Got back from NDEO just in time for Hurricane "Sandy"
Five days in darkness and no hot water.
Had a blackout at school on Wednesday, had to drive home through a snowstorm and tomorrow it is supposed to be 65 according to the weather stations. Go figure.
For the most part things are back to normal for me but not for many people. Many of my friends are still without power, going on 12 days now. I am hoping that relief will come soon and I feel for all who lost everything as a result of Sandy. One welcome relief from all this stress was the reelection of Barak Obama. Yeah!!
Please check out the new info on the Cultural Diversity page of my blog. Lesson plans and links to other informative websites are available for your perusal.
I was recently interviewed for an article in Dance Teacher magazine on Older Adults and exercise. Here is a link to the article. It is a very informative article on Seniors, dance and exercise. Take a look.
After 34 years of living together, Andrew & Ken got married in NYC on March 26, 2012 in the West Chapel at the City Clerk's Building accompanied by an entourage of family and friends. An historic moment for all and a true testament to enduring love, long-lasting friendships, close family bonds and an inclusive, accepting community. It truly takes a village and the act of matrimony adds to and strengthens both the individual and the entire community. Plus it was a lot of fun!!! This is a record of the ceremony and a picture montage of some of the highlights of their life together.
As some of you know I was asked to write a speech for the Valedictory Celebration for NYU Steinhardt as a representative of the Dance Education Department. After the initial speech writing they narrow it down to 5 finalists, who then have to present the speech in person in front of a panel consisting of students, administrators, and faculty. I was truly honored to be asked to write a speech and doubly humbled when I got into the finalist round. Unfortunately my speech was not chosen to be presented. I have however been chosen to represent my Department by being this year's Departmental Banner Bearer for the Steinhardt Valedictory Celebration. I will carry my department' s banner onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall.
This award carries with it a certificate and an honorarium that will be presented to me at the Valedictory Ceremony, on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at Radio City Music Hall beginning at 3 pm. I will be seated on stage with the dais party.
So even though I do not get to give the speech that I wrote, I am incredibly honored to be asked to be the Banner Bearer for my Department.
I know that many of you were very helpful and encouraging and sending positive vibes. All of which I truly appreciate and I do believe was not a wasted effort. You all should know that I did my very best and spoke from my heart, which is the only way I know how to do it.
Thank you all for all of your support throughout my entire Graduate Career.
Below is the final version of my speech so that you can imagine with me what it would have been like to read it on stage at Radio City. My Valedictory Speech 2012
When I decided to go back to school to get a graduate degree I was
gainfully employed as a dance educator and enjoying every minute of it. I was
teaching dance to grades K – 12 and actively engaged in my school as the resident
choreographer, a 9th grade advisor, and as the director of student
My decision to return to school was multifaceted and involved my desire
to better understand my own teaching philosophy as well as enhance my intuitive
ability to teach by exploring methods and theories that resonated with what I
considered my progressive approach to education.
The program at NYU Steinhardt seemed a perfect fit, except that I was
hardly your typical Dance Education graduate student. Being 55 and male, not
only was I the oldest student in the program I was one of 4 men and very often
the only man in many of my classes. If you think men are a minority in the
dance world they are practically non-existent in the world of Dance Education
especially on the elementary school level.
At first I felt out of place, floating, unanchored in a sea of young
energetic women all intent on being the best dance educator to ever come out of
NYU. I was just happy to make it to my next class without having a senior
What room am I in? What do you mean class meets on Monday, isn’t it
After my first year of studying educational theory and philosophy, research
technique and protocols, as well as how to teach special populations, I finally
started to settle into being a graduate student and became totally engaged with
a whole new generation of dance educators.
Then I lost my full time teaching job, a casualty of budget cuts and
austerity measures. I was not a happy puppy. I considered postponing my
education to concentrate on being gainfully employed.
I applied for over 70 positions and was only able to get 4 interviews,
none of which developed into any viable employment. I began to piece together
part time jobs and even worked for $8.00 an hour just to get my foot in the
door at some institutions.
For the first time in my adult life I felt unemployable. I began to wonder
if it was worth it to continue my graduate studies and put myself into more
Friends encouraged me to stick with it and were supportive and positive
that things would turn around. I wasn’t so sure.
Many of my schoolmates were in the same boat except that I was 20 or 30
years older than most of them. I guess you could say that being unemployed made
me feel younger because now I knew exactly what they were going through. I
finally got to live like a graduate student, not sure of how I was going to get
through the next class, find a job and manage to pay my rent.
So despite the odds and my fear of increasing debt I stuck it out and I
am truly glad that I did. My last year
as a graduate student at Steinhardt proved to be the most fruitful both professionally
and personally. I solidified friendships, I developed a new network of
professionals, whose concerns and interests matched mine, I presented a
workshop at the National Dance Education Organization conference as a student representative
and I had the pleasure of taking classes in other departments in
Steinhardt, which expanded my viewpoints on arts education and its practical
application in the field. I even developed a healthy interest in and respect
for education research.
Well I stuck with it and things did turn around. I am currently employed 6 days a week and have
actually had a number of job offers that I had to turn down.
I am thrilled, humbled, and honored to have made this journey with many
of you sitting here in the audience today. From my perspective I see the wealth
of opportunities that a graduate education from NYU Steinhardt has to offer for
each and everyone of us.
In conclusion I want to leave you with some words that a very dear friend
of mine said to me once many years ago and that still ring true today.
we walk to the edge of all the light we have
take that step into the darkness of the unknown,
must believe that one of two things will
will be something solid for us to stand on
we will be taught how to fly."
When you leave here today I truly hope
each and every one of you will either be standing on solid ground or learning how
I thank you all for providing me
with a rewarding and memorable graduate school experience.
I was having a conversation with my sister about class size and she seemed to recall having classes of up to 50 students in grammar school. At which point I told her that she was absolutely wrong and that if there were classes existing like that today that it was a disservice to both the student and the teacher and probably against the law in many states. So I started to do some research to find articles about class size and came across many. This one in the Washington Post caught my eye, especially when I saw the quote from John Dewey.
Class size is an issue that I am struggling with at the elementary school where I am teaching as many of my classes are close to 30 and very often inclusion classes, which means it could have up to 12 kids with IEP"s
As the article addresses class size across the entire education system including Ivy League Colleges. I thought the example of the Harvard Creative Writing class was particularly ironic. I think it is important for us as educators to take the issue seriously and figure out what we can do to advocate for smaller class sizes, even right here in our own backyard.
As John Dewey wrote, “What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children.” If education is really the civil rights issue of our era, it is about time those people making policies for our schools begin to provide for other people’s children what they provide for their own.
It has been a while since I have posted on here. I came across these two articles about dance as a radical act and thought they were important and insightful enough to share. Here are the links as well as the blog where you can find them.