Think about how many schools have a culture where teachers readily stay in the building until 5,6,7, as late as 10pm each night. They are putting kids first, working the extra hours to make their lessons just that much more incredible each day. Or, think about the schools where teachers are stressed, focused so intently on their students needs that they neglect their own. Raise your hand if you have neglected your personal needs, your family, or your some other important aspect of your life because you were putting kids first?
Good, now put your hand down you look whacky raising your hand while staring at your device. Mental health has become a major issue in education and in truth our world. Yet here we are blasting to the world that the best teachers neglect themselves for the sake of others. My point is this, if we want teachers that can focus their instructional decisions based on what kids need, and we want teachers who are part of a culture that inspires and empowers learners toward their full potential, then we must have teachers that are healthy, physically, mentally, and spiritually for whatever you may take that to mean.
You can only operate on selflessness in the classroom for so long before you flame out and consume yourself. Eduisms like these are part of an issue of bumper stickering our language to make it brandable. So take care of yourself. If anything, it will probably make you even more so. Until the next inspiration hits, I leave you with my new favorite line for our world via Philip Larkin. As teachers we mythicize and romanticize the concept of the heroic teacher, fighting for kids in the trenches. You hear the soundbites on repeat everywhere across the education landscape.
Dear teachers, this needs to stop. During World War 1 solders would dig pathways into the ground and build up defensive positions in the ground. During that time solders would take refuge from a barrage of gun and artillery fire, while being overrun by weather and vermin.
This is the image we are referring to when we talk about being in the classroom? Are our students fellow soldiers? Are they the enemy? Are they the artillery fire? Even on my worst day in the classroom, I have NEVER felt that my workspace was as bad as the unimaginable horrors of living and fighting in the actually trenches. The more we talk about our workplace like these incredibly awful scenes, the worse it reflects on our schools, our kids, and ourselves.
This is one of the problems of world choice that can lead us to create tension. The idea of a fight creates the idea that there will be a winner and a loser. We need to find a way to eliminate the idea that two people with differing views of what is best for kids are locked in some sort of battle. What we say matters to ourselves and others.
I want my words to evoke positive imagery of my classroom and school. I want to use my words to build positive relationships with kids, coworkers, parents, and the community. The faster we stop viewing education as a battle, a fight, or a hellish warfare landscape, the easier it will be to stop considering our work as a zero sum game.
When there is a fight, there is a loser. We cannot afford losers in education, and our goal should be to ensure that we all win.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland
This week I finally started really teaching my classes getting into the curriculum we had designed over the course of the past year and it has been amazing. Teaching three things at once to several groups of middle schoolers has been exciting but at times chaotic. Embracing the chaos has created some incredible moments thus far. Over the past week I have started to build relationships with my students, get into to teaching robotics, and learning a ton. I have also seen some incredible excitement and creativity from many of the kids with whom I am working.
One of the things I have been reminded of as I return to the full classroom setting is how overwhelming the beginning of the year can be. It can be easy to focus on the endless list of tasks that need to be done, I am choosing to focus on the incredible creativity and excitement I have seen so far. Despite some of the outside things that are getting me down, I am falling in love with classroom teaching at the middle school level. In the fall of I sat in my comparative politics class. I had an amazing professor who predicted the next 15 years of political happenings from the soon to be Iraq war to Arab Spring, he predicted each.
He also told us about the day FDR died. He was a boy of only 5 years old, but it was undeniably burned into his memory. His parents crying, the funeral procession, the overall feeling. He also described the assassination of JFK. These he said, are moments that are burned into the identity of a generation.
For my generation, a lovely late summer morning like any other was engraved into our memories. We all have our stories. As years go by we remember different moments less clearly, but all of us have been changed, some far more directly than most. Here are some of my most vivid memories.
I watched with horror, not believing what was unfolding miles away. I would build close friendships with lots of people who were effected, some directly. Living relatively close to 3 Mile Island as flight 91 was being hikacked, not knowing where my brother was or having a way to contact him. There were some brief moments of real, genuine fear. Not just the brave first responders, not the amazing spirit of the people of New York and DC banding together, or even the wave of American pride that spread, but the hundreds of college students who had just met that banded together to donate blood.
By 10am hundreds of us were at the local hospital. They had to set up a whole floor to handle all of the people giving blood. How did passing a proficiency exam help me improve my teaching? Once you have passed the exam, where do you go from there? I plan to address these questions while I share my experience of preparing for the Cambridge English Proficiency CPE exam and what happened after passing. Far from being a guide for exam candidates, this series of posts will be a more personal account of the trials and tribulations of a teacher trying to become a better model for his students.
Instead, I agree with the commonly held belief that every language learner should display a vein of curiosity and willingness to experiment with the target language. I remember when I started an English course in a private language institute where, funnily enough, I have the immense pleasure of working nowadays. Students were advised to pay attention to the deadlines, and I was left slightly anxious and confused: What do these letters stand for? But before I managed to muster up the courage to ask my teacher these burning questions I was your typical shy and self-conscious teenager , she kindly explained what those letters meant.
I think you can imagine how excited I was to learn that there actually were exams that proved your progress in English, at least this is how I understood the purpose of such exams back then. Then I went on to do the course up to the upper-intermediate level — goodness knows how much I wanted to have the book with the prettiest cover, in my humble opinion at the time. As fate would have it, I was not able to move on to an FCE preparatory course due to conflicting schedules since I had just started university.
By 10am hundreds of us were at the local hospital. They had to set up a whole floor to handle all of the people giving blood. Volunteers and first responders, the helpers as Mr Rogers called them, created a new narrative of hope and community. Not the hate of those who attacked us, but our own hate and bias shown through. I had a friend in college who was new to the United States from India.
He lived the first few weeks after the attacks afraid to travel alone. We, his new friends, accompanied him everywhere, from class to the corner store. While there was so much positive response, there was also the negative reaction. This event brought out the best and the worst in us. This week after two years as a Digital Innovations Specialist, I returned to regular classroom teaching. While I have taught both students and teachers over the past two years, I am beginning a new journey to create a new course, and a new path in our middle school.
My hope is it will become so much more than just a computer or robotics lab. What is most exciting and also produces the most angst for me is the responsibility I will have in building a special program at the middle school. It has been two years since I have done some of the more generic teacher tasks like attendance and grading. I have had the luxury of working with my head in the clouds, dreaming up great ways to build innovation into the curriculum of other teachers. Now, I need to focus on the details of running and managing a successful classroom culture, building a community, and all the other many things that go into being a great classroom teacher.
Fortunately I have been co-teaching much of these last two years, but there is something both exciting and equally terrifying about being solely responsible for the outcomes in a class, especially one that is part of the larger purpose of introducing as many kids as possible to the future of emerging technologies. For them and for all of us, the future can be now. All I have noticed because I truly only have time to focus on this one small aspect is the incredible Immersion Tech explosion this year.
I am looking forward to the final day of ISTE Here is the 5 minutes with Mark: Here is their Livestream with El Chakka! Are you at the exhibit hall at ISTe? Get a free curriculum to our SEL products! Phil Hintz sharing on Merge Cubes. Ready Player One, immersive technology was abundant in Chicago on Monday. Here are some highlights:. Thanks to Michael Fricano the sessions at the CoSpaces booth were broadcast throughout the day. Here are links to the Facebook Live videos: Collecting them all into a post:. View the slides from this great session by Maria Galanis and Andrea Trudeau: There was also a buzz over at Unity which is expected to continue tomorrow with lots of great guests.
The VR Podcast did a series of short interviews:. Mark Super shared the amazing things going on his classroom where his students are creating VR experiences using Unity. The VEN Playground was a hit. Lots of great things shared, but importantly, lots of people being exposed to the power and possibility of immersive technology. Tomorrow there are tons more great things happening. There are more great CoSpaces sessions the horizon.
There will also be great sessions happening all over. For some of the previous schedules check the 1st Blog or the 2nd Blog. I am looking forward to the greatness that comes out tomorrow! ISTE is officially underway. Today was the first official day of the conference and with it a number of exciting things have been happening. See the periscope here: The thevrpodcast crew meets F2F!
Amanda, James, Steven, and Alex. Facebook Chicago hosted some educators today and shared some of the exciting things happening with Oculus specifically with Oculus Go! One of the most exciting things so far, CoSpaces has dropped their AR version in a small demonstration at their social event today. All the coding interactivity works beautifully. CoSpaces as I have discussed in several formats is one of my absolute favorite tech tools, period.
Their AR tool is something I have been waiting to see for quite some time, and it looks as amazing as it did on the first day I saw the preview! See Rachelle and Jaime: Also on Sunday, see Jaime: Also, be on the lookout for The VR Podcast! They will be sharing great ARVR knowledge, great swag, and some opportunities for great prizes! Are you headed to ISTE18? Check out what arvrinedu is happening iste this year and find out where you can find the thevrpodcast crew.
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