the Guru in the Wilderness:
If you had asked the young Jon Crocker what he wanted to be when he grew up, he’d have probably said that he wanted to be a pro skateboarder or a park ranger or something.
Recently, I asked myself that question again: what do I want to be when I grow up? Of course, I’m technically “grown up” now (at least in most ways, and I can fake the rest of the ways when I have to), but the question in such a format helps a person to approach it honestly, with a clear head. And my answer? I want to be the guru in the wilderness. I want to be the wise man that is sought out by people with burning questions. I want to be the source of insight that cuts through all of the preconceived notions that clouded one’s journey. I want to drink tea whenever I feel like it, write verses while gazing at the a snow-capped peaks on the other side of the valley, or take a walk through the orchards or down by the river. I mostly want to sit in a thoughtful pose and stroke my beard.
I already do most of these things on a very regular basis, but the balance is slightly off: I stroke my beard too much (if such a thing is possible), but I do not give very much advice (at least not the kind that I’d like to give–“I wouldn’t get any closer to that moose” is lacking in depth). I am working on correcting that balance. If you would like to help by seeking my counsel, please feel free (see the contact page).
I am almost at my goal, but not in the stereotypical way. I do not live in solitude (the rest of my family lives here with me). I do not wear robes (but I do wear my kilt on occasion). I do have electricity (thanks to solar and wind power) and internet. I do not wear sandals (seriously, this is Alaska). And my beard isn’t always long enough to strike awe upon all visitors–it isn’t even completely grey yet. I’m a pretty smart guy, but I haven’t yet mastered answering all questions in Haiku-esque verse. Again, I’m working on it.
A bulleted list of potentially brag-worthy achievements and associations, ones that might make it seem like I’m a guy whose advice is worth something:
- 4.0 GPA on my Master’s in Educational Technology from UAS.
- First Alaskan to receive UAS’s institutional recommendation for endorsement in Distance Teaching and e-Learning (there were three of us in the first cohort, and my name comes first in the alphabet, so I’ll assume they filled out my paperwork first ;).
- The school in which I currently teach became a Title I Distinguished School during my tenure, as well as an Alaska Reward School (both awards based heavily on test scores from the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years, in which my students excelled, even reaching 100% proficient or advanced in 2013-2014).
- My first full-time teaching job was at a level 5 school (in NCLB terms) that had never reached AYP (adequate yearly progress). After one year, we reached AYP (I was teaching English to grades 6-12 at the time).
- I have served on two curriculum committees for my current district: social studies (in which I helped re-design the entire curriculum, middle school grades in particular) and health (in which I led the re-design of the digital citizenship portion).
- I am a member of MENSA and the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry and have published in each of their magazines/journals.
- Research and other materials have been presented multiple times at the Alaska Society for Technology in Education conference in Anchorage.
My beard received 4th prize in the Alaskan Whaler category at the 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships (see me in the center of the picture, standing proud, confident enough in the beauty of my beard that I didn’t even have to wear a costume).