Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

You Want to Learn Pallet Dancing?

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September 7, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Communication, Cross Cultural, Education, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Words | 12 Comments

Get an Early Lead and Hold It

The title line is from an old joke: a high school football coach tells his team the secret of winning – Get an early lead and hold it.

Many of you have asked about why it even matters to me what the Yemeni Star is all about. So I am going to tell you a secret from my childhood, a secret that got me through school with good grades.

It’s in two parts. The first is about getting an early lead – it’s called The Halo Effect and it is like getting an early lead and holding it. You work really hard and get good grades when you are young, and those early grades influence the later graders to give you the benefit of the doubt as you move up the grades. It doesn’t always work, but often enough that it has been given it’s own name.

The second secret is to develop an area of interest to YOU. For me, it was the stars. I loved (and still love!) stars, constellations, comets, heavenly rhythms, music of the planets, etc. For me it is God’s hand on this vast, cosmic scale. So I first started writing early reports on stars, constellations, etc. You know, how you have to write science projects?

From the constellations, I branched out into mythology – what a great study. So many references in daily life and literature refer to mythical beings and happenings, and if you don’t have a clue, you miss a whole level of richness. Like if someone refers to a Sisyphusian endeavor, you don’t have to run go look it up, you know they are referring to an almost impossible task. Between astronomy and mythology, there was enough material that I could take previous reports every year and ramp ’em up for the next year. I usually learned something, but the most important thing I learned was that I could succeed without having to re-invent the wheel every year.

If you can develop a particular field that interests you, your school life can be a lot more interesting. And believe me, we all know how deadening the school experience can be, unless you have really good teachers who can make it come alive for you. You have the most amazing tools available to you – a world of information, via the ‘net, and GoogleEarth – GoogleSky,, Wikipedia, and all kinds of illustrations available to add depth to your papers and reports. You are truly a generation who can have a lot of fun learning, if you take responsibility for your own education.

(Big hurrahs and shouts out here for Elijah, Swair, Magical Droplets,, MacoholicQ8, and all my other teaching friends, my classroom-warriors friends, heading back to do battle with and enlighten reluctant minds; you are my heroes!)

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September 7, 2007 Posted by | Alaska, Biography, Bureaucracy, Community, Cross Cultural, Education, Family Issues, GoogleEarth, Statistics, Tools, Uncategorized | 9 Comments