Exploring and Encouraging a Healthy Life Marked with Joy

Posts tagged ‘College’


Do you know what today is? No, not just May 7. It’s TEACHER APPRECIATE DAY 2013!


When I say “Favorite Teacher,” who comes to your mind? For me the answer is easy–Mrs. Ligdon, a teacher I had way back in elementary school in Macon, Georgia. She taught me to value myself, and to do the Mexican Hat Dance. Here’s a link to a post about her (and all good teachers): Balcony and Basement Teachers


I challenge you today (or this week) to call or email or send a card to a teacher. Tell her or him you value their work.


“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.”

~Lily Tomlin as “Edith Ann”



There ARE Real Heroes


A while back I posted on the negative quality of most news sources today (which, in retrospect, constituted a pretty negative view in itself).

Well not so today!

Did you read, or see on TV, the wonderfully good-certainly-does-abound story about twenty-one year old college star athlete Cameron Lyle?  Completing his senior year at the University of New Hampshire and his final season on the track and field team as a stellar shot putter, Cameron is giving up the last part of his athletic career in order to donate bone marrow to a young man in desperate need of it–and whose only match right now is … Cameron.

Here’s a link to the cool story:   http://www.today.com/health/i-never-had-second-thought-college-athlete-cuts-career-short-6C9670404#i-never-had-second-thought-college-athlete-cuts-career-short-6C9670404


See?  There ARE real heroes.  Real Iron Men.


NealNotes on Neal’s KeyNote


I had a great time at Friday’s Student Success in Writing Conference here in Savannah.  And I delivered the Keynote Address!

Here’s the blurb from the conference website:


“Teaching Life: the Heart, the Art”

 Dr. Neal Saye.  Associate Professor Emeritus of Writing and Linguistics Georgia Southern University.  Adjunct Professor, Savannah College of Art & Design

Chair or co-chair of the Student Success conference for much of its 14-year history, Neal was also a key member of its founding committee. He reported on these experiences in “Pearls and Perils of Starting a Conference” (co-presented with Mary Marwitz and Michael Mills) at a Popular Culture Association in the South in Jacksonville, Florida. He brought the same dedication to running this conference as he did to his teaching philosophy. A dedicated blogger, Neal posted to his Facebook and WordPress sites: “My passion in life is learning about/exploring/playing with the subjects of joy and happiness. For the past five years or so, I have used this subject to inform my pedagogy and my day-to-day classroom assignments and activities. What has happened is that teaching about happiness has made me (and I hope my students) happier. Thus my passion spilled over into my teaching, which came rushing back into my life.”

Now an associate professor emeritus after 24 years of teaching writing at Georgia Southern University, Neal has returned to academia as an adjunct professor for the Savannah College of Art & Design. In addition to his well deserved emeritus designation, Neal’s honors and awards include Georgia Southern University Professor of the Year, 2010 and 1993; Dorothy Smith Golden Award for Teaching Excellence, Writing and Linguistics Department, 2003; Georgia Southern University Award for Excellence in Contributions to Instruction, 2001; “Most Approachable Professor” Award, Success-In-U Program, 1994; and “Funniest Professor” Award, Success-In-U Program, 1993. Neal earned his Ed.D. in Curriculum Studies/Cultural Studies in 2002. After earning dual B.S. degrees in English and Biology from Berry College, Neal came to Georgia Southern to earn his M.A. in English Language and Literature.


Here I am at the podium about two seconds after being introduced:


Kidding.  I actually loved all 35 minutes of it!  The audience was attentive, fun and laughed and ooohed at all the right places.  I used loads of technology with videos, pics and graphics–which all flowed seamlessly.  I’ll post the text of the talk a bit later (in case anyone’s interested) when I clean it up a bit for publishing.  For now here are some photos.


The conference was held at the beautiful Coastal Georgia Center.

Here’s what I wore.  Up to the last minute, I was trying to decide between hip or plain ole.


I know.  Probably too much.  But I wore a jacket over it.  But that eyeball kept looking out at people.


(Armani, borrowed from son-in-law.)



I loved catching up with former Georgia Southern colleagues.  Here I am with good buddy Mary Marwitz, who introduced me:


(Isn’t that a cool scarf?)  And with Interim Writing and Linguistics Department Chair Phyllis Dallas:


Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Curtis Ricker (and fellow grandfather):


Chatting with J. Marie Lutz from Continuing Education and fellow GSU retiree Nancy Dessommes:


And trying to listen in, unseen, on private conversations:


Where are all the people?  Nobody’s here!




Another fellow retiree Mary Hadley:


GSU Provost Jean Bartels:


Former co-worker and blog commenter Rachel VanHorn Leroy:



Coolest tie at conference:








What a crowd showed up!

Here’s a video I used about teachers dancing behind students:


And here are a few quotes from the address:

“We find what we’re looking for.”


“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.”

Caring for Students 101 should be a required course in all teacher education programs.”

“The student is more important than the subject being taught.”


A great time!

Reblog: Happiness, According to One of My Students

In preparation for tomorrow’s keynote address at the Student Success in Writing Conference here in Savannah, I am reblogging these three pertinent posts. EnJoy!


In my English 1102 (Composition II) classes, we have been writing about happiness–based on the books we are reading (Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini), as well as our Gratitude Journals and Happiness Boxes (more on this fun and quirky strategy in a later JoyInciter post).

Here’s what Claire Torell, one of my students, wrote about happiness:

“Though happiness can appear in the stillness of the morning, or on walks in the cool breeze, happiness cannot hide when you create it for yourself.  I hunt it down in the wisps of grass that resemble an old woman’s swirl of hair.  I breathe it in with my morning coffee and feel its creamy texture in my lungs.  I absorb happiness from stucco walls and molded ceilings.  The bright paint chips and glow of rust help happiness flow through my blood.”

Isn’t that cool?  Terrific imagery.  And I love Claire’s assertion that happiness can’t hide if we create it for ourselves.  Yes, let’s do that–become makers/creators of happiness.

Thanks, Claire!

Breaking News – Upcoming Keynote Address!

This coming Friday (Feb. 8), I’m delivering the Keynote Address at the Student Success in Writing Conference here in Savannah at the Coastal Georgia Center downtown.



(Okay, okay, maybe I’m still working on how to do videos.)

Anyway, I’m excited about my talk: Teaching Life: The Heart, The Art,” which I will be delivering at the luncheon.  I’m going to be looking at the topic of cultivating joy in the classroom–and in life.  Many of my Georgia Southern buddies will be there, as well as high school and college writing teachers from around the country.

Here’s the link to the conference website:  http://ceps.georgiasouthern.edu/conted/success.html

And one for my keynote bio:  http://ceps.georgiasouthern.edu/conted/successkeynote.html

If you’re hanging around downtown Savannah on Friday, and really need to get off the streets (because either you’re touristy tired or the cops are after you), come join me/us!  The conference organizers are offering a luncheon-only ticket (which gets you in for the hopefully yummy lunch and the amazing keynote for twenty bucks).  If you’re interested, call the GSU conference number toll-free at 855-478-5551. Tell Linda or Christy you would like to attend the Student Success in Writing Conference at the lunch-only rate of $20.  (Don’t mention the cops.)

Hope you can join me … in success.

Five Friday Happy Bringers (11/16/12)

We’re deep into a beautiful, cool fall, and here are five things I’m happy about this Friday:

1.  Finishing my first quarter teaching Language Studio (ESL) at SCAD.  Here’s my terrific Mon/Wed 5:00 class on our final day.

I presented them each with a certificate for completing ESL at SCAD.

2.  My buddy Riboclavin is in Ireland!  No, no, not for a medical procedure he couldn’t get in the US!  (Blog followers will recall that fake-named Riboclavin takes his temperature “frequently” and thinks he is dying at least a couple times a week.  Broken fingernail?  911.  As a good friend should, I revel in making fun of him.)  But just look at these cool pics from Ribo.

Here he is with fellow traveler Brittany.

Seems they eat a lot.

May Riboclavin and Brittany have a continued safe, fun, HEALTHY trip.

3.  Learning to make a text whale.

4.  Realizing that even plants know how to share.

5.  This friendly parrot saying hello to me several times this week.

Happiest of Weekends ahead!


Each Monday morning up at my old hunting ground, Georgia Southern University, my buddy and former Writing and Linguistics Department colleague Eric Nelson shares a poem on the W & L listserv.  Yesterday’s poem was so joyful and encouraging, I thought I would share it with you, Kind Blog Readers.  It’s called “Blessings”:


Some days I find myself
putting my foot in
the same stream twice;
leading a horse to water
and making him drink.
I have a clue.
I can see the forest
for the trees.

All around me people
are making silk purses
out of sows’ ears,
getting blood from turnips,
building Rome in a day.
There’s a business
like show business.
There’s something new
under the sun.

Some days misery
no longer loves company;
it puts itself out of its.
There’s rest for the weary.
There’s turning back.
There are guarantees.
I can be serious.
I can mean that.
You can quite
put your finger on it.

Some days I know
I am long for this world.
I can go home again.
And when I go
I can
take it with me.

—Ron Wallace from Long for This World (U of Pitt Press, 2006)
Isn’t that a cool piece of writing?  I LOVE being reminded that … good happens.

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