Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Reap what you Sow

Listen to the interview here:

This month marks the 6 year anniversary of the greatest road trip of my life.  I left Denver in April of 2007 and travelled to Oakland with my girlfriend at the time, Shannon Cram.  We visited 8 national parks on our way to the place I now call home.  We arrived in Oakland the evening before my interview with Oakland Teaching Fellows and Shannon's mom grabbed Stand and Deliver from her VHS shelf.   

In my 5 years of teaching, Escalante's story inspired me to venture out of my comfort zone as a teacher, to build relationships with students and their families, and to spend more time planning my lessons.  

Now it is April of 2013, I'm taking the year away from teaching, Shannon is just a friend and it really is a small world we are living in.  Her new partner's father, Frank Romero, is the real life version of the man who was (mis)played by Andy Garcia in the classic movie about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of a group of young adults at Garfield High Schol back in the early 1980's.

Does Hollywood Hate Math?  Was Escalante really 'The Greatest Teacher in America'?

I want to take nothing away from Escalante.  He inspired hope in a group of young adults, to participate in a system that failed them on every adjacent side.  

I share this because, in 2013, it is time we start asking the tough questions.  

What does it take to score well on the AP Calculus Exam?

1.) Some (math) game
2.) Lots of self discipline
3.) A good teacher
4.) Enough faith that the 'system' is set up to support you that you are willing to spend your weekends studying double integrals

If you grew up in East LA, would you have number 4?

Have we created a system that measures buy-in, and not much else?

You can download to the interview here

Friday, March 15, 2013

Returns on Investment

This is an example of the work we want to do Togha Tix.

What we can learn from Khan Academy:

1.) There is an amazing opportunity to teach the technical skills through online videos.

2.) There is something naturally engaging about a presentation with the subject removed.

3.) The 'pen effect' as I call it, is also naturally engaging.  If you have ever taught for more than 2 years, you have probably already learned about the art of simplicity.  Students watch the marker as long as you don't say the word first.  Guessing is fun!

4.) Someone fumbling with their words or veering in and out of ideas can be distracting.

Imagine the future of these videos with people who have been trained by an actual classroom to use distraction as a tool for engagement!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Profit, Planet, People

Thank you to Malaika Thorne for dedicating part of her Saturday AM to teaching me about the concept of the Triple Bottom Line.

Check out some of her work here.

Faith is an island in the setting sun, but proof is the bottom line for everyone - Paul Simon

Listen to the interview here:

Download the complete interview here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cash May Move Everything Around Me...

But it still won't get you rich!

I would like to say Thanks very much to Brando Rich at for humoring me with this interview today.  I learned a lot, and I'm happy to share our conversation in case others might enjoy our discussion.

There is a lot of potential to teach economics here.  We are breaking down walls of information asymmetries.  If you want to be a part of it, join the movement! 

Download the complete interview here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Harmony in the face of Sinusoids

Sometimes I like to tell myself to start writing.  Sometimes I like to believe that one day, people might start taking my advice.  I try to walk softly and carry a big stick.  I like to think that one day the world will wake up, smell its own shit, and realize there ain't nothin' rosy about it.

Until then, all I got is that stupid old Obama washout that preaches hope.  Who is Shephard Fairey anyways, and where did he come from?

Have you seen Exit Through the Gift Shop? 

Do you wonder why the same guy who brought us hope also gave us obey?  Have you been trained by a system designed to build factories to think like a robot?  Are you ready to go Office Space and Rage Against the Machine?  I am. Fear sucks. Let's elevate our game.

What can you believe in? Hmmm, why is that such a hard question to you? Do you think you are an Avatar or something?  No one aksed you to save us. 

Have you ever had a pair of Chuck's?  Or Vans? I just got a pair of Chrome's, and they look kind of fly, but what is left to prove?  I can be a pretty cool cat out on the streets, but I just want to be one in my family.

I balled my eyes out in the streets of Puerto Rico.  It was the first time I cried, I mean, well, really cried, since Thankgiving. I used to cry a lot on Thanksgiving Weekends.

I'd put a bullet in my head, like Harry did in the back room, but my mom is in that room sleeping.  What makes her so tough?  What do I have to do to make her proud of me?  How can I let her know how proud of her I am? 

My Uncle Burt gives me wisdom, my sister Jill shows me toughness, and my cousin Will gives me resolve.  I'm not Kurt Cobain, I'm a giant Payne.

And, of course, there is my Soul Mate.  She couldn't even say a bad word to a fly, never mind harm one.  I'd like to go bad on her bosses, all at once.  And it would be so easy for me.  When you've gone bad on a bunch of kids in Oakland, it is easy to trap anyone who has been trained by an evil system to lock their feelings in a vault.  I'm sorry Mr, will your wife let you talk about your feelings?

I think Eminem understands how I feel.  I like to think he is reading my blog.  "You are a very brilliant thinker, Marshall", I say in my overeducated white male voice.  That voice always wraps up with an awkward chuckle.  I got the metaphor Marshall.  I hear you.  You were cleaning out your closet, and you weren't sorry.  You were trying to lead by example.  8 mile, that was a good movie.  Purr of a kitten, eye of a Tiger, I got it.  If I were in a tribe or on some quest for love, you would be my bunny rabbit.

I don't know your story, and still, I do know.  I think I am the one you were waiting for.  But this ain't about a moment, and you can't lose yourself.  It takes discipline, and this is a long journey, and it will be a struggle.  But, let's think of this as the tipping point, and give me a straw and something to sip on, and we just might break Camel Joe's back.  But bartender, make it a Shirley Temple, wink, smile cuz I still know how to flirt like a muthafucka, and you always know you can trust someone you can share a look with.

- White Thought