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Posted by on in School Culture

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Many eagerly awaited the return of "Sherlock" last week. And as usual, it didn't disappoint. I watch very little television, but this is one show that captured my interest from the very first episode. Sherlock's brilliance and ability to solve mysteries always amazes me. But it was a scene in which his sidekick, Watson, rebukes him for not knowing that the Earth rotates around the Sun, that is easily my favorite.

 

Sherlock: Ordinary people fill their heads with all kinds of rubbish. And that makes it hard to get at the stuff that matters. Do you see?

 

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Posted by on in School Culture

GiveandTake

Growing up, I remember some key phrases my mom and dad would tell my brother and me, the most common being, "Amy! Share with your brother!"

Today, as a parent, I find myself using that same phrase daily. Whether it be telling my boys to share their toys, share the game, or share a crayon, I am always teaching them the concept of sharing.  During this past holiday break, I felt as though I had been teaching this element of sharing every waking hour of the day!

In theory, the concept of sharing is not difficult. By definition, the Merriam-Webster dictionary simply defines sharing as, "to have or use something with others; to divide something into parts and each take or use a part; to let someone else have or use a part of something that belongs to you”.

In our own terms, sharing is the giving of one's item to another to use themselves. We share in order for others to borrow an item or even an idea. From an early age, we teach our children to share. Share toys. Share books. Share pencils. Share games. We even teach our children to share their learning. Turn and talk to a partner to share your thinking. Share your thoughts in your reading journal on this chapter we just read. Show your math work to share your thought process while working through the problem.

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Posted by on in School Culture

Lovely

There were only about fifteen minutes left in what had, up until this point, been a great day. Actually, considering it was the first day back from Winter Break, I would have to say it had been an amazing day! I was making rounds and trying to circulate through classrooms one last time before the day ended.

As I entered one kindergarten room a young girl approached me enter and scolded me for not giving her a hug this morning. I must have been called away because she and I always seek each other out. It was center time and students were spread out all around the room exploring and creating. She proceeded to ask me if I would like for her to read me a book.

In my head I was thinking, duh yeah...that would be freakin' awesome. Don't worry. I have the ability to filter. Instead, I told I would love for her to read me a book. She proceeded to walk me to their reading center. It was small, cozy and wonderful. I leaned back against a pillow and became her audience.

She began by asking me if I wanted to hold a stuffed animal while she read. I immediately said yes and chose a soft cuddly frog. Next, she reminded the class, the cuddly frog and I, that we read top-to-bottom and left-to-right. This was priceless! I couldn't believe I was getting paid for this.

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Posted by on in School Culture

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Many of us head back to work tomorrow after a well-deserved break. All of us need time to relax in whatever way relaxing suits one best. Based on catching up with so many over break, the adult coloring books were apparently quite the hit and a major source of relaxation. I was speaking to a teacher I use to work with and she sounded like she was in the doldrums. Why? She was miserable to go back to work; not so sad to see her students, but to see her coworkers. My heart sank.

Nothing is worse than hearing those in education genuinely dread going back to work. This is a job that requires your A-Game everyday and requires you be your best. If you’re not, you’re hurting our future. This isn’t a cubicle — this is a job that effects the way we will live. I had to ask her why she was so dreadful. Simple. She’s ostracized for enjoying her job and working with her bosses, not being miserable at work and hating leaders. The culture of “past practice” has always been ‘us vs. them’ – no matter who the bosses are. That’s like a whole new level of sad! If you hate me for doing what I do, OK. If you hate the guy before me, and the girl before me, and so on…perhaps the problem lies with your attitude and not the person charged with leading? A few years back, I had to have a conversation with a first year employee (who was transitioning from the medical field to school life — don’t judge me — nobody else wanted the job and she was the only one willing to accept he salary) about a myriad of issues, one of them being so negative. We went over all of the things I did to help her transition (including credit options, certification issues, and professional development) and she rolled her eyes and

The culture of “past practice” has always been ‘us vs. them’ – no matter who the bosses are. That’s like a whole new level of sad! If you hate me for doing what I do, OK. If you hate the guy before me, and the girl before me, and so on…perhaps the problem lies with your attitude and not the person charged with leading? A few years back, I had to have a conversation with a first year employee (who was transitioning from the medical field to school life — don’t judge me — nobody else wanted the job and she was the only one willing to accept he salary) about a myriad of issues, one of them being so negative. We went over all of the things I did to help her transition (including credit options, certification issues, and professional development) and she rolled her eyes and said “Everyone is suppose to hate to the boss!” Really? Yes, we have tons of movies and shows about how the boss sucks and how one can overcome it (ranging from Major League to Office Space to Horrible Bosses), but it does not mean we have to have a culture like this! I have been fortunate enough to say that in six school districts, I’ve only seen one place where there is a strong culture of hatred, bitterness, and general anger towards education, the changes it brings, and yes, superb hatred for the boss. For your first day back in 2016, please don’t embrace the culture of being miserable and hating your job. It’s a new year; you may have a new boss now or soon; your issues may go away. Embracing a mantra of “us vs. them” does nobody good. Not only does it rub off on other people, and it will certainly rub off on your students. You may hate your boss, and you may hate your job, but there’s a simple solution to both of these: just leave. Your students will thank you in the long run. Your students deserve the best in 2016; give it to them.

I have been fortunate enough to say that in six school districts, I’ve only seen one place where there is a strong culture of hatred, bitterness, and general anger towards education, the changes it brings, and yes, superb hatred for the boss. For your first day back in 2016, please don’t embrace the culture of being miserable and hating your job. It’s a new year; you may have a new boss now or soon; your issues may go away. Embracing a mantra of “us vs. them” does nobody good. Not only does it rub off on other people, and it will certainly rub off on your students. You may hate your boss, and you may hate your job, but there’s a simple solution to both of these: just leave. Your students will thank you in the long run. Your students deserve the best in 2016; give it to them.

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Posted by on in School Culture
popculture
 
With 2016 being days away, I’m starting to revisit some goals that I made in the beginning of the school year. One of my goals is to be cognizant of current lingo so I’m never caught off guard in conversations. While Wikipedia or Urban Dictionary is just a click away (UD was a staple for me, as I taught middle school and was a middle school VP), it’s nice to know a sense of the word before I have to look it up.

I’ve been hearing about “swiping right” as of late. First came the “like” on Facebook, then came the Retweet on Twitter, followed by the “+1” and so many others.

In the mobile dating app Tinder, swiping right means you are interested / “like” the person that you see on your screen. While the app has been around for a couple of years, its popularity has surged, and jokes on the radio and The Tonight Show have been more common.  

I’ve also read about Tinder scenarios with teachers, supervisors, and central administration in education. I get legal briefs once a week to see what’s going on in schools statewide and nationally. And yes, most of those news briefs are rather sad. 

I refuse to let trendy items that get negative reputations in our digital lives impede on education. While I’m not going to be encouraging our students to be using a dating app, I’m always a fan of using popular sayings or something from pop culture to relate to students or staff. I have many staff in their 20’s where a teachable moment often happens by injecting a buzz word that the agegroup can relate to. It’s no different than using a current song on the radio or a meme that’s all the rage.

Back to the title – swipe right for success? It  sounds like something that the character Michael Scott would push from the TV show “The Office”. But, it’s a thought where we can build on; something we can take to relate to others in the future.

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