What does a Teacher and a DJ have in common?

What do you think makes a good teacher? Being a teacher myself, I think about this on a daily basis. I would ask myself, are they learning anything? Are they inspired? Are they excited? If I would come across a student that looked bored I would instantly take it personally and blame it on my not being inspiring enough.

No one can be on the ball all the time, but I find that examining some of my personal mentors, I found that there might be a slight pattern for it.

One man that I admire is Randy Pausch. I have watched his lecture multiple times, and have read his book many times as well. Each time I find myself so drawn to his charismatic personality.

1) He does not give up. On himself or other people. 

“Find the best in everybody. Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you. It might even take years, but people will show you their good side. Just keep waiting.”

I think about this when I am impatient with my siblings or my close friends. We can get on each others nerves sometimes and it is so easy to make that one negative trait define them. Don’t let it. People can change if given enough time and chances.

2) He is super encouraging.

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

These days I try to keep this quote in my head. The brick walls seem extra tall some days and it is easy to forget that there are always ways around it if we work hard. Carry that sledge hammer with you at all times.

3) He is an opportunist.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

We have each day to make the best of it. We can sit around all day and have our brains on autopilot, or we can donate our thoughts to positive causes. It is so easy to blame our circumstances for where we are in life. Find out what you want to do, plan it out, and live it out.

4) He is truthful.

“If I only had three words of advice, they would be, Tell the Truth. If got three more words, I’d add, all the time.”

These days, so many things are acceptable and  normal. One of them is lying, and I dislike it very much. I was raised to tell the truth, and I agree with him 100% when he says it builds more character then you know.

5) He is a hard worker.

“A lot of people want a shortcut. I find the best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: work hard.”

At the end of my life, I would like to say that I tried. None of that, “If it had not been for this I could have been this kind of person, yada yada.”

These are a few of many great quotes from him. Despite his many challenges, he always tried to maintain a positive outlook. I want to do that too.

Again, what makes a good teacher? A good teacher could be compared to a DJ.

1. Sifts what matters from everything else

2. Creates the right mix for the occasion

3. Leads and responds to the audience.


No two people are alike, and I believe that the best teachers are masters at adaption. They know what the individual needs, and what requires their attention. The best teachers care for you and treat your problems like their own. If you are passive about your job, and don’t find ways into your students shoes, then they won’t let you into your hearts or their brains. Ultimately a good teacher is someone that we can take with us, not just on our learning journey, but our life journey. They are there to offer an ear when we need it and not just a hand to dish out the grades. I want to be there for my students and friends, not just for my own gain, but for their wellbeing. The greatest gift a teacher can have is to have the honor to impact their lives.



Shoot your rocket

If I had one wish, I would wish to watch my favorite movie for the first time again.

I have said in a previous blogpost that Groundhog Day was my favorite movie. While that is true, I do not necessarily remember watching it for the first time. As I was thinking about the above statement, I thought of another favorite of mine that impacted me in a different way. October Sky.

I remember watching this film for the first time. My father had his arm stretched out along the length of the leather sofa. A couple of this sisters on the floor and me sitting on the chair in the back. I felt this boy’s struggle and his determination throughout the length of the movie. It resonated through the screen as if I was there experiencing his trials with him. Despite his frustration, he never gave up. And when his rocket finally shot up in the sky with the trail of smoke for all to see, I got chills.

He was focused and determined on the outcome to where he didn’t care about his own mistakes. How beautiful.

I try to think of that movie at times like these, when I envision myself being in a different place, when I see the life that I would love to be living. I get down in the dumps sometimes. I tell myself that being sad about something is a waste of precious time. The times that you feel tired and lousy is the time to think that things will get better. It’s always a hoot to see how it all works out. The brick walls are there for a reason. They are there to show us how badly we want it. Thanks Randy Pausch.

Now, pat yourself on the back and fetch some hot chocolate. Know when to chill and sit back and enjoy the ride. Life is for us to have the best time we can, and if we can’t enjoy it now, then we won’t enjoy it later.

Be kind to your future self

Be kind to your future self. I can’t tell you how many times I could have avoided a last minute rush. I find myself washing my hair in the sink cursing my procrastination. Simple things like washing my hair the previous night or preparing all my work the night before would be doing myself a favor.

My sister is the same, and she pointed out to me this morning that maybe subconsciously we like the excitement of doing things last minute. With shampoo burning my eyes I told her that I didn’t think so. I much prefer taking it easy in the morning.

I am sure that I am not the only one who suffers from the “do-it-later delusion”. I found that thinking of your future self as the most important person in the world helps. How would you treat that person and how would you like to be treated?

This is what I would do.

  • I would leave money in my jackets to find later. There is no better feeling then discovering money in your pocket. It’s like Christmas, but better. Because unlike Christmas, I can buy things other than non-refundable socks.
  • I would prepare homemade bread with butter to feast on for breakfast. Because there are just so many things to do in the morning, it is so tempting to skip breakfast all together.
  • All dishes would be done and laundry finished. Dirty house, dirty mind.
  • Maybe I could leave those fancy chocolates on my pillow for when I come home. I could pretend that my invisible maid put them there.

Be kind to your future self. Make things easier for him or her. You think you are doing yourself a favor by choosing to watch an extra episode of Arrow when you have a scroll of things to do. Don’t be selfish! Me,myself, and I have feelings too.

Phoney words.

Is it bad to use “phoney words” in your vocabulary?

“They’re grand people.” “Yes, they are. They’re very nice.” Grand. There’s a word I really hate. It’s a phony. I could puke every time I heard it”.

This dialog I read from “The Catcher in the Rye” this morning. We throw words around so easily these days. We twist meanings and overuse them. Before you know it, all of the meaning and life gets sucked out and we are left with people with lips that only speak empty words.

When I was fifteen, I realized I did this myself. I was friends with the harmonica player of the bar band and he was complaining how the young generation overused the word “awesome”.

“The party was so awesome. My gosh this is such an awesome drink. It kind of depresses me. I’ll teach you what is awesome. The Grand Canyon is awesome…. A sunrise is awesome. It had so much more power and now you use it to fill silence. I try to only use it when I mean it.”

I suppose that was his own little way to contribute to the preservation of the English language.

I did not instantly start choosing my words carefully. Slang is slang and it becomes such a habit. Changing from such comfortable usage to carefully choosing your words can be challenging for most.

It shows how you think and what kind of person you are. They say speech is where the body and soul meet. Which is why you must always be careful with what you say because it effects every aspect of your life. Your words become thoughts- your thoughts shape your reality.

So! As of soon, I would like to remove “phoney” words from my vocabulary if I do not mean them.

My list would probably look like:

  • Awesome
  • Great
  • Busy
  • Fun
  • Exciting
  • Amazing
  • Good
  • Epic
  • Cool
  • Neat
  • Crazy
  • Okay
  • Whatever
  • Forever

What are your phoney words?

Peach Cake goes well with laughter.

Who here thinks that the people around you make you or break you? There are some that would argue that criticism is healthy- that you will be able to find your weak points and nip that flaw in the bud. They say that critics only criticize because they care and when you stop hearing from them is when you should start worrying.

Are you supposed to feel stressed after talking to people who “care about you”? Whatever I did, they would pick at every little detail and told me where I could do better, but would leave out the encouragement. It would get to the point where I would spend less time with them and more time avoiding their company.

I thought I was in the wrong because I wasn’t tough enough. My back-bone was not fully developed and I needed to grow some thicker skin. Criticism is good – but only from people whose opinions count. It comes from people that you can trust. You find it in those that show you both sides of the coin without showing you how to live your life when they don’t know how to live their own. People will come around and act like they care, but wolves in sheep’s clothing do exist and they will just chew you out bit by bit. Take the advice of those you truly would like to become. Never idolize, but respect. Those people are special, and they will follow you and believe in you all the way. I am lucky to have just gotten back from a whole room of those kind of people. I feel really rich…. and stuffed after enjoying good food with them. Nothing is more satisfying than a slice of peach cake and laughter.

Childlike enough to fix everything

The position of the artist is humble. That is what we must be because we are only a channel for the creative energy. We influence others and we spread the growth.

If anyone were to ask me, I would call myself an artist. Though my art is not necessarily jaw-dropping amazing, beauty and many different forms of art constantly invade my life. I also hope that my art makes people happy. I enjoy it well enough, but art is not  only for my benefit. But it is difficult to put that into practice and take your pride off of the table.

Tonight at a local-ish cafe’, I told a story for a monthly event called The Flame. The name of the event was a twist on the story telling cafe’ in New York called The Moth. Before the performance I was nervous. After the performance I, oddly enough, was even more nervous. What is that lovely middle part where you are in a floating-like limbo called?

When I was telling the story, I focused on what was in front of me. None of my problems existed. I was totally focused on the now. I want to feel like that at all times. All we have is the present, the current, the now.

Children tend to have a better grasp on this. If you would think about it, babies only focus on the thing in front of them. They do not think about what is in the next room. Toddlers and kids are able to expand that vision to the world around them and are busy figuring out their environment. Now, we as adults are able to extend that vision a little bit further. We can see the future, we can see the past, and we see all of the things that we would want our lives to be. The process seems to go in steps. Are all these steps good? Is coming to the last stage an advantage if you know how to balance it? I find that focusing on the things I should have said and the mistakes is pointless. I wish I was childlike enough to fix everything.

Seven Billion Religions

There are times when I have so many things on my mind I don’t know where to start writing. So many topics I would like to address that my forehead becomes tense. *Rubs temples*

I would say that most people want the truth and do not want to be fooled by the media or any third party and do not like to be spoon-fed information. The population does not want to take the things they hear with a nod, answer “Yes” or “No” like robots. They want to have their own independent ideas. One of the most personal and independent things is the topic of Religion.

Religion is such a tricky and touchy subject. Not only are there thousands of different religions, but in each of those religions there are different secs and branches that can be extended on. There is just so much to learn it drives me insane sometimes.

Someone told me once that religion does no good to the world and simply brings separation. At the time I had no idea how to reply because it seemed like a very matter-of-fact statement. Thinking about it a little bit more though, I found that religion is not the only thing that separates us. Because each one of us has our own unique brains and our own ways of processing the information before us, our opinions and thoughts will differ. No matter what we do, religion or no religion, there will always be separation. There will always be that one person in the room that won’t agree that Groundhog Day is the greatest movie of all time. There will always be someone who doesn’t take a liking to Marvel Comics(yes- shocking I know). And yes, there will always be Packers fans and Vikings fans starting fights at bars.

Might it be easier to think that there are seven billion different religions currently rather than thousands? Because that is how many people there are on this planet. We each have our own way of looking at things because of the way we were brought up, treated, schooled, et cetera.

Maybe learning to appreciate the different minds of others and to not get upset when that one person in the room doesn’t agree, can trigger a change in this age that could bring each person closer together.