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Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

I’ve started to see, once again, members of my PLN on Twitter sharing their one word for 2016. They’re awesome and inspiring and got me thinking. I’m seeing words like #be and #empower. I imagine over the next few days as we near and enter 2016 that we’ll see more.

As educators, we’re often asked about that one teacher we remember. Or the one experience in a classroom we never forgot. Once I became a teacher, I wanted to be one of those teachers for my students. I imagined, as we followed the Iditarod live in the early days of utilizing the Internet for such things (around 1995), that my first and second grade students would always remember me as the teacher who guided them through that experience. Then we started creating websites and blogging, and I thought perhaps that was it.

But when I do run into students from the past, they often bring up what I shared as my ‘favorite word’ and how they never forgot that. Long ago, my students cut out 4 foot letters that spelled out the word TRY, decorated each of them, and helped me affix them to the wall.

Whenever a student was stuck or said, “I’m finished” after very little effort, I just pointed up to the word on the wall. As I thought about this post, I realized that my favorite word was a harbinger of times to come- before #grit and #mindset hit the scene.

That’s my word for 2016, as it has been for many, many years. I’m only sorry that I couldn’t find a photograph of the original.

try

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Post 18 in the TeachThought 30-Day Blogging Challenge: Create a metaphor/simile/analogy that describes your teaching philosophy. For example, a “teacher is a ________…”


 

A teacher is… a chameleon.

changeThis post connects to yesterday’s where I talked about how many hats we wear. In addition to the many roles we play, we also must be adaptable. Things in education change, our communities change, the new initiatives change, and so on. Everything is always changing and we need to adapt and change with it.

I like Tom Whitby’s recent post, “Why Do We Do What We Do?” and how many of us say, ‘because that’s the way we’ve always done it.’ Often the many changes that come our way in education are not those that we can control. But there are many areas in which we can make positive change. We can be in control of adapting what we do to the times we live in and using the resources we have available.

Change is good. Adapt. Make things happen.

 


image: creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by lezumbalaberenjena: http://flickr.com/photos/14020964@N02/7515883628

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Post 16 in the TeachThought 30-Day Blogging Challenge: If you could have one superpower to use in the classroom, what would it be and how would it help?


 

I don’t have a classroom of my own, so I’ll focus on one superpower that would help me with my work, and well, life.

I would want the ability to see into the future.

A recent post for the blogging challenge asked me to think about how I might be a different teacher in 5 years. It’s impossible to predict, with technology changing as quickly as it does, what things will look like in just 5 years. But it would be nice!

curve

 

I often have questions about the not-too-distant future:

  • What will our schools look like? Feel like?
  • What role will technology play in schools?
  • How will the role of teachers change?
  • Will students really be in charge of their own learning? (I hope so!)
  • Will we truly be globally connected?
  • How long will the Common Core and SBAC last before the next thing comes around the curve?
  • What will I be doing? (That’s a big one!)

Wouldn’t it be nice to get a glimpse around that bend ahead of time so you could make adjustments and ensure that things turn out positively? Or is it better to control our own destinies by doing what we’re doing NOW, making the choices we’re going to make?

 

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Post #6 on the 30-Day Blogging Challenge asks: What do a good mentor ‘do’?


 

Here are some thoughts, in no particular order.

A good mentor:

  • Is supportive
  • Takes the time to build a relationship with youshadow
  • Challenges your thinking
  • Makes time for you
  • Connects
  • Provides constructive feedback
  • Observes
  • Listens
  • Guides
  • Trusts
  • Has your back
  • Helps you construct balance between personal and professional lives
  • Sets an example
  • Helps you reflect

I have been a mentor to a newer teacher and wish I knew then what I know now. My mentee is still teaching; I suppose that’s a good sign. As I reflect, I would say that I’ve been an unofficial mentor to others rising in the field of education as well – student interns, support staff, new teachers with whom I’ve connected.

I’ve also had the great fortune to have many people in my professional life I consider mentors, none of whom were officially assigned to me in that capacity, but nonetheless, served that role for me. You know who you are, I won’t name names. I’ll save that for tomorrow’s post.

image: creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by dvs: http://flickr.com/photos/dvs/15495574

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Prompt #4 in the 30-Day Blogging Challenge asks me to reflect on what I love about teaching…

There are too many reasons why I love what I do, but I’ll give it a go. I was a classroom teacher for many years, but have been in my current role as Technology Integration Specialist for the past 5. I will always consider myself a teacher, even if sometimes I teach other teachers and sometimes I teach children.

teaching

 

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Going 1:1?

There have been so many things to write about since my last post, that I simple lost track of it all and never got around to writing. I’m committed to remedying that.

Between managing iPads for K-2 and for our extended day program, figuring out new Google apps challenges (did you know you can’t send email to more than 100 external recipients in a 24-hour period from your domain?), and then… it’s time to get serious about looking at a 1:1 initiative.

One administrator, one teacher, and I attended Vita-Learn’s one day conference about 1:1 computing. We spent the day thinking about planning for such an initiative and learned from those who had been there. By the end of the day our minds were spinning. I mentioned that we had attended the conference to a Board member and they were very excited. The question is… where do we get the funding? (If you’ve been there and know the answer, please let me know.)

We pulled together a group of educators and our network administrators and started the conversation. They were all very excited about the prospect. We had to work in a somewhat backward and less optimal fashion because the budget cycle has begun. A few things got decided: we mapped out our top 10 reasons why we think we should head in this direction, we decided upon the iPad as the tool of choice, and we started to draft our decision packet.

In our district, when it’s the beginning of the budget preparing season, anyone with any out of the box ideas submits a decision packet. That includes information about why you want to do this, who it will benefit and how, and a budget. Then all of the decision packets get considered and weighed by teachers, parents, and Board members at various times in the next few weeks. A few lucky items might, and I stress might, make it into the budget for next year after much wrangling with the current baseline budget.

Teachers seems to understand that implementing this initiative would take time, professional development, and more. We’re not certain that all teachers understand that by heading in this direction, we’d be letting go of technology tools we’ve had in the past. We certainly can’t fund new iPads and continue to purchase laptops too. We will have just one tool, which will necessitate a paradigm shift and require a pedagogical shift as well. I think people are ready, but I also don’t know if they know what lies ahead.

The trick is to keep the budget within reason (ha!) and market this so that it can happen. It’s hard for us given how large we are and the way in which we’re configured. Anyone with tips, send them my way! We’re very excited and want to keep the momentum going.

 

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First Post

This is my first post as a blogger in the world of education and technology. I’ve had a blog before, but that was as a classroom teacher with the audience primarily being parents of students. Now I don’t know who might be reading this.

A little history about me… I taught second grade in a private school in Boston for 6 years. Then I left the classroom to pursue my master’s degree in education. My area of focus was technology in education. I had the honor of interning while in grad school at Tom Snyder Productions and having the opportunity to interact with fascinating and talented people.

After graduate school, I got a job with Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN) as one of the first site director’s for the Co-NECT Schools, one of many education reform projects that were part of the New American Schools Development Corporation. I worked with teachers and the principal to help them undergo a change, which was difficult for them and for me. I found myself wishing I were them with this amazing opportunity to put new ideas into action.

I left BBN to return to the classroom in Vermont, teaching first and second grade in a multiage setting. I became a member of a four-person dynamic teaching team within a wonderful school system. I found myself happy to be engaged in helping children learn, integrating technology, and forging relationships with families. I continued teaching for another 15 years.

Then I found myself at a crossroads- the Technology Integration Specialist was retiring… Should I continue to utilize the opportunity to work directly with students or move out of the classroom into this new role? I didn’t apply at first, but was later encouraged by colleagues and administrators. I took the plunge.

Our new iPad cart

This is the beginning of my third year in this position. I have learned so much, but still miss those relationships with students and their families. However, given that technology never stops changing, neither does my job. I have found other ways to be rewarded- as I work with teachers and students and engage them in new ideas.

I hope to use this blog to share some of those successes, some personal learning, and reflections on education, technology, and our big, wide world.

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