Page 11*

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At lunch, Lily was sitting by herself. Kevin looked over at Minji and Carlos. They were talking and laughing and ignoring him.

So Kevin sat next to Lily.

“Hello,” Lily said.

“Hello,” Kevin answered.

They chewed in silence.

*From my next book, Kevin the Complainer

Tired of Starting Over?

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Today’s motto (for me) is “just do it.”

 

I’m in the middle of the National Board of Certification process and one requirement is to take two 15-minute videos of myself teaching and to analyze them. In order to do this, I must view the videos. Repeatedly.

Ugh.

I do not like to hear myself – alone see myself – on screen.

At last, I did it. And you know what? It wasn’t terrible.

So, today, I encourage you to “just do it.” If it needs to be done, but you dread it, know that it’s OK.

If you need a more aggressive motivational message, watch Shia below:

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What is School for?

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I’m a teacher and I’m usually loathe to listen to any non-teacher who criticizes education. However, Seth Godin is a teacher in his own right and what he has to say makes perfect sense.

Godin published an education manifesto and I think everyone should read it. It’s made a deep impression on me and I’ve made immediate changes to my teaching. Rote memory is ridiculous. Deducting points off for trivial things is dumb. Let’s teach students how to learn and then CREATE things and take ACTION!

Please, read some of his manifesto or watch his podcast (Stop Stealing Dreams) if you care about education.

Just because it’s hard to make change doesn’t mean we should give up.

Good Company

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Photo from Everson Mayer

I’m in a room of about 100 teachers from all over Arizona. I feel blessed to be here. We’re all pursuing National Board Certification. Sure, we get a (small) financial award, but the biggest reason that we’ve shown up is that each of us will deepen our teaching practice and bring more to each of our 30 – 180 students each day.

The great majority of teachers are exceptional people.

 

And then there are these bigots (who ought to lose their jobs):

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13% of their student body is Latin-American. Idaho needs to do better for the children.

 

 

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?