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Alan Dichter and Vivian Orlen

Dear readers,

I brought up in the previous post  the names of Alan Dichter and Vivian Orlen, I’m assuming too much!  They were both leaders of CES schools (Coalition of Essential Schools) in NYC for many years until they decided to move to Portland to try something different.  Vivian was principal of a fascinating large community school in Portland for 4-5 years.  I loved visiting it.  But they decided to return “home”.   Alan was also the source of another quote,  which we used for many years in building collaboration between CES schools in NYC.

“I’m not going to tell you what to do.  But it’s not none of my business”.

It was also the underlying spirit between colleagues in our schools–although we occasionally did collectively set some limits on what you do and combined frank criticism with diplomacy!

Being blunt is a worthy goal—but it has its drawbacks too.   It rests on the assumption that we are on the same side and that the motive behind the critique is to be supportive of each other.  But that’s never an easy stance–even within a loving family.  But good schools could use a bit more of this spirit between colleagues.  Thoughts?

p.s. I’m finished with my three weeks of anti-biotics.  Anybody know how long it takes to get ones energy back?-

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One Response

  1. Dear Debbie, dear, dear Debbie. Eat lots of yogurt, probiotics and a good multi vitamin and you soon will be back in stride.

    Colleagues – interesting word. Somehow we developed a spirit of competition instead of comradery. We refer to classes by the teacher’s names as if possessive. We spend weeks developing a fantastic project and then guard it like we owned the patent. Each in his own little box developing totally different products???
    I found that putting a coffee pot in my office produced some sharing. We once tried a co-teaching project designed like college. One teacher prepared the intro that was presented to six classes at once!!! and other teachers prepared the follow up lessons. Wonder why we only did that once! Possibly because it required everyone to spend time – lots of time working together and the load was not really shared.

    The basic design of the school, scheduling, rewards -not conducive to developing colleagues.

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