Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I couldn't help myself.

more cat pictures

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Salary Discussion

I've heard the argument about teacher's salaries before. I know the camp that says teachers are underpaid no matter how much they make and I have a colleague who says you will never hear him complain about his salary because he makes $70,000 a year working only nine months a year. I also know my mom makes a little more than that working four day weeks eight and a half months a year--the corporate world has many perks.
I've been listening to the conversations about changes in teacher salaries, and releasing the step and lane system, and Dan's comments about Michelle Rhee make me feel nervous. I understand that there is a lot to gain when you look at the system one way--there's no doubt that a six digit salary is something to crow about. However, as a young teacher, I am extremely wary of cutting unions out of the process.
I like where I work, and I work there because I consciously chose the type of school. I wasn't built for urban schools, or for the country.
Where will this money come from over time? Is it possible that moving teachers around will leave successful schools with bald spots?
Part of what makes me successful is the people I work with. We collaborate, we discuss, and we make each other laugh. Without my support system, I might lose some of my oomph.
I want to know more, and like some of Dan's commenters, I'm just glad I can watch from afar for awhile.
There are problems with the current system, but I'd like to see more different ideas across the board before we embrace one idea.

Everywhere I look

I started off noodling about a bit, I will admit it. I've been commenting on edublogs, reading edublogs, looking at wedding photos, reading trash and not so trash (if you haven't read Carl Hiassen, get on it.), but studiously avoiding:
So, what's a girl to do?

Get wicked distracted by the goodness a friend of hers has cooked up. One of the 23 Things is Del.icio.us, and then I read Todd Seal's post about noting with Google Reader, quickly followed by another post on Del.icio.us! Oh my! Clearly the only answer is to spend too much time puttering with my tags.

Then I read Scott McLeod's post about Moving Forward's wiki page needing a boost. Oh, my goodness. The wikis listed there are so awesome that I've been up all night getting mine more in line with what I want, which I can see more clearly because I've seen some good examples of what is possible (hmm, classroom application to assessment much?).

Excitement afoot.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Not so fully formed

Thanks to Scott McLeod for this metaphor:
Most schools currently expect students to somehow (maybe magically?) be responsible, successful digital citizens upon graduation from high school - able to navigate all of the intricacies of a digital, global world - despite having little to no opportunity to learn or meaningfully practice what that means during their 12+ years of schooling. Continuing my analogy from my previous post, we have to stop pretending that students are like Athena, able to burst forth fully-formed from the head of Zeus (or the cocoon of schools), ready to successfully function in a complex adult world without prior practice or experience.
I think it's easy to fall into this trap, especially at the high school level. We think (and sometimes say), "You should have learned this in junior high," and we're put out about having to re-teach/teach something we feel should have already been been taught to mastery. This isn't what's best for kids, it's not research based, but we get so tied to the idea of staying on schedule (especially on the four period day) that we become blinded to that.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Getting Ready

Vicki Davis has started her school year off with a bang, teaching kids how to use iGoogle, Jott, Google Calendar and Remember the Milk to keep themselves organized and take control of what they have to do. I love this idea, and I'm wondering how I can best do this for my kids when I usually have at least one in any given class without home internet access.
Vicki is also teaching the kids how to use their cell phones as a tool to help them keep track of their work. I'm not sure about this for myself. Our policy is very strict and I know from a friend's experience that even asking to go around rules leads to unpleasant response from administration.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing.

I decided that Rabbi Hillel's quote, which I try to remember when I'm having trouble smiling at my kids, is appropriate as I try to process what happens in my classroom and what I'm thinking about.

You can check out previous posts here.