Free Forum Q&A – RAFE ESQUITH Multi-award winning 29-year LA 5th grade teacher REAL TALK FOR REAL TEACHERS Advice for Teachers, From Rookies to Veterans: “No Retreat, No Surrender!”Written on July 23rd, 2013
This week we’ll spend the hour with RAFE ESQUITH, who’s been teaching fifth graders in LA’s Hobart Elementary public school for nearly thirty years. Now a teacher of teachers, he recently returned from doing that in China.
I first learned of Rafe’s work in 2005, when POV the PBS film series pitched me a documentary, THE HOBART SHAKESPEARIANS, about the full Shakespeare productions that his students – most from families where English is not the primary language – perform each year. The film was directed by MEL STUART, a wonderful director of at least two landmark films – the 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder and 1973’s WATTSTAX concert film of funky music and Black Power. Mel Stuart passed away a little less than a year ago. And he is missed.
In September 2005, introducing my interview with Rafe and Mel about the film , I said this: Documentaries may be giving us what we hunger for. March of the Penguins, Mad Hot Ballroom and The Hobart Shakespeareans are documentaries about goodness, dedication, and purpose, and whether penguins or fifth graders, they’re about respect and treating others well. Each of these films made me giggle, and each brought me to tears. There’s something joyfully and painfully touching when we see the life force in action with purpose. When so much is going wrong, from Iraq to New Orleans, I think we need to see these things.
Eight years later, Rafe Esquith continues to leads fifth graders at one of the nation’s largest inner-city grade schools through an uncompromising curriculum of English, mathematics, geography and literature. His classroom mottos are “Be nice. Work hard.” and “There are no shortcuts.” Despite language barriers and poverty, many attend outstanding colleges. Esquith expects the best from these kids no matter what their backgrounds, and he backs up that expectation by giving them the educational resources to defy the odds.
JON KABAT-ZINN, Ph.D. is Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he was founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, and founding Director of its world-renowned Stress Reduction Clinic. In 1993, his work in the Stress Reduction Clinic was featured in Bill Moyer's PBS Special, Healing and the Mind. He's the author of Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness; Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life; Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness.
Dr. Kabat-Zinn's work has contributed to a growing movement of mindfulness within mainstream institutions in medicine, law, education, business, corrections, and sports. Over 200 medical centers and clinics nationwide and abroad now use his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Jon was a guest a couple of times before on this show. On one of those occasions, he was joined by his wife Myla Kabat Zinn, and we talked about mindful parenting and the book they wrote together, Everyday Blessings, which I highly recommend. By the way, the Zinn in both their names is her maiden name. Myla's father is the late historian and activist, Howard Zinn.
TRUCY GOODMAN, Ph.D., has trained and practiced in two fields for over 25 years: meditation and psychotherapy. She studied developmental psychology with Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Carol Gilligan, and trained with psychiatrist/psychoanalyst Richard Chasin, MD. For 20 years, Trudy worked with children, teenagers, couples and individuals in a full psychotherapy practice. Since 1974, Trudy devoted much of her life to practicing Buddhist meditation. She taught mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn in the early days of the MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) clinic at University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.
DALE BELL and HARRY WILAND, producers of the documentary GROWING GREENER SCHOOLS which will air on PBS stations in the month of April.
Across the country -- from elite neighborhoods to inner cities - a green school-based curriculum leads to increased test scores and more proficient learning. Students benefit from from more exposure to natural day lighting, fresh lunches or an eco-friendly school campus. Where the transformation has taken place, the results, are profound, especially in the face of a national consensus that our public schools are failing.
DALE BELL and HARRY WILAND, co-founders of the Media & Policy Center, are veteran film makers who, between them, have won an Academy Award (for Woodstock), five Emmys, one Peabody, two Christophers and two Cine Golden Eagles. They are both Ashoka Fellows, recognized as social entrepreneurs who use media effectively and creatively to inspire citizen action.
I like it when someone does something better than they have to, or takes stands or risks they don't have to take. RICK STEVES has a comfortable business and a comfortable place in our culture and media. He helps people learn how to make travel less stressful and more enjoyable. But in TRAVEL AS A POLITICAL ACT, he sticks his neck out. He has traveled to and written about Iran, El Salvador, Turkey, for instance, in ways that challenge what passes for conventional wisdom. Of course, conventional wisdom is often a contradiction in terms, conventional meaning parochial, provincial, small minded, with little possibility of wisdom. Not only that, STEVES serves on the board of NORML and has given keynote speeches calling for legalization of marijuana.
Though RICK STEVES received degrees at the University of Washington, his real education came in Europe - since 1973 he's spent four months a year there. Spending one third of his adult life living out of a suitcase has shaped his thinking. Today he produces Europe Through the Back Door guidebooks, a travel series in America on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, and a syndicated weekly column.
Aired 02/05/09 Part 2 of 2
Now National Affairs Correspondent for the Nation, WILLIAM GREIDER has spent forty years examining how powerful institutions affect ordinary people. For 17 years he was the National Affairs Editor at Rolling Stone magazine, and is a former assistant managing editor at the Washington Post, where he worked for fifteen years as a national correspondent, editor and columnist. He is the author of national bestsellers ONE WORLD, READY OR NOT, SECRETS OF THE TEMPLE and WHO WILL TELL THE PEOPLE. Greider also served as a correspondent for six Frontline documentaries on PBS, including "Return to Beirut," which won an Emmy in 1985.