Welcome! Now that you have arrived at this blog entry, it is fair to say that either I did something right or you took an unexpected turn in your life today. I am hoping that it is both.
I am not quite sure what an inaugural post for a blog should be, but I do know that, while the exact focus of this blog escapes me at the moment, I do have a mission: I want to wander over the terrain of my current life ( the physical, intellectual and emotional contours of my life). I want to encourage myself to wonder about life and to reflect upon it. And I want to be me.
I think we all have a vision of how our lives ought to be, but there might also be a slight gnawing away of the edges of that vision — as if it is just beyond us to think and feel and learn and laugh and teach and make mistakes and overcome those mistakes and revise ourselves and improve the quality of life for ourselves and others too. Well, I am having none of that, and this blog is my way of doing something about that.
I suppose the focus of my blog is not that much different from what I think about as I take my walks with my dog, Iona. Some days, I think of pleasant things that come with living in the mountains of rural New York. Some days, I think through poems I want to write (and, yes, I would like to put those poems on this blog). Some days I wonder about how I do not seem to learn from experience that too much red wine on the porch in the evening can make those walks more difficult the next day. And, of course, there are more personal family matters that are very important to me. My grandchildren are receiving considerably more attention than my own children did, and that may be a mixed blessing for all concerned. I enjoy “spoiling” my grandchildren (partly because I can send them home at the end of the day, whereas I had to live with my own children and not spoiling them had its advantages.)
Other days focus on a particular life passion for me — learning and teaching. My wife and I were both teachers for 32 years. After a long career in our local school, we moved to the United Kingdom (living in both Edinburgh and Jersey in the Channel Islands) for ten years, where we worked as educational consultants doing teacher training. I often see learning issues in an international context. I was an English teacher by trade, and I have maintained my love of language and literature. I have a particular interest in psycholinguistics and cognitive psychology. To keep myself grounded in the real world, I also like to think about educational policy and classroom practice. I have lived long enough to experience some unique cognitive dissonance: for years, I served as the chief contract negotiator for our local teachers’ union. However, when we moved back from the United Kingdom, I was elected to our local school board and now I get so see educational policy from a different perspective.. Such are the whims of the gods! Ultimately, we learn to live with what we have. Although I am a free range thinker on educational issues, I do have two guiding principles: first, do what is best for children; and, second, use your common sense.
So there you have it. That is what this blog will be about. I promise that I will try to write with a sense of play and a sense of fairness. And, I will work hard.