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Essay/Term paper: Elementary education

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Education

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Buscaglia Reflection

While reading Leo Buscaglia¹s book, Living, Loving & Learning, I was able to reflect back on some of the experiences I have had in my life that have helped to make me the person I am today, and I was able to look into the future at what I would like to become. I was able to see how well I know myself and what I have to offer others. I was able to see the things I don¹t like about myself and determine some of the ways I can make myself better. This is some of what reflecting on my life and looking ahead while reading Buscaglia has taught me.

A. ³You Cannot give to anybody what you do not have.²

I went to Juab High School in the small town of Nephi, Utah. Like many other small town high schools, football coaches and P.E. teachers doubled as Algebra teachers and Science teachers. This allowed our school to make full use of the limited teachers and resources that it had. There was a lot of talented people that taught at Juab and some of them made great teachers and coaches, but some of them didn¹t. Sometimes it ended up that the football coach/algebra teacher cared a little more about tomorrow¹s football game than he did about ensuring his algebra students knew how to balance equations, and sometimes the P.E./Science teacher cared a little more about the teaching the tennis unit than she did about teaching the four life processes.
Those teachers were also the ones that had to relearn the algebra and science lessons a few days before they taught them to us, because on paper they were qualified to do the job, but as far as knowing the material and having an interest in what they were trying to give to us, nothing was there. Have you ever tried to get someone excited about a subject that you knew nothing about? Have you ever had a math teacher that sent you across the hall to get help from someone else because he didn¹t understand what he was trying to teach you? It can be pretty hard sometimes to get excited about something if your teacher doesn¹t get excited about it. These teachers tried to give us something that they didn¹t have.
When I was in middle school I had another teacher that tried to give us what she didn¹t have. She was the health teacher, but because of some addictions to drugs, she really wasn¹t very healthy. It was sad, because she taught us from the book that certain drugs are addictive and we should take care of our bodies. We knew that she knew this information first hand because she was always on drugs. Many days she was so buzzed up that the teacher next door would come ask her to hold it down because she was yelling instead of speaking and didn¹t even know it. Other days she would fall asleep on her desk while we watched whatever we wanted to on TV. There was more than one time when the stapler ended up in the garbage when the bell rang and woke her up! We all learned how drugs can mess people up because we saw her every day, but I wonder how valuable she thought the lesson would be to us because it was something she obviously didn¹t believe in? ³You cannot give to someone what you do not have yourself.²
Buscaglia makes over and over the point that knowledge and love are both things that we can gain and gain, yet we are able to share them with others without ever depleting our own supply. Because as teachers we need to have the skills to teach our children to love themselves and to become the best they can be, I think it is so important that we dedicate the time that we have for living, to loving and learning. I am going to become the best Valerie that I can be, because then I can give others the knowledge and the love to become the best Johns, Kates and Ashleys that they can be.

B. Risk Taking

Buscaglia tells us the importance of being ourselves. For me, sometimes being myself means taking a risk. All of us have our own little views of what we think others see as being ³normal,² and we all have innate tendencies to try to either fit into the category of normalcy or to totally go against what the crowd is doing just to be different.
I lived in Salt Lake for one month. At the restaurant where I worked there was a wide variety of people. One of my friends had a mild case of schizophrenia and was haunted by his inability to deal with reality. If he went into the grocery store and saw a group of people laughing and joking, he automatically thought that they were laughing at him. As a result of his paranoia, he had a hard time making close friends and as a result of that made himself an easy target for peer pressure. He would do anything at all to feel accepted by others, simply because he wanted so much to be what he viewed as normal.
Another guy I worked with there seemed like your average everyday Joe... UNTIL one day I saw him when he wasn¹t at work. He had rings in several parts of his body, and was wearing a great deal of hardware over his leather clothes. I barely recognized him! I said ³Mac! Is that you?²
He started laughing at me and said, ²You should have seen me before I got my job. I used to have a blue Mohawk!² When I asked him why he dressed that way and had blue hair he simply replied, ³just to be different.²
I¹m not so sure that making ourselves a target for peer pressure or having blue hair and a pierced upper lip is what Buscaglia meant when he said we should take risks. I think more of what he was getting at, is that we need to be ourselves. We need to stop wondering whether those around us see us as being extremely odd or as just a part of the crowd. We need to be ourselves. If being yourself means you feel like going out and dancing in the rain once in a while, you should do it! And if being yourself means you feel like singing a song at the top of our lungs as you walk down the street, you should do that too! And if standing on your head while facing the rear of the elevator is what you¹ve always wanted to do, by golly, just make sure that you¹re not going to fall on the 12 people in there that are acting normal. We just need to remember to be ourselves!
One of the biggest risks I have ever taken has ended up being one of the best things that has happened to me in my life. My brother-in-law met a family in Indiana when he served his mission there a few years ago. When that family came to visit this year, I was invited to go swimming with the group. I tend to hide my true self when there¹s a cute member of the opposite sex at stake, and I wasn¹t so sure that I wanted to risk letting Issac see the real me. After all, there was a very good chance that he might not view me as being quite normal! But I decided to let the real him give the real me a chance. Before Issac went home the next day we were the best of friends. Now, thanks to United States Postal Service, AT&T, and Delta Airlines, Issac is engaged to spend the eternities with the real me. I sure am glad I decided to be myself.

C. ³Love is the process of leading you gently back to yourself.²

To me, love means serving others. We love those whom we serve. Babies are so helpless. They rely on others for everything that they need, and sometimes their little wants and cries can be very demanding. But have you ever seen an infant and his mother interact? A crying infant may begin to smile, simply from hearing his mother¹s calming voice. The mother reacts to the smile with more talk and a smile of her own. As they give and take their cues from each other, the mother and her child communicate and form loving bonds through fulfilling each other¹s physical and emotional needs.
I had the opportunity to work with some of the students enrolled in Special Education at my high school. The first term that I did this, my job was to help a student frost sugar cookies to be sold in the school bookstore. What a challenge! Each day this beautiful girl had to be retaught how to scoop the icing onto the cookie and how to spread it around so that in the end, the cookie somewhat resembled something edible. It was not an easy task for her. She was often angry with herself because she couldn¹t remembered from the days before, and at first it embarrassed her that she needed any help from me to do her work. But with a little patience from each of us, and some casual conversation while we worked, the task suddenly wasn¹t so difficult for either of us anymore. She realized that I was there to help her and to be her friend, and I realized how much I had to learn from this courageous person. As I gave her encouragement and friendship, she began to remember what she was doing from day to day and to show more pride in her work. This let me know I was doing an o.k. job with her and allowed me to feel good about myself. As we served each other we grew to love each other.
Whether it is raking leaves for the neighbors or teaching a child to read, those whom we serve are going to know that they are someone who is important, as will we when we serve them. By giving service, we have led someone back to themselves. We have given love.

D. Change

Buscaglia talks a lot about making changes. We cannot progress if we do not take the necessary steps to making changes in our lives. It is through examining our lives, determining what we do and do not like, and then working hard to make the changes necessary to become better. Change is not something that happens over night, but must be worked at continually in order to make the change become a long lasting one.
When I was a little girl, I had the bad habit of biting my fingernails. Sometimes I would chew them so far down that they would become very sore and sometimes even infected. My older sister Kathy had long, beautiful nails that I was pretty envious of, and I decided that I was going to have fingernails just like that. It took a LOT of will power not to bite my fingernails ( though now looking back I¹m not sure why I enjoyed chewing them so much!), but finally I was able to stop. My nails grew very slowly at first, and were extremely brittle, but eventually they grew to be strong and healthy. I was pretty proud of myself and made sure that my entire family knew what a good job I had done and how beautiful they were. My sister Angie, then also a biter of nails, got tired of hearing about it awfully fast! One night, with the assistance of Kathy who was just out for the adventure of it all, Angela cut all of my fingernails while I was asleep in order to teach me not to brag! I decided that unless I wanted to lose my hair next, which grew much faster than Angela's and I made sure she knew it, bragging had better be the next change that I make in my life.
Through the years I have made several changes when I have seen something about myself I didn¹t like. When I read Buscaglia, I took the little look at my life again and set goals to make some changes. One of them was to stop arguing with my older sister Allison. I don¹t know how feasible it is to make such a goal, but I decided I¹d make an extra effort. The fact that I¹ve set the same goal not to argue with her a hundred or more times previously is just proof that change takes a continuous effort, not just one event, in order to make the efforts effective and make the change long lasting. I decided that I am going to let more of the little things she does that annoy me slide by, and to stop doing things just to annoy her. That is just the first steps. After I¹ve got those down, I¹ll look at the situation again and work on something else. If I work hard, impossible though it may sometimes seem, the change can be made and I will be a better person because of it.

E. ³To me, life is God¹s gift to you. The way you live your
life is your gift to God. Make it a fantastic one.² p. 83

I chose this quote from the writings of Buscaglia because it ties up all of his ideas into one little bundle. If you were to give someone a gift and then watched them neglect it, abuse it, or destroy it, your feelings would be hurt and you would be pretty upset. But if you were able to see them show it off to their friends, love it, and take care of it, you would feel like that person appreciated the gift and it would be almost like a gift to you.
Upon reading this quote is where I took the opportunity to look into the future. The gift that God gave me is a wonderful one. Sometimes I have a hard time seeing my life as being wonderful because I make so many mistakes. But life is wonderful because life is about making mistakes. It is what we do with them that is important. I know that God always sees me as being wonderful. God loves me. He gave me life. God wants me, and every other person, to become the very best that we can be, and then to become even better. He wants us to nurture life, to love life, and to live it. Let¹s do our best.


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