Monthly Archives: July 2008

Quotes & Questions

I am really enjoying going through this old coil notebook of my writings from the summer of 1995. It’s strange how this first version of Silent Cacophony is a lot like a blog. The titles of the posts this week are the actual titles above each entry I wrote in that coil notebook. Here is another entry from my book entitled “Quotes & Questions.”

“Leaves that have fallen from a tree do not attach themselves to a branch again.”
Devil’s Heart by Carmen Carter, pg 127

– How come there are forks in the road, but never spoons?
– How come you pitch a tent, but you don’t throw it to a back catcher?
– How high is up?
– How come you call a television a TV, but you don’t call a telephone a TP, TP that’s a tent. Speaking of tents, last night I dreamed I was a wigwam, then I dreamed I was a TP. I asked my doctor what this means. He said I was too tense (tents.)
– “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. It is for that purpose that I give my skill to the world. A skill I am not yet fully aware of. But it is my belief that you can get everything you want out of life by giving others what they want. Good deeds are their own reward. Spoken from a true boy scout himself. I am he.
– The purpose of life is to be happy
to accomplish great things
to help other people at all times
to be wise in the use of your resources
and to always be kind and cheerful.

Possible Titles

This is the second excerpt from my recently discovered lost work. This is the second page of the coil notebook and it shows a brainstorming session as I try to come up with a title for it. Well, here it is in its entirety.

LITERATURE

I smell a rat. Literature. U ARE A LITE RAT. I don’t get it. Neither do I, or me, Hey wait I’m the only one with a pen. I am but one, alone in the car.

WASTED INK – possible, the cool title of a book.

Ya know when ya go to the drive-in theatre, and they start the picture too early and it’s too bright. Put on sunglasses. Problem solved.

MESSY SCRIBBLES – another possible title, Nah!

SILENT CACOPHONY

COOL TITLE! THAT MAY BE IT.

THAT IS IT, BY GEORGE. THIS ISN’T BY GEORGE. IT’S BY CHASE, the author of USELESS JUNK. Sometimes, it is the right time.

Turn off that light?

What is This?

It seems that he has lost what was left of his sanity. Saneness is in the mind of the beholder. Little voice in one’s head may be dismissed as Cacophony. Phooey-phooey, you may say. Or you did say if you are reading aloud. Sunglasses worn over top of your hat are cool. Life is … too long … too short … too simple … too complicated. I can’t fathom any meaning.

A green book in spiral formation is this thing. Things are everywhere. Everything is everywhere. Records noted. A thought unrecorded is often a thought lost. Messy scribbles recorded that can’t be read are a lost thought. DON’T LOSE ‘EM

Geez this is weird. I thought so myself. Once or twice. Sentence fragment. Uncomplete thought WHO CARES This is My Book.

Peanuts may be salted. They are also victims if they have been assaulted. Vacations are too infrequent. Leave your mind once in a while. Legally of course. No irony. Don’t read between the lines unless I write like this

There is more!

Well that was it, the first page of my attempt at writing a book to explain everything about the world. I was so sure I had it all figured out back then. I remember having such grand plans for Silent Cacophony.

The original book I am typing up and sharing this week resembles this blog in quite a few ways. First off, I write short entries in it. Secondly, I delve into a number of topics. And third, you can tell I was having fun with it. There’s humour in nearly every page. I will admit it is a bit weird. But next week I will be back to blogging as usual. Don’t worry. Just enjoy this bizarre ride.

Thanks.

The First Silent Cacophony

I was doing some major cleaning and decluttering on the weekend and I came across something that I thought was lost – the original Silent Cacophony book.

I couldn’t believe I actually found it. I screamed out loud and jumped around at the discovery of this small coil notebook. It meant a lot to me and I always remembered it even though it had somehow gotten lost in the move or two I did over the years.

But I found it, a green coil notebook that I wrote in, oh so many years ago.

I flipped it open in anticipation of what I might find there. I knew I started writing this book when I was a teenager and, back then, I thought I knew everything. So I knew this book would have some wisdom contained in it. Maybe something I have since forgotten.

I want to share some of this with you. This week, and part way into next, all of my posts will be excerpts from this book. Keep in mind that I wrote it in the summer of 1995. I had a mantra at the time to keep it “unedited and raw.”

It starts off a little weird but my teenage voice definitely comes through. I hope that you enjoy this look back in time as much as I do.

Tomorrow, comes the actual intro to Silent Cacophony.

Stay tuned.

A Teacher in the Summer

What does a teacher do in the summer? It’s a good question and one that I’ve actually been asked to address on this blog. So here goes,

Teachers don’t make a lot of money when they first start out. In fact, I still have a hard time making ends meet. But since I have been in this career for five years now, I decided that it was time to actually have a summer vacation. As such, this is my first summer off since I started this career.

What did I do all the other summers? you ask. Well, I got another job. I worked in a variety of under-appreciated and under-paid positions. In that aspect, it reminded me of my real job anyway.

So what have I done so far on this my first summer off? Not much it seems.

I think it took me a month just to wind down and make the transition from working to not working. I actually haven’t had a real vacation in too many years. So I just enjoyed the time off.

I’ve done a lot of reading. I’ve been going for runs almost every day. I’ve spent time with my family. And I’ve been researching the publishing business. It has been my goal since I started this blog to be published in five years. So far, I’ve only concentrated on writing. It’s time for the next step.

I have also begun thinking about the new school year. I’ve been given a split class next year and I’ll be at a new school. It’s going to be a challenge, as I have never taught a split grade before. Plus there is a huge adjustment having to move schools.

So it seems that I am always a teacher. I’m already thinking about the new school year. I’ve started collecting resources and thinking about how I will launch the new year. I am even going to visit the school next week.

I think teaching is like writing, whenever you aren’t physically doing it you are still thinking about it. I am always cooking story ideas in my head even when I’m not writing. And it seems like I do the same things with lesson plans, strategies, and everything else that goes into a classroom. It’s a big job. It’s no wonder that I am never truly far from it.

How Many Elements?

How many elements are there in this world?

Modern scientists would probably argue that there are hundreds. They would be able to prove and show how each of the elements differ and how they all deserve to have their own classification.

I often think that science looks at too many things. I think that scientists have fragmented the study of reality and have gotten no closer to discovering the truth about it.

Studying the world around us is all well and good. I have no problem with that. I have a problem with what we get out of it. We don’t seem to have any more answers today than we did hundreds of years ago.

We used to believe that there were only four elements and that everything was comprised of either; earth, air, water, or fire. With our modern thinking and technology we now know that this is not the case. It almost seems laughable when we look back at this theory. We know that it is not true.

So now we have hundreds of elements but we don’t really know where they came from or why they are here. Does this help us in anyway understand the nature of reality?

I don’t think it does. We are constantly striving to put all of our known scientific knowledge together. Einstein tried it to no avail, and since we all have been on the search for a unifying theory.

One theory that could explain everything known about the universe and explain it all.

So what if there is only one element?

What if everything on this world was Story? That’s my unifying theory.

And what is a theory but a story to explain something that we don’t understand? We have used Story like this since the beginning of time. It’s time we started to look more carefully at this thing we call Story for the answers to which we seek. The answer is there. I’m sure of it.

One element – Story.

Love At First Sight

Lady in Red
I believe in love at first sight. It’s happened to me before.

Unfortunately when it did happen, I didn’t act on it and I have never seen her again. It was about ten years ago but her image remains burned in my brain. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I never ran after her. I should have.

I know what you are thinking; this was not love at first sight. But you’d be wrong. I know that it was.

It may be a little one-sided and it is very hard to explain, but I am sure that I loved her the first time I saw her. I am sure that I still do.

Maybe I am just a hopeless romantic. But with all my girlfriends, I never really felt that initial spark of love at first sight. I don’t know, maybe that feeling is uncommon. Maybe it only happens in the movies. Maybe it’s not for me.

I still think of that first case of love at first sight and the girl in the red jacket. I often think that she will walk back into my life one day and I know if she ever does, I won’t let her slip away so easily.

Maybe that girl and I will never cross paths again. Maybe I was completely wrong about the whole thing but it doesn’t feel wrong. The feeling has stayed with me all this time. It has to be real.

Who knows what the future holds? Maybe I will have this feeling again. And if I do, maybe she will be “the one.” Call me a hopeless romantic if you will but I believe in love at first sight.

The Easiest and Hardest Word to Say

“No”

Isn’t it?

It’s easy to say no to certain people in certain situations.

It’s hard to say no to some people no matter what the situation.

It’s easy to say no to things that you think people expect you to say no to.

It’s hard to say no to things that people seem to universally agree with.

Going against the grain is tough. Going with it is easy. Sometimes both ways can be declared with a simple, “No.”

So, one word, a simple two-letter word, a word that we have probably used a few times already today, is the easiest and hardest word to say. That word is no.

“The easiest and hardest word to say is no.
Only got two letters, only takes a second to say it.”
– Lyrics from Chuck D’s song “No” off the album “The Autobiography of Mista Chuck.”

How true!

Can Guys and Girls be Friends?

This is an age-old debate that spans all the way back to 1989. At least that’s when I first heard of it. It was the theme of one of the greatest movies of all time, When Harry Met Sally.

Harry felt that guys and girls couldn’t be friends. He thought that sex would always be in the way of a true friendship. Sally didn’t believe this to be the case. They weren’t the only characters that debated this topic in the movie. But by the end of the movie, and nearly twenty years later, we still don’t seem to have a definitive answer.

Everyone has acquaintances of the opposite sex that we probably don’t think about having sex with. Our friends of the same gender share a common interest with us. Some share a personal history with us that we will always treasure. And with these relationships there is never the possibility of sex getting in the way.

However, when a guy and a girl become good friends, and I mean more than just simple acquaintances, the possibility of sex is something that is always there in between the two friends. Some people may be able to ignore it but it is always there. That’s why I think this debate has yet to be closed.

There have been a few times in my life where I have developed a great friendship with a member of the opposite sex. I enjoyed all of these friendships and tried my best to protect them and keep them in tact. But the problem with that was that at some point in those friendships I often thought of taking the relationship to the next level, as it were. There were a few times where that actually happened. So, that being the case, were we ever really friends?

It’s a good debate. I’d like to think that friendship can exist between the sexes. A lot of my acquaintances are women and I don’t degrade them by thinking in terms of sex. At least I try not to, but I am a guy after all. Sorry ladies. Maybe it’s true, maybe guys and girls can’t be friends. What do you think?

Something Had To Go

I have to tighten up my belt. Trim my spending. Pinch my pennies. I’m sure you know what that’s like.

I looked at a few things in my life and really thought about all the spending that I do. I needed to cut back on it. I’ve never been one to budget. I’m not the best with my money but it tends to stretch as far as I need it.

The problem is that things just cost so much these days. I can’t afford them all. I wish I could but I can’t. So something had to go. And that’s why I am living this summer without a television.

It’s surprisingly easy to live without cable TV. I have some TV shows on DVD that I bought because I love them so much. But with cable TV, I never really watched them. So now I have a chance to.

I also have been going to the library every day so I can continue to maintain this blog. The public library is great. They even have DVDs. So far this week I have borrowed I am Legend, Beowulf, Cloverfield, and The Bourne Ultimatum. Not bad for free, eh?

So I am surviving without cable TV and I am still getting to watch lots of great shows and movies. I know that I am going to want to have cable in the fall to catch all the new shows but so far I’m not really missing it.

I’m glad I don’t go to the movies very often because it’s so much better to see them for free. And the library has got such a great selection now. It used to be that you could only get movies that were based on books or were G-rated. I’m glad that has changed.

Libraries are more progressive than you may think. If you haven’t been to your local branch in years, go check it out. You might be pleasantly surprised. And you can stop spending money on movie rentals. What’s not to love?

Story is the Nature of Reality

I have this great theory that Story is the nature of reality. I have been posting up quotations that seem to help prove this theory on my commonplace book blog, Thoughtful Cacophony. I have been writing entries on this theory here every week as well. I call this feature, Storied Thursdays.

I have chapters listed on the side bar of both of my blogs. I hope to keep this series up for a while longer. There is just so many ways to tackle this concept and thousands of examples to use. It’s a bit overwhelming actually.

I want to thank everyone who has commented on this series so far. You have definitely helped me to explore this topic even further.

It’s a strange theory to have. How can everything be Story? It seems to be nonsense at first glance. But the more I look into it, the more I am convinced. It just makes so much sense on so many different levels.

The moment I came to the realization that everything is Story, it was like an epiphany. I knew deep down in my heart that it was true. I couldn’t explain why. I tried to explain it to a few people and while they often entertained my ramblings, they went away unconvinced. I couldn’t blame them, it was something that I felt and truly believed but explaining it was a completely different beast.

I’m still not sure that I have explained it well enough here but I am trying. And I will continue to try. I think this theory needs a lot of exploration. It could be a full-time dissertation. If I had the time to go back to school and earn my Masters of English, that is exactly what I would do. For now though, this is just a hobby of mine and it’s great to have you along for the ride.

Feeling Mediocre

I can’t help it sometimes. I look at how well other people do things and compare myself to them. I don’t know why I do this, but I do. The only outcome of it is that I end up feeling mediocre.

I don’t feel that I do anything great. I don’t seem to excel at anything. I do lots of different things and I should feel good about that. But all of the things I do, I’m mediocre at.

I can skateboard but I can’t hold a candle to most everyone else in the park. I can play a few instruments but I know better musicians than me. I run fast but there is always someone faster. I get blog comments but only a handful.

Am I mediocre at every thing I do? And if so, is this a bad thing?

I asked my dad about this and he said, “I don’t think mediocre is bad. Mediocre means that you do things. I’m mediocre at most things too.”

Okay, so maybe I’m not the only one who feels this way.

I wonder how many people don’t try something because of this feeling. That would be a waste. I mean, we can’t all expect to be like Tony Hawk on the skateboard. There are always going to be people better than us at the things we do.

I could always compare myself to people on the other side of the spectrum. I know people who can’t skateboard, play an instrument, or maintain a blog. So I guess being able to do those things is worth celebrating.

Do we really need levels of accomplishment?

Can I just say that I’m a skater, a musician, and a blogger?

I think I can.

I’m not sure being mediocre is bad. Maybe it is better to do things just okay than not doing them at all. I like to think that I am a well-rounded individual. I have lots of skills and hobbies that I enjoy doing. So what if I’m not a super-star skater, runner, or blogger, I don’t need to be. I should just accept my mediocrity and blaze on as if I were a champion.

My Window Works

I’ve been driving my car now for a few weeks without an operational driver’s side window. My car doesn’t have air-conditioning and it’s been way too hot not to have a functioning window. But I’ve had to make do. I roll down the passenger side window and open up the vents. This works okay on the highway but city driving is pretty hot and unbearable.

My window needed to be fixed but after just spending quite a bit of money on my brakes, I was in no position to fix a window. It looked like it would have to stay forced up. But two weeks of suffering in the heat changed my mind.

I did something that surprised myself. I went to the library and signed out a repair manual. I thought I would try to see if I could fix it myself. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m not mechanically inclined. I always take my car in for servicing, but I heard that the window could be expensive. Fixing a window seemed like something I could do, and if I messed it up somehow, at least I would still be able to drive the car. So I decided to tackle the job.

I took the car over to my dad’s so I could use all his tools and get some advice and assistance on it. Dads are great.

So we took the door apart and we could see the problem right away. There were two wires that ran from the handle pulley to the track that that the window sits on. One of these wires was broken. First we tried to see if we could just attach another wire to it to get it to work. It didn’t.

So I went to the wreckers and bought a new regulator. We followed the instructions and managed to put it in with no problems at all. My dad and I looked at each other in disbelief. I rolled the window up and down. Yup, it worked. We still couldn’t believe it.

“That was almost too easy,” said dad.

“Yeah, we didn’t even have that one stubborn bolt that won’t budge.”

“And no extra pieces left over.”

“Pretty good, eh?”

“What did we do wrong?” joked my dad.

It was great! My car now has a window that rolls up and down. You never really appreciate something so small and trivial on a car until it doesn’t work. I’m glad that it does now. I will be able to survive what is shaping up to be a long, hot summer.

My Top 5 All-time Favourite TV Shows

1) Jericho
2) Everwood
3) My So-Called Life
4) Star Trek
5) M.A.S.H.

I would like to take some time to explain why each of these shows is on my list and how I managed to put them in this order. I think that might take more than one entry so I plan to write a specific post about each show over the next few weeks.

This list has changed over time. For the longest time, Star Trek held the number one spot. It wasn’t until My So-Called Life came out that it slipped to second place. My So-Called Life was so fresh and original. I didn’t think that it would lose its number one position. But once again, I was pleasantly surprised at what TV can produce.

Everwood is a show that I enjoy immensely. It is well written and acted and it’s hard not to fall in love with this small town. The show lasted for four seasons and the finale was absolutely amazing. It was picture-perfect storytelling that wrapped up the entire series in a way that closed every story for the viewer. After watching that episode, Everwood bumped every show down a notch on the list.

Anyone who has read my blog will know how Jericho managed to make its way up to number one. By the way, all of these shows are on DVD now. Jericho just came out with a complete series box set. It has lots of bonus features and is definitely worth picking up. I own it.

Lastly, M.A.S.H. is a classic in all aspects. It is a comedy that deals with serious issues. It is a drama that is funny. It defies classification. And it stands the test of time. You can watch this show today and not feel like you are watching something that is outdated or irrelevant.

So that’s my list with a bit of commentary on it. I hope to expand on this in the coming weeks.

So, what shows are in your top 5 of all time? Please drop a comment and let me know.

Waterfront Trail Run

This is the second time I’ve done this. I went for a run and took my camera along. I stopped every few minutes to take a picture. Here is a visual tour of my run through the Waterfront Trail in Grimsby.

I started off the run right out the front door of my mom’s house. I had to run along the streets for about a kilometer. Notice how they don’t have any sidewalks.

This is Lake Ontario and you can see that I passed a sailboat as I ran.

This is a trail marker that shows how long this trail actually is. A lot of it runs along the streets or trails by the water. I much prefer running through the woods so I headed up towards where it connects with the Bruce Trail.

Here is a small lighthouse just before the trail goes into the woods.

The trail just starts here so it is pretty clean and even. It gets a little more challenging a few kilometers in, as you will see.

Here is a short bridge. You can see that right now I am running alongside a small creek.

This is about three kilometers into my run. A road cuts across the natural beauty I have been running in. But it is only a small obstacle. I cross it with no problems and end up running back through nature.

This is a nice place for a soccer field. I’d like to play there. The field is fenced along the other three sides. So here comes the next obstacle in my run.

There are only a few stiles like this that you have to cross during this running route. But it is nice to have a change of pace and climb up and down a ladder. It adds some excitement.

You can see the trail is clearly marked. Here it runs under the QEW, a busy highway.

I take a moment to appreciate this nice piece of graffiti art.

At this point, the trail comes out near downtown Grimsby. You can see the Niagara Escarpment. There are further trails all along the Escarpment as well.

I run up the mountain as a cycler speeds down it.

It’s not really big enough to be called a mountain. But everyone simply calls it “the mountain” here in the Hamilton area. You can see they were really creative with this street name too.

The end of the run isn’t as picturesque as I run straight down the street to get back to my mom’s house.

It was a great run. I finished it in 27:54 minutes so by my rough appoximation it is probably about a seven kilometer route. Hope you enjoyed this visual tour of my run. I certainly enjoyed running it, documenting it, and putting it all together here.

Governed by Laws

On Marshall McLuhan…

Take Today underscores his view that all life – mental, material, spiritual, physical – is governed by laws, laws that no one else has even noticed, let alone considered worthy of discussion between the covers of a book. …

The laws are infallible – as precise as mathematics, as ubiquitous as weather – and, after wrestling with them for almost five decades, he has finally grasped them in all their glory.”
– Fitzgerald, Judith. Marshall McLuhan: Wise Guy. XYZ Publishing: Montreal, 2001. pg 152
Take Today was authored by McLuhan and Barrington Nevitt in 1972

This metaphor sounds like Story and it also uses a storybook to help frame the metaphor. What more can be said about this quote? It’s brilliant.

It immediately reminded me of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek Bible. It was a book that he composed to contain all the rules within the Star Trek Mythology. He created a beautiful world based on science and wanted it to be believable. This book was available to every writer of the show so that they would know what could and couldn’t happen in the stories they created.

The fictional world of Star Trek has precise laws. And maybe that is one of the reasons the franchise is timeless. It relates to the real world. It makes sense in so many ways. And it never tried to make us believe in something different every week. It had a beautiful consistency.

Life is like this as well. I believe that there is a Life Bible that contains all the rules of the universe. And like McLuhan says, no one seems to be searching for it. We know some of the precise rules but nothing that ties everything together, except for Story. And brilliantly enough that is even mentioned in this quote. Perhaps McLuhan knew something about the important role story has in the nature of reality. It seems to be like he was one of the best thinkers of our time. I think I need to explore his works more closely.

At the Library

So here I sit at the library in the computer lab. There are four rows of computers with four computers in each row. The computers are nice. They all have flat screen privacy monitors. You can’t glance over at your neighbour to see what he is doing because the screen just appears to be black. I like that.

There is a guy behind me who is playing video games. He has headphones on but they are so loud that I could actually sing along to the song he is listening to.
I print something off, and as I walk to the self-serve printer kiosk I notice that someone is watching a cooking show on their computer. You know the one where the host swears his head off at everybody.

I always wonder why people come to the library to do such pointless things on the computer. It kind of upsets me. Maybe I shouldn’t be upset by these things. The computers are here to be used by everyone but it seems like a lot of people are just wasting their time.

I am blogging, checking my email and doing some work that I need to get done. I am doing a little bit of research and some writing. I’m not in a chat room. I’m not just playing games or watching TV. But who am I to say anything?

So I sit here and rush against time, trying to get everything I need to get done in my one-hour time limit. But it looks like I will get everything done today. I’m used to the time constraints now. And I shouldn’t complain. At least the library is here for me to get online and continue my blog-obsession.

Alone in a Crowd

Last week when I went to the Canada Day Festival, I went by myself. I can sit and watch the bands perform all day long. I like to go to the different stages and see the local up-and-coming talent, as well as the headliners. I sometimes have a hard time finding someone who wants to spend the entire day or weekend there so I often go by myself. This doesn’t really bother me.

By my rough approximation, there were about 50,000 people in attendance at this festival. I was surprised to see how many of these people were walking around talking on their cell phones. I thought they looked even more pathetic than me. I mean, it’s a great event with thousands of people there, can’t they just enjoy it? Who could they be talking to anyway?

I overheard one guy on the phone. “I’m right in front of the stage, where are you?” “No I’m right at the front.” “I’m by a big tent.” “What tent, there’s only one tent by the stage.”

I also heard another person, a young lady this time, say, “I’m walking around with my drink in the air.” She held a can of pop above her head and continued walking.

Now, I’ve written about my dislike for cell phones before. I want to go out and have a good time. I don’t want to be tethered to a line that keeps me connected to everything. I just want to be somewhere and actually be there.

But it was amazing to see that I wasn’t the only person alone in that huge crowd. I had a great time checking out the bands and watching the fireworks. There were a few idiots there but there always is.

One of the bands split the audience into three groups and had us singing syllables in what they referred to as “a three-part choir.” How’s that for a connection. The crowd of strangers became one voice and it was beautiful. Suddenly no one was alone in the crowd. We were one. It was nothing short of beauty. I enjoyed every minute of it.

On-line Time Limited

I feel a need to get on-line everyday. Unfortunately, the summer is here and my online access is now somewhat restricted. You see, I don’t have the Internet at home. I have an old and out-dated computer that I use solely for word processing. But I make it work, I write entries at home and save them on a thumb drive. I then copy and paste these entries into my blog daily.

I used to be able to get by with just an hour on-line a day. In fact, if I did not get this time I felt a strange sensation I can only describe as blog withdrawal.

The first thing I do when I get online is sign into my blog and check to see if I get any comments. I then post up an entry, publish it, and check to see that it turned out okay. I then go to my other blog and post up a quotation from my collection. I will often find a picture to go with the quotation and post that up as well.

Only after I get my blogging out of the way, do I check my email. After I have dealt with all my email, I will then go and read my favourite blogs. I used to be able to do all of this in about an hour a day. But I am finding that I need more time to read all the blogs I enjoy now.

During the summer, I rely on the public library to get on-line. I sign in using my library card and the system gives me exactly one hour of time. Once the hour is up, the system automatically shuts down and will not let me sign in again on the same day. It’s a good system as it allows more people the chance to get on-line and stops someone from hogging a computer for hours at a time.

I went through this exact thing last summer and managed to keep up a very regular posting schedule. I am hoping to this summer as well. But if I miss a day here and there, you will know why. I just wanted you to know.

Learning Stops in the Summer

Too many parents leave the education of their children solely to the school system. Learning is a life long experience that should not and cannot be left solely to the school system. Yet it seems to me that a lot of people think it is the teacher’s job to educate their child to everything that they need to know. This is sad.

I think parents need to take a more active role in their child’s learning. Parents need to be good role models by learning new things themselves. They need to follow up on notes from the school and the homework that is assigned. A teacher can only do so much without having support from home.

Students need to take on a personal responsibility for their learning. Teachers can help to motivate them to do so, but the parents are a key component to this system as well. The teacher and parent should work together to help motivate and make the student accountable.

As a teacher, I use natural consequences and role modelling. I have a poster in my class that reads, “Work to Learn – The person who does the work is the ONLY person who learns.” It’s a key ingredient to learning. And I show them how I do my work. My lesson plans are printed off and stored in a binder on my bookcase. I keep a detailed mark book and notes. All of this is transparent and I will show it to the administration, to the parents, and even to my students.

I think we need to continue learning even though it is summer vacation. Summer is an important time for families. It gives parents a chance to spend some quality time with their kids. Time is the most important gift you can give to your child.

I would like parents out there to think of the summer as a time where learning can continue. Please think of ways to extend your child’s learning. Encourage your child to do some creative writing or keep a journal. Go to museums, the science centre, or festivals that promote learning. Don’t let learning stop because of the summer vacation. Perhaps you and your family can learn a new skill together. It will set a good example and help your child tremendously in September when he or she goes into their new grade.