Wonders of Wonder

Karen DoughertyWonders of Wonder!  No, that isn’t a typo. It’s a reference to the many benefits I’ve received from our college’s community read, Wonder, by R. J. Palacio.

  1. Because it’s such a page-turner, Wonder makes an excellent reward for my inner brat. I’ve tamed her a bit by using the time-boxing or “Pomodoro” method, which requires working like gangbusters on a demanding task for a set period, followed by a brief respite of reward. When the timer on my cell phone plays its merry jingle of relief, I get to read another chapter and find out what happens to Auggie next. Labor Day was shockingly productive.
  2. One of Auggie’s teachers, Mr. Browne, presents his students with a monthly “precept.” The author provides a list of these at the end of the book. I always write a Quote-of-the-Day on my board, so these fit right in. Several students have asked for a copy of the book when I noted the source. Today’s is:

    “Your deed are your monuments.” —Inscription on an Egyptian tomb. (Nicely apt for a tough subject like A&P.)


3. Another of Mr. Browne’s precepts came in handy in responding to an astonishingly rude email sent to a colleague at another school who had responded helpfully to a technical question posed by a faculty member at a distant location. (Neither of these are KCTCS folks.)  It seems that students aren’t the only ones who could improve their soft skills. Here’s the exchange that culminated in the nastygram (edited to protect the guilty):

Questioner: Have a couple of students that forgot their passwords. Can I see their pw’s as an instructor? Seeing their User name is no problem

Helpful colleague: NOPE…THEY can however make use of that handy-dandy “Forgot user name or password” link right under the SIGN IN button. No reason for you to hold their hand through that process.

Questioner: Thanks but when dealing with some… students holding their hand is a necessity. ..and their school email blocks (program name redacted) so the forgot your pw option is not an option. .. also do not insult me by your suggesting not to hold their hand…just do your job and answer our questions and not give advice


Wowser. What can you say to that? At the request of Helpful Colleague, some of us replied to “Questioner.” After offering my take on the situation, I concluded my response like this:

Finally, our college is currently reading Wonder by R. J. Palacio as a community read. One of the teachers in the book writes a “precept” each month on the board. His first one is:

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” ….Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Emails too often give an impression that was not intended. I hope that we misunderstood yours.

May you and your students have a productive and satisfying day, Karen

I’m working on intentionally choosing kind. Thanks, Mr. Browne, for reminding me that each day offers many opportunities to do just that.




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