Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I hate boring meetings!!!!

The one thing that I value the most as a teacher is my time. That's it, simple. Don't waste it, and we'll get along fine. Time, is something that I just can't get back. I have a thousand and three things to do to get ready for the next lesson, week, assessment and not too mention all the other stuff at home too(just ask my wife).

I'm not sure what it is, but something in my brain starts to explode the minute I detect a meeting becoming a waste of time. It's probably somewhere between the speaker talking about personal boring, yack yack stuff, and stretching out a short, simple point to a 15 minute discussion. It's always around that time that I start to wonder just what exactly did I get myself into?

Don't get me wrong. I love my work, and everything that comes with it. Teaching is a very demanding occupation. From the moment I step inside, till I step back outside, I'm going full speed teaching mode. Guided reading, Stations, writing, small groups.

I have a passion for learning as well. Anything that I find interesting and even applicable, I'm all in. I can go to toe to toe with anyone on my campus for being a person who loves reaching and exceeding all of my students expectations. I'm also a first time father, a graduate student, and a night time ESL teacher, so any free time that I have is really precious now.

Which brings me back to my topic at hand. Since my time is very important to me, if I find myself having to attend one of those "mandatory meetings", the very least they can do is try to make it interesting. Reading right from the power-point, talking while sitting down, printing out the handouts, are all a few of things that all presenters need to avoid. These are killers to any presentation and instantly changes what could have been a interesting meeting to a waste of time, boredom.

Here's a blog which very nice and neatly lists out the top ten things you can do to make a great presentation.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Transfer Fair....

I hate job fairs. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of people wanting to test out the waters of other schools. That's fine. Go at it. Knock yourself out. What I have a problem with is how shallow the conversations tend to be. There was no genuine conversations to be had, it was for lack of a better term, speed dating. You had under a minute to convince why you should be hired before moving on to the next school.
Flocks of people waited in lines at school's respective tables to speak to the principal. Each one trying to show off why they should be the candidate for the position. The whole time, I was there I realized something......I'm not as "sexy" as these other candidates. I don't have the amount of experience as some, nor the certifications as others, or even the awards as well. I felt like these principals were sizing me up, and noticed instantly all of my imperfections. I kept thinking that this was exactly like speed dating. I was waiting in line to talk to a principal and I noticed that she tried her best to look interested in hearing what others had to say. It was at that moment that I knew I wasn't going to "wow" her. I'm still a relative new teacher and I after working a year in resource, I was just looking for a campus that I can teach my own class. Something I know I can do well if given the shot. The only problem was that I was just one of 200 going after maybe 5 jobs.
I walked out after talking to a couple of schools. I did my best at the song and dance, but it's really hard when you know the odds are stacked against you. What I don't have in experience or awards, I can make up for in creativity determination and imagination. I have a master plan that might get me another shot. We'll see if it works. I'll have an update in a few months on this post.....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Facebook users have bad grades.....

At least that's what a study done by doctoral candidate Aryn Karpinski of Ohio State University and her co-author Adam Duberstein of Ohio Dominican University have concluded. College students who use this very popular social networking site have a considerable difference in G.P.A. from those who don't.

Typically, Facebook users in the study had G.P.As between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users had G.P.As between 3.5 and 4.0.

In addition, users said they averaged one to five hours a week studying, while non-users studied 11 to 15 hours per week.

The researchers surveyed 219 students at Ohio State, including 102 undergraduate students and 117 graduate students. Of the participants, 148 said they had a Facebook account.

The study found that 85 percent of undergraduates were Facebook users, while only 52 percent of graduate students had accounts.

I can't believe that facebook is the only variable between all these students that links them to lower grades. There should other considerations, like amount of time watching t.v., studying, if they work. The most important thing is, how long are these students on the site? 20 min, 45 min, an hour...more?

Sure, it can be distractating, but how much more than anything else? Maybe we'll find out more data about users in the near future, and we'll have a better idea of the impact it's having on our culture. What do you think of this study? Do you agree or do you have another opinion? Here's an article in Time that also talks about the same thing as well.

Now I have to go and check my facebook status.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Teachers tv

I just came across this remarkable website that's geared just for teachers called I think of this as your own personal staff development. There are hundreds of videos out there that you can choose to watch, to learn how to handle a given situation and after-wards you can get more detailed notes on it.

I watched a clip on anger management and I was really impressed by how effective the lesson was on her class. The narrator didn't talk too much, but rather simply explained what the teacher was doing and the viewer was able to see the results first hand. It's a 3 min clip, and had this had been a real training, it would have lasted a couple of hours. When the clip ended I knew what to do, how it would work, and more importantly..that it has worked, while still having time to take care of other things as well.

The one thing I really value is my time, and I really can't stand meetings that take hours when it could have been done in minutes. This website ensures that you'll never feel that way again. To me, it's heaven. However...if you want...we can always meet afterschool. Have fun. Let me know how you like it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Leader in me.....

If you're like me, than you're not crazy about all these "new" plans that come out every year to help with the behavior problems with our students. Each fall, we all gather and listen to the "new, and innovative" ideas, that were suppose to get us excited and motivated. Blah blah blah. Don't get me wrong....I love new ways of thinking, and always trying to solve a problem with new techniques and strategies....however, I'm not at all crazy about old ideas, that are just being passed on as something new.

Which brings me to my topic at hand. Stephen Covey, the best selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has just rocked my world. Literally. This book speaks at the heart of why I wanted to be a teacher, and seeks to minimize the very things that I don't care for. How's that for a win-win!!!

In these documented cases, schools has actually taken the time to implement the 7 habits, into their teaching core curriculum. The big selling point, is that this is NOT one more thing to do....instead it's a methodology that many describe as "a better way of doing what we are already doing. Right now, you're probably thinking...."yeah, yeah, yeah...what's so different about this, from any other "new concept"?.

Well....there's several:
  • How about improved test scores
  • Reduced discipline problems
  • Greater parent satisfaction
  • Soaring student self-confidence
  • Improved school cultures
  • Increased teacher pride
  • and a Refined focus on twenty-first century skill
It's not just happening at one campus. It's a movement that's happening all over the world. In Raleigh, North Carolina (A.B. Combs Elementary), Alberta, Canada (Joseph Welsh Elementary), Decatur, Alabama (Grove Elementary), Adams County, Illinois (Dewey Elementary), Inner-city Chicago, Illinois (7 high schools) as well as Japan and Guatemala.

I strongly recommend you checking out this website and finding out more info.

Imagine teaching at a school, where students have acquired the skills to be leaders of tomorrow. Where they understand how to work together, and share ideas as well as thinking and expressing new ways of solving problems. That sounds like a school where I would love to teach at. If are interested, go to amazon or barnes and nobel and buy this book.....You won't regret it.