Saturday, January 29, 2011

EduCon Retweet

A few of us are looking from the outside in, peering into our Twitterboxes, painted in the same vague blue of the Magic 8 Ball.

Aesop was a wise man, but really, the "Fox and the Grapes" fable was a bit over the top, no?

Still, those of us not rubbing iPads in Philly peer into our monitors like voyeurs, sifting through the tea leaves, deciphering the top tweets.

For entertainment purposes only--these are tweets, not treatises, and should be taken as such.

@plugusin: Note to principals: If you want me to innovate, you've got to create conditions that encourage me to experiment. 76 Retweets

I used to ply my trade, succoring the afflicted, in public housing, in homeless shelters, on the street.  A lot of docs still do. You won't hear much about them, but they're out there....because they did not wait for administrators "to create conditions" that encouraged them to do what they do.

Teachers need to take to heart these words: It is easier to be forgiven than to get permission. Truly.

Experiment, and let the chips fall--if you're working in the best interests of the children, you will land on your feet. Principals have their hands full with NCLB, budgets, local superintendents, county superintendents, governors. Take a risk, get it right, and they'll toss you a bone.

To blame principals for our inaction only feeds the perception that we're "just" teachers.

@NMHS_Principal: Good teaching is exhausting, but bad teaching is just as if not more exhausting @garystager 31 Retweets

No, bad teaching is easy--it's why it's so prevalent. Serial work sheets. Canned PowerPoints. Quick referrals to admins. Jabber on about how kids suck at academics, and slither out of the building hours before the sun sets.

If teaching badly was hard, few people would do it.

@dcinc66: "we must be WILDLY creative in order to solve our problems in education" 8 Retweets

Nope. Creativity isn't the problem. Courage is.
How many of us feel NCLB testing harms education, and participate anyway?

@colonelb: What if we gathered up the admins and teachers at #Educon and started our own charter district? Awesome thought! 4 Retweets
Maybe an awesome thought, but a terrible idea. The gated community mind-set has killed the commons. Public school hangs on by a thread--and democracy depends on a functional public.

We need good admins, good teachers, for every child, for every district. That this only got 4 Retweets gives me some comfort.

Yes, tweets are spontaneous, brief, and often incomplete--retweets, however, take a tweet to the next level, from the amygdala to the cortex. Think before you retweet.

A lot of us are watching....

I'd love to know what the RealTeacher/EverybodyElse ratio™ is at EduCon today. Any ideas?
Fox drawing fromLitscape here. It was from 1881, so I think it's in public domain now.


The Science Goddess said...

Educon is the ultimate "echo chamber," not that there's anything wrong with that. We go to conferences to spend time with like minds. I also think that the people who attend are all too willing to forget that SLA is already a gated community. The rest of us in public schools don't get to pick which kids walk in the door each morning. Frankly, I like that idea a whole lot better.

Jenny said...

It depends on how you define Real Teacher. If you mean someone in the classroom everyday like you or me, not too many of us. Lots of ed tech folks (in schools and not in schools). One huge positive in my book is the lack of vendors. There are very few folks here who are not directly associated with a school or school district. These people are attached to kids either directly or removed by one rather than distantly removed as you often see at big conferences.

It is an echo chamber. I'm grateful for it. These people push my thinking. They help me move forward. They give me a chance to feel refreshed and invigorated and more ready to fight the good fight.

doyle said...

Dear TSG,

There's a real value to conferences, not the least of which is the fun factor.

A big reason I love to go to places where folks think that they are like-minded is that we can safely discuss the errors in our thinking. If we cannot, no sense going. The folks who go to EduCon, at least the ones I want to meet, have no problem batting around an issue.

(There are a very few exceptions, but no sense wasting too much time on those who so love the sound of their own voices they resist discussion.)

I am fortunate to work in a department with several teachers who love discussing how to get better at this, who are aware of the state and national issues, who don't mind letting others wander in anytime to observe their practice.

I'm going to push to have several of us go next year.

Dear Jenny,

I mean those of us who live in the classroom, like you and me.

I agree that the lack of vendors is a huge plus. The guidance of Chris Lehmann and the whole SLA crew is another huge plus.

That's why I bought a ticket, and hope to get another ticket next winter (though maybe I'll be smart enough to ask the district to cover it next time).

Maybe I'll make some RealTeacher buttons for next year.. I love my classroom, but doing things right takes a lot of work. Trying new tools also takes time. I want to find others like you who are putting it all together.

Jenny said...

I love the idea of RealTeacher buttons! I'm proud of all I do as a full time classroom teacher. Singing that fact from the rooftops appeals to me.

I do struggle with how to define it though. Several folks I love seeing at Educon are technology teachers. They work with different grade levels with lots of different classes. Their job seems both so different from mine and the same. What makes a RealTeacher?

doyle said...

Dear Jenny,

Great question!

Some early thoughts:

a) A RealTeacher has primary responsibility for the direct instruction of children, face to face, every school day.

b) A RealTeacher can distend his bladder beyond human limits.

c) A RealTeacher can often be found grading papers in a room full of raucous adults, even (or maybe especially) on Sundays.

d) A RealTeacher lives (and dies) in the classroom.

Jenny said...

Qualification B is my favorite! Dan Meyer wrote something about the differences between his days teaching and his days and google and the bathroom issue came up. Clearly it is one that strikes many of us as important.

I do hope we get the chance to meet face-to-face sometime in the near future.

J Bowie said...

I'm sad I missed EduCon. I doubt I would have even been able to go, but I wish I had been able to make the decision before now. Oh well, I've got enough time that I have to be out of the classroom anyway.

So, I think maybe I will have to be careful not to buy in to the flash of technology and be sure that I am doing authentic instruction/assessment. There was a day that I mocked (yes, I can admit this...) the teacher candidates that seemed to buy-in to the "flash" of how to build a bulletin board or a nice PPT. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but when it comes at the expense of student learning, I struggle.

I'm sorry, as I re-read that, it doesn't really seem to connect, but somehow in my mind, it does.

doyle said...

Dear Jenny,

Me, too!

Dear J Bowie,

Imagine adding a MasterCard charge to your grief--I paid for my ticket the week the tickets went on-line. Not sure what I'm doing next year, but I expect I'll give it another shot.

There were a lot of people there I would have loved to meet.