Sunday Suggestion

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This week’s suggestion is an overall recommendation to “go for it.” Stretch yourself. Take a risk. Invest money and time in yourself to be better.

I’ve been teaching for over 11 years and the subject of pursuing “National Board Certification” has come up multiple times. Each time, I dismissed it immediately, based on what I had heard as simply “extra work” for an empty title. But the people who have been saying that are people who did not pursue the NBCT. 

Recently, a colleague (who IS certified) spoke highly of the program. I attended two meetings this week and I’m now completely ALL IN. I’m going for it. I don’t even care about the title or the actual certification. It’s the process….the four modules will require me to create, re-create, and reflect on my teaching process with students and their parents. I have discovered a renewed sense of respect of the profession. Teachers create the certification process for NBCT. How refreshing: Teachers having control of an education program.

Yes, it it will require a huge time commitment. But it will be worth every minute to gain a heightened awareness of my teaching process: be the best teacher I’ve ever been, be able to mentor others, gain confidence and forge new friendships on district, state and national levels!

If there is something you’ve been considering, but worry about the time or expense, ask yourself, “What is the cost if I don’t do it?”

 

Some trivia: Did you know that although Arizona is often in the bottom 3 in terms of investment toward public schools, we rank anywhere from 12th to 16th in number of National Board Certified teachers in the nation? Teachers in AZ are working hard in their profession – despite the bum rap – for our students.

 

Utopia

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Watercolor, The Giver pages, ink
“You are way off of baseline.”
from Blade Runner

About this piece:

I watched the scene regarding baselines from “Blade Runner” the other day. I started thinking about society and laws and citizenship and what true self-determination might be.  What is patriotism? Citizenship? What are our obligations and how does the individual contribute to the mass?

Projects

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Just a quick doodle and post today. I’m interviewing two people tonight for my research project on “First to Graduate from High School and/or College.” It’s my hope to compile a series of inspiring stories for graduate hopefuls and get those rates of retention up!

On the dog front, Olive is on Day Four at our house and is doing well, although she and Opal can argue when they don’t see eye to eye. Mostly though, they are pretty chill:

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True Productivity

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Stay curious. Ask yourself, “What would happen if I dipped the whole side of the brush, for example…”

Flora Bowley, artist

While experimenting with my own brushes and hearing her words, I thought of how critical it is to stay curious in life. It’s so easy (and debilitating) to allow things and people to get “old” on you.

We complain that we’re bored, but maybe WE have become boring.

Stay curious.

Ask yourself, “What if…” (and act on that question!) at least once a day.

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Advocate

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Daily Painting Challenge (#10)

Listening to Oprah’s podcast with will.i.am, I was profoundly impressed with him not only as a musician, but as an education proponent. His i.am.angel foundation brings STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs to under-served communities. This foundation has also awarded over $800k in scholarships and 97% of these students are the first in their families to go to college.

Will echoes Milton Berle’s sage advice:

If a door closes, build a new door.

This reminds me of something that happened a few weeks ago, when I was reading the Red4Ed message board. A school bus driver wrote: “Are you guys (teachers) demanding a raise and better benefits for us classified staff?” 

I see way too much self-medicating and not enough self-advocating these days. Don’t ever assume someone is looking out for you. You’ve got to do the heavy lifting yourself. Exercise your rights. Vote. Do something with what you have.

If you go by the usual quote, “When one door closes, another opens,” it assumes you will just wait for another one to open. When you build your own, it won’t ever close.

will.i.am

Flowers from a Student

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gerbera daisy

“When they go low, we go to the polls.”

and…

“Stop comparing yourself to other people.”

Oprah Winfrey

 

These are just a few notable quotes from her commemoration speech to graduates at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism graduation ceremony.

Here’s the “Problem”

To the teachers who do not support the Red4Ed Movement – the teachers who actively engage and complain with members of the community who hate us:

What do you tell children who say they want to be a teacher someday? That the job is awesome, but the pay sucks?

How do you reconcile in your mind that schools are using 20-year-old textbooks? What do you suggest I do when I have 37 students, but a computer cart that holds only 15 laptops, with 8 that work?

What is your solution to this?

A new teacher to our district makes $38,500 (gross).

She decides to opt for maximum take home pay, so let’s say she takes home $2,000/month (net). She wants health insurance (of COURSE) and health insurance for her kids. Here are her options:

HDHP 2500 (Cigna Choice HDHP 2500 Plan)

  • Employee Only:  $10.00 per month
  • Employee with children: $452.54 per month (actually, closer to $800/month because we get 18 paychecks, not 24).

These quotes are for a very high deductible – all the other options are more expensive.

And then there is the requisite retirement 11.5% taken out of each paycheck.

And food.

And shelter.

The cost of everything goes up (inflation). And yet, our salaries have been frozen for the past ten years, until this year, when we received a 1% raise. And guess what the Governor was planning on doing? He was going to give us another 1% raise. Gee, so generous!

You say, “Well, I agree with the grievances. It’s just that…I don’t like how it’s happening. We should have walked out just once a week until our needs were met.”

My reply: There is never a good time for a walkout. Never. But if you act like a doormat, you get treated like one.

What will you say when you get a (much) bigger – overdue –  raise thanks to the Red4Ed movement? There are teachers out there demanding better for you, for the kids and for our future. Don’t disparage them.