Jan Iwase

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Getting Out of Our Comfort Zone

With this pandemic still raging, I’ve been observing from the sidelines as the public weighs in on the safety of opening schools and as educators prepare for the new school year. I empathize with my fellow educators who are navigating uncharted waters that could change at any time. It is during these uncertain times when…

Empathy and a Book Worth Re-Reading

I’ve been thinking a lot about empathy recently. Empathy is so crucial especially for someone in a leadership position. We cannot know exactly what someone else is thinking or feeling, but we can try to understand, to listen, and to empathize without being condescending. It is said that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a “blue…

Choices, Choices

I know that I appreciate having choices, and as a teacher, I found that providing choices to my students was an effective way of engaging them in their own learning. Rather than giving everyone the same assignment at the same time, students could choose from an array of activities that were designed to address skills…

What Should Schools Be Teaching in These Turbulent Times?

As a retired school principal, I don’t have the worries right now that many school leaders are facing. Yet, I am very concerned as I read comments on social media as well as articles about schools opening for the next school year. Teachers and parents want to know what the plan is, and so far,…

Conditions for Growth – A Metaphor

I posted this photo on Facebook with this caption: Last year we didn’t have as many white gingers blooming so Randy and I worked to get them growing again. I cleared off the old stalks that had died and Randy fertilized and watered more often. This year, the gingers are taller and stronger. The blossoms…

Just What I Needed ❤️

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote my last blog post. It’s not because I didn’t try; I’ve started and restarted one, but I just can’t seem to get it done. When I started blogging, I made it my goal to be positive even when the situation wasn’t what I hoped especially when writing…

Racism – We Must Do More in Schools

In the midst of a pandemic, we suddenly are thrust into another crisis that has brought anger and strife into an already-hurting world. The killing of a black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis has forced us to closely examine our personal feelings. Do we feel anger or sadness or pity? Do we…

“A Nation in Turmoil”

This was the headline in this morning’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser. I am so saddened by the state of our country. I rarely use this blog to share my political views, but this is not a political situation. It is a case of failed leadership.  It’s been a week since the tragic death of George Floyd. People…

Okage Sama De – I Am What I Am Because of You

Recently, I learned that my parents seriously considered moving to California when my older sister and I were toddlers. Apparently, landowners were offering interested parties a plot of land to farm. My Dad was interested; he loved growing vegetables and fruits, and his ambition had been to become an agriculture teacher. As the oldest of…

I Miss Our Grandsons (and Our Son, too)

When we were told to stay at home during this pandemic, I knew my husband and I would be fine. After all, we are retired so it was a matter of adjusting to the new normal. Two months later, we actually are doing well, walking daily, eating more home-cooked meals, and planning our weekly “events”…