Birthdays are a time for reflections. The bigger the number (and sixty strikes me as big) there are more times for introspection and the more urgency for moving forward in one's mission in life. Looking backwards focuses on one's life lived in the larger context of history.
As an educator, I was shaped by the call for relevance in education in the sixties. I feel strongly about trying to reverse the damage that has been done in the name of accountability. Learning is a wonderfully energizing activity that you don't have to force people to do-- they do it naturally and in fact are driven to do it. School can take away control and direction and when it does, it turns learning into conditioning. Innovative forms of technology hold out hope that we might find ways to engage our children in learning ecstasy (see education and ecstasy by George Leonard- a classic from the sixties). Throughout my career, I have dedicated myself to the goal of helping learners find new adjectives to describe school learning. With all of the adjectives in the English language, the fact that so many students settle on --boring-- should give pause. School should be about identity and that is fair from boring. My drive towards technology is because it can be used to connect learners to experiences they want to have and people who know what they want to know. I have come understand what Etienne Wenger means when he says that learning is identity. My goal as an educator is to inspire tranformational learning.
As a woman, I feel grateful for the work of the women of the past and readily assume a responsibility to the women of the future to work towards not only gender equity, but all forms of equity. This focus on social justice drive informs my politics and shapes both my social and professional actions.
As a parent, I have learned how to love moving targets. My children change faster than I have every been ready for. However, once I let go of the past and come to appreciate the new identities, I find deep joy. Of course this is made easier by the pleasure of having the same person by my side for now almost half of my time on this earth.
The occasion of a birthday is often marked with roasts and toasts and I got my fair share of both. What I learned is that others see me as 1) Someone who always has something to say 2) A person rich with strong family ties, 3) a techie who believes that developing community is the key to learning. (My "stretch goal" for this next decade is to work harder on my listening skills)
So for those of you at Pepperdine, I am Margaret and I am checking in...