Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm still here, thinking.

I haven't blogged much lately. However, I did have a very productive blogging period from January to April. I don't have much to say right now but I'm still here, thinking. The end of the year is always busy with exams, paper work, etc. I am tired. We have lots of daylight, too. This always throws off my sleeping habits a little. I am sleepy a lot, as well as my students. But I'm still here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Having a little fun: I got a Pie in the Face.

Here is a little fun I had while visiting Montreal recently. Yes, I get a pie in the face.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Short Conversation With...Shawn Ram @sram_socrates

Shawn Ram

How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for twelve years and have taught all grades and subjects from grade one up to grade eleven.

Has your educational philosophy changed since you began teaching?
My educational philosophy has grown placing more emphasis on student achievement and understanding, rather than the completion of a set of objectives. In addition I have realized that the use of technology is not to be a novelty that is one used for projects and research, but that technology is a learning tool that helps students in their understanding of concepts. There is also a very large emphasis in my philosophy on relationships, not just relationships with colleagues and with parents, but more importantly relationships with the students in my classroom and in the halls of the school.

Has Twitter played a role in your evolution as a teacher? If so, how?
Twitter has been an amazing networking tool and resource, and I would hope it continues to be a significant influence in my evolution as a teacher.
Twitter has allowed me to connect with hundreds of other teachers, whose passions for teaching and technology align with my own. Twitter has also connected me with many colleagues, that although I don't work with and have never met face to face, I could call friends. Twitter has altered my philosophy, that teachers and their classrooms are independent islands. I have seen and come to the conclusion that you can choose to remain an island and disconnected, or you could connect and reap the rewards.
Finally, twitter being the tool that it is and the professional development opportunities that exist with in it have allowed me to grow in one year more than I had in the previous eleven.

What's the best advice you have received as a teacher (or can give to a new teacher)?
You are a teacher, but this inherently means you are also a learner. Ask questions; ask for help. Many of us have been there will not see it as a sign of weakness of inability. Join Twitter you increase, because your staffroom will increase from what it is to infinite possibilities. Reflect, not only in your teaching, but in your relationships and other aspects of life. This reflection helps you grow personally. Finally, the most important piece of advice I could give is - BALANCE - learn to balance work life and personal life. It took me a little longer to understand and apply this, but now that I have, I am baffled as to how I lived previously.

Shawn blogs here

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Short Conversation With...Katie Hellerman @theteachinggame

Katie Hellerman

How long have you been teaching?
About six years if you put it all together. I pretty much have taught all ages: two years high school, one year middle school, two years teaching sustainable design courses to adults, and a whole lot of junior kindergarten through high school substitute teaching in between.
Out of all of those, I think I learned the most being a substitute teacher. As a sub, you have to get really good at thinking on your toes and building trust quickly.

Has your educational philosophy changed since you began teaching?
I think that if you were to ask me this question when I first started teaching, I probably would have given you a very academic response and quoted Stephen Krashen or Howard Gardner. With time, I’ve become more pragmatic about teaching. I’ve come to really internalize that fact that not every method is going to work for every student. Sometimes you just have to throw your philosophy out the window and do what works for the individual student.

I have also come to understand how important it is to make the effort to really get to know your students. Teaching is not a perfunctory profession. You have to be fully invested to do it well.

Has Twitter played a role in your evolution as a teacher? If so, how?
Yes! It took a while for me to build a solid posse. But now I have a great group of people who are really creative, inspiring and supportive. You know how they have fantasy football teams? Well, I have my fantasy faculty team (FFT). If I ever can’t find the inspiration, materials, or support I need in my physical school, my FFT comes in handy.

What's the best advice you have received as a teacher (or can give to a new teacher)?
“Only get uptight about issues that you will remember in ten years.” I got this advice from one of my first mentors and it has served me really well. For some reasons, a lot o teachers I know tend to get super worked up about silly things like, bulletin board backgrounds and students borrowing their staplers. Save your emotional energy for the causes that are really important to you.

My advice for new teachers, is to be extremely proactive in finding mentors, observing other teachers and communicating with all your consitutants. Don’t wait or expect anyone to be able to predict your needs or sense what you are going through. Schools are busy places. Admins and other teachers are happy to leave you alone if they don’t hear screams coming from your classroom. It’s less work for them to believe all is well. Building strong networks of support is as important as having a good lesson plan.

Katie Blogs here.