Thursday, February 26, 2009

Six Things That Make Me Happy

I have been tagged by 'The Great One" Diane Cordell (@dmcordell on Twitter and Plurk) to participate in the “6 Things That Make You Happy” meme. She was tagged Twitter friend and fellow librarian Buffy Hamilton.

Here are the rules for this meme:
Link to the person who tagged you.
Post six things that make you happy along with these rules.
Then tag six others (letting them know, of course).
Let the person who tagged you know when your entry is complete.

SIX Things that Make Me Happy:

Little mentioned in this blog post. I love to send little notes that might cheer someone's day and LOVE when I get a little text message, email, or actual written note...It TOTALLY makes my day! It's probably one of the reasons I have taken to Facebook so much....Little 'Wall' notes are awesome!

Call me a sappy old guy, but hanging out with my wife makes me really happy.

Watching kids be TOTALLY consumed in a project makes me very happy. Watching their eyes light up as something lights the fire inside...watching the light bulb go off... It's all good.

Listening to someone's personal story. What has happened in their life to get them to today? What makes them passionate? I love it!

Laughing about silly things with friends. Tonight at Linkconferences, we have a very special activity planned and there no doubt be MUCH laughter.

One of the highlights of my day is when students drop in just to talk for a few minutes. It is a great feeling that they care enough just to stop in and say hello. As I have mentioned a million times, I am in this job because of students....I am SO lucky to have such great ones.

I Tag:

Sharon Elin
Linda Bilak Lattimer
Paul Bogush
Andrea Hernandez
Julie Everett

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Five Changes to Education--A new Meme

I am going to try my hand at starting a Meme. I am hoping that this will create some thoughtful discourse on the state of education.  There is much finger pointing, some of it deserved (I have done my share)...But let's dream of a world that we get to make decisions and where the learning and the kids are FIRST and all the real world of budgets and excuses are last.

List FIVE changes you would like to see in the educational system.  Your responses should represent your perspective and your passion for learning and students.  

Here is my list:

1.  The path to becoming an administrator would be changed.  People who intend to become administrators should be nominated from a pool of the best teachers in the school.  I have had the opportunity to meet some educators online who are passionate about education...But my experience in real life has shown that the motivation for many to get an administrative endorsement is financial more than spiritual. It is vital that the leadership has the same desire to impact students through solid education that a decent teacher does.

2. The teaching profession needs to be relieved of the burden of employees who do not care about student learning. (You notice I didn't call them teachers!  Teachers - teach. . . Employees collect a paycheck and give no concern to if the students in their care learn anything.) Your merit should be judged on the atmosphere of the classroom and on students' respect. We can all agree that social promotion is should the practice of retaining an employee because they have a contract and belong to a union.  Of course the union protects people blindly because of the fear of a 'witch hunt' by administration. SO, if (as in #1) we have administrators that value good teaching above all else, then we can trust them to make good decisions about who is effective (because THEY were effective as a teacher)

3. Homework is getting obnoxious. What once was 'practice of skills' has become a sort of litmus test for who is a good student. Homework should be used carefully and thoughtfully and not just a ritual. My favorite quote from last year was from Bill Page, "The fact that a student gets their homework done may only demonstrate they know who to sit with at lunch." If there is homework, which I don't think is mandatory for all classes....Equal student time must be spent on appreciating the things around them. It must include dancing, singing, smelling something great and time demonstrating a passion for creating or reading.  Maybe we would create better citizens of the world if we sanctioned more time for being a part of it.

4. Buh Bye to meetings! In my twenty-three years of teaching, nothing has been accomplished in a meeting that couldn't have been handled in an email. Save that precious together time with colleagues for planning and dreaming and imagining and creating...and maybe recovering from the stress of the days. (No complaining allowed! That's why you have dear friends)

5. Professional Development must be both  professional and development. I have spent FAR too many days that are a complete waste of time. Because I am a professional educator, I KNOW things that I could do to make my classroom better--I just need the time to do them. I also have a good support system for finding ideas and nurturing the experience of others. If I want to learn something new to try, the WORLD is available for me. (For the administrators in the crowd who are now thinking, "Oh and everyone will be working toward making their classroom better? See number TWO! I got rid of the dead weight).

I tag the following people... All from a variety of perspectives. If you have been tagged, tag as many people as you choose, but try for a variety.

Paul Bogush @Blogush     (Teacher) Link
PrincipalsPage @principalspage  (Principal) Link
Diane Cordell  @dmcordell   (Experienced Teacher)  Link
Sylvia Martinez @smartinez   (Education Change Agent) Link
Karen Janowski @karenjan  (Special Education Advocate and Expert) Link
Kelly Christopherson @kwhobbes (Principal/Teacher) Link
Sherry Crofut @SDSherry  (Teacher/Principal Candidate/Grad Student) Link
Pat Hensley @loonyhiker (Retired Teacher / Special Education Guru) Link