Tag Archives: Education

Raise Your Hand with PED

Happy New Year from the PED family! We hope you all enjoyed the holidays and that 2013 is off to great start for you. We’re ready to kick 2013 off with a bang and appreciate your continued support as we make this our best year yet.

On January 26, we’ll be hosting a premiere for our very first PED mission statement video, which provides an in-depth look at the education system in Uganda. This premiere is incredibly important to our 2013 programs and we hope you’ll join us! Mark your calendars and bring your friends and family!

When: Saturday, January 26, 2013, 7-9 pm

Where: Instituto Cervantes Chicago, 31 W. Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60654


   and visit our Facebook event page

In the meantime: If you’re already part of the PED family and want to demonstrate your continued support, please visit our Facebook and Twitter pages and download our “Raise Your Hand” cover and profile image – then, upload it as your own profile picture with the caption provided.

As always, we appreciate your help!




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How my education has shaped me as a teacher.

At age 10 I was tested for my reading deficits.   My teachers thought I could potentially require special educations services.   I was charismatic and friendly, but struggling.  The only thing saving me was my never die attitude and a few subjects I really enjoyed.  My reading fluency and comprehension was well below my grade level and my math computation was adequate at best. Then one day I realized that as hard as some teachers wanted to help me, the only one at the end of the day that could save me… was me.

Fast forward to high school, I am flourishing in all grade appropriate classes and a few about the average track.  My GPA is about 3.5 and I was accepted in to National Honor Society.  The only problem is taking tests.  This goes along with the joke by Daniel Tosh, “I’m a bad test taker.  No, you mean you’re stupid.  Ohhh, you struggle with the piece where we find out what you know.  I can totally relate.  I am a brilliant painter, minus my horrible brush strokes.”  While this is harsh there is some truth in my case.  I had compensated for my reading deficit for years by breaking things down in the book again when I got home at a much more appropriate pace for me.  This method does not transfer to standard tests.  The time requirement on my most standardized tests prevented me from decoding the text enough to be able to comprehend it in its entirety.   This proved to be my downfall while applying to colleges.  While my GPA was around a 3.5, my 20 on the ACT proved to be the focus of the majority of colleges.   Being denied from the few colleges I applied to was discouraging, but the biggest blow came when I was rejected from Illinois State University, a school that is ranked in the top ten largest universities producing teachers in the nation.   Eventually, I wrote at letter saying I disagreed with their decision and would hope them to reconsider, they did…

I graduated from ISU with a degree in Elementary Education, and became a 5th grade teacher that summer.  Flashback to where I was in 5th grade, struggling to read but too embarrassed to let anyone know, scared of being seen as dumb.  Now flash-forward, I know a lot of flashing back and forth, I have an opportunity to be an advocate for those students and give them a chance to really thrive.  I share my experiences with my students, because naturally I can relate to them.   I want them to know that you need to put in the effort now, and you can be anything tomorrow.  But this does not come without putting in work.  Students need to see school not as a place where they have to be perfect but a place to grow and develop through their mistakes.  Schools need to create a culture and community dedicated to improving student’s knowledge and thirst for knowledge, but this environment must also include the opportunity for students to make mistakes.

I would not trade any part of my past if I had the chance.  My past and my mistakes have made me the person and teacher that I am today.  Every day (except Fridays) for the past two years I have put on my button down shirt, slacks, and a tie, and headed to my 5th grade classroom.   Each day I wake up with a passion and love for what I get a chance to do.   As a teacher, I have to the power to help students realize their own perception of the world.  Just like everything there are hard times, but most days I can’t believe that I get to do this for a living.  And if I were ever to lose my passion for teaching, I know I will have to move on, because just as I tell my kids, “I don’t want anything less then your best, because your name is attached to it, and at the end of the day your name is all you have.”    But for the foreseeable future, and hopefully forever, I can keep my name and be Mr. Bauer, and not just Andy.

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Culture in the Classroom

In my post last Wednesday, I made a suggestion to struggling or confused high school graduates to consider taking a year off from school to travel.  I know many teachers would love to travel during their time off as well, but us adults have limitations; money woes, kids (often a cause of money woes), and the lack of free time can make it hard to do some serious traveling. This, however, doesn’t mean that we, and our students, should go without cultural enlightenment. If we can’t travel to other cultures, we should bring the cultures to us.

The curriculuum at my school is very heavy on multiculturalism, which is great for me. Many teachers don’t have the luxury of such a curriculuum. If that’s the case, what can you do to add this to your classroom?  History and English teachers should have no problem making any topic culture friendly, but science and math teachers may have a hard time supplementing their assigned topics. Here are a few examples of what I’ve used in the past:

  • Personal narratives involving family history.
  • Supplementing a poem workshop with texts from varying cultures.
  • Show and tell type projects including personal symbols.
  • Talking.

The last point is probably the most important and the easiest to implement in the classroom. You can simply reference other cultures in passing. You can talk about culture once a day or once a week, what matters is that you’re talking about it. If you show your students you are interested and care about other cultures, your students are more likely to as well.

I’m always looking for great ways to include different cultures in my classroom. What are some things you have done?





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The gift of hope.

Recently Pangea Educational Development was honored when Michelle Boice, founder of Beads for Africa (http://beadsofhopeafrica.com/?cat=8), started a scholarship for female student at Tooro High School. This scholarship will essentially pay for the majority of this student’s school and living fees for the year. This act of kindness reminds us of why we all got into this.

This one donation is much more then the monetary amount printed on the check, its hope. Tooro High School is more than just a standard Ugandan high school. It is a school comprised of orphans from the aids epidemic. The school gives the student’s structure and hope. It provides the students with a sense of community and family. The teachers and staff act as the parents they had lost to the disease. As for the hope, that comes from the education. This hope is not just to get through school, but to chase their dreams. Tooro provides the students with a secondary education no usually accessible to Ugandan children, especially orphans. These students have dreams similar to those in America. They dream of being doctors, politicians, and teachers.

     What Michelle’s scholarship reminds us is the importance of an education in making these dreams come true. If you would like to donate to the students of a Pangea Educational Development sponsored school, PED just became an IRS approved 501c3 tax except organization giving donors credit on their taxes. For more information on donations to the movement visit.THe  (http://pangeaeducation.org/#/donate)

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Heidi Colliander’s experience at PED’s Launch…..

Every time my family gathers around the dinner table for a family dinner and my dad asks me about the favorite part of my day, the entire family jokingly moans and says, “here we go again”.  They do this because I usually have too many favorite parts of my day to narrow it down to just one.  As I sat down to share about my experience at the launch event for Pangea Educational Development, I couldn’t help but have the same feeling I get when I’m about to share the favorite parts of the day; there are just too many to choose from.

Let’s just start at the beginning.  From the moment that I stepped through the doors, the pride and passion radiating from the members of PED was not only apparent and overwhelming, but also contagious.  It was impossible not to feel as though you were a part of helping to bring education and a better life to those in need.  It was impossible not to feel as though we were a part of the PED family.

The next “favorite part of my day” was looking at the many different “puzzle pieces” hanging from the ceiling.  Each piece had a photo of a child from Uganda as well as a quotation about the goodness and necessity of an education.  The pieces were being sold as a fundraiser to stock a library at Tooro High School in Uganda. As a teacher, I could wholly relate to the quotations and support the funding of a library.

To continue with the “favorite part of my day” theme, I also had the opportunity to personally speak with Providence Rubingisa, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide.  Hearing about the trials he had to overcome and what he is doing with his life now is pretty powerful.  He also told me about his family and his kids which reminded me that no matter what we go through in life, it is a basic human need to love and be loved.  The PED initiative helps to provide a few more people with that.

The last “favorite part of my day” was the African dance performance.  The dance was exciting and invigorating, but for me the message they shared was the best part.  The performers spoke about unity and the need for more of it in the world.  They reminded us that it is the coming together for a common goal, the unity, which makes change in the world and the way in which we were all united that evening was a beautiful experience.

At this point, I hope that you can not only empathize with my family on what they have to go through at dinner, but also have an idea of how astounding, eye-opening and miraculous the PED organization is.  The passion that its members bring to the table is beyond anything that I have experienced before and I consider myself lucky to have been a part of it.

Heidi Colliander

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Check out our Assets

As I promised you all last week, I am going to touch on a couple of the 40 Developmental Assets and how PED’s Student [EX]change program helps young people acquire those assets.  The Search Institute has narrowed down 40 assets that young people, age 12-18, should have to be successful. The great thing about students’ participation in PED programs is that it helps them gain some very important assets. Here are a couple of my personal favorites:

#5. Caring School Climate

The students and faculty at my high school have all united to help with the PED shoe drive. Students from all backgrounds have participated and have forged a great camaraderie.  It’s great as a teacher to know that I have students that not only care for each other, but others around the world.

#18. Youth Programs

This one is obvious. Nowadays it seems like just getting some kids out of the house is a victory. While my students only spend an hour a week with me in the [Ex]change club, it has motivated to volunteer more in their own community. Many of my students have or will be helping out with community beautification projects and local non-profit organizations.

#34. Cultural Competence

In my club, we don’t just sit around and count shoes. We learn about the culture of those we are helping. This allows us to understand why they need our help and guides us to the realization that the poor and impoverished around the world didn’t end up that way because they are lazy, but simply because of other, unfortunate circumstances. My students now have a growing appreciation for not only African cultures, but others around the world. This one is increasingly important in today’s global market. Drew’s eloquent blog touched on this yesterday; social media is allowing the global market to become much more intimate and students need to be prepared for this.

I could go on and on about each asset and how PED can have an impact on each one of them, but I’d be here forever and Survivor is about to come on. PED and the Student [Ex]change club can have a major impact on the lives of young people. Even if students don’t take on our cause, they will most likely be motivated to choose one of their own. This is really why we are here. We are not recruiters, but advocates for equality and justice. I’ll consider the Student [Ex]change club a success if we inspire one student to take action on something they care about.

Which assets are your favorite?

– Adam

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For me, it started with a question…

In my last post, I wrote about three guys sitting in the back of a van in Uganda talking about a world where schools were able to rely on themselves for funding and where students around the world were afforded a fair education regardless of their situation. This was the PED’s inception, but my personal mission with PED was realized years earlier.

One question: If you could have one thing in the world, what would you have?

I was 21 when this question was asked to a group of Ugandan women in the war torn town of Gulu. These were not random women, but women we had selected with a purpose. These women had been raped by rebel soldiers and subsequently had given birth to and raised their children. As we passed out supplies and clothes to them, I casually threw out this question. I waited for the translator to finish, and eagerly awaited their response. The constant humming noise of supplies being passed and bags being rustled fell to silence, complete silence. The women looked at each other and began to whisper. I immediately began to guess their response of a better job, food, clean water, etc. Then without warning, one women confidently looked at us and without hesitation said,” an education”. I was shocked. In my mind I thought these women would want some physical item that could help improve their life right now. This was the first point in my life that I truly understood the impact of an education. These women understood that a good education can open up new opportunities, not only to get better jobs, but also to help empower your community and introduce new ideas to improve your way of life. At this point, I realized my mission in life.

Fast forward three years later. PED is working with a vision of not only those women in Gulu, but children around the world looking to receive a fair education. To learn more about PED’s vision come to our launch, happening this Saturday May 14 at Room 1520 (1520 W Fulton Ave. Chicago, IL) starting at 6:30 p.m.

For more info go to http://pangeaeducation.org/#/donate/our-launch

“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”

-Andrew Bauer

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