For much of my life I have noticed that there seems to be something about the number three, maybe it is the sense of balance that it conveys.  The great significance to the number three really didn’t become stark to me, however, until I got into building things.  My journey into building really grew out of my love of music.  I love to play the drums more than just about anything but I also live in a 1900 square foot attached townhome with a wife.  So I learned to build so I could have a studio behind my house for my drums and all of the other cool updates to a home that can’t really be afforded on a double teaching salary; necessity truly is the mother of invention.  In learning how to build, the number three kept coming up over and over, particularly in the form of triangles.  Knowledge of triangles is the most important piece of building a structure, which is sort of peculiar because most of the structures we build in the world are square, or at least quadrangular in some way.  However, triangles are the thing that makes the whole thing work.  During my learning phase I learned that a corner is square if you can draw a line 3 inches down one wall, 4 inches down the other, and connect those two points with a hypotenuse that measures 5 inches.  I learned that a roof only has structural integrity if the peak is supported by a cross brace underneath, another triangle.  In building walls I quickly learned that to keep a wall standing up in the wind long enough to build another wall you usually have to brace it such that the brace forms, you guessed it, a right triangle.  It was because of this glimpse into the hidden, yet not-so-hidden, geometry behind our lives that I started to search for that triangular structure in all areas of life.  The results have been astounding.  In nearly every area of my life I have been able to identify how looking at things from a triangular point of view can help me make decisions, recognize imbalance, and attempt to put things back into balance.  It’s not metaphysics, and I’m not about to start calling myself a guru, but it is interesting enough that it warrants a bit of exploration.  

First things first, in order to follow along with what I’m talking about, you first have to understand that there are multiple ways of looking at the balance of things from a triangular point of view.  I tend to subject the things I am examining to any one of three perspectives when engaging in this exercise; not everything fits neatly into the same category.  The first perspective I take is what I call the “pick two” perspective.  This one is probably the most known to people because it is used from time to time in memes and for satire or social commentary.  In this one the triangle has three different concepts at the three different points and the person is led to pick two of the concepts, the idea being that having all three is next to impossible.  I have generally found that this perspective holds water, but that it is limited by the fact that it really only describes what is, as opposed to what could be, but more on that later.  The flip side to that coin is a perspective that I like to call the “two-supporting one” structure.  This structure is similar to the “pick two” concept except that now any two of the concepts you pick are there to make the third one possible.  This structural perspective is also limited somewhat in that it only shows us what could be, as opposed to what is in the here and now.  But again, more on that later.  The final structure is one that, thus far, has proven to be sort of my white whale, because I am having a hard time finding things in my universe that fit into it.  This structure is, of course, the fully balanced structure, where every element is doing its part to equally support the other two.  I’m not saying that the structure doesn’t exist, it exists in everything I will describe.  The problem, however, is that there is usually one element that is not holding up its end of the bargain and throwing the whole thing out of balance.  It is finding this balance in these things that has me fascinated and the reason for this journey that I am on.  

The best way to ease into this thought process is to look at a triangle that is pretty much universally known and accepted by anyone who ever buys anything.  I’m talking, of course, about the “good, fast, cheap” relationship.  This relationship is one that applies to nearly everything that we consume on a day to day basis.  Take food, for instance.  In the United States, food is everywhere, even in places that we consider “food deserts,” which are defined as areas with limited access to food that is both nutritious and affordable. The idea behind food in America is pretty simple.  Food is ever-present, but quality, speed, and price are ever changing sides of a triangle that does not often seem to fall into balance.  Fast food, for example, is all over the place in America.  Just about everywhere you turn, you can get something edible pushed out to you in under a minute and a half for less than 5 dollars.  But lets face it, this food is usually only scraping the basement in terms of nutritional value.  I mean, you know you’re living in a weird world when the salad at McDonalds is higher in caloric content than the triple decker meat behemoth that is the company’s signature burger, but I digress.  The simple fact remains that if you want quality food in America, you usually have to be prepared to wait and/or pay through the nose.  It is like this with many things.  Another good example I can think of is houses.  If you want a well-built home in America, and you want it to be move-in ready, you must be willing to pay a premium, especially if the home is in your desired neighborhood.  On the other hand, you can get a wonderfully well-built home for much cheaper if you are willing to build from scratch, but it will be months before you can move in.  Somewhere along the way you are going to sacrifice in order to achieve the optimal situation.  

So the question then becomes, how can we create a situation where we don’t have to sacrifice those things?  Even more interesting, in my opinion, is where these unbalanced structures exist in our daily lives.  How are we unbalanced at work, in our relationships, in our leisure and rest time, or wherever?  More importantly, what can we do to identify the things that we are accepting as making those structures “good enough” and push past them towards greater synergy?  In many ways, I think this is one of, if not the most important question any of us can ask and answer for ourselves, and I intend on exploring it further as I embark on this new academic year.  

New Beginnings

I started this site with the intent on being able to process things about learning, thinking, and self-discovery that didn’t fit into the the regular ebb and flow of the discourse on public education. To be fair, I am a public educator, but I really don’t want to talk about public education, because that subject is being beaten to death and I think it misses a greater point. Education is not about schools or buildings, it is about the discovery that flows from wonder and hope. We wonder about the world around us, we seek to acquire the skills to make our mark in in it, and we hope that the fruits of our labors will bring about positive change in our own little sphere. The pandemic has been tough, I won’t be naive or callous enough to sit and claim anything different. People died, people experienced vast irreparable harm in multiple areas of their lives. Our systems were stretched to the brink. Some bent, others broke completely. Public education is one of those systems where the jury is still out and hope springs eternal, but it’s not looking good. The challenges are mounting faster than the will to meet them can be mustered, and there is a significant portion of the population that has a political and financial incentive to seeing the whole thing done in. In the midst of this, however, I was buoyed because I found time to think, time to take stock, and time to seek new pathways. Those new pathways have been enlightening, and that is what I am looking to focus on with this space going forward. Not every writing will be for everyone. Sometimes they may only be for me, but for this educator to really and truly have hope that there is something greater to be garnered from all of this, I have to go back to the two things that have always been there for me, learning things and talking about it. I hope you can enjoy the journey with me.


I have a new piece up on my Medium blog discussing workplace practices in education as they pertain to equity, diversity, and inclusion. You can hope over and read it by clicking on the blog tab. As summer begins there are plans in the works for more regular blog posts as well as the official launch of the Education in the Wild podcast, which will explore some of the themes of this webpage in greater depth with some truly inspring people. Stay tuned for more information and stay involved.

Uncommon Beginnings

I sat on the idea of having some sort of internet presence outside of the official channels of my job for some time now, but I never really knew where to start, or maybe even why to start. Here’s what I do know. I’m a classroom teacher, 8th grade Civics and Economics to be exact, and I run an interdisciplinary sustainability project with my students. Oh, and I’m in the process of having a bunch of them turn a decommissioned school bus that runs on vegetable oil into a mobile sustainability classroom. I know that I like running sustainability projects and building buses much more than I like talking about civics. I also know that the conventional wisdom says I shouldn’t even be here. I was not a good high school student. It took me forever to get my college degrees. I spent more time playing drums in punk bands than I did studying or planning for any sort of future, and yet here I am with a wife and a child and a career and a mortgage and everything. I ended up following a pretty traditional educational pathway in the end because that was the straightest line to take to get to the goal I had in mind, which was to be a classroom teacher. Along the way, however, I was blessed to meet tons of people who had achieved some level of success (whatever that truly means) by following pathways that were very non-traditional. These people spent some time in classrooms, to be sure, but they spent much more time out in the field following their passions, trying, failing, trying again, and ultimately reaching a point where they get to live their passions daily. This webpage and all of its associated content is meant to be a celebration of those people and those pathways. It is in no way meant to decry the traditional educational model or to undo it. What I am here for is hopefully to be a light in the dark that illuminates multiple pathways so that more of us can find a road that leads us to our authentic selves. I look forward to your sharing this journey with me.