Sep 23, 2011

ron clark, richard dawkins, and a wake-up call.

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i went to the mall after school today as a treat for not only surviving the week, but also writing lesson plans through october for my regular bio class. i popped into barnes & noble for ron clark's new book "the end of molasses classes" and i also snagged the paperback release of richard dawkins's most recent work "the greatest show on earth." i have a love-hate relationship with both authors, but i'm excited to read both books. i think that ron clark has some great ideas about teaching, but i don't buy into the "55 rules" thing. that's in-freakin'-sane. i also don't like the implication that teachers should give their entire lives over to their school, especially when it's coming from someone who doesn't actually teach in the classroom any longer. all people, even teachers, need balance in their lives. letting your class consume your life is only going to make you burn out, and i don't think the public school system needs all of their good, caring teachers to burn out and quit teaching for something more lucrative. that said, i like some of what ron clark has to say. i guess i must. i've read/will read all of his books. i do think it's worth reinforcing etiquette with your students and teaching them skills like organization. i like the emphasis on positivity and rewarding students for a job well done. i basically just steal his ideas that might work for me and chuck the rest.

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that brings me to mr. dawkins. i don't really have a beef with him per se, but i do think it's unfortunate that he seems to be the most prominent evolutionary biologist in the world of pop culture and he is simultaneously an extremely outspoken atheist. i have no problem with the atheism, but i think the association of atheism with evolutionary biology is unfortunate. i feel like it makes evolutionary biologists seem like a bunch of guys/girls pushing an atheist agenda, not scientists doing work to reinforce a thoroughly supported and accepted body of work. that said, i think richard dawkins really has a way with a scientific story. i enjoy reading his writing, even if i have some reservations about him as the de facto spokesperson for evolution.

ok, now for the wake-up call: so i was flipping through the picture sections of dawkins's book, and i was struck by how beautiful and amazing the natural world is. egyptian fruit bats! lemurs! the courtship dance of the blue-footed booby! lizards with tails that look just like leaves! it got me thinking a bit about how to balance my enjoyment of shopping with my desire to help keep all those wonderful creatures on the earth for generations to come. i know i've said it before here, but i'm going to say it again: the only sure-fire way to help the environment is to consume less. using what you have, not buying stuff just to buy stuff. i feel like i've really been slipping in my commitment to green living over the past few months, and i really want to get back to where i should be. consider this a renewing of vows. i know what i need to do; i just need to get on with it already. i'll keep you posted. (pun not intended.) help me out: what's the most green thing about you?

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