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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day to Day

So, it has been months since I have blogged. Now that I am back in school, I feel the need to try and spread a positive message.
This is my 7th year subbing. Yes, that's right. SEVENTH.  I have 6 full years in with a school district. People have asked me "why don't you just give up and go get a full time, secure job some place else?" and "isn't that frustrating?"  To some people those questions may sway a person's decision to stay in the field.  As for me, I love teaching.  It is frustrating to be back day to day.  But I am not going to look at this as a negative.  If anything, I am very lucky.  There are not many people with a college education that are able to say that they work in the field from which they graduated.  Not to mention, that I still bring home a paycheck.  There are so many teachers getting laid off because of budget cuts and then they have nothing.  I can say that I go to work, and work in the field that I love.
There are substitutes that I work with that are feeling so down on themselves for not being hired yet.  The part that they need to realize is, it's not their fault.  Our district has a problem... it has A LOT of really good subs.  Now, if you ask me, if you're going to have a problem then that's the one to have!! We have very qualified teachers that are still subbing day to day.  I try to encourage everyone by reminding them that this is a state wide problem, not just in our district.  I know it hard financially and emotionally.  We just need to try and stay positive.  I am currently working two other part time jobs aside from subbing to try and keep up with bills.  But am I the only one? Absolutely not! There are millions of Americans trying to make ends meet.  Being negative on ourselves and being upset that we aren't contracted yet isn't going to bring that contract any faster. 
Since I have am a huge fan a Randy Paucsh, I need to bring up some of my favorite quotes from him.  We are hitting a 'brick wall.'  That wall is going to keep out the people that don't want this job bad enough.  We need to take on what life brings us as an experience.  "We can't change the cards we are dealt, just how we play that hand." (The Last Lecture)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Being Naive or Just Learning?

I recently had a pretty lengthy conversation with a coworker which got me thinking about how much I still need to learn…
I came to the conclusion, with help from that coworker, that even though I may not be (that) young I am naïve.  At first, I was really disappointed in myself that I can be 33 and be so naïve about certain aspects of my field.  For instance, I still have a lot to learn about the ins and outs of our Union and the difficult decisions our Administration (beyond the typical things) need to make. 
As I thought about it, I realized that it’s not such a bad thing to be naïve.  It would be bad if I shrugged off these circumstances as something that I shouldn’t care about.  I’ve always said that I enjoy learning.  That also goes for life learning, not just books.  I will always look at learning as a life long process; which is something that I’ve tried to instill in the students I teach.  I love being able to have conversations with people and being told to try to look at something from a different perspective.  I enjoy listening to how and what others are thinking and try to learn from what they have to say; whether I agree or not. 
As far as my future… I will continue to try to push for what is best for education however I know how.  I will continue to do my best for the students I teach.  Most of all, I will continue to have conversations that will challenge what I know to try and make education better.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Teaching and Videos... Good or Bad Idea?

Recently we have been exploring new ways to incorporate on line video in a technology class that I have been taking. The two sites that I am going to focus on are Discovery Education and Kahn Academy.
There have been political debates stating that on line videos can eventually replace teachers. Is that really possible?

Just in case you haven't heard of either of these online sites, here is some background...

Discovery Education exposes teachers and students to a variety of media for all learning types.  This site will provide video, articles, lessons, practice and much more for teachers, parents and students. This site also allows you to add specific assignments to particular students or whole group. The learner is able to search for any subject from Language Arts through Social Studies.

The Kahn Academy is a site that students, parents and teachers can access over 2700 videos.  These videos consist of math, science and history.  The students are able to watch a video, then practice the skill and take an assessment if desired.

I have used Discovery Education many times. I have not used to it to the extent that I just learned recently, however (which I am excited to do so now!).  I also tried to show a video segment of the Kahn Academy to my 2nd graders. The reactions from using both media are very different.  No matter how I use Discover Education, my kids are engaged, interested and are able to discuss what they have done.  After showing the Kahn Academy segment, the students were bored, and many responded "I didn't like it because it wasn't Mrs. Dodson" and "I didn't like it because he confused me."  Keep in mind the segment I chose was a skill they knew. 

My belief, is that on line video can NEVER replace the value of a teacher. No matter how much certain politicians or groups can try, the teacher is a valuable resource to every student.  The video, on the other hand, is just an accompaniment, an extra, an anticipatory tool, etc...
I love using technology in my room and I love being able to show my students how they can access information in so many different ways.  I also look at this from my students view, they love what/how I am teaching them... but I will use my students' words "[the video] is not Mrs. Dodson" which tell me kids enjoy having a teacher in front of them, opposed to on a screen.
Please share your thoughts on this matter. I would really like to know what other's think!