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Friday, May 27, 2011

Encourage Other Teachers Even When School is Out for Summer



Sitting in my room listening to the silent spinning of the DVD as the graduation / senior movie renders for (hopefully) the last time.

I can hear the hum of my small refrigerator in my room. Funny, I put that fridge in during the second week of school and I've never noticed that hum.

I guess it is because this room is always full. Always noisy. Always bustling. And I'm always half stressed.

"Give me a cliff. I'm jumping." is something I often say when I'm getting to THAT point.

That point seems to come a lot during the last month of school. I haven't been doing laundry because when I do, my broken washer leaks all over the kitchen floor and I'm stuck mopping too! Thank goodness Camilla is Flat. ;-) No cliffs.


2010-2011 Westwood Schools Photo Album


My Babies
As full time teacher of technology, IT Director, and IT Integrator, I try to keep this place running and work hard to be efficient. PowerSchool is my baby and I write the SQL reports and do the geek work. I cut all the PO's, write the plans, handle the emails, server set up. Gosh, what else?

But my babies are really these kids. These children.

So ends my ninth year of teaching. I hear the hum. This time it is my own humming. I'm humming zip-a-dee-do-dah. I thought I was supposed to whistle that one!

"It's the truth. It's actual. Everything is sat-is-factual."

tired
You Can't Fire Students
This job isn't perfect. No job is. It is much more stressful than the general manager job I had managing a cell phone market. I could fire people there. I can't fire students and I certainly can't fire their parents. I have to work with what I have.

I lay awake at night thinking and praying over kids. I cry over situations with my own children. I hunt down children who haven't turned in their work and send other young men into the bathroom to smoke them out of their hiding places. I work hard to put comments on their report cards and then rewrite the PowerSchool report cards when I realize that I was so tired I put the comments on the wrong period.

UX Help
Helping Each Other is Part of Teaching.
But one of the most important things for me is sitting down with you every morning. Before I begin my day in my office at home. I hear a hum there too. The flourescent light hums as I write to you. I hum as I think to myself: what will HELP teachers.

My inspiration is Mrs. Grace Adkins who started our learning lab. She is over 80 and has been here for almost the 40 years of Westwood. She rides her bike an hour a day. She is amazingly productive, sharp minded, and is probably the only other person here who has read the World is Flat. She came to me before she even knew we were in the book and asked if I'd read it!

I'd like to be like her. Would I be let to stay in the classroom for another 40 years and write to you as part of this journey? OH, what a joy that would be!

It would be so much easier to just travel and be at home, I guess. But would it hum? Would my life hum? Would everything be satisfactual? And really, would it be actual? Would I really know and breathe teaching like I do?

Hallway

Living It and Writing the Journey Has Value for Other Journey-Goers
Sometimes the blog posts you like the most here are the ones that have left tears on the keyboard. It is hard to understand unless you live it. I love reading your posts as you live it too.

Hard to Explain Unless You've Been There

Yesterday I thought I was through with the graduation movie. I sat down to watch it and when I did I saw that for some reason the boys movie part was in low def and the girls were in hi def - as a result the boys movie was "eaten" in the rendering process and the result was garble. I was crushed. I had to cry. It was my fourth render. FOURTH! But even with school out, I still had people in my room.

I stiff-upper-lipped it and walked resolutely to the women's bathroom. I let loose a flood of tears.

(I don't like people to see me cry. If they saw me cry, I'd have to explain WHY I was crying and truly, no one would understand what I just said. To them making a movie is just making a movie. They have no idea that it meant I'd be over here until 6pm last night - back at 9:30 after the movie rendered and back here at 6 am this morning. In fact, I'm typing this right now as  I babysit the rendering process. )

So, the point for me here is that ONLY you out there who have made movies and know that anything weird during the rendering process makes you completely start over. YOU understand what it means that I had to make the movie in HI Def 5 times and that 5 times with a 3 -4 hour render time means 15-20 hours of time! You understand after it renders that I have to watch this thing AGAIN. YOU understand.

And that is the point of this blog, I guess. And that is why more teachers should blog or share.

Some say, "I'll inspire when I retire."
And certainly, that is of value.

Inspire
Inspire Before You Retire (and after)
But if you encourage other teachers (AND your students) WHILE you're experiencing the classroom, you become a living inspiration as long as you don't break your professional ethics of confidentiality and privacy and you keep your dirty laundry in the closet where it belongs - it HELPS us other teachers who are living it.  

WE DON'T FEEL ALONE when we SEE YOUR STRUGGLE.

I screwed up the other day when playing around with Tumblr and sent 10 tweets through. After apologizing and letting everyone know I screwed up, I got this really great tweet from Michael Mishaw.


Michael INSPIRED me and perhaps me letting people see me mess up and admitting it may have inspired others. (Or they may have unfollowed - either way, messing up is OK.) When we are real with ourselves and each other that sometimes when we teach we have an AWFUL day and nothing goes right but that sometimes we actually see we're making a difference. We give others permission to know it is OK.

As long as you're in the classroom or front office, you UNDERSTAND educators.

Certainly, as you do this long enough you will retain the indelible mark that teaching leaves on your soul and psyche and you will still UNDERSTAND, I believe even after you retire.

Liv-ING is INSPIRE-ing and you should be SHARE-ing it.
But I guess right now, I am UNDERSTAND-ing because I am LIV-ing and that can be INSPIRE-ing.

We are in this together, you and I, we teachers and educators.  Let's encourage each other.

You don't have to be a blogger to be inspiring.

  • Be an inspiring commenter. 
  • Be an inspiring tweeter. 
  • Be an inspiring Facebook-er or Tumblr. 
  • Be an inspiring person. 
  • Be real.  
  • Be the original. 
  • Be real.
  • Repeat what others need to hear.
  • Be real.

In your real-ness you CAN make a difference beyond your classroom

This is the beauty of social networking. If you can follow the right people you can have a network support group. You can have friends who understand in addition to your closest face to face friends and family (which you still need.)

Teaching is a Great Profession
My fridge has stopped humming. The movie is still rendering. The technology plan is beckoning me to finish it and I need to set up the email accounts for the teachers hired for next year. Lots to do still.

As tired as I am. This is still the greatest calling on earth next to being a parent. It is worth the pain.

On to the hum of ISTE11 and the eLearning Revolution Conference in Indiana in July. On to the hum of my fluorescent lights as I do the final submission for the Pearson book on global collaboration and crank out a few other things this summer. On to the hum of my cell phone vibrating as I talk to some of you and help you in any way I can.

"Zip a de doo dah. Zip-a-dee-aaay. My oh my what a wonderful way..."

to live your life. Teaching. A noble calling.
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