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.
With the movement of student voice and choice echoing throughout the Edusphere (I hope I’m the first to make up/use that word, but probably am not), many districts, buildings, administrators, and teachers are pondering how to balance this with all of the other changes in the air. Let’s push our thinking a bit and see how student voice can be amplified in our hiring and firing process.
A debate recently cropped up on Twitter (shocking) about whether or not “good” teachers spend time thinking about the next school year while on summer break. The debate really centered around the concept of a “good” teacher. One side mentioned that a good teacher might spend some time thinking about next fall. Others declared that good teachers need the time off to rejuvenate and regenerate their passion for education by resting, relaxing, traveling, and spending time with family. I’m not actually going to try to settle this debate, but I am going to challenge both groups. My last post, The Danger of Getting Comfy in Our EDU Skins, I explored ways to grow yourself and get out of that place where we are, well, comfortable.
My blog is called Rockin’ The Boat for a reason. The status quo always brings out my oppositional defiant muscle, which I flex often. As I became a connected educator these past two years, I began to see and learn things that would benefit my students. My oppositional defiant muscle (ODM) began to twitch. The most challenging was changing my high school classroom into flexible seating. In the biggest hurdle I’ve faced is my own mindset, and that’s a work in progress. Has every one accepted changes I’m making for students? No. The problem may be that we as educators tend to get comfortable in our educational skin. We often let our ODM atrophy when it comes to the EDU status quo so that everything that takes us out of our routine is viewed as a threat. That, my friends, is a danger to our growth, creativity, and innovation. It’s summer, or nearly for most of us, so that means it’s time to get into shape. EDU shape. ODM shape.
This post was inspired by the sermon my preacher, Jeff Wofford, gave this morning, which had me thinking of it’s applications beyond the church. Jeff’s point was that we tend to want our church to be filled with members who are like ourselves, and that should not be the goal. Diversity reaches more people. When I refer to diversity in this post, I am not limiting it to mean racial or cultural diversity. Nope. I’m also referring to personalities, interests, and abilities of my students within my classes and within our schools. Our members are those who enroll in our schools and take our classes. Are we celebrating their differences in order to cultivate unity? Uniformity is not unity. We have to do better for teachers and students.