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O'Callaghan, Sean (K)

Welcome, humans!

I'm Sean O'Callaghan. This will be my 6th year as a teacher (an old novice - double trouble!) and I'm lucky to say that I've been a Northwood Owl for as long as I've been a teacher.

After attending school infrequently as a child, I learned to read and write at the age of twenty two at The Evergreen State College. Books became my first safe and functioning family. Think "Goodwill Hunting" sans good looks and exceptional IQ. Then I accidentally got into the MFA program at Columbia University for filmmaking (being illiterate for so long, my first love and my first way into ideas, articulation, and the interpretation of experience was TV and movies) dreaming I was going to be some feral trailer trash Bergman, Tarkovsky, Fellini or Satyajit Ray. More recently and more relevant to education, I have a Masters in Teaching from The University of Washington.

I have two children. Rainier is six and Maple is eighteen. This last school year I had a kindergartner and a senior! When Maple came into my life, she evolved me and healed me in ways I never saw coming, and Rainier is knocking the rust off that imperceptibly and slowly accreted over time. Having a six year old at fifty years old feels a bit like I am raising my own grandson - Ha!

The two aging animals in my house, both rescues, are Bailey dog and Marta cat. 

I like to run far, mostly in the mountains and in the deserts of the Southwest. I've completed multiple ultra marathon runs of distances up to 135 miles. Running around our brutal and beautiful mountains here in the Pacific Northwest is my favorite physical activity, and when I'm lazy, listening to records and watching films (and by watching films I mostly mean rewatching old boring, pretentious, cherished arty cinema gems) are my chosen activities.

I answered the call to become a teacher relatively late in life, and I am so glad I did. There is a breeze at my back when I'm doing the hard and satisfying work of distilling all the big ideas and inspirations of my life into a primary classroom setting so that my K babies may make contact with them, the big ideas I mean, and thereby begin to fathom themselves and to begin to fathom each other, my guiding question always, "What is a classroom for?"

The heart and spiritus locus of 116: I find nothing controversial in my simple position that the number of humans who deserve to be dehumanized is precisely zero. And I refuse to let the fostering of critical thinking wherein the brain and the heart become connected devolve into mind numbing snark or political debate. I admit to being fairly confused by space and I admit to being fairly confused by time, but I am pretty sure the rule is love. In 116 we indulge in shenanigans, ballyhoo, and potty humor. And we also awake to the praxis of being human.

I hope all'y'all have had a maverick summer. As for my summer, possibly partially as a freakout about turning fifty this last May, I ran The Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim in a day, and then ran the Ultra Trail du Mount Blanc route (with the mildly reckless addition of a bonus peak from The Haute Route) through the Alps to the tune of 108 miles and 35,000 feet of gain. I was also accidentally a professor at UW for their College of Education, one of the top rated teaching programs in the country, this last summer. I had the honor of creating and teaching a philosophy of education equity and identity class for their incoming cohort of master's in teaching candidates. I've now been a  steward of k-babies and grad-babies -- Ha!

If your little sapling has been transferred into 116 soil for nine months, I am glad of it, and I hope at some point you will feel the same.


Sean O'Callaghan - Kindergarten