Tuesday, January 12, 2016


I had to give a keynote address a few months ago. The theme of the conference was "Students as Explorers, Teachers as Guides." I developed the center of the talk to teachers by comparing different kinds of guides I've had experience with through the years with different kinds of teachers.

When I went to develop the part about students as explorers, I tried to consider all kinds of explorers. I was giving the address at a conference in Yosemite, so, naturally, I did some research on explorers in that area. That was very interesting. But I also considered explorers in my own life. As I did so, I recalled that both sets of my grandparents had moved to Alaska when my parents were still in high school, before it was a state. I know what the state was like when I was growing up: primitive in so many ways compared to the way we live here and now. I think about how long it would have taken them to get there and how seldom they would have been able to see the family members left behind in Oregon and Idaho. Leaving like that--moving to somewhere far away and without the communication conveniences of today--would have been a difficult choice to make. But both sets of grandparents did it.

What an example of exploration, of the risk-taking and adventuring explorers through the ages have needed. I have that in my heritage, and I shouldn't forget it. I am proud of people I came from.

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