Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rah Rah Rah!!!

Tonight I attended a meeting of fellow educators in Wisconsin.  This post is for the bus drivers, the janitors, the lunch staff. paraprofessional staff and teachers every where. We are in this together. We have within our power the chance to change lives. Our caring attitudes and love of kids and learning is a gift we give because we want to, not because we are paid so well.
You would not blame the firefighter for starting the fire. The doctor for you  being sick, the dentist for your toothache, the farmer for your hunger, the police officer for crime, so then why do we want to blame the teachers for what is happening in the schools? It takes a committed community and accountability from our leaders to educate our children. You count on the firefighter, dentist, trash collector, do the job that you pay them to do. Why is being in education any different? Why can teachers not be paid to do what they do best, which is to teach? Instead a myriad of other things complicates and get in the way of education. Teachers contend with children that come to school with issues that are beyond their responsibilities. It is a challenge to teach a child that has no respect for authority. We as parents, as citizens in our communities, political leaders...all of us must work together to help the schools to educate the students. Merit pay- an incredibly shallow and ridiculous idea needs to be taken out of the conversation. We need to stop pitting one group against another. If an individual is not doing their job, then by all means their principal and mentors need to help them out, follow through, and if the necessary progress is not made, fire them. Not one person that I know, wants an unprofessional, lazy, and poor teacher in their midst. It makes all teachers look bad. Why would I not try my hardest, use every trick I know to have my students succeed day in and day out?
So, to all of the hard working people who touch the lives of children everywhere, every day, you are the unsung heroes for the vulnerable youth and the future of our society. We work together and we expect our leaders to do the same.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Around the block and back again...

A few days ago I thought to myself that the more things change, the more things stay the same. This is true in every aspect of life both in big things and small mundane things. I mention this in writing this today because I think that we often swing the pendulum from one side to the other without realizing that the middle is a very reasonable place to be.
Using education as an example- why would we think that no accountability and/or testing would be a good idea? It is a terrible idea. Why on the other hand would we think that testing/teaching to the test/only concentrating on test results would be an effective way to measure students knowledge? We have to seek the middle ground. Immersion of all special education students when it is not in a child's best interest is also another failed swing of the pendulum. Students should not be isolated and kept within the confines of a place where only other special needs students are. This is again, a ridiculous idea. Students should learn with their peers if at all possible and when it is in to the child's best learning interest, mainstreamed with the support that they need.
In our own lives we seek balance- fun, work, play, work, rest, work, busy, relaxed, hungry, full, family, friends, time alone, fun, work, play, get the idea. Why would we not seek the same for our students who spend 6, 7 or more hours at school? I grew up and went to school in the 70's and while everything in education was not perfect, I know for a fact that life was much more in balance for the kids. We had recess, physical education, music, art, while still learning how to think, read, write, do math, science, social studies...We fit it in because the administrators figured out that balance was the key.
I hope that for our kid's sake that we figure this whole "education" thing out soon. A generation of brain power is at stake.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I am a goal setter and when I put my mind to doing something, even with setbacks, I try very hard to attain my goal. I am putting this out there for myself and anyone else that perchance might read this...I am setting a goal to be able to run and complete a half marathon race before I turn 50.
Now I have never been a runner before so this goal has some obstacles that I am going to need to work at. I started on Sunday with a 2 mile run. I am using an app from that allows for gps tracking of your distance and speed and then will save and post it where you want it to go. I can listen to music while I run and this app interrupts for a few seconds to give you the update. I know that this is going to be helpful to me.
When a person has a big goal like running a half marathon, it is best to break down your goal into smaller more manageable steps. I have a 5K race that is in my hometown on October 8th. This is a great way to begin. I have added onto the calendar what days are running days and how far I need to run to meet this challenge. It is reasonable to work towards a 10K by June or July depending on how the winter running in Wisconsin goes. I am not thinking at this time that a treadmill is in my future. We will see.
As a nonrunner, it was important to me to find out things about running that I did not know. I had no knowledge about running posture, cadence, breathing or any other running related information. There is great information and support out there if you go searching. I found out it is important to have a day of rest between your runs although doing other exercise is perfectly fine on the rest days. I also found out that it is very easy to overdo it and then to injure yourself. Who knew :D  ????? 
I bought myself a pair of designated running shoes and today I will be wearing them for the first time on another 2 mile run today. I have learned that you don't increase your distance too fast or again, you can set yourself back.
So, a step at a time (literally) plus patience and work will be needed to reach my goal. Here is to each and every one of us!!! May we work hard to reach the goals we set for ourselves.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Week Musings

The first week of school is in the books. I have attended many meetings, participated in scheduling my classes, got ready 3 labs that I will be teaching in and have taught all of the grade levels that I am working with this year. Things went very smoothly and I am ready for a good school year. There are 2 new iPad labs that I will be teaching with after MAP testing is done in October. I am scheduled to do two after school professional development classes for the staff on using iPads in the classroom. I have one combined kindergarten class of 28 students in a lab that I have just set up. It was suggested that we use my other lab at the school that has 20 computers for the students to use. I did not think that this the educational environment that best suited the students needs. We will see how this works. I felt it was very important that all students had the opportunity to use the mouse and actively participate in my class.
I have a schedule that I really like, staff that is excited to be working with a new principal and a great group of students that are ready to learn! I continue to work on some major changes that will affect my future. I have a very hopeful outlook and think that my prospects for new challenges are getting nearer to being a reality.