So last week I had back surgery. Yes it has been as fun as it sounds. What this mostly means is that I have been stuck horizontal for a week. Haven’t been able to wear glasses so not much reading beyond tweets & a few blog posts (Because of squinting I have a new permanent wrinkle. Sad.). But I had a crazy busy week before surgery and the few things I’ve read have hit me hard. Hours of laying here staring at the ceiling have caused a lot of reflection. My reflections started out so positive but are starting to turn into sadness & frustrations. So here is my brain dump:
Start out with the weekend before the surgery. I flew to St. Louis for two conferences (kinda). Saturday was EdCampSTL. What an amazing event. Bob Dillon and Chris McGee planned a great day full of learning and excited educators. I was in a lot of pain that day so spent most of the day “listening” and “watching”. I saw a lot of teachers get excited things going on in their schools and classroom. I loved hearing the sharing of what is working. Such a positive excitement. Plus I loved how teachers were sharing not just taking. Great day!
Even more positive was the environment Edcamp took place. It was held at Dr. Dillon’s school, Maplewood Richmond Heights MS (well and HS too, it’s all on one campus). Amazing school. Absolutely incredible. It kinda looked like school but there was something about it that just seemed happier, more comfortable. Yeah it was obvious learning took place there, but more obvious the right kind of learning was taking place. If you want to learn how schools are doing right, check them out. From sustainability mindset to expeditionary learning this is a real 21st century school and not just because it is 1:1.
Dr.Dillon and I presented for 3 hours Monday on eportfolios for METC pre-con. We worked well together bc his school has already figured out the “why” where the “how” comes easy to me. We again were at MRHMS and it would have felt unnatural not to have the session be more of a round table than a presentation. Went really well, yet I left wanting to be at a place that holds eportfolios as high importance as test scores.
So the trip left me with a positive feeling about where education is going. So came home, was sliced open, and now have been laying here for days. Since then my hopes are kind of dropping. Since then I’ve read blog posts by a teacher I admire encouraging his child to choose a different profession. I watched John Stewart rip our unqualified Sec of Ed to shreds (which made me so happy, yet sad he is in charge). I read a letter to the President explaining how he has pretty much spit in face of teachers and later stated he would not be a teacher much longer.
All of this has caused me to be pretty upset. Since for 8 weeks I will be out of the classroom I’m kinda an outsider right now.
Then today it all hit me. I read two tweets right together. One from an amazing teacher who said “Ever have one of those days where you just feel like a failure as a teacher?” The other tweet I don’t even remember who it was from (if you are reading this I’m sorry, not calling anyone out and I don’t even know it was you) said something about big meeting tomorrow, hope big things happening for me. Those tweets caused a big “AH-HA” moment for me.
Education is all screwed up. The reason is so simple. It has nothing to do with technology, 21 century whatever, policies, or reform. It’s one thing: when education is no longer about students, it wrong. Period. I saw two tweets, both focused on the teacher themselves, but only one focused on STUDENTS. When we feel like a failure of a teacher it just shows we care so much about our students we want more, the best. Shows how awesome she is and how much she cares. Focusing on ourselves as teachers isn’t bad, when students are not part of the equation but promotions, money, notoriety, we start loosing focus & everything gets screwed up.
This post is just as much a reminder for me, everyone knows my desire for a tech specialist job. But I can safely say students, learning, better schools are why I have a passion for it. But I don’t need to forget that. That’s why EdcampSTL and being at MRHMS was so wonderful and encouraging to me, it was all student focused. They were, as the should be, most important.