Back to School 2016 – 2017



It’s Tuesday …

… and the kids are back to school now!  I remember when … Teaching has been one of my favorite “tasks” ’cause it doesn’t seem like a “job” for me.  Those who view it as a job are probably not very good at it nor feel fulfilled from teaching either!  For me, teaching is an art and something that you improve all of the time.  It is an exchange between students or participants and teachers or facilitators.  Preferably, each class or session would start with a lesson or topic for discussion.  The art part for me is getting the interaction going and facilitating the dissemination of information and the synthesis of ideas, if necessary.  I really enjoyed the challenge and still have a sincere attraction to “motivational speaking”, which is why I do workshops and presentations for Educational Excellence.

Teaching is indeed an art, as each facilitator is challenged with the task of blending all of the elements in a classroom and making sure that each learner has an opportunity to learn the subject matter regardless of their form of learning … be it hands on or rote/pure memorization of information learning.  As I consider my up bringing and the emphasis of my father of being practical coupled with my mother’s constant nurturing of “situations”, it was difficult for me to be tough at first.  I learned pretty much in elementary school and growing up in the Winbrook Projects.  My father was also very disciplined with me, making me get my homework done with my sister Edna being coerced to work with me before I could go out to play after school!!  I definitely appreciated the learning experiences at the public schools in White Plains even though Rochambeau Elementary School was nearly segregated and the City School District decided to integrate many of the apparently predominantly white schools with students from the segregated elementary schools.  Our level of education remained high, though the time I played the “Tin Man” in the Wizard of Oz was in 4th Grade at Rochambeau Elementary School!  It was a more artsy school with excellent and white music teachers who always played some mean piano behind some of those timeless tunes we sang in classes!

I have also always appreciated traditional education … you know, readin’ … writin’ and ‘rithmetic!!  Yet, I always liked being challenged with concepts of behavior and growth and development of humans, especially in regards to education and spirituality!  Imagine that, as this is what I attempt to propose in the thinking presented in my work with Educational Excellence with an emphasis in “Know Thyself” and a rigorous spiritual education.  Of course, spiritual growth and development is a lot more difficult to “measure” as in the empirical sciences.  How would one measure another’s peace or someone’s patience or even their tolerance other than putting them into a situation that required the implementation of one of the aforementioned in order to resolve a particular situation.  There was a time when I had the opportunity to host “back to school” programs and speak at graduations regularly for the Urban League of Broward County’s “Project Embrace”.  Who knows if I can market enough to get some more opportunities though my first passion is this writing … coupled with the speaking, too!  I have had a few opportunities to do talks for the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s Program called Community Justice presenting to both parents and their children.

Education of oneself … basic knowledge is important for ALL of us!  We need to learn about our society, though some integral changes need to be made in terms of the content of the educational curriculum.  An emphasis on human values and the importance of our OWN longevity … as a civilization … as a species.  Oftentimes, it appears we lose our emphasis on “self preservation” and focus more on material things … Peace be still.

Support local educational initiatives and do the best we can to help those around us take advantage of the opportunities in education …


John I. Cook, Director

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