Friday, November 14, 2014

I'm Going to Count to Five.


 It's easy to feel grateful this time of year.  Society is in a ramped up state of constant reminders -- and as one of my students reminded the entire class, November is the month to be grateful for all you have, only to be followed by the month of greatest greed/want as the holiday shopping launches into full swing.  

Quite frankly, at the end of the day, regardless of the events of the day, I am grateful for the continued opportunity I have every day to hang with the kids that I do and learn the lessons that I learn, while trying to teach THEM something.

Te@chthough Blog Challenge prompt of the day:

Nov 14 Name 5 things you are grateful to have learned in your teaching career.

1.  Acronym Awareness.  Educators thrive on acronyms as their own verbal shorthand.  Recently, I've been faced with a Curriculum Review Action Plan (CRAP), a Student Learning Objective Process Template (yes, a SLOP template, courtesy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Education) and, my favorite (although not a DIRECT connection to me) Teacher Improvement Training System.  (Go ahead, figure it out.)   Suffice it to say, I am extra observant when I create anything that might be referred to in shorthand.  Or posted on facebook. Or tweeted.  Or, well, you get the idea.  If and when I need to create a name for something, I am VERY aware of the potential acronym ramifications.
2.  Somebody's got my back.  No matter what, no matter when, teachers support each other.  We laugh together, cry together, cover homerooms, offer lesson plans, and share everything willingly.  It might be the teachers in my department, the gang at A lunch, teachers in other buildings in my district, or support from my multi-faceted PLN.  The biggest cheerleaders of teachers are other teachers.

3.  Learners are more successful when they actually own their learning.  It's true.  It takes time, and it is totally worth it.  Creating a democratic classroom is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Okay, maybe even BETTER than sliced bread.

4.  Teachers are addicted to learning.  Call it an occupational hazard.  I spend significantly more money on Amazon for "pleasure reading" that is entirely tied to my classroom than any guilty pleasure reading.  I thrive when I'm enrolled in graduate learning, and am still looking for my next challenge.  (Anybody interested in joining me in the "Creativity and Innovation" certificate program at Drexel?)

5.  Humor will make any situation better.  Directives may change.  Lesson plan formats may be tossed and restructured.   Opossums can reduce stress and help teachers to connect with students. (See story #2 on Seth's blog,)   The best thing about education (facetiousness implied) is its ability to change everything, and nothing, simultaneously.

Objectives may now be known as Essential Questions, and maybe my Essential Questions aren't kid-friendly enough.  So earlier this week I changed my EQ on synesthesia from "How does a combination of senses contribute to perspective and understanding?" to "Why does Derek taste like earwax?"  It was a great discussion, a great lesson, and one of those buried EQs that may or may not attract the attention of an administrator while reviewing my lesson plans.

If an administrator asks, I'll point him towards ME Pearl.  (Again, see either Opossums or Seth's Blog, both linked above.)

P.S.  The conference is more amazing than one could ever hope.  I have no clue how many people are actually here in Baltimore, but every single one of them is excited, engaged, and focused on improving the world of Gifted Education.

Be afraid, be very afraid.  I'm coming home with MANY ideas!

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