Gratitude

 

Gratitude

“Only the educated are free.” 
 Epictetus

 

To honor a day that should be less about consumption and more about gratitude. To the teachers who we are given, who we find and who accompany us along the way:

Thank you John Dewey for framing the conversation more than century ago.

Thank you Lucy Sprague Mitchell for guiding us towards the natural geography of learning where children explore and map and reconstruct the world.

Thank you Myles Horton for the faith in humanity and the connectedness between education, social justice and living democratically.

Thank you Paul Goodman for iconoclasm and passion. We haven’t banned cars from New York yet but nearly every neighborhood has a green market.

Thank you Herb Kohl and Maxine Greene, for wide awakeness and for being lights in the darkest of times.

Thank you John Hamlin, Barnard School for Boys, 1968 for risking your job in challenging us to use our freedom well and take the responsibility for learning.

Thank you Mark Blecher, Barnard School for Boys, for risking your job to engage us in history for the first time and the one that was swirling around us in the cities of America, 1969.

Thank you Mrs Kirkcules, for letting me come out of my 8 year old shell and stand on the desk, stove top hat and improvise the Gettysburg address as Abe Lincoln.

Thank you Leon Botstein for showing me what scholarship looks like.

Thank you mom, for the gift of kindness.

Thank you dad, for the guile of Odysseus and the gift of generosity.

Thank you to my grandparents for teaching me everything I ever needed to know about life at the aluminum card table in your kitchens.

Thank you Pablo Neruda, Garcia Lorca, Jose Marti, Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, ee Cummings, for celebrating the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Thank you Luis Armstrong, Duke, Dizzy, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Ella and Nina and Sarah and Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder for awakening in me the joyous, blues soaked history of America.

Thank you Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Eric Anderson, Phil Ochs, The Beatles, The Band, The Stones, Lou Reed, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nero and Bruce Springsteen for music with conscience, and music with humor, to be played in a car with the windows wide open.

Thank you life— and to all my teachers—for giving me this one chance at immortality.

About David Penberg

David Penberg is an urban and international educational leader. He has held leadership roles in non-profits, community-based organizations, independent, international and charter schools, and in higher education. He has a deep grounding in progressive education, the cross-cultural experience and leadership development. Dr. Penberg has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He was a fellow in the Carey Leadership Program at Bank Street College (1982-84) and Klingenstein Fellow for International School Heads at Teachers College, Columbia University (2008). He was the founding director of the nationally recognized Liberty Partnerships Program at Bank Street College. Since then, Penberg has held posts as Head of Studies and Head of School in international schools in Mexico City and Barcelona. He was most recently the Head of School at Innovate Manhattan Charter School in the lower east side and is an adjunct at Pace University’s Teaching Fellows program. He abides by Auden's dictum "We were put on earth to make things."
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