politics, public school, Uncategorized

Doesn’t Every Child Deserve a Private Education?

I don’t usually write about political issues but during this time of great decision making for our Presidential office and Supreme Court appointees, it’s difficult to remain quiet. I’ve been making the rounds to a few private schools, and I am always amazed at the luxurious facilities and technology-laden schools I have the privilege of working with. Some schools have amazing working and learning spaces with moveable furniture, iPads on stands for student access, as well as successful 1 to 1 technology plans.  There are beautiful libraries with roaring fireplaces and cushy places to read, collaborate, and study. I walk away in awe. In fact, sometimes I just want to have a cup of coffee, find a book and stay. At around 5 I might hear, “um, Ma’am, its time to go home now.”

You see, I come from the public school sector and have been conditioned to accept what is given and not complain. Teachers in the public sector spend time coming up with ways to purchase basic necessities and fundraise for extra projects and programs.

So its no wonder I drool over some of the, shall we say, well-endowed places I have seen. I shared a few pictures of a private school I visited with a retired teacher of public schools. Without missing a beat, her response was that all children should have that kind of education. Her statement struck a chord with me and after thinking it over, I have to agree. Why doesn’t our country provide outstanding educational facilities and educators to everyone? Why is it only the wealthy get to experience facilities loaded with everything you could imagine; from access to the latest technology to healthy foods to sporting facilities and outstanding educators? How did we become so accustomed to discrepancies of access to high quality education and outstanding facilities for kids across our great nation?

In the midst of these thoughts we have a water crisis that speaks volumes to our nations infrastructure and we have students who attend schools that are unclean or unsafe. How can our country boast its importance in the world when we are failing to take care of our children’s basic needs? Schools should be equitable, safe, and yes, even luxurious. Students spend approximately 18,000 hours of their life in k-12 grades. Why wouldn’t we make those places beautiful? We’ve become complacent and too accepting of the status quo. Every child deserves an amazing education, clean water, technology, great educators and healthy food. It is disheartening to say the least. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you walked into a school and couldn’t tell if it was a private or public school?  I don’t have the answers but remain hopeful that the next wave of public servants will impact our country for the better and improve public education.

Widespread public access to knowledge, like public education, is one of the pillars of our democracy, a guarantee that we can maintain a well-informed citizenry.

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instructional tech, Uncategorized

Four Great Ways to Stay Epic in Your Classroom

4 WAYS TO STAY INSPIRED
created by me at Canva.com

This time of year can be challenging for teachers because it is the time of testing, test prepping, and yearning for that upcoming spring break. Students begin counting the days until summer and graduation. Last night at our dinner table my teens had the number down pat! 58 more actual school days and 93 total days till graduation. The school year is a roller coaster of ups and downs, fatigue and energy, testing and “thanks goodness that test is over!”, ups and downs.

 

I encourage you to stay fresh in your ideas and teaching during this time of year no matter how much your neighboring teacher is complaining of exhaustion and frustration. Stay true to your passion to educate and engage your students. Here are four ways to stay current, excited, and fresh in your teaching.

Twitter

  • Being a connected educator on Twitter is one of the best things I have done as an educator. Twitter feeds me new ideas, brings new people into my professional life, and inspires me to continue my own learning. Try participating in a Twitter chat to discover new ideas and connect with educators just like you. Check out this list of online educational chats happening everyday on Twitter. If being connected on Twitter doesn’t push you to learn something new everyday, nothing will! Remember that if you are new to Twitter it might feel a little slow at first, but once you start popping into chats and following the right people, it will pick up momentum. I tell new teachers to Twitter to click on who I am following and then start following those people. It isn’t perfect, but its a start to finding the right educators to follow.

Edcamps

  • Edcamps are a stress free and fun way to learn from other professionals and its completely learner driven. Edcamps have no set agenda and anyone can share information and lead sessions. Teachers, administrators, and other educators are welcome to come. Edcamps can be found across the nation. Check out the list of Edcamps here.

Your Students

  • Sometimes inspiration is right in front of us. Ask your students what their passion project would be and what it would look like. I have seen passion projects, or genius hour completely revive a classroom with excitement and interest. Read this teacher’s blog about her middle school genius hour. We get so caught up in teaching to a scripted curriculum that we can miss opportunities to engage students more deeply in content for which they are passionate. Letting your students lead the way can energize you and your students. I see a lot of teacher wait to begin until after all the testing is over. I say go ahead and jump in now! You will be amazed at what your students come up with.

Online Courses

  • Taking an online course can inspire you in a couple of ways. First, it  provides CEU’s or CCU’s, (insert your preferred acronym here). These credit hours usually help you move increase your salary. Who doesn’t like the idea of higher pay?! And secondly, you will be able to learn some great information in a really short time. Quality online courses are well organized, packed full of great content, and thoroughly engaging as well as available 24/7. Check out the online courses at edcelerate.org for educational technology courses for about half the price of most online classes. Their classes are accredited through Brandman University, in California.

Take heart that spring is here and keep your teaching fresh with these ideas. What is your favorite way to stay current and engaged with teaching? I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts!