Ranting…and Good bye Sloopy…

I am usually not one for sharing a great deal of information…but I think blogs might be here for that reason…Sharing with my network what is happening in my professional life…

I recently applied for the position of a member of our new technology team in our school district and I just found out that I did not get the job. I kind of have a knot in my stomach about it, because of all the things I have been learning and how much time I have been spending learning it. However, for the most part, although I have been a leader with technology in my classroom for my students, I really have not been the best leader for teachers. Although I am upset about not being named as a member of this committee, I have realized through some help of my network of teachers and friends that everything I have gained in the past several months with regards to becoming a connected teacher, far outweighs any loss I may have experienced…in fact they have helped me arrive at the conclusion that this this whole committee thing is probably some kind of a blessing in disguise…

Since no one in Montana is reading my blog except for GEEGUY (this post put things in perspective for me)…and somebody in Helena…Helena person (or anyone in Montana for that matter)…let me know who you are…by commenting…

Sloopy was a superior pet for our family...Very kind and very sweet

ON a Personal note…

My family’s pet newfoundland, Sloopy, died in her sleep on Saturday night. She was eleven and a half years old and she was a fantastic pet. My son Edin found her in our back yard. He was crying and very sad as he would spend time with her daily. Explaining death, something I don’t really understand very well myself, can be a difficult task. I remember I gave that as an assignment once when I taught English to a bunch of 7th graders. How would you explain your pet’s death to a child. The best response I got was from a student who said…”Your dog, Sloopy, is in a better place now…Her hips don’t hurt any more, in fact, she can fly and she is with Baloo and Gramma now…and best of all…the streets are paved with BACON…”


8 Responses to “Ranting…and Good bye Sloopy…”

  1. Maybe they were looking for the candidate that was going to keep them in the stone age a little longer. Maybe you scared them into thinking they were going to have to buy 100’s of computers and actually have to learn what Web 2.0 is and then have to teach it!

  2. sarahstewart Says:

    Very sorry to hear about your dog. Our dog is the same age but she is really well at the moment. Good to ‘meet’ you in Jokay’s live Elluminate session.

  3. spudhunter Says:

    Hi, I like reading your blog. Sorry to hear about your pooch passing away, that’s the down side of having pets. I’ve decided to give up having dogs for awhile.
    Great idea to post your responses to you job app. sorry you didnt get it, but I dont think you addressed what they asked. You said heaps about technology but not about the nitty gritty and how to apply it in context. Maybe they wanted real examples? Sorry to labour the point but if you look at point 4. they asked for ideas for implementing…
    BTW – I’m gail from Tassie (tasmania, australia). No blog as yet.

  4. teacherman79 Says:

    Thank you Gail. You are very right. I did not address that point. Next time I will. In fact, it almost sounded as if I was ranting in that last question :). I appreciate the fact that you read my blog and even made a comment. Please let me know when you do start one and I will read your blog. That will make two Tassie blogs I will be reading. We did get a new dog, very spunky and energetic.

  5. Committee – “a person or group of persons elected or appointed to perform some service or function, as to investigate, report on, or act upon a particular matter”.

    I wouldn’t sweat it, the terms of engagement seem floored, but suit the hierarchical nature of those who ‘form a committee’. Firstly, why do you need to apply to one person in the first place. Who made them ‘king’. You are already part of the ECOSYSTEM, the benefits of which far out weigh anything that a selected ‘group’ in a walled garden are going to achieve.

    Ecosystem – a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.

    Your community are your students, your peers (who trust you) and anyone who has recognized that linear power structures are the problem, not the solution.

    I don’t think you need your ideas validating by people who have no idea what you are doing, no one ever approves an idea that they ‘singular’ think might fail. But as their point of reference is that fast, then this is dumb. If you want to know what ideas might be good – as the ecosystem – it will take you a while in your classroom, but working with the ‘network’, and engaging your kids in authentic learning – be that in a computer club, or classroom – will benefit you and the kids. You don’t need to be on some committee – but at the same time, don’t assume that they are interested in what you are doing. The bottom line is – How do I demonstrate an improvement in learning, using technology better than I have before?. Take your time, keep it simple. Document success and failure (and there will be some), but move on, use the network to guide and advise. Compare the results to what you have done in the previous years. I’d advise you to get parents onside. Get them aware of what you are doing, invite them to learn too. You blog is a window on what is happening to their kids, If you reach and engage 5% of your parents online, then you are making a huge difference.

    It takes time, and I understand the frustrations – we’ve all been there. Its all about the professional development you experience and how you translate that to a better learning experience for the kids you work with.

    Traditional systems – use traditional methods to evaluate people – usually based on – time served in the role, the people below you that you controlled, the money that you were given. In other words, the system uses it’s point of reference from the past. Just becuase someone spent $100,000 on some VOIP system – does not mean that it was a good use of the money, just that they had the ‘power’ to do so. Whether you connect a building by microwave or fibre – is not the point – what is going on in that building that needs that technology – and how is the money going to improve learning etc., its like asking which is better – blue, red or green.

    I home brew lots of things, I bend the rules, and get stuff to do things that I need. My past experience helps me to think of what I want to do and how I might do it – but the ecosystem has more experience than me, so thats where I go first.

    These people don’t understand this, and in truth the ability to learn so much, from so many is ridiculously easy today. You don’t need a Resume to join Twitter! – you just need to understand ‘If I help now, someone else will help me later’ – you don’t need to vet who ‘someone is’, – ask the network for that too!

    Its great to see you looking at teaching and learning with a new ‘Lens’. Ultimately it will benefit you as teacher, connect you to amazing people who will support, inspire and help you. That will feeb back to the kids in your classes, and spill into your family. Your kids will be ‘connected’ to the ecosystem. Without learners, there is no need for teachers after all.

    Take it easy, and don’t ever assume that people who are put ‘above’ you, know more than you+network. The system has a vested interest in not changing, as the power structures are put in place to ensure you are ‘managed’ by managers. If you suddenly don’t need managing – then they become pointless. We are all professionals, all out to achieve better outcomes for the kids, who you gonna ask? The line manager and committee or Jarret, Richardson, Lehmann etc., who got more experience TODAY.

    Sorry to crap on mate, but what you have already done negates the need for you to me on that committee – spend the time with the kids. The committee is too small and ecosystem to support or understand what you want to achieve.

    Now log off and go ride yer bike!

  6. middleclassgirl Says:

    Hey Jeff, sorry about your puppy. Being a hopeless, emotional wreck, I cried when I read about that and it reminded me that in actual fact that part of the post actually negated the first part.

    The thing about committees, I have found, is that they generally don’t get things done. I’m reminded of that old gag that a camel is actually a horse designed by a committee. I have seen so many other people, really just from my time of meeting people on SL and elsewhere, make more meaningful changes to ‘education’ in their own personal network. Changes that are actually affecting the way students learn. Committees rarely get to see the fruits of their labour but, in the rare case where something DOES eventuate from the committee, circumstances have changed so much that the labour is neither validated or recognised.

    I think maybe your disappointment also points towards a mindset that you have towards bodies like committees. This is not exclusive to you either – it is something that is symptomatic of teaching. Because teachers seldom get public recognition or accolades, eventually their spirits are dampened. This reduced sense of worth then makes a teacher think “well, how does one get more recognition?” “Hmmm…. if I was on that committee, I might be able chnage things and get some kudos as well.” Please don;t get me wrong, i am not saying that teachers aspire to higher positions or seek out positions on committees just for kudos, but I think this kind of aspiration has a lot to do with the way the profession is viewed by the public. So I guess what I am trying to heed you of here Jeff, is to get you to think “why did I want to be on that committee?’

    The reason that I am rambling so much is that I feel like I have been in your position a few years ago. And basically, to be frank, it just doesn;t matter in the greater scheme of things – professionally the network you have, you know, can effect much more change than a committee. And dskmag is right … spending time with your kids is so much more worthwhile than any committee.


  7. angelac1 Says:

    I am so sorry about your pet, they really are a member of the family, and sorely missed when they leave. I find the student comment on the death of a pet somewhat comforting, and I am so pleased that you were able to find Buster and provide him with a happy, loving home.

    About the job and the committee, remember that commiittees tend to appoint those that fit the mould. Did you really want to fit that mould, or will you be happier and more fulfilled heading in your own identified directions?

  8. slms2007 Says:

    Listen to everyone above me. They are all saying the right things to you. Committees don’t get much accomplished….what you are doing now is more important than the committee in the building. You building your network of educated online teachers who think like you do is the way to go. There are so many possibilities that you can do online with these people.

    Today went well with the intro to QA in your room. You will have others that will listen and come to understand. It just might take some time, but they will need to catch up to you. Hang in there and we’re going to have a great year. I think once they see what you can do and what we can do while using the internet….google doc, IM…they will come around. I’m going to use it with the teachers to collaborate for projects. Wouldn’t that be cool? They’re just baby steps, but it is in the right direction.

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