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 Poisonwood Bible 
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Hello all! I don't know about the rest of you, but I am loving Poisonwood Bible! Between the distinct writing style and personality of the book to the different themes interwoven, I have to make myself put the book down to work on other priorities. So far, Adah is my favorite character. I don't know if it is her dry wit, perceived weakness and how people underestimate her, or if it is the fact that she is the most perceptive, but I thoroughly enjoy her perspective.

I know one lesson about educational leadership I see in the book is the negative aspects of inflexibility, ignoring the input of subordinates, and attempting to achieve a goal no matter what the losses or sacrifices. I keep remembering what Dr. Turner mentioned about the best principals being flexible and willing to bend the rules. Wonder how things might have turned out had Rev. Price been willing to bend?

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Misti Holloway


Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:32 pm
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A few words keep coming to mind while I read Poisonwood Bible; stubbornness, pride, inferiority, and superiority.

I have to laugh and keep myself from getting frustrated at Nathan's character in the book. What a dad! He can't see he is hurting his family and worsening relationships all around him due to his stubbornness and pride at forcing his religous beliefs upon people. In an administrative view, this reminds me that I will have to be careful about which projects, campaigns, and other things I may feel strongly about, but aren't going to help accomplish school goals. It's not always about me!

I feel like there is also a superiority complex about which gender and race is the "right one." I feel like this is still happening in our education systems. Pride also plays into this by staff and personnel in schools taking too much pride in their school, class, or athletics. We all want to create a sense of pride within our schools and help our students and staffto feel like they can have a sense of superiorness or pride in where they go to school/work and feel like they have accomplished something at the end of the day. But when does this get to be too much and actually tire out your students and staff if you're always pushing this? I think of the tribal members that Nathan comes into contact with in the book. How many of them are tired of hearing of the same Christianity that presented to them in a prideful way?

Lastly, inferiority comes to mind. Too many times I think administration can make people to feel inferior to them instead of making people feel like they are a part of a cohesive unit. Instead it can be presented as a workers v. boss mentality. I know already some faculty members at my school upon hearing that I am obtaining a Master's in School Administration, that I'm crossing over to the dark side, or I'm wanting to become one of them. When did education ever become or need to be administration v. staff? I hope that when I do become an adminsitrator I can create a team effort among the staff and faculty instead of Nathan v. family and villagers or to be sci-fi about, the Jedi knights v. Darth Vader. :lol:

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Meghan Wood


Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:07 pm
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Like Meghan and Misti I am also enjoying "Poisonwood Bible"! I really love how we hear every point of view in the story and what each character is going through on their journey. I really feel bad for the mother. When I read about her posting magazine pictures in the kitchen and the dad not seeing, it just broke my heart to know that this woman is working so hard to provide for her family and receives no appreciation and she has to hide what she truely wants/needs from her family. In a way this reminds me of educators. We are constantly working to help our students and some days we do not feel appreciated.

I also am enjoying reading from Adah's perspective. She reminds me of quieter students that we have in our class who never participate and then all of a sudden they say something outstanding! We assume that they do not understand what is going on and that they need extra help when in reality they just want to be left alone to do their own thing!

When I read about the village never wanting to be baptized in the river due to the crocodile, I thought about the misunderstandings that sometimes occur due to cultural diversity. As administrators we need to make sure we are accomodating all students and that we create a learning environment that supports all cultures and beliefs.

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(Ariana) Nicole Benton Hazelwood


Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:35 pm
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Nicole, about the crocodile, remember how Nathan asked, "Why did it take six months for someone to tell me this?" I thought, why do we wait weeks or months to explain our expectations - the culture of our school - what is expected of each other and the students? We can't assume that these things are known - especially with beginning teachers. As administrators, we need to make certain that we prepare teachers for the culture of our school and that we do not make assumptions about their knowledge or experiences.

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Lisa Pendry


Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:47 pm
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Lisa-you are so right! I remember my first year teaching my husband came by school one day during my lunch to see me and didn't have a visitor pass. Something was said to me and I simply replied, "No one told me!" I felt like an idiot! How could I not know? Do our students ever feel that way? I feel that is why it is sooo important for us to not only brief our staff but also our students and parents. We need to make sure that they know the ends and outs of our classroom/school so this type of misunderstanding does not occur.

One thing that Nathan did that I do agree with is that he had high expectations for Congo. I feel that unless we have high expectations for our students and staff, we will not achieve the results we want. Given that Nathan's were a little extreme, did they really accomplish in the Congo what they intended?

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(Ariana) Nicole Benton Hazelwood


Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:24 pm
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Nicole, you are right about Nathan setting high expectations for the Congo. To answer your question, I don't think he accomplished what he set out to do in the Congo--although, he did baptize many children in the rain before his family left, but I don't think the children understood what it really meant. The Price women did bond with the female citizens of their village, but the Congo ultimately splintered the Price family.

I think overzealous expectations can cause students' morale and confidence to be splintered as well. Sometimes, it is difficult to gauge what a student is capable of in order to set appropriate goals and expectations. Some students are already so frustrated and jaded with education by the time I meet them from failing or not meeting goals the system has set for them, it is challenging to encourage them to finish their education. Goal-setting for these students demands patience and flexibility.

As administrators, how do we encourage our staff to individualize instruction and set appropriate expectations for all students?

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Misti Holloway


Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:25 pm
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I'm not completely through the book yet, but:

I think Nathan is a perfect example of how a situation cannot reach its full productive potential when everyone's history isn't respected. He marched right into Kilanga with the assumption that no one there had any sense about anything. He completely disregarded the people who lived there out of his sense of superiority. This isn't much different than how he treated his own wife and children - and that turned out much the same. What a testimony for valuing other people's life experiences, in order to benefit everyone involved!

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Lora T. Tiano


Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:12 pm
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I agree, this one is my favorite so far. Adah is my favorite too. One thing that strikes me about her is the fact that she seems to be able to "know" everyone even though she lacks the ability to communicate ideas with others. She knows because she takes time to consider every point of view, or seems to. She is not so absorbed in letting everyone know how SHE feels that she is able to truly know all points of view. I think that is so true in life. We get so caught up in our "own" agenda that we find ourselves not truly listening to others.


Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:22 pm
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Lora I think you hit a good point with Nathan "marching into Kilanga" with his own expectations and agenda.

How many times do we do this in education and think "It's my way or the highway?" In a recent interview with a principal for an assignment in our Tuesday night class, this quote was mentioned. It really made me step back and realize that not everyone is going to have the same agenda, expectations, or ideas I have if or when I become an administrator. I will also have to bea ware that the school I work at may not need my ideas or agenda, hence the school may not need a Nathan Price.

This part of the book made me realize even more, it's about give and take, flexibility, compromise, and team work to make a school not just an administrator.

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Meghan Wood


Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:19 pm
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