Wednesday, February 10, 2016

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

A quote that never really had much value to me until having a discussion with a bunch of fourth grade students. Who would have thought that kids at that age actually understand the concept of having to grow up? It seems that kids already know what is ahead of them and what they have to do in order to live a good life. When I was in the fourth grade I didn’t know anything about being an adult. We had a discussion on the question “ What if everyone was rich?”

So what if everyone was rich? Yeah, of course we could get whatever we want, do whatever we please, etc. but then we dug deeper. We came to the point where we realized that if everyone was rich, no one would have to go to school or go to work because once you are born you are rich. Eventually, we have to come to a point where we need to get things we need like food, medicine, clothing, and so on. If everyone is well off no one is going to step up to the plate and work if they know they already have enough money to support themselves. 

A lot of the students mentioned that there would be no stores because there would be no workers and it had reminded me of the past. In the past, people had to trade things in order to get what they need. For example, if I had a corn field and a friend of mine knew how to sew clothing, I would trade corn in order to get clothes. I feel like we would just repeat history if all of a sudden we became rich.

Repeating history, it sounds a bit strange but think about it for a second. We would become idiots if we became rich because we would have kids and they wouldn’t be going to school, without educated people there are no jobs being done. In order for jobs to be done, their parents would have to teach them their talents in order to carry on their business and to have them provide for themselves. Eventually, a system will be created and trading won’t be necessary. Hmm… sound familiar?

Becoming rich with materialistic things does not matter to me, but being rich in love and happiness matters to me the most. I value people, the people in my life and everyone who surrounds me matters to me. I was so caught up in the idea that performing a surgery that could save someone’s life was the only way I could help someone, but I was wrong. I have learned that I can make an impact on someone’s life by simply talking to them and if it’s meaningful to them, you have changed their life. My senior year has been quite a ride but it is not over yet, there is little time left to make decisions. I regret being such a close-minded person because if I knew that my passion wasn’t to cut a person open or draw blood from a patient it would’ve made making decisions a little easier. So maybe becoming a surgeon who makes over two hundred grand isn’t for me. I would rather have a job that I love and feel like it isn’t even work. I don’t need to be a cardiothoracic surgeon to move child’s heart, my words should be able to do the work and let their own bodies’ heal.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Why do we realize the value in something when it is gone?

My last visit at Maunawili Elementary School was not one of the discussions that I come back to class on Wednesdays saying how great it was, but it was one that left me with some type of feeling. This feeling that I had was not extremely horrible but it wasn’t the greatest feeling either. I was left with the feeling that you get when the power goes out and suddenly you realize how much you took electricity for granted during those few hours without it. It was simply the feeling of acceptance. During a power outage you eventually accept that it happens, and that’s what I did, I accepted the fact that sometimes we forget the value in something. In this situation that “something” that lost value was p4c.

The saying “ you only realize what you have until it’s gone” came to my mind instantly as I was writing this. Why is it then that it is only when something is taken away from us that we realize how much it is actually worth? I am dreading these last months of high school and maybe it is because I have a bad case of “senioritis” but until I walk that line and my diploma is handed to me, high school will soon be lessons and a memory to me. I’ll be saying things like “those WERE the best years of my life” or “ I can’t believe it’s all OVER.” A common theme with those phrases are using words that refer to the past. What does it take for us to realize what we have besides losing it?

Reflections, that is how we will realize the value of something. You could reflect on your life, what you read, or what you just discussed. For example, during a discussion you might forget something super deep that someone just said, that’s why we take notes and have a… reflection! Giving ourselves time to reflect allows us to think about things and what we can change or keep the same.

I will not be a philoSURFER forever and neither will Logan and Colby, but I realize now that I only have a few months left with them. Sometimes when I leave each campus I think about how knowledgeable they will be of p4c and what value they’ll find in it. During our discussions I try and think about what is going through a student’s mind. I love to hear about what p4c means to them and how it affected their lives. I guess hearing these little things reminds me how much value p4c has.

After so much thinking and having many realizations, I am now left with a different mindset. I have to accept that sometimes there will be bumps in the road, but I shouldn’t let that stop me. I also shouldn’t forget about the journey along with taking that road to wherever it will lead me. Lastly, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. I know this all might sound dorky and I probably stole those sayings from a couple of scenes in different movies which I don’t recall, but after every movie you have to go and tell a friend how terrible or how awesome it was. I guess my journey/movie of being a philoSURFER will soon come to an end but at least I will have a story to tell.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Age is just a number

"What are the reason that age defines a person's knowledge?" I've been thinking about this so much lately because this is one of the main reasons people think p4c is meant for adults or people who are capable of thinking intellectually. My kindergarten class at Maunawilli has been blowing my mind lately with what they have to say bout things and my last visit left me with my jaw left hanging. This was also the first time that Colby would join me in kindergarden and by the end of the discussion I could tell he was a little dumbfounded by what was said. I started the discussion by posing the question "What are the reasons that even though we have enough we still want more?" I could tell that at first the kids couldn't really understand, but it took one person to answer and eventually everyone else understood the question, too. I guess it's kind of like a "monkey see monkey do" concept. At first the kids started talking about the same thing, but then Peter said something totally different, then the kids started to understand the question and how to answer and at that point I could tell that the discussion was on a good track. 

The student that confused Colby and I the most was Lisandro. Her answer to the first question was "well we want more because people feel empty inside so we buy things to make it full but then deep inside they're still empty." This was an astounding answer that no one saw coming and it makes our visits worthwhile. Actually, this is what keeps us coming back; their sense of wonderment shows they all have the mark of the philosopher. I'm definitely looking forward to our next visit to kindergarten.

Giving Never Ages

"What are the reasons that even though we have enough, we still want more?"  This question came a few days ago from my fellow philoSURFER Logan and it has been making me think ever since.  As humans, enough is definitely not enough.  We are constantly living in fear that we are never satisfied with what we have, so instead of being thankful, we usually turn greedy.  Thomas, a child in our kindergarten class at Maunawili placed his thoughts on it and said "when we are overflowing with toys, we can just give it away to other kids who don't have enough toys to play with at all." When I heard that, it struck me as an unorthodox answer.  People in this generation today sometimes lack humility with replacing "ours" to "mine." Those who share what they have and give from the bottom of their hearts had either felt like what it is like to have little to nothing, or are kind hearted people.

With that being said, I was still wondering "how many people are willing to sacrifice a peice of what they have, without being hurt of loss?"  Lisandro's answer shocked me; "I would give my favorite (object) away to someone who doesn't have it because they need it to be happy."

As you may infer, kindergarten classes have been going well, but it's like a tornado; you will not know what will land right in front of you.  It could be the best discussion or a brainstorm of pure ideas.  Logan and I have been racking our brains having our own discussions on our way back to our school and it makes us keep thinking that, giving something, anything for that matter, never comes with an age requirement.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Keep Moving Forward

Mrs.T’s class has really been moving forward with doing p4c and pushing her class to really think about how they personally contribute to our discussions in different ways. Last week, Mrs.T and I have been thinking of ways we can move forward and I brought up how they can write more so we can see the improvement of their writing this time around. Personally, with this class they have improved on their skills with p4c and they haven’t lost their momentum from last semester.

Mrs. T created a reflection paper which included rating themselves and the class, what parts of the good thinker’s toolkit they used, and writing down a wonder they have after our discussion. In my opinion, this way of reflecting is better for them and myself because  it gives them a chance to think and reflect on our discussion. The teacher and myself also get to see how they truly feel how they did and if we agree on their ratings.

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear,” even though someone may be quiet in a discussion, you may be thinking a lot about what others may be saying. Dominique never said a word during the discussion, but he did write a question in his reflection. I could tell he was listening to the other students in the class because it was related to what one of the other students said during the discussion. I guess I shouldn’t just think a student doesn’t care by the way they present themselves, because even if they look like they aren’t doing anything, their minds could be doing a lot of the work.

One thing that really stood out to me during this visit was the use of the good thinker’s toolkit sentence starters. The teacher created a layout of sentence starters and question frames they could use if they needed help trying to say what they needed to say. Becky used “ In my opinion…” and another student asked “ What do you mean by…” so that was really great to see.

I wonder what I did differently that made this class grasp the importance of p4c than other schools that we work with? Did I do or say something to motivate the teachers and/or students to make them have a better understanding of p4c? I like that we are moving forward and now I have a chance to see what the students are left wondering with and try and find articles that are related to a common topic they have in their reflections. I hope we stay at the rate we are going at and continue to grow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

19 weeks in...

After 19 weeks of being a philoSURFER we started off with only the idea that we were going to be doing p4c with kids all week, little did we know that in reality our actual roles were to be a mini Dr. Miller. The term may sound funny but reflecting back on this semester has really got me thinking about all of the kids and classes that I have been in, all of the discussions I've led and from day one of this project to now I have never been more proud in myself as well as my peers. The kids have had such an impact on me and the way that I teach p4c, they have tough me how to adapt to new situations and in discussions to not over think a question. The first week of this project was really rough on me because whenever we would have inquiries, my mind would be thinking at a high school level instead of kindergarten or first grade and it was hard to start them off because no one could understand what I was saying. Even though it took some time for me to understand they way they learned.

The Yin and Yang

As a seventeen year old, I learned that there are times when you shouldn’t do certain things such as speaking. Mrs.C had told me that the class still had a problem with just simply listening to her when she is talking. We had tried to address this issue numerous times and it all came down to if they thought that it was important for them to show respect.

I had asked the question “ Is there ever a wrong time to do something you like to do? I know that you guys like to talk to your friends, but is there times where you know you shouldn’t?” Of course the students replied with “ when Mrs.C is talking” because they felt obligated to do so. As we continued to talk about about times we shouldn’t do things, we discussed differences and that lead me to ask them about the yin and yang.

The yin and yang is basically opposites, and I explained how black circle in the white represents the bad in the good and the white circle in the black represents the good in the bad. I asked the students “ how do you think this relates to you guys?” Kory said “ I think it represents our personalities.” I didn’t understand how it would relate to our personalities because it was just an image and I didn’t see a connection until I really thought about it. I tried to clarify with the student by asking “ So your saying our personalities represent our own yin and yang and when the good comes out in us it could possibly reshape itself?(creating an unbalanced yin and yang)” I was correct with what the students idea and it was interesting what the other students had to say. One student had said that we control our yin and yang by our feelings. Another student said “ I wonder if we can control it, to make it stay balanced.”

Although our discussion was cut short, I could tell that many of them were left wondering about this discussion. Even if our discussions last about 45 minutes long, I could tell they yearn for more time for p4c. They all wanted me to stay longer so they could share more about the topic we were talking about. It is a great feeling to know that I am able to see each student in this class, or any class that we work with, progress with their responses or questions.

What are your reasons?

As I walked to Mr. Y's fifth grade class a bit of sadness filled my heart. This was going to be the last p4c discussion I have with them. But I was hopeful that this would be a great discussion.

Right off the bat I knew this class was going to improve. About four months ago when I first went to this class, we would sit in the circle on the outside of the desks. Students shared their thoughts as usual and I tried my best to dig deep into the surface every time I was with them.

This last p4c was different.

We sat in circle without the desk being in front of us. The class also wrote their thoughts on paper before sharing, something I did not anticipate to be doing. I was very amazed at how well everyone was working and I just knew this discussion would be my best.

"WATR terrorist kill people?" This was the question the class voted on. In my head I was thinking where will the conversation go?

I think terrorist kill people for revenge. –Steven

            A student asked Steven, what do you mean by revenge. And his response was when you want something bad to happen to someone because it may have happened to you.

I think terrorist kill people for political reasons. -Owen 

A student asked Owen, what do you mean by political reasons. Owen’s response: Political reasons are like when you they want rights to go their way.

I think terrorist kill people because they were treated wrongly and they want others to feel that way. –Nala

I think terrorist kill people because they are jealous and want to act cool. -Cammie

As we heard more about why terrorist kill people, it made me wonder who are the "they" we are defining them by? Mr. Yung was able to get the ball before I could to ask this. "What do we mean by a terrorist?" Mrs. Laboy had also asked what is the reasoning behind people who are terrorist.

When it was finally my turn- I was so ready. “Can I just say I amazed that I'm sitting in a fifth grade class wondering about terrorist? Because when I was in the fifth grade I don't think I ever thought about terrorist. But since it has been coming up and we are more aware of it, I'm glad to see that we know about it.”

More questions we discussed were:

·         Can it be one incident that causes their actions?

·         What would a terrorist have to do to be a terrorist?

·         Are video games inspiring people to become terrorist?

Wow this was such a great discussion and students’ were able to share what they really thought! It’s sad that this is my last time with them! Look at all the possibilities that could happen next semester!

Thank you Mr. Y and his fifth grade class for letting me have this opportunity to share my knowledge with you folks. I am grateful to have been part of such a wonderful class and create a community with you folks. Have a great rest of your school year and see you later!

Too Comfortable, Or Just Right

It was me and Colby’s first week back to Mrs.T’s class this discussion with them was one I am not going to forget. Not only was Colby new to the class but there was also a new student(Irene) who knew absolutely nothing about p4c. In my mind I had an idea that this student would just sit back and relax and not participate, but I was wrong. The question that we had a plain vanilla on was “Would you rather stay young or grow up?”

I never thought that her hand would be the first to go up but I was so curious what her answer was because this was her first time having a plain vanilla, so of course I passed the community to her first. Irene’s response was “ I would want to grow up so I can experience life…” The message I got from the students was that they would want to feel young and also have the freedom that comes with being an adult. After hearing their responses, I asked “Why do we feel like we need more time?

Jaden said, “...we cannot escape death” and another student said, “ dying isn’t bad because since I’m Catholic, I know that I will be with God when I die.” Our inquiry was getting really deep and I liked where we were heading. It was pretty amazing seeing how everyone was answering the question from different point of views; they connected their answers to songs, religion, personal experiences, and so on. Unfortunately, the discussion couldn’t go on any further because of the short amount of time we had, but I am glad that we put that time to good use.

I guess I am left here astonished with this new student feeling so free to share what she had to say. Maybe it was because I reminded the class about our rules or maybe it is because she felt welcomed. My first experience of doing p4c was very different because I just sat there and listened and overtime I felt comfortable to share, but this was different.Overall, this was a great first visit back to the fifth grade class at Maunawili and I am very pleased to see how much they have grown and haven’t lost the momentum from last semester. I can’t wait to see how their responses will improve over time.