Monday, December 23, 2013

Tagged by Barry Saide...Update for Rik Rowe

I am updating this post for my Twitter-Friend Rik Rowe. Even though I have never met him face to face, Rik is someone I like to seek out to discuss a variety of educational topics. Rik has provided me with tremendous advice and guidance through our discussions on the phone and/or our twitter conversations. His guidance has helped me dramatically improve both my instruction and grading practices. I am eternally grateful that Rik is a part of Professional Learning Network.

Here are my answers posed to me by Rik:
Who has impacted your life most significantly and how?

I am going to give the cliche answer, but my parents have had the greatest impact. As I get older, I am realizing how tough it is to raise a family with good values and morals. This is something I am working very hard to continue with my own children.

What specifically do you do to have a reasonable work and life balance? 

I am at the gym 4 or 5 times a week lifting weights and running. I also volunteer in my kids' sports.

Share any event in your life that was life-changing. 

I have two: I almost lost both my wife (complications from childbirth) and my Dad. Going through these things changes a man. I would not wish it on anyone.

If you were offered the opportunity to speak to hundreds of young people, what would you say?

Quite simply: Do what you love. Be the person you want your children to become. Respect and love your wife. Everyday.

What legacy do you plan to leave and to whom? 

I want my kids to know I loved and honored their mother everyday we were married.

What foreign country have you visited that was memorable? 

When I was 15, I traveled to Europe (Holland, Denmark and Sweden) to play soccer. Amsterdam was a culture shock for a 15 year old, needless to say.

What have you learned in the past year that has impacted you? 

That my children are growing quickly into compassionate, intelligent and hard-working young people. Parenting is the hardest job around. If you do it right.

Describe your happiest childhood memory.

When my brother and I were young, we would sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve. Hands down, the best memories I have as a kid.

What is the nicest or most thoughtful gift you have ever received?

I have had several, but I had a "tough" student shake my hand after 8th grade graduation, look me in the eye, and thank me for not giving up on him. Great gift!

What famous person would you most like to dine with and why? 

My childhood hero Wayne Gretzky. I loved how he played the game of hockey; he always did it with so much class.

What are your favorite Twitter chats? 

My two favorite chats are #satchat (Saturday mornings at 7:30) and #sbgchat (Wednesdays at 9:00)

Thanks, Rik, for thinking of me.


I met Barry Saide face to face during edcampNJ in November. I have to admit, it felt like I had known him for years. I found him extremely easy to talk to. Barry has a contagiousness about him that spreads to anyone he comes in contact with. I have been fortunate to be able bounce several ideas off him since meeting him. His advice is always timely and practical.

Needless to say, I am extremely honored to be tagged by Barry for this meme. I am actually shocked that anyone finds what I have to say or write even remotely interesting. In sticking with the protocol of the meme, here are 11 facts about me you may not know:

1. I played Winthrop in my church's play the "Music Man" when I was in the second grade. I had to sing/talk with a lisp. Apparently, I was convincing enough because several people after commented that I must have a lot of confidence to do that in front of several hundreds of people.

2. I mocked my brother for months for joining "that Twitter thing." Boy, was I dead wrong about that. I have to thank him for even jumping into this Social Medium. I do not know where I would be as an educator without it.

3. I have a fear of snakes. I do not like them. Can't stand looking at them. Yet, if they are on Animal Planet, I can not change the channel...go figure!

4. I have been with my wife for almost 25 years. We are high school sweethearts. I got lucky and found her early. I have been holding on with both hands ever since.

5. Writing anything about my wife makes me teary.

6. I always wanted to be a teacher. My brother and I use to play school with our stuff animals when we were little. I am not ashamed to admit that.

7. I know the words to too many Milli Vanilli songs. If I am alone in the car, I do not change the channel.

8. I still do not like the way I write. It never sounds as intelligent as I want it to. And I think I end too many sentences with a participle...that's bad grammar, right?

9. I almost lost my Dad about 2 years ago. I never want anyone to have to go through what my family went through.

10. I have a very bad habit of judging people based on my own personal code of ethics. I am trying to be more compassionate...it is a work in progress.

11. I can not remember what my life was like before my children came along. And, you know what? I am perfectly okay with that.

Barry's Eleven Questions for me:
1. I am currently reading "The First World War" by Hew Strachan.

2. I eat a cheese omelet with toast for breakfast just about every morning. I wash it down with a protein shake. This is my first meal after a very early morning workout.

3. I am guilty of giving someone the finger once as I passed before realizing it was childhood neighbor. Example of road rage making us do dumb things!

4. My non-educational dream I always have is dunking a basketball. Being under 5'8", it will remain a dream!

5. I am not a fan of The Walking Dead. I guess I can not say that, I have never seen the show.

6. I was making some bad choices during my 1st semester at college. My Dad said to me, "You left a leader and returned a follower." Needless to say, it was a punch in the gut.

7. A few years ago, I shoveled my elderly neighbor's driveway. Actually, I did it with my kids to show them helping someone without credit or recognition is a cool thing.

8. The most disturbing thing I saw was the near death of my wife from complications during the birth of my son. Being helpless like that changes a man...

9. My wife and I sometimes "do halves" at a restaurant, but it is usually at my request. Especially if it is for breakfast. I love breakfast food.

10. I do not go to bars that much, but there is a diner by my school that we go to every Friday. The waitress knows what we are ordering. She does not even come to the table, just asks, "Getting the usual?"

11. The most mind blowing statement I ever heard was a man questioning if there is a God while holding his new born child. Almost knocked me over.

Here is my list of 11 Bloggers: (in no particular order)
1. Rik Rowe
2. Jasper Fox
3. Shawn Storm
4. Garnet Hillman
5. Jon Harper
6. Ben Gilpin
7. Tom Whitford
8. Justin Aion
9. Starr Sackstein
10. Scott Rocco
11. David Hochheiser

My Eleven Questions:
1. If you were not in education, what would be your career choice?

2. What is your favorite book?

3. What is your favorite meal?

4. What song do you not want people to know you secretly sing in the car?

5. What is your favorite movie or TV show?

6. If you were ever stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you want with you?

7. If you could invite any 3 people (dead or living) to dinner, who would it be and why?

8. Where would love to visit if money was no object?

9. Do you prefer eating appetizers or do you save room for dessert?

10.How do you wind down when work gets stressful?

11.What is your favorite musical band?

Thanks for asking me to do this, Barry. I had a lot of fun. To those I nominated, I thoroughly enjoy interacting with you and reading your tweets and/or blogs. Your inspiration can not be put into words. Be the change you want to see in the world...

3 comments:

barry saide said...

Hey Jim. Really enjoyed your post. Laughed out loud about the neighbor and the Milli Vanilli song.

You write beautifully. Isn't writing about finding your voice, even if it breaks conventions? Now, go sing the lyrics to 'Girl, You Know it's True.'

Starr Sackstein said...

Hey Jim, Thanks so much for including me. I'm so flattered that you get so much from what I do. I'm going to respond to the post in my way since I've done another one of these recently and feel like doing another whole post about me would be indulgent. I do want to answer your questions though :-)

I feel the same way about snakes... and I too, remember Milli Vanilli too well.

Oo, oo, oo I love you... she sings as she moves from side to side with dread locks swinging :)

Kimberly Hurd Horst said...

I enjoy learning more about my PLN friends. Thank you for sharing. My three words are Bravery. Strong. Courage. May this year be the one that changes you in such a way, that there is NO going back!