Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ain't that the truth!

A little honesty here!  A girl's just got so much game and mine's about wore out.  I think what put me over the edge was when I asked a group of intermediate students what setting is in a story and they just stared at me like a cow lookin' at a new gate.  With most of our STAAR testing just behind us, that made me nervouser than a long-tail cat in a room full of rockin' chairs.  Now to me, identifying the setting in a story is easier than fallin' off a greased log backwards, but I guess it's okay because every dog should have a few fleas.  On the other hand, I'm struggling to grasp all the technology info that keeps barreling at me at breakneck speed, so I can relate to not remember everything all the time.  It's nearly May, we're tired, they're tired and I guess the paltry amount of success I've had with learning technology is good enough for now.  After all, even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then.                               

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Monsters Live in the Dark

For teachers, the term "life long learner" is well-versed, and often overused.  We encourage our students to continue to learn and explore, take risks, and fail forward. Never give up, full steam ahead, power on . . . all the motivational quotes we've used so often.  The question is, how often am I willing to do that?  How willing am I to dip my big toe in the water or am I more inclined to sit on the shore watching others battle the waves?   Someone asked me recently, "Aren't you about ready to retire?"  In fact, I get that question a lot.  I know the calendar says I'm 62 years old but I still feel that there is so much to do.  I think if I quit now, I would leave some important tasks undone.  What are they?  I don't know, but I know they are out there waiting for me to show up.

So what is there to be afraid of?  Twitter?  "I don't understand it.  What's this @ business and this # stuff?  These are not complete sentences!!  Teachers with really poor grammar! I need a code book to decipher the lingo."  I used to say all those things, and then I dipped my toe in.  "Oh, I get it.  I just click on this little birdie and type my thoughts in 140 characters or less.  People follow me and if they really like what I said they retweet it or favorite it.  Okay, this isn't too hard."  A blog?  "Why would anyone care what I have to say?  My thoughts are mine.  My journey is mine, but does it really matter to anyone else? It seems sort of self absorbed."  But then I waded into the water and it was really just journaling, but opening it up to a wider audience.  Okay, this isn't too hard.

So, here's why I said in the title that monsters live in the dark.  Those things we fear - those things that push us headlong out of our comfort zones - those things fade away when we shine the light on them.  When we just begin to learn a little, a little more opens up to us.  It's not necessary to be an expert on technology.  Just begin by trying a little something.  Seriously, if I can do this at my age and with my lack of technology training, you can for sure!  I love this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:  "We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face . . . we must do that which we think we cannot."  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

An Attitude of Gratitude

I don't have anything of great brilliance to share today.  I've just been thinking about how blessed I am.  We complain a lot about how long we have to wait for a website to load, or a broken pencil sharpener, or the traffic, or the cost of a gallon of milk.  We get so focused on the imperfections of the life we lead that we forget about the life we don't lead.  For example, I don't have to go down to the crocodile infested river to draw water to cook with tonight, wondering if I'll still have an arm or leg or head when I'm done.  I don't have to walk 10 miles to the nearest village that has a doctor if my kid gets sick.  I don't have to have my students write their lessons in dirt with a stick because school supplies are unheard of where I teach.  Where I teach I have more pencils than I can use, and paper, and crayons, and glue, and scissors.  I have laminating film!  Think of it!  Laminating film!  I have a copier, and a phone, and email, and a blog, and Twitter, and Facebook!  I'm warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  My students have a hot lunch every day, and a playground to play on.  They have videos, and TV, and edchats, and World Read Aloud Day and, and, and . . .  Tonight I'm going to the Service Banquet where I, along with many others, will be honored for various numbers of years of service to the district.  I've had a job, a great job,  for twenty years and am still going strong!  When I leave there I'll go home to a lovely house, a ninety-one year old mom who'll be sleeping soundly, and a loving husband of thirty-seven years.  Okay, really!  What's there to complain about?  It's time for an attitude of gratitude.  What about you?