Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Inspiration from "The World's Schoolmaster"

This is where it all began, in a rented apartment in Paris.  My mother and I had just returned from visiting a museum - the Musee Rodin, I think - and we were relaxing in the afternoon before heading out to dinner.  Through the open window came American jazz as it was being played by the street musicians below.  It was lovely;  a time for reading, for relaxing on the couch, and having a glass of something refreshing to drink.

I opened my iPad and looked for something to read.  I ended up looking at the Atlantic Monthly web site and this is what I found:

There was an article about Andreas Schleicher, the "World's Schoolmaster," and I learned that he is a man listened to and highly regarded by heads of government. He consults with them on education and other issues of global importance.  I had been trying for almost twenty years to have a "voice" in improving education from the bottom up - especially science education - from a teacher's perspective, along with many teacher friends - but most people gave our opinions lip service.  (After all, everyone has been to school; why ask teachers what would help?) When I read about Andreas Schleicher I knew I had to talk with him.  I needed to reach out to him and see if he'd be willing to listen.

Ridiculous, I know, but I have the opinion that if one doesn't ask, the answer is already "No." So I ask.  And hope.  And then I'm surprised when something actually works.

I read that Andreas lived and worked in Paris and I decided I would take the metro to the OECD(Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) to try and talk with him. My mother was leaving France in the morning and I didn't have to be at the Opera House to meet friends until 3:00.  That gave me all morning to try to see him.

I was in for a surprise.

After doing some research on Andreas I realized that we may just have a mutual friend - a friend I had met during my time working with PBS - and that he had led an international education workshop that included Andreas.  I contacted my friend via email and asked him if he would consider making an email introduction for me.  Within 90 minutes I had a response from Andreas and he told me he would talk with me but that he wasn't in Paris - he was in Italy.  He gave me his mobile number and asked me to contact him the next day at 1:30 PM.

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