Doing some work

May 27, 2011 § 15 Comments


“Thinking is easy,
Acting is difficult.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I clicked End Call with a feeling of exhilaration. I’d just Skyped Rick, prompted by Brad’s excellent activity for getting to know your PLN better. Here are others who have participated. Whether they had seeped in unconsciously, or whether the questions were spot on, or whether Rick and I just hit it off right from the start and all our talking shop covered them easily enough, with neither script to hand nor the need to dig them out, I realised later that we’d got through four out of five of our own accord.

Rick is a thinker, his blog Doing Some Thinking tells us so, here he is look, wrapped in a toga, head in hand, laurelled by nature and civilisation alike, ruminating on rhetoric, postulating on pronunciation. I’d chosen Rick precisely because of this. I love listening to someone who enlightens the world, someone who digs deep and carefully dusts and polishes trinkets of wisdom and holds them up for scholars to admire and reflect on, like Vladka the archaeologist.

Except this image I had couldn’t be further from the truth.

Rick is a man of action. Sleeves rolled up, he’s a doer, emanating energy. He talks non-stop. I had considered taking notes but got too involved right from the start, as very soon, the focus had shifted from general chitchat to exploring how we could work together in some way in the future.

He set up his own company a few years ago, a language school, first with just one partner, then taking on another. They all balance teaching with running a successful business with six other full-time teachers on their payroll. He struck a good deal renting classrooms in the school he went to as a boy, taught at as a teacher, and now profits from as a businessman.

His immediate agenda is to find and rent new premises so he can expand into teacher training throughout his home suburb of Brasilia. Elsewhere, he’s involved with #breltchat and is organising a regional conference for 150 English language teachers in July, also in Brasilia. As a result, recent books he’s read are on business, Blue Ocean Strategy and the like. Brad asks what else you’d be. This isn’t a dream, it’s real, he’s a businessman. But he needed to be a teacher first.

Here are my adjectives I’d describe him with. Caring. He cares about doing the best for his students, like taking them on a trip to the US a few months ago. Precise. He’s prepared to put in the effort to get things right; his pronunciation is native-like. Modest. Though he wouldn’t admit to it.

Knowledge shouldn’t be treated like pieces of antiquated jewellery, to be displayed behind glass. It’s living, to be applied, a journée from A-Z where learning never stops, reflecting and wondering close up on a cruel world of dandelions, and this was my overriding impression of Rick. Oh, that other question, what’s in his fridge? Dunno, never asked, could be empty, could be chock-a-block, certainly more than just food for thought.

“When I get a little money I buy books;
and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”
Desiderius Erasmus

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§ 15 Responses to Doing some work

  • Great post… wish I could’ve joined in… i have 3-way skype now so NEXT TIME we multi-chat. The PLN interviews are really cool. No challenge involved, but so much reward. I’ll add yours up to the list 😉

    Love your writing, David. It’s a journée somewhat like floating down a calm river. A bit misty with patches of sun. Mysterious and light at the same time.

  • What a nice chat it was! I guess we spent more than 1 hour chatting, and it was, indeed, a pleasant surprise. Having been an admirer of your writing for a long while, I was really curious to see how it’d turn out to be – loved it! As for what’s in my fridge… gee, right now the whole family is back in town with kids and all that, so you imagine what’s in there, right? Ice cream, coke, sweets (it was my niece’s birthday party just last week, so lots of left-overs), and a couple more things. 🙂

    Brad, looking forward to our multi-chat-skype-call thingy! As I don’t think I’ll have the chance to meet many people from my PLN face-to-face soon, skype sounds like an excellent option for me! 🙂

  • Kirsten says:

    That last quotation is amazing! I bought a bag from Blackwells with that quote when I was a student. It seemed to apply. I bought plenty of food, but plenty of books as well.

    • David Warr says:

      Hi Kirsten, lovely to hear from you, glad you liked the quote. I toyed with another one by JRR Tolkien that said if more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. Which do your prefer?

      • crazykites says:

        Definitely food! Gold doesn’t taste so good.

        I sometimes think about my great grandmother who I never met, singing in the air raid shelter during the 2nd World War. Apparently she was an amazing singer, a gift that was passed on to my grandfather. Such cheer and singing got that generation through some sticky times, and I feel that in our generation of ipods and recorded music, we’ve lost some of that merriment that we were once able to create for ourselves. (Is that a veiled dogme analogy, I wonder?)

  • crazykites says:

    Or which quotation do I prefer? I thought you meant gold or food and cheer. I still like the first one best. It’s very witty and values the intellect before such simple needs as the need to . I think a true philosopher thinks of his mind before his stomach, though I am definitely on the fence. Learning and food are two of my great loves. Nothing like reading and munching at the same time, which is why I can’t seem to keep my books in very good condition. 😦

  • crazykites says:

    Who’s going to interview you, David?

  • Shelly Sanchez Terrell says:

    So glad to learn more about Rick! I’ve had the privilege of Skyping with him too! I agree he’s definitely a man of action and I admire all he’s managed to accomplish! Wow!

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