Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I forgot how fun it is to make these, so I was playing with it and needed a place to keep it. This seems as good a place as any... Here is my twitter page as a tag cloud, made with Tagxedo.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Why do I do what I do?

I don’t know some days to be honest. It’s been rough. It’s a hard road to travel. But you know what? Even on the roughest days, I love them. I may not want to deal with them, I may not break through today, but I love them. I want them to get better. I want them to develop the skills they need to survive and thrive. I love them.

I teach hard kids. I love them.

On days like today, it is very hard to rationalize the level of education, the level of desire to continue to learn and be better, the energy that is needed, the stress level, the pay, the everything. So many hoops to jump through, obstacles to bypass, but I love them. I must. I love them.

I was lurking on a recent #edchat about why teachers leave within 5 years of entering the profession. This seems to be a hot topic lately. I saw it in #edchat, I’ve seen a lot of articles, etc. One article says it comes down to respect, we have to feel respected for what we do. I get that. I’m 10 years in. In #edchat I think the consensus I saw (and please comment below if not accurate) that it comes down to feeling that you are doing something successfully. That may mean helping students, helping a school, working with teachers, success has many faces. Unfortunately you can be successful in one area and frustrated in many others, and that causes an imbalance that leads to questioning things again.

I think I help my students. I think they learn from me. I have data to show it even (hahaha). I feel like they have skills when they leave my classroom that they didn’t have before. Is that enough to keep me here? It’s all I have right now. I love them.

For me, it’s because I love them.

I want to be respected, not sure if I am. On many levels disrespect is rampant, from nefarious negotiation tactics to parents who support their kid calling me horrible names in class. Colleagues respect me for the most part, or at least they are willing to use my work product and let me build curriculum for them. (Hmm, not sure if that is a good example or not.)

It is because I love them. As I tell my own son, the one I read Harry Potter to at night, "
You are a hard kid to parent, but you are worth it and I wouldn’t trade you for any other in the world." My kids in my classroom are my kids. I love them. I see them in the community now as adults and parents and even though they made me pull my hair out and it took everything I had to get them to capitalize ‘I’ and not use ‘allot’ as a word, they grow into adults and I am proud. I hope I had something to do with that transformation. I love them.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Feelings and Right

Sometimes it is hard to say and do what is right. Sometimes we get our feelings hurt when we try to do what is right.

I remember the first time my feelings were hurt in my prior position. My friend, my colleague and my mentor was the culprit and it is something that will stick with me, but it was also something that was necessary, even if I didn’t like it.

I was described as too willing to succumb to authority. I have too much respect for the people in power and when they said ‘do this,’ I didn’t question it enough. She was right, but it hurt.

Unfortunately in the world of education there are too many conflicting interests where there really should be only one, the students. The students are why we are here, they are who our energy should be focused on. But we all know there are many other factors that must be considered, there is no way around it. There is funding and money, there are people and egos, there is hierarchy and politics, and these things all must be factored in when making decisions.

I believed that we all had the best interests of students at heart and that if the ‘grownups’ made a decision it was what they believed was best for the students. Naive. So naive I am embarrassed now at how naive I was.

Now, it was my turn to point out that decisions from the ‘grownups’ must not be trusted implicitly. And it hurt feelings. Unfortunately, that is why we have the hierarchy. The checks and balances of many people is needed.

This is not to say that the ‘grownups’ do not have the students’ interests at heart, but that they have to answer to a balance sheet. It takes those of us in the classrooms to stand up and shout when the balance sheet is not working in the favor of the students. We have to know what is going on around us and not just do blindly what we are told to do. There are many factors involved in decisions, and sometimes we have to point them out the decision makers, not because they choose not to see, just because their focus is on administrative tasks, while our focus is on the students. It is our job to stand up for the students when they come into conflict with the balance sheet.

Feelings be damned, what is right it right. I had to learn. It stung, but it was necessary.