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When I’m engulfed in the
powerful silence
of moving memoirs
I recognize her as Past.

When I’m enveloped by the
intimate scale
of scattering sunbeams
I welcome her as Present.

When I’m consumed by the
abundant poverty
of crumbling civilizations
I pray to her as Promise.

From her flows what you call time:
a pageantry of paradox,
visceral yet unfathomable.


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Before I begin, here’s some context:

2015: Awakening > 2016: Adventure > 2017: Alignment

2015The Year Of Awakening: I fell extremely ill with Grave’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder that left me within a month 20 pounds lighter, less hair, heart palpitations, and too fatigued to even open a water bottle. Though the illness proved treatable, the sheer human terror of contemplating my mortality gripped me. I fell into a deep depression for I still had yet to accomplish my dreams, or figure out my purpose in life.

Through hundreds of hours reading, meditating, and soul-searching, I saw clearly my own victimization by, and participation in the specter of mindlessness haunting our time. As a victim, I suffered from prescribed definitions of success (i.e. I wore my participation in the Cult of Busy as an honor), As a perpetrator, I harbored apathy, us-vs-them mentality, and selfishness. As a former skeptic of spirituality and emotions, I suddenly discovered a depth in my self that I have never experienced — a wholeness, an awakening. …


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When you visit the prison of the past,
remind the inmate, Heart,
that the price of freedom
is Nostalgia.


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Spiral of Self-Inflicted Loneliness

I feel lonely lately. As the years go by it seems I have been a very bad gardener, watching the flowers of once-healthy relationships wilt as each season goes by — each “pivot” in my life leaves my support network ever more compromised. I’m feeling vulnerable writing this, but it’s needed.

High School → College

High school was a particularly challenging part of my life, where I experienced a lot of negative emotions.

  • Heartbreak (losing my first special someone)
  • Depression (recovering from the years of bullying prior to high school)
  • Shame (not doing well in school)
  • Escapism (addiction to gaming)
  • Apathy (little motivation)

Given this “dark spot” in my life, once college began I abandoned my old friends. This was my only defense mechanism to deal with all of that, and in some ways it worked. But it also cost me a few rare gems in friendships, that I have yet to repair. …


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PC: Austin Schmid

Original Poems

What form does your mind take?
Fluid like Norwegian fjords?
Vapid like the Everest air?
Or forbidding like Alaskan frost?

Do the stars ever grow weary,
Of watching the waves below?
Perpetual motion with no destination.

What do we call
the dance between universes?
Broken hearts in parallel motion.

How long will you wander
with dreams held hostage
and sight kept dark?

How long till you wonder
with passion unbridled
and curiosity aglow?

Familiar face now but a vestige.
With open palms I hold these memories,
Loving without possession,
Living with redemption.

The calculus of love
harkens of limits untouched.
So ventures the heart
against perils of change
in search of grace
and infinity. …


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Source: Swedish scifi/drama series “Real Humans”

History of The Term

In 1893, John R. Commons coined the term “human resource” in his book The Distribution of Wealth, which gained stridency during the 1910’s and 1920’s, ultimately becoming a common phrase after its use in a 1958 report by economist E. Wight Bakke.

Problems With It

So why do we continue using a term that originated from the 19th century? Out of pure habit, and a lack of awareness. …


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Susie Wise

Design for School Culture: Working the Levers:

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Susie Wise is the K12 Lab Network Director, and will be introducing the levers of design, which are powerful tools for innovating and building school culture. But what does design look like in practice? Together, we will explore how to use design to build a purposeful school culture. This session is open to parents and educators who are ready to roll up their sleeves and build the practices of innovation and design into their schools. We will explore quick wins to get started, as well as how to experiment your way toward changing space, time, rituals, and roles.

Levers for Redesigning School

  • Communication
  • Incentive
  • Ritual
  • Role
  • Process
  • Space
  • Event
  • Schedule
  • Finance

How to Use the Levers

“Assumption-storming”: A brainstorm session where you list out assumptions for your project. Knowing your assumptions gives you new levers to work with for designing change. Example of the classroom experience assumptions:

  • One teacher
  • Students sit at desks
  • Multiple periods in the day
  • One subject taught at a time
  • Students have homework
  • Students ask for permission to speak
  • 1 hour classes

Gripes & Dreams

  • What gripes do you have with the education system? If you could redesign education, what would that dream system look like?

How Might We (HMW) Questions

  • Using the inputs from Gripes & Dreams, create HMW questions using the levers to create prototypable experiments (i.e. How Might We change the learning spaces for 9th grade design students to facilitate greater collaboration?) …


CONTENTS: My Story → The Approach → What’s Next?

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A living, breathing document capturing my learnings, which I’ll share below after I provide some more context.

My Story

In the summer of 2014, I became seriously ill with Grave’s Disease, which attacked my breathing, heart rate, and nervous system. With my bodily functions greatly weakened, I could not even open a water bottle. For the first time in my life, I had to face my own fragility and mortality. Though the illness proved treatable, the sheer human terror of ceasing to exist gripped me. I still had yet to accomplish my dreams, or figure out my purpose in life. …


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Dear Reader,

I want to share with you how much I believe in what all of you are doing at Teachers Guild, and why I would love with all the sincerity in my heart to further your mission. I’d like to share how facing my mortality last year cultivated a deep self awareness that allowed me to discover my life purpose.

My Story of Mortality and Awakening

In the summer of 2014, I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease, which attacked my breathing, heart rate, nervous system, and other bodily functions. I couldn’t even open a water bottle. For the first time in my life, I had to face my own fragility and mortality. Though treatable, the sheer human terror of ceasing to exist gripped me. …


I love quotes and poems. Here are my favorites from 2014, organized into categories for your reading pleasure. May they inspire you for 2015. Enjoy!

Love & Heartbreak

“Your breath was a gust of wind That blew through my ribcage And knocked my heart off its shelf Where I had arranged it to be Seen, not moved.”
Derek Ouyang

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.
W. S. Merwin

Letting Go & Forgiveness

“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.” …

About

Norman Tran

I design how we design @Tradecraft. Ex @MissionU, @StanfordGSB, @IDEOTeachersGuild. Impish improviser. Junior jazz pianist. Passable poet. Alliteration addict.

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