Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Month In A Nutshell

To be quite honest, I'm not even sure what happened to the month of February. So many things have happened that my head is spinning. Here's what I've learned in these last few weeks:

- Having a student teacher is very hard, very rewarding work. If you're thinking that you should mentor a student teacher just so you have some time to get caught up, get ahead or have a little free time, please don't do it. You'll be doing a disservice to your student teacher and your students.

- Young people today are not given nearly enough credit. I posted about THON in my last post, and last weekend I spent 46 hours with some of the most amazing college students you might ever meet. Please take some time to visit their sites and see what it looks like when 15,000 college students come together FTK (For The Kids) and raise $9.56 million! I am honored to have been a guest of a Four Diamonds Family, humbled to be part of this amazing weekend, and motivated to do more for all kids who suffer from this horrible disease.

- We all need to make sure we communicate openly and honestly with the people we love, are friends with and work with. When you don't understand what's going on in a situation because there's been limited communication just one small sentence can be devastating. Even when you find out that things aren't as bad as you thought the miscommunication leaves lasting effects.

- If your student or child ever says or writes ANYTHING that raises even the slightest little red flag in your mind, tell somebody. Tell your principal, tell your guidance counselor, tell anybody so they can check into it and get that child the help that he or she needs.

- Sometimes we teach our kids really silly things in the name of "fidelity" and "consistency". When I feel like something is .... is worthless the word I really want here???... presented in a way that is not meaningful to my students I need to be confident enough to change things up to make it meaningful to my kids.

- Even if it doesn't perfectly fit into my curriculum (as I was told by some people), just talking with another class over Skype is a wonderful way to help my students practice their listening and speaking skills. It was very eye opening to see how much work they need in those areas!

- Giving kids the opportunity to be self-directed in their learning is scary, hard, exciting and uplifting all at the same time.

- I love that I was welcomed into a colleague's classroom yesterday to learn more about Edmodo! I've seen many people tweet about it, but I hadn't had the opportunity to research it myself. It was also pretty powerful to hear how her message about social media and to see how confident my students were in the tech lab. It was also exciting to talk with her about how we both might use it in our classes.

- As part of our PLP group we have been working very hard to begin developing professional development for the rest of our faculty. It was very rewarding to hear that our teams' thoughts were on track with what the rest of the faculty believes are our technology needs, and I'm very motivated to provide a lot of meaningful opportunities for our teachers.

- It's so frustrating that so much of my life as a teacher and what I do in my classroom is controlled by people who have not stepped in schools since they were 18 and by people who think they can do whatever they want with no repercussions. But I need to keep focused on the kids because that is what remains the same every, single, day - it's always about the kids.

- It's funny how confident I am in many situations and how completely chicken I am in others. I almost didn't book the hotel for TEDxNY, but I didn't let myself chicken out. I know I'll be thankful to be there next Saturday at this time. Right now, I'm still feeling a little ill when I think about trying to find my way around NYC all by myself!

So, that is February in a nutshell - quite a lot for the shortest month of the year. What did you learn in February?

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