reading round-up (10.04.13)

Too bad it’s controversial to argue that the primary purpose of high school is educating students. Here’s an article I found really interesting about a school that ended their high-school sports programs in favor of a (much cheaper) school-wide fitness initiative. Most of my teacher friends say school sports should be abolished in favor of intramural or club teams, which would take no money from the school and no class time away from the students, and I would love to read about more schools trying this!

This month my piano students and I are celebrating “Bach-tober,” in honor of the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. I enjoyed reading about the Resurrection themes of his life and music. Anyone interested in a further look at his life might enjoy Evening in the Palace of Reason, by James R Gaines, and anyone just wanting to listen to some cool music should check out the Bach-stiftung YouTube channel.

So, speaking of education and music… Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results explains a lot (to me) about what worked and didn’t work in my academic classes last year, and Peter Lawler’s follow-up Teaching As Shouting is helping me evaluate my philosophy as a music teacher. Private music lessons are still mostly a “bonus” activity for many families, and I’ve always had the impression the kids who most need some straight talk about their work ethic or focus are the ones with parents who would withdraw them from the studio if they ever cried during or after a lesson.
Lawler also had some interesting comments on stress. I found the first sentence alarming and the rest encouraging: “The best way to handle stress is to routinely experience it. [OH NO!] As Aristotle says, the best way to come to possess the moral virtue of courage is actually to be in situations where courage is required to live well. The more the virtue becomes your own, the easier it is to keep your head, choose well, and even be happy in risky situations.” I think instead of saying my life feels stressful right now, I want to start saying it is full of risky situations. That sounds more adventurous.

Debate about GMO crops hits close to home for us because of Aaron’s research in that field and, contrary to some public opinions, actual scientific research about the safety and benefits of crop engineering has been overwhelmingly positive!

8 thoughts on “reading round-up (10.04.13)

  1. Hi Abby,

    I really relate to Lawler’s sentence you quoted. I think having migraines prepared me for handling other tough life situations. I never knew when they were coming, they put me out of commission for 1-3 days, I had to just wait them out and then felt exhausted for a few days longer. Now I have medication that usually catches headaches as they start, with few after affects. But, as I learned the triggers, I learned to control eating and behaviors – all of which I think helped me deal with other stressful situations.

    Do what you have to to stay “cool”. Enough rest has to be one of the factors. Love, Grandma C.

    • Aaron says staying cool is natural for us and we can’t ever lose that. 😉 Some days I’m not so sure… anyway, we love you guys and are so thankful for your encouragement & prayers in a season where every aspect of life feels very risky. Love, Abby & Aaron.

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