Monthly Archives: March 2013

Getting Through Graduate School by Using Everything




What I have learned so far about how to survive graduate school while still working full time –

1. Spend time before hand to really know how you learn best – I am not an online learner, so University of Phoenix is totally out. I need face-to-face interaction and learn best with discussion and feedback.

2. What is your time and financial tolerance? Don’t expect to take shorter than 3 years, but some people take as long as 7 or 8 years. It’s cheaper to do it long, but I need short intense periods and I need to work full time, so the cohort model is how I did my master’s and now my doctorate.

3. Schedule down time and consistent working time. If you’re in a cohort, use your cohort as dinner/coffee buddies. Schedule family time that is sacred. I’m bad at this, but I continue to try despite failing.

4. Finally, use EVERYTHING – be open to learn because everything will start to connect to everything because your mind is open and receptive. Your dissertation and thesis should be a problem of practice – it should be relevant to you and the research should be one that you are passionate about and can use.  This week I’m in my cognitive coaching workshops and I’m already practicing the paraphrasing as a way to interview my teachers without my own researcher biases because I’m paraphrasing them and leaving out the autobiographical part.

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Day 13: Technology Ban


I lucked out. I am camping on day 13 so I will gladly participate in this technology ban. I would love to instagram. I’m in one of the most wonderful places on earth. The sand, the shade under the coconut trees, the cool breeze coming off the ocean, all shareable, but I have nothing but a few magazines, and the company of good friends. Life is good and despite my living in the clouds for my dissertation, I really don’t have a problem letting go and going dark every weekend. This is not my problem.

Day 12: Respectfully Decline

Buddhists have a name for acquiescing to others’ unreasonable demands – idiot compassion and sometimes I find that I practice that because I can. It helps with my self-efficacy, but if I want to live my best life, I need to respectfully decline. When things are right, there will be ho’ailona that tell me it’s right. But the opposite is true to. Sometimes I need to gracefully accept, so this weekend I am grateful that I actually went with my gut, in the face of so much to do, my husband and I went camping, and it was nice to sit under the coconut tree, enjoy the sun and the ocean breeze and read trash magazines.  Here’s our visit to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau.



Day 11: Replenishing Energy


I can actually work all day. But putting long hours in does not make me more productive, so what can I do to replenish my energy?

Make lunch time sacred by trying to eat with others and not eating at my desk. It’s just 35 minutes, but it’s 35 minutes of rest.

Breathe deep and visualize the breath feeding my blood cells as a way to reconnect

Take a long break from thinking

Practice breathing. That’s the hardest part. I am a piss poor breather. I wish I could be still at the bottom of the pool like my husband. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

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Day 10: Be a Little Selfish

For at least half an hour, I am going to be selfish. Or rather, I’m scheduling selfishness for the time it takes me to read a graphic novel. If it were a nice day, I would read at the beach, but I cannot, so I will read frivolously at home while hubby works in the garage on his craft project.

Day 9: Embrace Imperfection

I cannot do everything to perfection, but I must try or I will quickly slide into inaction. Embrace the imperfect.

“Don’t pointless things have a place, too, in this far-from-perfect world? Remove everything pointless from an imperfect life, and it’d lose even its imperfection.” ― Haruki MurakamiSputnik Sweetheart

Day 8: Trim One Thing from My To-Do List

I present at the Native Hawaiian Education Association conference tomorrow, so obviously I need to finish my presentation tonight so I have enough time to practice, edit down and overplan, which is what I normally do.

The goal is not to get ‘er done. I always will show up  ready, but the goal is to keep my audience in mind and pare down to the essence, or at least know what that essence is.

Day 7 Sketch Out My Days

I live off of my outlook calendar and my iCal calendar which is synched to my paper calendar and reprinted periodically. But my favorite is my outlook/iCal calendar because it gives me reminders for where Iʻm supposed to be. If I don’t put it on my outlook calendar, then I sometimes forget that it exists. I have missed doctor’s appointments, meetings, webinars. What I don’t do is include a lot of my personal life things on my calendar, so my husband and I have started sharing our iCal so that I can see what he’s doing and he can see what I’m doing.

I’m on Spring Break right now, so my calendar is pretty free, but I’ll take a screen shot just so I can remember what was going on and I can more clinically edit my life, or maybe just acknowledge that I embrace chaos as a creative being. Hmmm.



I also live on my trip account so I know where I’m supposed to go and when I’m traveling. My husband also has access to that and I have been putting trips for other family members there too as well as hotel information and rent a car confirmation numbers.

What I like about trip it is that I can look at old flights when I need information or I need to find a ticket number. I also like that it’s connected to my email so when I get a confirmation from work, it shows up on my trip it even if I didn’t make the flight arrangements.


It says I’m in New York, NY right now, but I’m not. My son is on his band trip. I wish I were freezing in NY. Not.




Using What Moves Me


A friend went to the ASCD conference so I used her login to look into the virtual conference. What I found was the keynote by Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

My notes:

ASCD 13 Keynote

From marching with MLK, Jr.

  • all things are possible
  • the way we think about ourselves, the language that we use, the way we interact with each other, the value we hold, become the most important thing

• Every generation was becoming better educated until recently. The 35-70 year old Americans are the second most educated generations in the world

• Not the same for the under 35

• 30% of Americans have college degrees

• 36% of whites

• 19% of blacks

• 14% of Hispanics

• 55% of Asian Americans

2/3 of Americans over 25 do NOT have college degrees

What do we have to do to increase those numbers?

How many believe there are many more Chinese and Indian children than American children?

  • 1.3 billion Chinese
  • 1.1 billion Indians
  • =2.4 billion people
  • 10% will be high achievers, so 10% of 2.4 billion is 240 million
  • there are only 310 million Americans
  • we are a small country. What gives us strength is our creativity, our innovation, our diversity – how do we harness the creativity and innovation to make a difference?
  • We especially need graduates in STEM, but it does not take away the importance of arts, humanities and social science. We need both. Our graduation rate for engineers = 6%. Europe = 12%, Asia = more
  • We math teachers can look at a kid and spot the kids that don’t get math right away.  The kids that can get it quickly, can also lose it quickly. We tend to think about speed as being smartness rather than depth and struggle as a way to learn
  • Our culture tends to do a one or the other talent search, either math/science or arts/language. Must it be that way?
  • Why are fewer than 2% of the PhDs in science going to minorities (blacks, hispanics, Hawaiians)
  • What does it really mean to expect that all students can succeed?
  • ask students to give feedback on how to help them succeed
  • in our system, do we see all people of all races achieving at the same level?
  • what works?
  • build community among students
  • help faculty rethink how they teach
  • pull students into the actual work
  • building trust among the students

ú  students will rarely say they need help (especially minority students)

ú  the tutoring labs need to be for those students that want to get an A, not just the ones that don’t want to get a C or lower

ú  when focus on specific groups and their particular problems, you can address things that can help everyone

ú  if they have never seen it, it’s challenging to believe that it can happen.

  • How do we use technology as a tool rather than having the tool rule our lives?
  • We must prepare students to use the technology, but also to control the technology – ethics, history, thinking through the big questions – one skill he wants every student coming to college to have beyond reading is to ask good questions
  • How do we create an environment where we ask students to take ownership of their own education.  How many students are bored in school? How do we take what we know about technology and learning to change the model?
  • Are we as innovative as we can be? We need to get away from the lecture model. People can’t listen for more than 20 minutes intently.
  • Flipped classroom from his perspective: in engineering/math – teacher assigns a 20 minute video explaining a concept. Students watch it. Teacher assigns the problem before class. They meet in groups, using blackboard and work on the problems. Based on what she sees in the problem solving, she can present another 15-20 minute lecture based on what they could and could not understand.
  • Expecting the students to see how much they can understand themselves first, and base the lecture piece on what they didn’t get. Teacher in class continues to monitor the groups.
  • In terms of the future, we learn together, not alone.  Asian countries you get fewer problems that require more thought and are worked on together
  • how do you make sure everyday that you are elevating people and not pushing them down?
  • watch your thoughts, they become your words, watch your words, they becme your actions, your actions become your character, your characer becomes your destiny
  • Every child needs A teacher to believe in them.

How can I use this in my own project?

What Dr. Hrabowski has done by concentrating on minority students is what I’m doing. He says by concentrating on the specific needs of one type of student, in my case Hawaiian students, I am creating information for all students. Good teaching is good teaching. Belief to action to destiny – the ho’ailona – the pandanus fruit is ripe – the time is now.

Tuesday PD Opportunity: Learning from Great Leaders

  • freeman_hrabowski


Yes, it’s spring break, so plan spontaneity, read selectively, laugh indulgently, and nap just because you can. I spent my Tuesday on the ASCD (association for supervision and curriculum development) virtual conference site searching for inspiration from their recent conference in Chicago.

The opening keynote speaker, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III, gave a poetic, passionate, inspiring keynote – just what I needed for spring break. He is the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is also a loud national advocate for minority performance and participation in science and mathematics. Here’s some of his mana’o:

Some facts:

  • Americans 35-70 years old are the second most educated generations in the world.
  • Americans under 35 are less educated.
  • Currently, 30% of Americans have college degrees; 36% of whites, 19% of blacks, 14% of Hispanics, 55% of Asian Americans
  • 2/3 of Americans over 25 do NOT have college degrees
  • We are a small country. What gives us our strength is our creativity and innovation rather than our test scores.

What does he suggest:

  • Believe that all things are possible – the way we think about ourselves, the language that we use, the way we interact with each other, the values we hold, become the most important thing
  • Build community among students
  • Ask students what they need from us to succeed
  • Help teachers rethink how they teach – our students are bored
  • Pull students into actual work
  • Build trust among the students
  • Prepare students not only to use technology, but also to control the technology – ethics, history, thinking through the big questions
  • One skill he wants every student coming into college to have, beyond the ability to read well, is to ask good questions.

Finally, watch your thoughts, they become your words, watch your words, they become your actions, watch your actions, they become your character, watch your character, it becomes your destiny.