I taught at the tiniest of schools my first few years teaching.  The graduating class that first year was eight…yes, eight.  The community was situated close to ten miles from three different towns in the middle of the Kiamichi mountains down in the southeast corner of Oklahoma.

I rented a house from the school and lived across the parking lot from where I worked at this point.  Because I was a beginning teacher, I struggled with time management and grading.  I graded everything and this is not necessarily the best strategy.  As  a result, I’d have all night grading sessions at least once a week.

Sometimes I wouldn’t make it home with everything that I needed.  Thus, I’d find myself crossing the parking lot and keying into the school to get one thing or another.  This even occurred late at night.  At other times, I’d go and work in my classroom after I took care of supper tasks and putting my kid (who was in the fourth grade) to bed for the night.  I was close by and didn’t worry too much.  She could call me if I was needed.

On several nights that caught me at the school late at night, I’d pick up on an eery chill in the air.  Being an adventurous sort, I’d grab my ball bat (one should be adventurous with a means to protect oneself) and wander down the hall.  The school was laid out with one hall that held the classrooms.  Down close to the front end of the hall, you would find the office, the teacher’s lounge, and the library.  The library was carved out of a portion of what is known as the old gym.  A wide hall cut off just past the library that would lead to the bathrooms and the rest of the old gym.

This old gym was fine in the daytime.  Often the other teachers and myself would be comforted with the knowledge that our kids could burn off steam in that old gym shooting basketballs and chasing each other down while never leaving the building.  On the wall that cut the court in half and separated the gym from the library, someone painted a buffalo to represent the mascot of the school.

However, at night it took on its own persona.  I often heard people talk about how it seemed as if the eyes of that buffalo painting followed them around the room even in the daytime.  This seemed even more pronounced at night.  However, if that was all I had encountered, I would just shrug it off and move on.

It was after ten one night and I was wrapping up my grading.  As I said, the bathroom was down next to the gym and nature calls at the most inconvenient of times.  Thus, I found myself on the opposite end of the hall.  As I came out of the bathroom, I heard basketballs bouncing and the squeak of tennis shoes.  I am thinking to myself, “How did those kids get into this building?”  It wasn’t unusual for the community to enter the main gym to play basketball.  Small town, open court.

I entered the gym and noticed the lights were on dimly.  A basketball rolled up to my feet and stopped.  I ignored the cold of the air and began to investigate.  All of the entrances into the school were secured and nobody appeared to be hiding.  I left the room thinking about the oddness and started to head back to my room.

As I rounded the corner onto the main hall, I glanced back.  The light was back on.  I ran back a little annoyed to see if I could catch the kids in the gym.   However, nobody could be seen.  As I reached for the light switch, a ball began to roll on its on accord and stopped next to my foot once more.  My eyes widened and I flipped the switch.  I left in a hurry and wrapped up in my classroom in a hurry.  That was enough grading for that night.

[NOTE:  On the other side of that gym existed a much neglected museum of native American artifacts.  It was never open to the public by that point and I never laid eyes on the displays.  I only knew of its existence because of word-of-mouth. ]



Just a Spark


“Now…a small spark of genius.”

Clarity, who had been assisting through this procedure, paused in surprise.  “Are you sure?  I’ve seen that spark turned towards evil.”

“Don’t worry, Clarity.  Wisdom knows who needs the spark.”  Logos followed Clarity to the shelf where the most precious spark was contained.  The jar danced in its own brilliance.  Carefully lifting the spark from the shelf, they returned to the counter where Wisdom carefully stirred the Essence.  Wisdom opened the lid and measured out the spark precisely.  Too much and the person would not fit in and too little, the spark may be snuffed out.

“What about knowledge?” Logos queried.

“This Essence will soak up knowledge as they encounter it.  The wisdom will help them discern what is useful and what to discard.  Now, I need some creativity.  Spark doesn’t work as efficiently without creativity.”

Clarity and Logos scurried off to the pantry.  Creativity liked to hide and was a bit mischievous.  Moving the containers about on the shelf, they read the labels one by one.  Several cans of inspiration were stacked in the corner.  Boxes of knowledge ready mix sat lined up.  Experience, the main ingredient for wisdom, filled jars on the lower shelf.  Then, nesting in the corner, sat the golden eggs of creativity.  Clarity and Logos each lifted one up with awe.  Returning to Wisdom, they each deposited an egg into her hand to be cracked and poured into the mixture.

With her expert hands, she wafted the scent of the Essence towards her and checked the mixture.  “It’s missing something…something special…something that will set it on fire.”

Pathos and Clarity cried in unison, “INSPIRATION!”  Turning, back to the pantry, they ran off to gather the cans.  Different flavors of inspiration sat upon the shelf and thus, they gathered one of each.  Practically skipping back to Wisdom, they excitedly showed her the harvest of choices.

“Hmmm…what shall we use for inspiration?  Music?  Paint?  The pen?”

“What about all three?  Would that be too much?”

“Well, the pen does work well with either music or paint.  Oh!  Allspiration!”  She opened the can carefully and poured the contents into the Essence.  “Take in the scent of this new Essence, Pathos, Clarity!”  Wisdom waved the steam into the direction of her assistants.

“Oh, that is delightful!”

“Who is going to get it?”

Wisdom considered her options.  “I need just the right parents who will not break the essence down with too much rigidity.  Those parents need access to an education that will not destroy the creativity.”

Logos considered this for a moment, “I’ve noticed that the countries where they test the young ones all of the time do not have time to nurture creativity.  Perhaps in a less developed country.”

“I agree,” responded Wisdom.  “Clarity, will you do the honors?”  Clarity looked through the options and selected an obscure country in the developing world.  Watching through the children being born, she saw a pair of parents with warm energy and vibrant personalities.  Reaching down, she poured the Essence into the newborn.  The little cherub smiled as she breathed in the Essence.   She couldn’t put it into words yet, but she knew she would change the world.


This was written in response to VisDare86.