Elizabeth Alexander from https://mellon.org/

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Today begins a new weekday feature on Medium, which elevates the things in our lives that are praiseworthy. Like a daily gratitude practice, Praise Song for the Day will be a way of appreciating what we know we know in a different and perhaps even profoundly deeper way. This column takes its name and hopeful spirit from a poem of the same title by Elizabeth Alexander called “Praise Song for the Day” delivered twelve years ago at the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States. In no way is the poem political. Neither will…

How do I enter? That was always one of the questions I would ask the director when I worked in theater or TV. What is he (the character) thinking? What has just happened? I realize, at that moment, these are the questions that guide my current journey.

These were also some of the meta-questions pinballing through my mind as I went out on my first official hike through the Proctor Woodlands. I had no idea where I was headed, and neither did I care. I was in great and confident hands.

Annie Mackenzie and I met in front of Maxwell…

By Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas, Assistant Head of School of Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School (MICDS), led a team of faculty to create an internal newsletter, by teachers and for teachers. Faculty and staff regularly receive these “Every Child, Every Day” newsletters and, through them, have been able to gain new insight into fresh, innovative pedagogy, teaching styles, and, perhaps more importantly, each other. The newsletters have been an important way to maintain connection, especially during the pandemic. As Mr. …

(Mount Tamalpais)

Friday, March 30, 2021

Taking time away from your normal hustle and bustle to recharge your batteries, seeing your life anew is one of the best ways to wire your brain for happiness and success. I don’t think of happiness, or success, in a material way. I see success as being happy with what you have now and who you are in this moment. Washington University in Saint Louis happiness expert Tim Bono says that even the happiest people are only happy about 70–80% of the time, which means that no one can be happy all of the time. Let’s…

[Relatives and friends of murder victims took part in a candlelight vigil at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber on Sept. 25 in Window Rock, Arizona. (Photo/Office of the Speaker), November 19, 2019 — https://www.nhonews.com/]

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Who sings their song? Not Sting. Not me? Who remembers their names, long after they have been forgotten by those except the loved ONES? They are unheralded. They lie in unmarked graves. Perhaps trafficked. Perhaps kidnapped and locked away.

Indigenous. Trans. Asian Pacific Islander. Black.

(The photographer Vivian Maier from vivianmaier.com)

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

To have an impact on anything in life, bold choices must be made. Whether it’s competing in a downhill ski race event or starting a company, the timid and the meek tend not to stand a part from the crowd.

It can be argued that some people have stood out without benefit of the loud and the brash. For instance, look at the life of Emily Dickinson. She never really strayed far from her Amherst home. Similarly, the recently discovered photographer Vivian Maier who, like Dickinson, quietly went about her work without a great deal of…

(Fran Bennett on the cover of LA Stage)

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Untraditional roles are like shaking a snow globe or dragging a needle across an LP. Each makes you do double-take and perhaps even correct your vision about how things are supposed to be. Gender norms and roles are just that. Norms and roles.

For instance, I was stuck in traffic recently watching a woman jackhammer the roadway near an intersection in our little town. The woman behind the jackhammer thought very little of it, I’m sure, but for me and the little girl in the car seat next to my car, we were both mesmerized.


(Lincoln School in Robbins, IL — photo courtesy of the Robbins History Museum)

Monday, March 22, 2021

One of my junior high school teachers died last week at the age of 80. Wanda Mullins made school memorable because she made the time rush by in her classroom while having us dig into our own learning. Ms. Mullins gave us incentives by earning “Mullins’ Bucks” for completing certain milestones along the way. I didn’t think of what she did as bribes, per se, but she did make sure that we had good behavior and that garnered us an allowance and stuff from her classroom store, which came out of her teacher’s closet and presumably…

Friday, March 19, 2021

When Micahel Roemer released “Nothing But A Man” in 1964 with Ivan Dixon and Abbey Lincoln in the leads, there were very few glimpses into authentic Black life and Black love. Roemer brought forth an all-respected staff of actors and performers who had illustrious careers on the large and small screens, as well as on the stage, which also included Yaphet Kotto, Gloria Foster, and Julius Harris in supporting roles.

Enjoy this complete version of Roemer’s classic.

— — — — —

Like a daily gratitude practice, Praise Song for the Day will be a…

(Michael Roemer)

Thursday, March 18, 2021

On November 29, 2011, I spoke with my former students about StoryCorp’s Day of Listening, which had just happened. (Learn more about StoryCorp here: http://storycorps.org) Back in 2011, StoryCorp established a Day of Listening for people all around the country and around the world to record stories of and about their favorite teachers so that the great gifts that have been passed along can be remembered. In essence, the day was meant to honor the teacher who profoundly influenced the listener’s life.

As educators, we are often asked to reflect on teachers who inspired or profoundly…

Brian Thomas

Lives in Andover, New Hampshire

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