Blog Purpose Decision

blog postI had some thoughts about doing a series on octogenarian perspectives. The problem with octogenarian perspective at this time is that it could become just an opinion page and I’m not into publishing mine. 1See my previous blog “Opinions”
Considering that I spent at least 35 years of my adult life involved in some form of education. I’m going to write some memorables from those years.


My teaching experience actually started when I was in the Army. Frankly the first day I stood in front of a class was mentally horrifying and gastronomically disturbing. I was a staff sergeant with the academic administrative authority to recommend flunking a bird colonel aide to a base commander, a GS-13 embassy civilian, a political appointee, or some whose status and rank was purposely kept from me.
Teaching at a junior high school was my first public school experience. In retrospect, but for different reasons, the first day was as gut wrenching as teaching Top Secret procedures in the Army Security Agency.
My career also included high school, Christian school, and school administration as a substitute principal or vice-principal.
Disclaimer: I have notes on some events, but most will be from memory. If you recognize yourself in an episode, it may or may not be you because all characters are composites. However, each event depicted did happen.

Example Incident

This wasn’t my first day at the junior high, but it was soon after.

I felt that it was important to introduce writing into the shop classes I would be teaching. The principal didn’t agree but said a prior teacher had used a written assignment to replace detention if a student couldn’t attend. One student had enough detentions from several teachers to do a full day of half-hours by mid quarter. He was one who couldn’t do more than ten minutes after school and ten minutes at lunch time.

I had to give a detention after several warnings about behavior. I decided on the written assignment option but to go a little easy on him, so I’d get some result. I told him, “three pages, one-side only on a woodworking process of your choice.”

He asked, “What kind of paper?”

I told him lined notebook paper would be ok, but if it came from a spiral bound notebook, he should cut off the fringes. The next morning his three-page report was in my school mailbox. I caught him as he entered the shop saying, “I don’t think this will do. I said notebook paper.”

His reply, “Mr. Benson, you didn’t say what size notebook paper and all I had yesterday was the 3×5 (teacher name deleted) makes us have for spelling words. I hadn’t used it yet!”

I’m sure he expected some kind of negative feedback from me, but I knew a good gotcha when I saw one. And I learned to be very specific with instructions for junior high kids. 2This isn’t the last time you’ll hear about this one.


I will continue to include quotes from what I’ve written.
For example: Calvin Parker in Echoes of Nam: Absence from war is not the same as peace of the soul “Jeez Goor! If I’d known you were going to really write a book, I wouldn’t have made up so much stuff. Anyways, send me a copy. CP:

Snarky

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Another thought I’ve had for repurposing this blog.
How about Snarky.
If I were going to do snarky in this blog, I might do something like what you see below. My comments will be in italic.


EXT. DAYTIME – ON ROOF OF DOG HOUSE
Snoopy, a Charles Schultz character, typing. Get real! Does anyone really believe a Beagle can type? But I’ve heard them Yipe!

SNOOPY

(Typing)

Gentlemen, I have just completed my new novel.

An accomplished author like Snoopy should know that all publishers are not gentlemen – even in the definition of the word. And in today’s world even the greeting could be… Well make your own assumptions.

CUT TO: NEXT PANEL

SNOOPY

(TYPING?)

It’s so good, I am not even going to send it to you.

CUT TO: NEXT PANEL

Snoopy looking down as if reading what he has typed.

CUT TO: NEXT PANEL

SNOOPY

(TYPING?)

Why don’t you just come and get it?

How many of us would like to send that note to a publisher?

This will probably be my last post in screenplay format. It takes far longer to do the format than to tell what the cartoon was all about.

However, I could scan a strip like this one from The Columbian and make my snarky remarks below the image.


Continuation of quotes from what I’ve written might also be an ending section to future blogs.

For example, “Jeez Goor! If I’d known you were going to really write a book, I wouldn’t have made up so much stuff. Anyways, send me a copy. CP: ((Calvin Parker in Echoes of Nam: Absence from war is not the same a s peace of the soul.))

Opinions

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Another thought I’ve had for repurposing this blog. Opinions! If expression of such becomes the purpose, what opinions and with whom do I want to agree or disagree? Should I just spout my own opinions and be ready to defend (justify) (uphold) (rationalize) (etc.). How should I react to rebuttals or challenges?

Remember Neville Chamberlain who served as British prime minister from 1937 to 1940 and is best known for his policy of “appeasement” toward Adolf Hitler’s Germany. I don’t remember him. I was just two-years-old when he signed the Munich Agreement in 1938, relinquishing a region of Czechoslovakia to the Nazis.

Before you read anything into the previous paragraph, take mind that it’s not an opinion. It’s historical fact. An opinion could be a statement about why he did what he did. It seems, no it’s documented, that his successor Winston Churchill expressed many opinions about the issue. One was, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.” ((https://www.military-history.org/articles/winston-churchill-quotes.))

I read or heard somewhere, “Everyone has a right to my opinion.” So, does my apply to me and does the category of everyone apply to you? At this point in time, I must consider characterization of specific criteria for beliefs and that urgent consideration might be applied to overriding presentation constraints of covert and overt opinions.

On most days and with most people, I’d rather discuss the weather. It is an issue over which no human has control, ((In some circles that’s an opinion, I think, er – believe, ah…)) but conversations often get to side issues relating to the result of weather. Those issues far too often bring out the, “They should have, they could have, why didn’t… etc.,” comments.

I really miss reading Mike Royko, William F. Buckley Jr., and William Raspberry. I did not always share their opinion(s) but their presentation(s) of tough issues are worth modeling. In my opinion, I’m woefully unprepared to emulate their level of thinking or work.

So, I may slip in an opinion now and then, but I’m quite certain I’ll not focus on opinion as a category for continuation of this blog.

Communications

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Communications came to mind when I had thoughts about repurposing this site and blog. What and to whom do I want to communicate? I’ve not yet made that decision.

Revisions of the format are part of my repurposing. Thus, I’ve decided to use what you see here. One reason for this theme is that it is one column – some readers with different monitors said the two-column format made reading difficult.

So, the format has been decided. But I have some work to do on the content of the pages.


Back to communications: Years ago, my duties included communicating information to and about several departments of the place I worked. Meetings that occurred the same time and place during the workweek were routine and always included in the general bulletin. In fact, they were so routine, that most didn’t have to read the announcement – they just showed up for the meetings.

My boss sent me a note for general distribution through the bulletin – I did his bidding. I announced his being out of the area and cancelation of a meeting he chaired. Several showed up. Someone said something about my not letting everyone know. I admit being a little snarky when I told that person it wasn’t in my job description to contact each person individually and orally repeat what was routinely in the e-mail or posted bulletin.

A section leader told my boss and he told me about something that hadn’t been included in the bulletin. That section leader had never told me – he’d asked someone else to let me know and that person didn’t relay the message.

I recall hearing the coach of a minor sport talking to a local newspaper reporter covering another sport about a significant event at a game not being mentioned in the paper. The reporter asked if the paper had been contacted about it, to which the coach said everyone should have known.

Communication is a two-way process. It has senders, receivers, as well as wanted and unwanted filters. Those filters, especially the unwanted could be a standalone dissertation or a series of presentations.

Just who is responsible for successful communication?

Perhaps I’ll choose that question for repurposing this blog.
We’ll see.

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