Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Post #13

to this day

Summarized by: Keri Brown

Shane Koyczan is an amazing man who told his story through poetry. Koyczan began by talking about how as a child we are told to "stand up for yourself," but that is a hard thing to do when you don't even know who you are. He says that we are expected to define ourselves at such a young age and if we didn't others did it for us by calling us names like geek, fatty, slut, or fag. "What do you want to be when you grow up" is not a fair question because it doesn't allow kids to be what they already are, kids.

Mr. Koyczan talks about his childhood by saying:
At age 8, he wanted to be a marine biologist.
At age 9, he saw JAWS and said no thank you.
At age 10, he was told his parents left because they didn't want him.
At age 11, he wanted to be left alone.
At age 12, he wanted to die.
At age 13, he wanted to kill a kid.
At age 14, he was asked to seriously consider a career path.
When he told them he wanted to be a writer, they told him to come up with something realistic. They told him to come up with something and then told him what he couldn't be. He was basically told to accept the identity that others would give him. His dreams got called names too, silly, foolish, impossible, but yet he kept dreaming.

During the ages 15-18, he hated himself for becoming the thing he loathed…a bully. At age 19 he wrote, "I will love myself despite the ease with which I learn toward the opposite." He said that "standing up for yourself does not have to mean embracing violence."

Mr. Koyczan talked about one specific time when certain people always wanted his answers for the homework and he wanted friends so he would always give them the answers. One boy would always call him "Yogi Bear" and laugh at his belly. After a while, Shane got fed up with this and when the boy asked for his answers to his homework, he gave him all of the wrong answers. When the boy got his homework back, he looked at Shane mad and puzzled that he had received a zero on this homework assignment. This was just enough satisfaction for Shane.

picture of Shane Koyczan holding up his hands
Shane closes by saying "if you can't see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror, look closer, or stare a little longer." There is something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit. He says that you have to believe that those people were wrong. Shane said, "yes, those things did hurt him, but life is a balancing act that has less to do with pain, and more to do with beauty.

Mae Jemison: Teaching Arts and Sciences Together
Summarized by: Kenesha Brown
Mae Jemison is an American physician and NASA astronaut. She was the first African American woman to travel into space. Jemison had a successful career at NASA; however, she resigned in 1993 to form her own research company. Jemison participated in the Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) Conference. TED is a global set of conferences owned by a private non-profit organization.
In the video, Mae Jemison explained how arts and sciences should be revitalized. Lewis Carrol quoted “If you don’t much care where you want to get to, then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.” However, Jemison explained that it does matter which direction to take. What we do now is critically important to our future. The world is built off of abstract ideas that people think of today. Knowledgeable ideas came to play as early as the 50’s. The subjects that are now invented, internet, high definition, etc., was thought of and mentioned during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

Jemison explained that during the 60’s people believed in hope for the future. They thought that everyone could participate in giving creative ideas. The tools people think is “hot or cool” now are based off the ideas from the 60’s.

On her trip to space, Jemison took three items with her. She took an Alvin Allen poster of a dancer performing a dance piece called Cry, a Badu statue that was given to her by a women’s society, and a certificate from the Chicago Public School students to work and improve science and math. People found it strange that Jemison took the items she chose. However, she felt as if each of the three things she took with her represented human creativity. Human creativity is what allowed them to conceive, create and launch the rocket into space.

Albert Einstein stated that “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true arts and sciences.” The differences of arts and sciences are deconstructive. People look at science as deconstructive because often times it is something that has to be pulled apart to understand. However, Jemison explained that science provides an understanding of universal experiences; whereas, art provides a universal understanding. People must realize that understanding, resources, and will are the cause of the outcome. Ideas and innovation should be driven from a person’s intellect. Jemison stated that ideas should be thought of as potential energy. Nothing will happen until someone takes a risk. I believe that the arts and sciences play an important role in critical thinking for students. As teachers, we should to continue to stay ahead on a technological standpoint. However, we must remind our students that inventions come from people who are not afraid of sharing their ideas and failing. Students need to learn the importance of embracing culture. They need to understand that there are many ways of viewing situations. Therefore, as educators, we need to teach our students how to accept abstract ideas.

Shukla Bose: Teaching one child at a time
Summarized by: Chelsea Calvert
Shukla Bose is a woman who went to the Indian slums to start making a difference in the education system they have. She has never been educated how to teach but she has been in the corporate word for twenty six years. In 2003, she started the Parikrma Humanity Foundation out of her own house. They started by walking through the slums and visiting the children and the parents. They realized that most of the children did not go to school. They tried convincing the parents to send their children to school. Once they got back to Shukla Bose's house to begin a plan they were overwhelmed with the numbers of children that should be going to school but do not. The number of students that attend school but cannot read or even do basic math. It was then they realized they are focusing on one child at a time. They started a school in a slum of 70,000 people living below the poverty line. The school was on the rooftop of two story building that was only partially covered. The school started with one hundred sixty five students. Now, after six years they have built four schools and a junior college with one thousand one hundred students that are attending. Their goal is to prepare these students to be educated and be able to function in this chaotic world. They teach every student how to speak English within about three and half months. They also chose one the most difficult curriculums and their students excel in it. The students are also excelling in sports.

The schools not only address the student’s education but also the parents. The parent attendance to school meetings is over eighty percent. At first the parents would sign in by using their thumb print but their children taught them how to sign their names. Some of the fathers had begun to attend the school. They had some mothers approach them about wanting to learn how to read and write. They school formed an after school program for these mothers to attend to educate themselves. She says that 98% of the fathers are alcoholics who they send some of them to a facility to get sober. Once the father has gotten sober, they help him get a job so that he does not relapse. The school as also taught some fathers about hygiene and how to prepare meals. Some of them work at the school and cook for the students. This type of job gives the father a sense of importance. The school also has programs for the older children in the families so that they will attend and the younger ones will have a way to school.

Bose addresses a few myths in her discussion. One of them is that the children from the slums cannot integrate with mainstream. She shows a video of a student who was selected by Duke University to participate in a program and was sent to a place that had many different cultures. In the video, the girl discusses how much she loved socializing with people of a different race or class then she was. She said normally she would have never approached people that were not in her social class or of her race. Once she had spoken to many different people she realized they are all the same they were all very friendly and could interact with her.

Shukla Bose shared a great testimony that anyone who has the will to make a change can. Within six short years she has help build four schools and a junior college that in itself is amazing. She not only educates the students but also the parents. I think it was a great of them to start an after school program for the mothers to become a part of the learning process. Helping the parents and getting them involved with education will benefit the students. The parents are more likely to make sure their children go to school and get an education if they are excited about it too. This program is also changing the whole demeanor of households by helping the fathers get sober and finding new jobs. They are also teaching the fathers how to cook and how to set up their kitchens. This not only gives the father a new skill but also gives them the knowledge to share to their spouse. They also provide programs for the older students to ensure they will come to school along with their younger siblings. This is something I would have never thought about doing because normally the action of the older siblings does not affect the actions of the younger children. It was a great idea for them to impalement a program to keep the older students engaged in school.


  1. Great post! I went to watch Mr. Koyczan's speech just because you made it sound interesting. Good summary.