Tag Archives: blogging

Quarterly Revue

Yes, I spelled my title correctly.

This quarter I continued my habit of critiquing elements of education technology, in one instance eliciting some thoughtful conversation regarding the appropriateness/usefulness of interactive white boards in classrooms.  I believe that continuing to think about these tools and their use was a good step toward structuring my future classroom in a way that best serves students – including leveraging the right tools in the right way, in terms of tech.  I also drew quite a few comments with my musings on the seeming fine line between professionalism and caring, and how one can look like the other in teaching, and vice versa. It’s good to get the chance to stretch my thinking on these issues, and my colleagues have given me great opportunities to do so this quarter, both in class and in the blogosphere.

I took what I think is my first ever opportunity to post actual student work in my blog, and commented on assessment; doing this in a public way, which both shows what I’m doing in my teaching and invites comment on it, is pretty new to me, and I’m just starting to get used to it. But I’m encouraged by the results so far.

My most valuable contributions to others’ blogs came in the form of my comment on a math lesson, in which I contended that number sense should be the true goal of math instruction, and my thoughts on the value of integrating the teaching of literacy skills with literacy content in this post. In both cases, what I mainly did was reference some pieces of my own (emerging) education philosophy, constructed from the theory and some of the practice we’ve been exposed to in our training so far; I think these references mainly served as reminders to focus the conversation. Hopefully they were found helpful.

Overall, it’s been a tough quarter, and I have to confess I don’t think I’ve been expending quite as much brain power on my blog as I have been on other needful things. But I do believe that my blog contributions are getting more refined and more purposeful on the whole, as well as perhaps more brave – I’ve been more willing to share everything, not just my successes but my worries as well. I see this as a positive trend that I will continue to explore.

Going forward, I’m not sure exactly what will happen to this blog. I think it will continue to be used, though it may suffer a dry spell; this quarter’s going to be busy, and after that, I have to get hired. But if I think anything especially profound, or if my students do something I think the world needs to see, I’ll put it here. Until then, happy teaching, and happy reflecting.

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A Quarter In Brief Review

I’ve spent a few months in education classes.  I’ve read a few things, had a few conversations, done LOTS of writing.  I’ve blogged a lot and tweeted a lot – two things I’m not used to doing – and I’ve spent entirely too much time being productive.

Before that I was taking community college courses in history, geography, and pre-calculus.  I was drinking a lot of coffee.  (I still am.)  I wasn’t seeing my friends much.  I was in a relationship that was going, slowly but steadily, downhill.

Before that…who knows what I was doing.  It feels like I was such a different person back then . . . before the interview that got me into the education program, before the intense writing and compiling and form-signing and volunteering which led to the interview, before even the information meeting which gave the impetus to start all the volunteering and form-signing.  It wasn’t all that long ago, really . . . less than a year, and considering the six or so years before that, when a year would have flown by and I’d barely have noticed, the time since I started my journey to this point in my teaching certification shouldn’t seem all that long to me.

But never in my life have I packed so much into such a short time – and never before have I cared so much about everything I’ve done in the course of a year.  In a way I feel I’m staring more sharply into a mirror at myself than I ever have before; I’ve woken up to a new dimension of self-knowledge . . . and I think I’m okay with what I see.  Or rather, I see the potential there, the drive, the readiness to do something, and I can work with that.  I will work with that.

In learning to teach, I’m learning to be conscious and consistent in a practice which I already enjoy, which already matters to me.  I think perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned in the past three months is that reflection, real and unflinching reflection, is both necessary and possible for me.  I’ve had to struggle with the darker and more unknown parts of myself in a way which has gotten less and less terrifying every time I’ve done it; that is tremendously encouraging, as I look forward and realize how damn much reflection I have ahead of me.

And I’ve discovered a wealth of human resources that I hope I never lose – you know who you are.  We’re still getting to know each other; we’ve done the meet-and-greets, at least one pot-luck (which, by the way . . . yeah, I owe you guys), some fun activities.  We’ve struggled with each other a little bit; something tells me that the real struggles, like the ones we touched on tonight in my Monday class – the struggles which bind a community more closely, through adversity – are yet to come.  I think we’re up for it.  There’s a lot of love there.  I can’t wait to see it grow.

I’m not out of the weeds yet – papers are yet to be written, a meeting yet to be held, some kind of crazy video presentation yet to be dealt with.  All I know is: Ten Blog Posts, People!  Achievement unlocked.

But yeah.  All that stuff I said was serious.

Blogging Blog

Okay, it’s true: I started this blog specifically at the behest of not one, but two class syllabi, and those syllabi included a requirement of posts made by the end of the quarter, and I haven’t reached that quota yet.  So, doing what any student of integrity and wit would do, I began mining the syllabi in question for prompts to help me fill out my last couple of posts.  Fortuitously enough, one of the given options was metablogging!  So allow me a moment to blog about blogging.  (Bloggedly?)

When I was a younger man, everyone had a blog.  Yes, lower-case “b” blog.  The kind of blog where you rant endlessly about your last breakup, post disjointed poetry, and describe your cat’s puke.  I had not one, but two blogs of this kind.  I can’t remember my username or password for either one, and don’t care to comment as to the websites they ran on.

Then, sometime after I stopped paying attention to these things, the meaning of the word “blog” changed.  I’m pretty sure I noticed it during a conversation over coffee, where I uttered the phrase “Yeah, I think I wrote a poem about that, except I can’t find it – I posted it on my blog like a million years ago-” and before I could finish, my coffee buddy exclaimed, wide-eyed, “You have a Blog?”

That’s right.  Capitalized and underlined.  Because Blogs are serious business, people.  Blogs are professional, Blogs are sophisticated.  People who Blog are going places.  I, poor schmuck, always thought that a Blog was just one more way to smear one’s ideas all over the internet and force others to look.  Apparently I was uncouth in that assumption.

So imagine my intimidation when I considered starting a new blog for my current classes.  I don’t know what I imagined; did I think that, because I had a Blog, I now had to make sure I had some nice silk shirts for all the high-society parties I’d instantly get invited to after my first post?  Or whatever fancy people do these days?

But looking back over my posts now, I realize that blogs, to me, are somewhere in between my college self’s image of a blog – a public forum for angst – and my working-class-self’s image – fancy parties and fancy people.  I consider this blog to be a forum for my thoughts which is public – i.e., requiring real reflection.  I have to think about everything I put down – to make sure I avoid looking vapid or crazy.  Unfortunately, I think the main impression I’ve given so far with this blog is that of a long-winded geek.  But as that’s fairly close to who I am in real life, I guess that’s a good enough product to go on with.

To sum up: this blog has been immensely valuable in showing me a new method of reflection, and in bringing my notions of what a Blog is back to a sort of useful equilibrium.  Hopefully I haven’t put the entire Internet to sleep in the process.