Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day Thanks....





For Grandpa....

Silence broken.
A thunderclap.

Seven guns firing at once. 

Then twice. 
Then three times. 

A flag folded
Over a brass urn 
Surrounded by flowers. 
Taps sounds as tears fall.

A patriotic rectangle
Becomes an origami triangle
Through white-gloved precision.

Slow salutes.

Seven shells in a red bag.
"With thanks from a grateful nation."
A family says farewell.




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Advice for Potential Teachers....


January Blogging Challenge day 14:  If a young person told you he or she wanted to become a teacher, what would you tell her/him?

Interestingly, this happened just the other day. One of my students was talking to her peers in class and mentioned that she'd woken up that morning wanting to be a teacher. Her classmate was surprised, since apparently this student gets all upset when someone doesn't understand.

The student said, "Yes, but only after I've explained it." 

I laughed and said that if she planned to be a teacher, she should get used to that.

She went on to say that the thing that makes her want to be a teacher is the pleasure of helping people understand something they never understood before.

That's why I want to be a teacher, too.

If I were going to give advice to potential teachers, I would say that it's a hard road, but a good one.  It's not just about giving out information that you have at the tip of your tongue; it's about giving people the tools to find out the information for themselves. 

In today's world, teaching is more about what the students learn rather than what the teachers teach.  It's a career choice not unlike the ministry or public service: it's more a calling than a job.  

As a teacher you'll face public criticism by people who wouldn't do your job even if they were paid much more than you ever will be. Politicians and news anchors and parents and the average guy on the street will have an opinion about what you do and how you do it.  You will be, at times, saddened and disgusted, tired and defeated, and tired and overwhelmed.  And then, at times, you will be joyous and proud, humble and amazed, and blessed and rewarded.

But despite the ups and downs and the tilt-a-whirls that come at you, if you do become a teacher you will find that you are going to be blessed beyond measure by the students who come into your life.  Teaching is not a career to "fall back on" or to have "just in case."  It is, if you really want to see children's eyes light up when they learn something new, the only career you will ever really want.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Digital Learning Plan for 2015 (or at least the start of a plan, anyway)

January's Blogging Challenge @TeachThought caught me off guard.  I had been invited for the November challenge, but I hadn't heard anything about January.  I suppose I could have looked to see if there were another blogging challenge, but I didn't think to do so until today. I totally was not in on this from the beginning, but I'm not going to go back to catch up on the first 12 days.

Day 13: What is one area of digital learning that you want to improve on in 2015? How are you going to do this?

With the continued growth of digital learning, I find that I am really trying to make it part of my classroom and teaching.  I have Chromebooks in my classroom, and I find that most of my students really enjoy having access to computers all the time.

This semester I've started using Google Classroom, and I like it.  I've been using it now for exactly six days, so I don't have a lot to say about it yet, but I do like that the students have one place they can check for their daily work as well as see right away what they have done or not done.  I also like the ease in which I am able to see the students' work and give feedback.  So, so far so good.

I'm becoming more and more a teacher who uses technology daily not just as a word processor.  That's what I would like to work more on this year, though.  I need to find more ways to use my Chromebooks than just as fancy typewriters.  I do use them for research and for quiz taking, but I know I could use them even more.

I plan to go to a Google Education workshop (in fact I've already signed up so that I can't "forget about it" when it gets too close to the day), so I hope that I will get a lot of new ideas to bring back to my classes.