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.
I've been out of my classroom more than usual this year. Besides the round of sickness that dropped me flat in mid March, I have presented at more conferences, proctored the ACT and our state exam for English 2, doctor appointments, and you get the picture. That being said, I do not like to be away from my classes. Ever. But it happens. So while preparing sub plans last week, I had an epiphany.
My #4OCF Voxer group recently discussed the dilemma of perception. The old adage that one bad apple spoils the bunch seemed to permeate our thoughts as we pondered, debated, and discussed. Here's the skinny that we collectively decided, for now. We might revisit the topic later, as we tend to do, and push the boundaries of our thinking, but for now, here's how we see the perception that if students are having fun, learning must not be present.
It's All About Relationships: There are days when I feel like I need to rethink my career or life choices, and then this happens.
Guest blog for GoPolluck ( <-Click for my post) with a shout out to Dave Burgess and the Snowball Effect. In this post I sketch out 4 tips my district has implemented to help our PLC grow buy in and build that positive culture we all want.
Though #IMMOOC season 4, sadly, is coming to an end, the challenge thrown out by this year's authors, George Couros, Katie Martin, AJ Juliani, and John Spencer remain. We've delved into the books, discussed ideas through blogs and chats, and we've listened to the guests on the live events. The ball has been tossed into our courts, so what now?
While standing in line at PetSmart today, I noticed a reoccurring phenomenon. Dogs everywhere, walking with their owners, tugging at their leashes in a concerted effort to go an entirely different direction than intended. For the most part, each dog owner seemed unaware of the Slanted Dog Walk unfolding all over the store.
As educators, we spend a lot of time telling each other, our students, and ourselves that failure is good. We learn from failing. We encourage students to keep at it, to not give up, to finish the effort. Some of us even model that sometimes, so that we can show students that risk taking is okay, necessary, and totally worth it. And then, we educators, look at a new idea, a way to empower our students, a system that get's them in the driver's seat of their own learning, and we back away slowly in fear...of failing...of failure.