Welcome to Rockin’ The Boat! This blog is not about boating, though I’m not against boating. Boating is fun. It’s not about rockin’ either, though I am partial to the rock music genre, Christian and secular. However, this blog is about changing the status quo in our classrooms and engaging and empowering students through the use of creativity and technology. Unleash your own creativity, passion for your subject, and your love of learning to inspire your students to do the same. It’s not as scary as it sounds, and don’t worry, I’m right here to guide you and hold your hand, figuratively speaking, of course. I’m not likely to actually hold your hand, since I don’t really know you. I will, however, encourage you to hang on to your hat and maybe grab a life jacket until you are ready to rock your very own boat.
My school went through a rough few days recently. While our thoughts and prayers were focused on the school in Florida, my own district was threatened. We had to take it seriously, as did law enforcement, As the community outpouring on social media wafted from supportive, frustrated, angry, supportive, and scared, education still had to continue. The show must go on. So we had school with law enforcement patrolling the hallways, parking lots, and town. It was a Monday, of course, and a holiday that we had to use as a snow makeup day. Attendance was down some due to the threat, and at times the tension was palpable.
As more and more educators discover the value of Twitter professionally, it can sometimes seem like an echo chamber, as my #4OCF Voxer group discussed during our book study of The Four O’Clock Faculty: A Rogue Guide to Revolutionizing Professional Development. And since we’re being honest here, we can also admit that the glory of retweets and the race to collect followers can also draw us away from the original beauty of Twitter. That beauty, my friends, is what keeps me going.
Is there really a Cool Kids Club that follows us throughout life? Do we really have to live high school all over again as adults? Can we be in that elusive Cool Club some years, months, days and not others? Should we care? Generally speaking, that club does frequently appear in schools, businesses, churches, clubs, and it rears its ugly head on social media as well. What exactly is it? How do we guide kids through the social maze in order to survive? Should we spend any time helping students through this? And actually, students may have a better handle on this than we adults do. Social media and the internet have opened doors to fashion and culture, good and bad, for us that students may navigate better than many adults. In fact, if you ask your own children about the Cool Kids Club, as Denis Sheeran did, you may discover that they have never heard of it. That then begs the question, do we adults really understand it ourselves?
So which type of teacher learner are you? If we’re honest, we have all been unintentional and engaged during our careers. In the very beginning, we soak up every scrap of professional development thrown at us. Inexperienced educators are hungry to know more in order to gain a sense of mastery in the classroom. As that begins to occur, the shift from educationally starving to sated develops, and that is perhaps the most dangerous moment in our educational careers.