Jan 24 2010

Terra Cotta Warriors Exhibit


Terra Cotta Warriors 2Terra Cotta warriorsThere are plenty of adventures that begin with “I wish I hadn’t planned this months ago because now it will take up so much of my day.”  C.J. didn’t want to go.  I was worried about leaving the puppy home for so long.  A day later, after having seen the Terra Cotta Warrior exhibit at the National Geographic Museum, I’m sorry the experience is over.  The tour, for us, lasted about 90 minutes–we rented the $5.00 audio tour.  I would have learned a great deal without the audio information, but I’m glad we paid the extra $5.00.  It was fascinating, and I can say that I learned a great deal more about China in one visit than I knew about the whole country in all of my reading.  This First Emperor’s innovations rival anything the ancient Romans established.  I don’t think there’s middle or high school student who wouldn’t find this amazing.  In fact, I caught myself repeating “unbelievable” in every part of the exhibit.  Some of the members of our group had seen the exhibit in the past–even one couple had seen it in China.  I can see why they wanted to see it again.  I will be looking for videos or interactive websites so that I can share the with my nieces and nephews.  (Ah, always the teacher!)terracotta-warriors-8

Jul 27 2009

Teachers and Obesity


My son called me today to tell me he heard a story on the radio about a politician who proposed that teachers must be a healthy weight in order to be better role models for children.  Even though it was a passing remark, I found myself thinking about obesity and teaching for the rest of the day.

I did a web search and found what I think was the source of the story. State Rep. Rida Cabanilla introduced a resolution in the house requesting that the Board of Education establish an obesity database among public schoolteachers. This was in March 2005.  Of course, many who responded were offended by Cabanilla’s proposal.

Still, it got me thinking.  I think that many teachers applaud the move to healthy snacks instead of sodas in the snack machines for students; however, I don’t think that the teachers would be willing to give up the sugary snacks in the teachers’ lounge.  Don’t take away my access to sodas and candy bars!

On one hand, size discrimination is still accepted by our society—look at all of the movies and television shows where the fat characters are taunted, or they make fun of themselves:  Rosanne,  Homer Simpson, and  Gwenyth Paltrow’s character in Shallow Hal.  I see this proposal as another way to marginalize those who struggle with their weight. 

On the other hand, the headlines today reported that the cost of obesity carries a hefty price tag.  (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=8184975&page=1) It’s easy to condemn others for our health care costs and difficult to apply the same standards to ourselves.

Where do teachers begin?  We started a Weight Watchers group at our school last year.  We organized a similar group about five years before that.  It was expensive and difficult for teachers to meet after school because of other obligations, advising, tutoring, and coaching.  Inevitably, the early enthusiasm wilted, and the group disbanded.

What’s the answer?  How can we teachers change our habits and lead children to change theirs?