Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Celebration

As I approach my 100th post (this is my 96th) I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the impetus for undertaking this little endeavor in the first place, which was to celebrate and share my journey as a teacher. And I am not alone in feeling a great joy and pride in what I honestly equate to as a ‘calling’. There are countless teachers across this country and the world who could not imagine spending their time doing anything else. Exhausted, disrespected teachers still manage to muddle through all of the political muck to find an overwhelming sense of fulfillment in helping others learn.

On Thursday, January 31, 2008 I was fortunate to celebrate with a group of dedicated professionals as they completed the rigorous 18 credit Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Certificate Program at the Lincoln Center Campus of Fordham University in New York City. You can learn more about the Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Foundation here.

The 28 men and women celebrating that night represented the 7th Cohort of teachers receiving scholarships to teach “Young Readers at Risk”. These are children with learning differences such as dyslexia who often fall through the cracks of the educational system. In training educators to look for and understand a child with a learning difference those teachers can in turn make a ‘difference’ in the life of a child.

This notion becomes even more touching and real when it is given a personal touch. When we read the struggles of Ennis himself, when educators share how they had previously missed an opportunity to reach a child because they did not have the necessary knowledge but have now gained it as a result of the scholarship and when we are told of the thousands of lives that have been touched as a result of this program.

Graduation ceremonies seem to breed these sorts of inspirational speeches.

And then there are the other speeches. On January 31st the ‘other’ speech was delivered by me and my friend and colleague Cayne. We are both former Cosby Scholars ourselves (I love that title), Cayne was in Cohort 1 and I was in Cohort 3. Cayne and I teach the practicum course which prepares and oversees the twice weekly tutoring sessions. We decided to present a speech that evening that was both humorous and touching with a little witty banter bouncing back and forth between us. And with the aid of Cayne’s lovely wife Vanessa, who sat through our rehearsal and provided valuable feedback (thanks Vanessa!), I think we pulled it off.

Here is the opening, written and delivered by Cayne…

I think I speak for Gary and I when I say that we would like to begin with an apology for the following speech. You see due to the current writer's strike Gary and I were forced write and prepare our own material this year.

My bits were all smiles and energy while his were informative and clever. But our main message was to send a great, big BRAVO to the graduates.

And the good news is that there will be a Cohort 9!

If you are a NYC public school teacher interested in teaching struggling readers please come to one of the open houses. You can click on the advertisement on the left to see the information more clearly.

17 comments:

la bellina mammina said...

Love the opening speech...

WAT said...

I'm so superficial, but I'm totally liking and admiring the pic of you and Cayne.

MAMA MIA! SO HANDSOME YE BOTH.

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Oh, I bet your speech was more than energy and smiles. I'm not a classroom teacher but enjoy following your posts and observations. I agree with WAT on the photo, and the Valentine video is very sweet and appropriate.

Reya Mellicker said...

LOVE your new vid - and you are so right, it doesn't matter how words are spelled on Valentine's Day. It only matters that we love each other so very much.

You are something else, my darling Gary! Much love to you!

Steve said...

Now, how many people can say they're Cosby Scholars?? That's pretty cool!

The new vid is great, too. You're both so fun to watch!

phd girl said...

Love your valentine video! Your blog is so inspiring.

Christopher said...

Love the Valentine Video...everytime I come here, I end up a little teary-eyed, and that's not a good luck in the workplace...but I'm really not complaining!

NY Teacher said...

Too modest Mr. W..that speech was a joint venture and what about the jacket! This blog keeps getting better (and not because we got a shout out). Keep the video poems poems coming!

kimy said...

lovely post. I'm sure cayne and your speech was very inspiring!

I can't seem to pull up the video - hope it's a temporary technical difficulty on my part.

keep up the good work! xxxx

Gary said...

Bella - thanks! We began with a joke which I hear is always a good way to hook the audience and ended with applause for the graduates worthy of the Oscars. Cayne told me I did a good job of firing up the crowd. All in all, an enjoyable celebration.

Wat - Hey mister man, did you think I would post the ugly shots? LOL. Cayne is a cutie, his wife is beautiful and I hate them both. Their child will probably be adorable just like them. Looks, brains and charm - truth be told I adore them.

JT - Thanks for this sweet, supportive comment. You are the best.

Darling Reya - What can I say? There is so much love floating around here lately - some going out, some going in. Isn't that wonderful?

Steve - Actually there are about 200 or so who can claim the title Cosby Scholar. I love it because it seems like it means something really but you know, it's just us.

PhD Girl - Welcome and thank you!

Christopher - It is so great that now I know what you look like my friend. Now, if I could only add a bit of your humor and playful sacrasm into the mix of this blog I think I'll be on to something.

NY Teacher - Oh yeah, the jacket. I need to find a way to work that into something sometime soon. It is amazing isn't it.

Kimy - I hope the vid works for you soon because it'll be coming down in a few days. But if not there will be others.

MarmiteToasty said...

Oh my, what have I stumbled upon..... you have a lovely blob here.. what an inspiration you are to so many.....

Is it ok if I stick around and scroll back and read more....

x

Mona said...

Gary, That is a great post about Bill Cosby's certificate program!

It is always so nice to see someone like you who enjoys doing his job so much and has so much dedication towards it!

Writer's strike LOL!

Happy Valentine's day to you! :)

FANCY said...

Hello Gary...

That was an opening...Congratulate for your soon 100th post...;-)

Have a sweet valentine day...

d. chedwick bryant said...

Gary --i know we discussed birthdays over cocktails last year--was your Nov2nd? Nov 4th? I can't remember and am involved in a birthday experiment.

Gary said...

Ched - It is November 4th. Good memory. You up for drinks again soon?

lettuce said...

hey gary.

what a relief that i stopped by yesterday and saw your valentine's vid. before you took it down

i'm trying to lose weight ready for that ceiling-walking thing

;op

Gary said...

Letty,

LOL - you'll have to get down to about 50-60 pounds. Do you think that will happen in the next few months? If not we can give it a go anyway. It is amazing how willing I become to try new things after a few Manhattans. :)

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