Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Today's Reads, Views, and Links

This is really interesting.  I find it that much more interesting because this was exactly who I was at work a decade ago.  My how times have changed (Thankfully).

Four Signs That You're the Office Debbie Downer

In reading this, I was guilty of all of these.  Just go back a decade ago on this blog and you'll see plenty of evidence of each of these.

But now the signs that bug me most as a teacher are #1 and #3.

#1 - You focus on what's wrong.  

I think this is vital.  But it has to come later in the process of creating something.  It can't come first.  I use to b*(& and whine all day at work.  It never got me anywhere.  Soon I began to look for what was wrong rather than what was right.

You could walk into our commons and bemoan that all that money went into this place.  Why spend so much money on the commons.  They're too nice.

True.  But then walk in during the course of a day.  Kids are there early (seven AM sometimes) and they are there late (nine PM sometimes).  Don't tell me it's too nice.  They deserve a place like that.

The problem with this type of negative thinking is that it never gets you anywhere.  You never start something new because you can only see what might go wrong.  If you do that, you'll be teaching the same year over and over and over.  And that sucks.

Another problem with focusing on what's wrong is that you start to notice all the negative stuff.  Instead, focus on the positive stuff and you'll start seeing a lot more of that too.

#3 You can't let go of the past.

Boy, was this me a few years ago.  I recall venting things to a colleague that happened a couple of years ago.  I still held a grudge.  I let all that past negativity cloud what was happening now.

Plus, whenever I would screw something up in the past, I let that dissuade me from ever trying anything new again.

If this was the case, I would never even bother to teach all of the books that I do in CC 1 and 2.

The first time I taught The Ghost Map, they hated it.  I felt terribly.  If I wouldn't have been able to let go of the past, I'd have stopped teaching that book.

Instead, I learned from what I didn't do well and from what the kids disliked about it, and tweaked it.

Not after four years of it, I have improved teaching it so much.  Kids won't love it, but now I realize that the goal isn't for them to love it.  I mean their college professors will never care whether they like a book or not.  The goal isn't to love it; the goal is to learn from it.

I would never had that epiphany had I left the past failures define how I teach it.


This is what I'm all about as a teacher.


Why teachers suck . . .

Despite the title, this is a great read.  And it's true.

Here are the reasons the author claims why teachers "suck"

1.  . . . because of the paperwork.  (so much of what goes into teaching has nothing to do with students.  This is a great example, though to be honest, I have very little when it comes to paperwork.  The same cannot be said for special education teachers, though.)

2. . . . because of unfunded mandates.  (I recall a special John Merrow did at PBS about a "turn around specialist."  He was a principal who was hired to fix a failing school.  It was shut down and everyone was fired because of terrible test scores.  The trouble?  The poor principal wasn't given any training or funds to fix anything.  They just started the school up again and did the same exact thing - other than having more test prep built into their year - that they did in the first place!)

3. . . . because of litigation from parents.  (I haven't dealt with this - thank God - but what happens when helicopter parents don't like the "C" that this on earned (or deserved) in English?  I mean look what freaking happened when a helicopter mother didn't like that her child was taken to Dairy Queen at the end of the year by their bus driver!  And it isn't just happening in the classroom either.)

4. . . . because of expectations from a broken society. (my personal favorite.  Some pie-in-the-sky education wonks think the real purpose of education is supposed to create educated citizens to carry on our democracy.  Really?  Spend a week in a real classroom please.  Some think it's to teach justice and morals?  Really?  What are parents for?  Some thing it's to prepare kids to excel in the 'real' world?  Really?  How about just getting kids to read . .  . or love to read and love to learn.  How about getting kids to develop grit and practice deep work?)

We live in a world where - for any number of reasons - kids don't have enough to eat at home.  At LHS we developed a program where any student can come into our counseling office and leave with a backpack full of food for them to eat over the weekend because they won't be able to have enough to eat at home.  What?  Talk about a broken society!


Saw this on Instagram.  How times have changed.  Right?


It always amazes me that so many Americans worship (yes, I'm using that verb in the true sense of the word) pro athletes.


Yes, the are modern day gladiators?

But beyond that what else?

They get to live their dreams and enjoy lives none of us can imagine?


But how many pro athletes end up bankrupt, dead, or in jail?

Far too many.

Here is a recent example of a former Miami and Denver running back who should still be a multi-millionaire instead of contemplating murder and completely broke.

It appears that 1 our of 6 NFL stars go bankrupt.  I'm surprised it isn't significantly higher.

But it isn't just NFL stars that go broke.



I watched this episode of Parts Unknown with Kristie the other night.  This was my favorite part.

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