Celebration and Compassion in Education

So this time last year I was confused. I had been to the Bammy Awards and there was some frustration over part of the award show. There was also frustration over the conversations over social media that happened the dates preceding the awards. I wasn’t on either side of the fence. I could see the arguments for both sides. I understood both. So this year when I was a nominee for Middle School Teacher I wasn’t sure how I felt about going. But I wanted to go see my friends and be part of a night I had enjoyed in the past.

Last night I did not leave the Bammy’s with the feeling of confusion. I left being proud of my colleagues. I left being proud of my profession, even if I am no longer a middle school teacher. The 3 min talks were so inspiring and I’m so proud to be able to call most of them my friends. The obvious compassion they have for children and their students are unbelievable. The winners that I knew are amazing educators, people that I enjoy learning from. How can I not be excited by the fact that they are recognized. I don’t think I’ve ever been embarrassed to say I’m an educator, but I will say that what I heard last night made my heart grow a few sizes pure Grinch style.

I know many will always be against awards, and that is more than OK. But how often do we hear that education and what we are doing every day doesn’t get the respect it deserves? This was a night of respect. This was a night a spotlight was shown on a few great educators. Don’t belittle their excitement for the awards because you don’t agree. Don’t bash the awards and cause more rifts in the education online community. Just let it go. Realize that a few chosen for an award are no different than when a website, podcast,¬† or company chooses one of to spotlight or write for them. This is the same, the Bammy’s are putting the word out there that education isn’t all CCSS and negative news stories, there is more to us. So please celebrate the accomplishments of others. I know that I am. Congrats to my amazing¬† friends and to those making a difference that I didn’t know. Thank you for showing compassion every day.

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No Changes For Me, Please

How do we change a culture of resistance? That’s a question that has been on my mind. A group of us were trying to wrap our minds around on Voxer the other day and it’s really bothered me that I don’t know the answer.

This week I got to meet with a majority of the tech reps at the schools in my district. We were writing tech plans for their schools. Often I would give suggestions about ways to increase tech use and ‘they won’t do that, no one cares about using tech’ would be the answer. Made me think about the conversation we were having on Voxer. It all goes back to this resistance.

Why is there resistance? Is it because they believe they know everything? I spoke at a faculty meeting last week and the teachers I spoke too literally turned their backs to me and talked the whole time. I taught 8th grade boys and this was a first to me. I think they thought what I had to say was pointless. But if that was the case that explains a lot. I hear often that there is no need to change because it works, kids make good grades, they learn to read, and pass standardized tests. If that is the ultimate goal of education then they are correct. If that is the goal of the school, then they are the best of the best. But is that what school is ultimately for? Or is school to give students skills they need for today and for the rest of their lives? Maybe this is the beginning of the problem. We don’t all have common goals or we have short term goals that focus on now.

Another reason I’m seeing for resistance is the fear of the unknown. When I talk BYOD I hear that as underlying theme. No one comes out and says ‘I’m afraid’ but heard from multiple teachers about not knowing what students are doing on phones/tablets. Or school policies of locking up phones during tests. Umm that is the biggest example of fear. Fear usually comes from a bad experience or loss of control or the unknown. I think letting students take out phones after years of telling them to put them away would cause all three of those problems. Especially without conversations and training. The conversations have to take place first. They need to know the benefits and pedagogy. Same with any technology.

I also wonder if the lack of pressure to change is also a reason. If using technology or other changes are optional, would less take that step? I think those that are driven would but what about the others? So do we need administrators to push change for it to happen or will leaders inside the classroom do that? Can students and parents lead the way for change?

I have no idea the answers to this or what steps to take next. My coworker and I have a plan, but I worry if we are on the right track. Can just a few people make a difference? I like to believe so. I would love to hear from you on this. What do you think causes resistance to change?

It’s Time For Change, Y’all!

It had been a while since I’ve blogged. Mostly because I’ve been busy. A lot of changes have taken place since I’ve last blogged. Mostly, I have a new job. I am now one of 2 of the instructional technology coaches in my district. My district is the second largest in the state and we’ve had no one in the instructional technology department since first week in August. So I have a little bit of work to do.

Sounds like a stressful situation, but I’ve never been so excited in my life. So far I’ve loved every minute. I haven’t been there a week yet but never in my life have I felt like I am in the perfect place for me. This is the job I’ve been working for for at least 7 years now. I’m here. I’m getting to do it. I loved teaching, most days, haha, but not like this.

I feel like a beginner one minute and then remember what I know or help someone and realize I’m really not. My brain is tired from learning so much. (So that’s my excuse if this post is a little scattered.) Today I figured out to use GAFE, Global Scholar, and Compass Learning from admin view. And wrote district BYOD PD plans between learning this. All of it is so exciting, so a little brain overload is good. I see all the potential our district has and I feel like we have the right team in place to make stuff happen.

With that being said, I’m not sure what direction my blog is going to take. To me, it is still going to be a place for me to reflect. Reflect on what I’m learning and what I’m teaching. I’m ready for this journey and I hope y’all will join me as I make this transition. Your encouragement helps me more than you’ll ever know.

The old cheerleader in me keeps thinking “L-E-T-S-G-O! Let’s go!”