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June 2010

Javits Frasier Scholarship

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Improving One's Own Corner: Making a List

"There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.”
 -Aldous Huxley

Huxley's quote is one of my favorites. As we begin the short but much-needed summer hiatus from the hustle and bustle of the classroom, I’d like to take an allegorical look at the “corner” Huxley speaks of. After all, this is the Teacher's Corner.

Like many of us, I regularly employ the strategy of list-making for a variety of responsibilities. To-do lists, shopping lists, student interest lists, classroom lists, guest lists, reference lists, and a host of others serve as a way to organize all of the tasks that need to be addressed for a certain event, situation, or affair. Social media has even joined the “list mania” with its infinite “list” applications. While all of these lists serve a specific purpose, none directly seek to “improve one’s corner.”

I’ve always believed that great teaching is innate, and as with any position that requires both intra and interpersonal skills, relaxation, recreation, self-reflection, evaluation, and continuing education are necessary. In recent years, I have begun to make a different sort of list, a list about me. This is not a “bucket” list, but a simple collection of attainable items related to education that I hope to accomplish by summer’s end. Try to create one for yourself, and in doing so tidy up and improve you corner.

Here is mine:

  • Visit a used bookstore at least once, and while there, find a book about education, and one for pleasure, preferably an adventure novel
  • Find three unique website links for each of my three main units at school
  • Work on an idea for an editorial related to Gifted Education
  • Locate one educator grant and apply for it. A good source is Grants Wrangler.
  • Talk with another educator about the art of teaching over a good cup of coffee
  • Explain the principles of gifted education to someone who doesn’t know what it is all about
  • Read the summer issue of Gifted Child Quarterly
  • Think of something new to teach
  • Encourage another educator to present at or attend a conference
  • Plan for the opening of school
  • Relax as often as possible

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