Odds & Ends (09/03/08)

Another school year is up and running.  I’ve been very busy with training teachers in Moodle and the gradebook system.  I’ve also assisted with almost all of the English classes in taking the STAR (reading comprehension) and TRAILS (information literacy/research skills) testing and will finish up the last class tomorrow!    Now that I’ve got a few minutes to myself, I’ve been trying to clean out my RSS feeds (again).  Here are some odds & ends I wanted to share:

A Plethora of Technology: Trick My Truck

Blogging on the Bay: The Heart of a Teacher – by Bill Gaskins – All teachers should watch this video of a student giving a keynote address to his school district’s teachers.  It’s an embedded YouTube video, so you may not be able to view from work, but PLEASE take the time to watch from home.  You wont be disappointed.

Self Check #260 – by Emily Lloyd – Toung in cheek, “muliticultural” books.  I really love these doses of humor.  I think it would be a hoot to work with this lady!

CNN.com: “Monster mom’ – how to avoid being one” – 7 tips on how not to alienate your son/daughter’s teachers.

Both BBC News and The New York Times have articles about the Harold, TX school board allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons (guns) on campus.  How scary is that!?

Reader’s Digest: “13 Things Your Computer Person Won’t Tell You” – My personal favorite is #10 – get a MAC!  Hehehe! Told ya so!

Continuing Education?

Cathy Nelson wrote a post today that touched a nerve, not with her original topic “What’s in a name?” but with the following comment:

“…“teacher” in today’s world has come to imply that the learning is done, and it is now someone else’s (students) turn to learn. I wholeheartedly believe it is (in the words of Bud the teacher) pedagogical malpractice to stop learning if you work with students.”

It has become obvious to me that many media specialists and educators seem to stop the learning process once they obtain their degree/jobs. Oh, they will do the mandated requirements to keep up their teaching certificates, but they don’t take the time to become true “life-long learners” especially when it comes to their own profession.

I could go into a long rant listing all of the excuses I hear for not attending professional development both on their own time and through district, state, or national programs, and why I feel they don’t hold weight. — And I did, but realized that my post had too much negativity where my goal is to be more positive this year, so I deleted it! — Instead I’ll just counter any and all excuses with the fact that many educators, media specialist, and leaders in education seem to find the time to continually educate themselves and they all have the same hours in the day, family commitments, workloads, scheduling nightmares, etc.

What I believe is that it all boils down to commitment and compromises. What is important to you and what are you willing to give up?

For me, Instead of watching TV every evening or going into town every weekend to see a movie or visit family and friends, I’ll take online tutorials or learn a new Web 2.0 tool. I’ll alternate reading a book for enjoyment, such as the latest Nora Roberts or Dean Koontz, with professional blogs, journals, and books. (Although, I’ll have to say that my professional learning network has become more interesting to me than the latest bestsellers.) I’ll plan into my budget professional dues and conference fees that my school cannot cover, and maybe I’ll have to do without that new blouse, or latest DVD, or take my lunch this week, but to me, furthering (and many times just keeping up with) my education is more important. Most importantly, the people I serve, my students, teachers, and community, deserve for me to give them my best and not just the bare minimum.

Okay, stepping down from my soapbox. Let me just add that I challenge you, to learn one new thing each month. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or involved. Just try reading one professional book/magazine/blog; explore one Web 2.0 tool/software/technology of your choice; attend a professional group meeting related to your subject; or any number of things that will improve your knowledge. Need suggestions or help, just ask me. That’s why I’m here!