Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Passionate Duhs!

Right then, this is what I know this morning,

Yesterday I came across the blog entitled A Signature Cadence, by one RandsInRepose, read through many pages of material and thought to myself, um, this guy can write. I shared this blog with John, and put it behind me. So I thought…At about 3ish this morning as I was stoking the wood stove, a joy to be sure at that hour, I realized that I had been thinking about the aforementioned blog all night. Okay, that is not quite true, as I had also been trying to watch the Bears win a game/lose a game/finallllly win a game, while wrapping gifts, while running out of the house with a flaming pail of ashes, but I do believe that the seeds of a thought had been germinated by the excellent mind of one RandsInRepose writer.
I knew there was something I liked, apart from the obvious well written yet quirky, (is that word allowed when discussing the writing of one of the ‘magic ones’?) style found on every page of the website, which includes, by the way, a very accurate representation of my two older brothers, who are both, with out a doubt, Nerds, in the form of a very nice Handbook, which I have linked and forwarded on to both their present and ex wives as a early Christmas/save your relationship because you really should have known/should know this information gift…glad I do not have this condition, as I am a teacher and therefore able to focus for long periods of time without…but I was not clear as to what it was that I connected with, what made me keep thinking about this article.
Anyway, RandsInRepose was absolutely correct in his understanding of the perfect coffee cup and the use there of, as I realize that I also use the pause/sip/think/continue strategy
As I began, yes I will return to continue and complete my thoughts about the RandsInRepose conundrum, to sip my morning coffee and read the Reader, I opened a note from John and followed the link to his blog and the comment posted last night to his latest entry, and looked at the latest update to my classroom’s tumblr…this seems wordy for some reason… and then it hit me, OUCH, one must not become something one is not!
Simple really, but then so am I some days. I realized that what I have been missing in the last few weeks as I have joined the ‘New World Order’ in an attempt to morph into this Web 2.0 21st Century Teacher was that I must adapt but not lose my voice, or as a student so eloquently stated in a reblog to a previous posting last night, my Passion:
“So I wrote this a few months back on my other blog. I guess I was just frustrated with how people were acting and such, and this was a way to express my feelings freely. I feel like when you read this, you can tell that I’m really speaking with my voice (or conviction), with passion. Like, I wanna do something. Like I want to change things, not just sit around and let them pass by. I want people to know, WHO I AM, and not just what they claim to see. So that’s why I’m putting this on here now. A) Cause I like how I wrote it, B) cause it shows how I can really speak with a voice, and an opinion.”
(Posted by a student of mine, and yes, we are working on the conventions of grammar, like, well you know, the things that need to be fixed, cause, like…anyway…)
The point here is that as I read through many postings, blogs too numerous to count, and listened to podcast after podcast, I became disenfranchised from the argument, removed by the overwhelming number of responses to the idea that technology must and will change the classroom. What I am now beginning to see is that the baby does not have to be thrown out with the chalk board, so to speak. Again, duh, and apologies to all those who are light years ahead of me in this mind set. I finally understand that after reading RandsInRespose I can keep my sense of elocution, my verboseness, my understanding of humour, and retain that which makes me a human in all my contacts with other humans; that being my passion for learning and my respect for the humanness of others. Whew…
I will endeavour to catch up to the rest of the world in terms of utilizing the newest technology, and will continue to impart the latest lingo to my learners, but will also strive to maintain the good teaching practises that I use everyday. I will venture to understand the why I am using the technology and the how it relates to my curriculum. (This idea was first introduced to me after Ferguson shared a blog by from his The Thinking Stick site, but only became clear after a few days worth of cogitation!) And I hope that I can do this without loosing my voice, my sense of self, the MEness, (is that a word, and is that a question that an English teacher should be asking?) that I use everyday in the classroom to engage the students as willing participants in the learning paradigm. I do want my students to use technology but not at the expense of their human voices, nor do I want my students to simply learn to write hamburger essays, or make a bunwich” as MW stated in his comment to John, essays that lack conviction but somehow satisfy some Diploma Marker hidden away in the Ivory Tower that resides within the nebulous world known as the Department of Education!!!( !!! = dum dum dum, delivered with ominous tones…)
I am stoked to continue to learn, as evident by the fact that I am about to begin a Masters Program. I am excited about coming to grips with the new philosophies out there in regards to how the educational system must change. However, what I am really excited about is to start putting good teaching practises together with new approaches in education and getting better as a front-line English Language Arts Teacher!
So new, yet so far behind. So old, yet so willing to catch up!

1 comment:

John Ferguson said...

What encourages me in the journey we are on, to transition our teaching practices and philosophies to one that incorporates what we are learning about the 21st century learner, is the ability to let the individual student find his/her voice in our system.

Students no longer have to represent every thought into some highly structured written assignment. Technology, I find, allows the student's inner voice to shine through with some sort of creativity that I couldn't comprehend.

Teaching is really just learning how to learn. Do I learn the same way I did 2 years ago? Nope...not even close. Should my students be learning the same way I was taught or in the same or similar manner in which I'm learning today.

Just keeping the passion alive!