I started this post earlier this week. After reading this open letter by Larry Lee after attending the Alabama House Ways & Means Education Committee meeting about a bill that could bring charter schools to Alabama. The letter was published by Washington Press and the article was titled “There Is No Joy In Education These Days.” So this post started out as a total agreement with him. I was going to point out how correct he was the charter schools are not the answer, plus more. But then before I could finish the post I came across this picture on Pinterest posted by Kristina Peters. I am about to do a “no-no” and post a picture I have no clue where to give credit. Sorry, but it’s that good.
Wow. After reading this there was no way I could finish the post. It totally stuck with me. So I have decided to “promote what I love.” Seems simple enough. Here is a list of things going on in education that DO BRING ME JOY:
1. Teachers who are not the norm. I work with some amazing teachers. I am part of a PLN of teachers who probably do not remind you of your most of your teachers you had in school. Teachers who have kids questioning, teachers whose students are not learning from the PowerPoint on the screen or lecture but from doing. Those loud classrooms that make you stop and look, you know the organized chaos I talking about! Looking at education articles today you would think we were all just standing there lecturing and teaching to tests, but we are not. These type of teachers are BECOMING the norm. That should bring someone JOY!
2. School districts whose technology becomes invisible. Most school districts have at least a computer lab and computers throughout the school. But the school districts who put money into training their teachers to use technology as part of the curriculum, part of everyday life, make my heart happy. These districts have tech integrationist or coaches that support teachers. They bring PD to the teacher and guide them through the use of technology which can be intimidating if done alone. Ya’ll know helping teachers is my passion so of course I love this and I love this is becoming more common every year!
3.Teachers who model lifelong learning. When I was in college we had come up with “Philosophy of Teaching” and the professors pushed us to use words like “lifelong learners” when describing our goals for students. But never really encouraged us to be learners as teachers. With social media I see everyday teachers who are there to learn. Between blog post, tweets, conversations on facebook, and even the rapid growth of edcamps, there is no denying teachers are taking their learning not only in their own hands but this is causing them to be hungry for more. The more we learn, the better teachers we become, and the more we encourage our students to become lifelong learners as well.
4. Educational companies really valuing teacher’s input. Teachers are having to constantly deal with the fact that politicians and the media treat them like they are clueless and everyone knows more about their profession but them. So it is nice to see companies really pay attention to what teachers have to say, since we are the ones using the materials anyway. Last week I was supposed to meet again with Promethean (stupid back surgery!) and today had a conversation with Adobe. Thanks to social media connections with companies are becoming more common which is beneficial for both sides. It is nice that companies seek out to hear what teachers are doing and how we are using their products!
5. Students using technology and social media for GOOD. I love to see my colleagues near and far share what their students are doing online. Nothing makes me happier then to read a blog post by a kid! I have also connected with some former students who are now in HS or college on instagram which seems so silly but I LOVE to see them encourage each other through pictures and comments. Students are not just using social media to bully each other, contrary to what the media claims. Sorry Today Show but they are sending quotes and bible verses to each other when they have a bad day. This doesn’t always come naturally but when our schools teach digital citizenship and we encourage the use of social media properly this is what happens! This is what I LOVE!
I was going to make this a Top 10 list but that would have been sooooo long, so stopping at 5 for now. I would love to hear what you would add to make it a top 10 list. We hear so much negative “ugh teachers aren’t teaching problem solving,” and more (I am so guilty!!) that we do not take time to celebrate the positives!! It is hard to rant about good things, right? I am starting to believe these things I LOVE are becoming more and more common, no matter how slowly, it is worth promoting!!