The Importance of Being Empathetic


My Brit Lit juniors just finished studying  The Importance of Being Earnest, hence, this  post’s title. I participated in two stimulating Twitter EdTech chats yesterday where empathy emerged as a key element in student engagement, problem solving, and the design thinking process. I love the diagram above as a reminder for how to approach so many issues in life.

Empathy also came up during my journey home from visiting my mom in Fremont. The news that my flight was delayed an hour made me grumpy. Seeing five people in wheelchairs at my gate and assuming they would all take a long time to board made me grumpier, I’m ashamed to admit. Then I observed them more closely. All were elderly; most were cheerful; several appeared to be traveling together. I thought about how my frail mom refuses to travel by air any more and reflected on how wonderful and spunky these wheelchair travelers were. I want to be them when I grow up. I empathize.


By Grabthar’s hammer ….


Image from

The incomparable actor Alan Rickman died today and I am bereft. I admired his performance in Die Hard, adored him in Galaxy Quest, and fell in love with all things Alan Rickman thereafter with Sense and Sensibility. “The air is full of spices!” The internet abounds with stirring and detailed tributes to him and his work. I’m re-watching Galaxy Quest now to laugh instead of cry.

A friend on Facebook observed that the reason we mourn the deaths of artists whose work greatly affected us is not because we knew them, but because they helped us to know ourselves. That is indeed the gift of great art. RIP, good sir.

My First Project!

Subject: Help me build a better classroom

Hi Friends,

I want to make sure my students have the materials they need to succeed, so I just created a request for my classroom at

Make Stuff and Share — Digitally with Chromebooks

Give to my classroom by September 3, 2014 and your donation will be doubled thanks to Just enter the code INSPIRE on the payment page and you’ll be matched dollar for dollar (up to $100).

If you chip in to help my students, you’ll get awesome photos and our heartfelt thanks.

Thanks so much,

P.S. If you know anyone who may want to help my classroom, please pass this along!

Go Help Somebody

Are you feeling a little low? Depressed? Tired? Here’s an easy and instant fix: go help somebody. Seriously, it works.

I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself. Attacks on my profession, financial obligations, ongoing health issues, missed opportunities, the Monday-ness of Monday… Then I started to fill out the paperwork for a volunteer gig at Mercy House next week, and just that act raised my spirits. Now I’m looking forward to it. I knew this truth, but somehow I need constant reminders. Pass it on!


Celebrating 50 Years

Last nigh DH attended the Gala 5oth Anniversary of St. Martha’s Catholic School where he entered in 2nd grade. He talked with some of the nuns who have been there since they were expelled from Cuba. He also met up with some teachers and classmates from Bishop Amat, where he graduated with such luminaries as Pat Haden and John McKay. I could wax poetic about the virtues of living where you grew up and keeping up old ties and the familial bonds of alumni communities, but … maybe at one of my own anniversaries.