Tattooing is the most misunderstood art form in Japan today. Looked down upon for centuries and rarely discussed in social circles, people with tattoos are outcasts in this country, banned from most public spaces such as beaches, bathhouses, and even gyms. Tattoos have an extensive history in Japan, and to truly understand the stigma behind them it is essential to be aware of their significance. The first records of tattoos...Read More
When was it made official (clearly, I missed the announcement) that school and work couldn’t be fun? At what point in our lives do we have to transition from enjoying ourselves to living a life where the fun is magically erased?
I’ve been in been in a LOT of classrooms in my life. I’ve been to China over 50 times and on each visit I’ve been able to visit schools. These are not generally “fun” places. They are disciplined places. They are places of learning. They are, well, what they are. And that’s in no way a criticism of China, a country I’ve loved for years and pretty much lived in last year. I’ve been in classrooms in the U.S. that are even less fun. And Mexico. And Germany. And Russia.
But it doesn’t end in school, which is actually highly logical, because if we’ve stripped the fun out of school, sure, we should strip the fun out of work.
I would like to introduce you to my hat and my shoes. I wear these to work.
I wear this hat because one of my heroes is Lance Armstrong and he’s a Texan. He lives in Austin, where the University of Texas is. He is one of the most courageous people in the world – to me, a modern-day warrior and a great friend to those in need. What he has done through Nike and the Livestrong foundation is absolutely stunning. Lance Armstrong truly rocks.
I wear these shoes because I love Converse All-Stars, “Chucks,” as we call them. I have a lot of them. These slide on and off easily at airports. I spend a lot of time at airports, in these shoes, in that worn hat. Working hard but still having fun.
Schools? Not so much fun. They should be – I mean, kids spend enough time there, right? At least 6 hours a day. In boarding schools (some of which are the most decidely un-fun places I know) they spend 24 hours a day there, often dressed for class as if they’re going to a very formal event.
And while we’re on this topic, what, exactly, is the DEAL with formal school uniforms? I know the argument, as I worked in these formal schools for over 20 years. It goes like this: “Make the kids and teachers dress up and you’ll have a higher standard of behaviour.”
Really, though? I don’t buy it. I think you get uncomfortable kids who end up pushing the limits of the dress code. Dress becomes an “us and them” proposition. Focus is lost, the uniform is poorly worn (shirts untucked, old mustard stains on the jacket – I’ve seen it all, trust me). And you know what’s missing? A focus on what’s important:
FUN – that elusive, amorphous word.
And the problem is that even mentioning “fun” breeds cynicism. Some people reading this just can’t bring themselves to believe that fun and achievement can coexist and that’s really, really sad. Chokes me up a bit just to think about it.
At THINK Global School, we’ll have fun. Yeah, we’re going to work hard. TGS will be a world-class, university-preparatory school. Bank on that. But you actually CAN work hard and have fun at the same time.
In the TGS offices around the world, I am the Nerf basketball champion. I can be on a conference call with folks from Dallas and Kuala Lumpur and London and I can still drain the three-point shot, from a sitting position, with a BlueAnt bluetooth in my ear and a protein bar in my other hand.
Our school will be FUN. And you’ll stretch yourself, test your limits and achieve more than you believed possible.
I’m coming to your city, sooner or later. And I want to meet you. And buy you an apple juice. Because you drank it as a kid and you liked it. But then you stopped because it’s either high- or low-glycemic (you know, the bad “glycemic”) and then you started to drink things you hated, like Postum and Sanka and almond milk. But I want you to think back to when you were in school and you thought about things like fun and discovery and doing things that were, well, “neat.”
THINK Global School is neat. Let’s talk about it.