thoughts on learning while fiddling

search closed

new search bar – closed

I spent all yesterday afternoon and yesterday evening fiddling with adding a search bar to my website. I was pretty tired, but I still wanted to try and change it up. I’ve gone through many phases. In the beginning, all I wanted was to have a relatively static site that I could control all aspects of. That’s why I went with Joomla. Then I discovered WordPress and decided that I would go with that as a CMS because it was so aesthetically pleasing and easy to use.

new search bar - open

new search bar – open

I hopped on the Tumblr bandwagon, but never fully embraced it because it was not feature-rich enough for me. If my website was to be my face on the web, I wanted it to be something I was proud of and could control. WordPress hit all those spots for me. I had a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS, but not PHP. Still, I went for it and jumped. I’ve been self-taught all my life and that’s how I like discover the world around me. I find that as a hands-on learner, doing things and jumping right in helps me understand the fundamentals and gets me hooked. After a few tries I usually show massive improvement.

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the direction of my life where to go from here

the trail

I’ve never been one to think on and on about the direction of my life. It’s not that I don’t have ambitions, desires, dreams, or goals, but that I like to focus on the present. I’ve found that when you’re standing in the middle of an empty road and lost, your best option is to stay there for a while. Turning tail and running back into the past does nothing for you. You’ve already seen and experienced that. Trudging on is not truly an option either, especially when you haven’t fully experienced the present moment. I like to stand in one spot and look around until I am ready to see something else, but keep in mind that life is a constant move forward. Even if I don’t feel like moving, I let the road move from underneath me. Staying in one spot for too long, you take the risk of getting run over by a speeding vehicle when you least expect it.

There’s nothing quite like the current moment.

As time ticks by, things start to change. That cloud that looks like a unicorn won’t stay looking like a unicorn for long. It’s something that I’ve noticed from my time taking pictures. Things don’t like to stagnate, and so, they’re always in a constant state of flux. Perhaps this is why people stand behind grabbing life by the horns. If you don’t take the chance now, there may not be another chance for you to take in the future. I’ve come to realize that it might be my time to move on from where I am now, after having several enlightening talks with two different people. As always, I take what they have to say with a few sprinkles of salt, because in the end, it will be my own choices that shape my future existence.
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Education

It’s been a while, dear blog. Oh how I miss rambling on your pretty pages – spilling my guts and tapping out all my sorrows on the keyboard of my old HP laptop. The reason for my absence is….well, I’ve been quite distracted by life. Too many things going on at once and I get distracted pretty easily. I don’t mind that I get distracted, but sometimes I just want to focus and read the paper, drink some coffee, listen to some music, and write. Write, write, write. I’m pretty happy that I’ve found time to write a quick post before I get back to my busy lifestyle of sleep, eating, and wandering. In essence, I’ve been busy doing schoolwork. Yes, I’m back in school. I didn’t think it would happen, but I’m back and I’m pretty glad I’m back. I started doubting that my mind was built for academics, but I think it was just chemistry. I can write and I can think (at least I’d like to believe that). I have life skills and oh, perhaps the most important asset I have: common fucking sense. If you’re lacking in that area, I feel real sorry for you. You should probably get on trying to master some before you attempt other things. If you don’t have common sense, you are a danger to yourself and society. Please brush up on it before you hurt yourself and others. Anyway, my second quarter back and it’s been rolling. I can’t keep track of the days anymore. Everything is just a big blur, but I think I’m learning quite a lot. That is what I’m paying for, yes? I’m paying for professors to pack that information into my head. I wonder when my ears will start leaking because my skull can no longer contain all this knowledge. All in all: hardly working, good info, yummy foods, been places that I’d never been, and made new friends. Others have it harder than I do.

As an aspiring teacher, I’ve come to realize that our education system is, for the lack of a better phrase, fucked up. Every single aspect of education is under scrutiny. Don’t get me wrong, I think that it should be. After all, what are schools for? What is education for? Are we still using school to manufacture law-abiding, obedient, mechanical soldiers or factory workers? I’d like to think that we’ve moved past that phase, but we still need to instill democratic principles in our children. Points of contention? Curriculum, student assessment, teacher assessment, goals of schools, minority education, special education, failing schools, and bringing test scores up, just to rattle off a few.

We’ve moved past the days of Laura Ingalls and whipping kids when they were “bad”. However, we’re now stuck in the age of diplomas. It’s a diploma society and to prove that you’ve “learned something”, you need to do well on your standardized tests and get good grades. Then go to med school. Screw med school. It’s disheartening when you go to a primary school and see children trained in drills and routine. Trained to react to the teacher in a certain way. Trained to think a certain way and trained to think that school is all repetition, memorization, reciting, sleeping, and boredom.

I say it’s time we have an educational overhaul. There are plenty of bright minds out there who can come up with a way to inspire the future generation of Americans. We need to do something. After all, we’re leaving them a planet worse than we found it and they’re the ones who are going to have to deal with it. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but we can learn from the new charter school revolution. Why don’t we take some hints and start teaching them analytical skills, critical thinking, teamwork, and life skills? Instead of testing them to death, why don’t we assess them? And I do mean ASSESS, not test. Testing does not equate to assessing. It never did and never will. That’s all, folks. It’s lunch time.

This post first appeared on my old WordPress blog 24FEB2011.