Video example of the wonderful resources for the Winter Olympics from the BBC, Winter Olympics Sports Explained. Found here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/winter-olympics/25688943
I threw this together pretty quickly (will remake better when I get time) but was reminded about it when thinking about how important "all in" is when learning. How important it is to shut off our conscious mind and let things in.
When learning, we learn more if we don't try, don't have our conscious mindkeeper on. (see this article). Same goes for teaching, we are better teachers when we don't try, when it is natural and "all in". Go with it, teach, or get the hell out of there .....
It was Bukowski's epitaph - Don't Try. I remixed his great poem and came up with this to inspire teachers. So you want to be a teacher.doc I think tonight in honor of the old bard, I'll dip into the great documentary about his life - Born Into This (also could be an inspiring motto and poem for a teacher).
Hat tip to Jason Levine for the creative prompting.
There are many well known ones that I've posted about before here and here. Here, I'd like to highlight a few of those "under the radar" but which are stellar nonetheless. These will all really get you thinking and perfect for workshops and courses on the topic of technology and education.
1. When I grow up ...
Simple and inspiring. Shows the changing world of education that students will learn in and the changing world we must prepare students for.
2. 21st Century Education
Kinetic typography brings out the message that the world will indeed be different for our students.
3. First World Problems
This video really puts things into perspective. We need to think wider about the future, a future for all our planet's citizens.
4. The Networked Student
Explores the ideas of George Siemens and connectivism in a very interesting and accessible way.
5. The Future Of Learning: Sugata Mitra
Very short and simple summary of his ideas and research.
6. The Classroom has no walls
Inspiring declaration about online and anytime education.
7. If I Controlled The Internet
Slam poet really provides some provocative thought about how the internet should be.
8. The Information Revolution
A great summary of the changing way we are viewing information.
Bring Your Own Device outlined with a very practical example. The wave of the future.
10. Growing Iridescent Classrooms
Ira Socol offers up a call to rethink our schools and classrooms.
Here is a presentation / story that I play often to begin the school year or at the end for graduating teachers in my courses/trainings.
Just change the message on the last slide to suit your audience. Always inspiring! Download the powerpoint here.
Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0
Over the last 10 years, I've done a heck of a lot of presentations and workshops about technology - the new technological paradigm that is driving / transforming education everywhere. I'm busy getting together my presentations about technology into one place - but for the moment, see many on my teacher training presentation page or on my wiki ELT and Tech.
I often begin or end presentations with a short inspiring video about technology and education. Prompting schema and getting the juices flowing about this huge topic. Here are my top 5 videos for this purpose - you probably have some others and please let us know!
Honourable Mentions: Information R/evolution | Through Web 2.0 | Education Today and Tomorrow | The Future of Education - backwards | Digital Natives | A Vision Of Students Today | History of Ed Tech in photos | My own: Learning 2.0
#5 Technologic - Daft Punk
#4 21st Century Education
#3 Did You Know?
#2 Where Is It Written?
#1 When I Grow Up
Next up: Top 5 lectures about Educational Technology
If you liked this you might enjoy: Top 5 inspirational speeches for teachers
As teachers, I think it is very easy to under appreciate and even forget - how hard it is to learn another language. I've recently been struggling with my fourth and it is DAMN hard. I don't fail at much but think I might at this. However, the flip side is that it is giving me a deep appreciation and knowledge of what a language learner goes through. This is a gift to any language teacher - to be in the learner's shoes.
So this video I made goes out to all the students out there. Show it to your own students. If they keep practicing, practicing, practicing - their good shots will turn into great ones. And that's what it is all about.
I've been seeking inspiration for my own teaching. I'm still teaching online, working online, but will after a year outside "the regular classroom" be returning to the reality of 4 walls.
You can't replace F2F. I wrote a bit about missing this before and I've been yearning for awhile, to be back in the class, doing my thing. It will be a particularly special thing for me - I'll be returning to the university where I became a teacher and started my first steps down this wonderful vocation. I'll be able to give back what was given. Make a circle, that most perfect of symbols.
These reflections of Finne Cherian, a teacher in Canada, hit home. Take a listen as he talks about the essential things a teacher should do in the classroom. Especially a teacher of teachers. I'm listening.
Here's too is his award winning lecture: Unbinding Baby Elephants
If you liked this post - you might enjoy: Interview With Myself
A patchwork and "raw" post. It has been one of those weeks. Today, held in my arms for the first time, my niece's son - Riley. Couldn't have been happier. Tomorrow, heading to my coach's funeral. He died tragically this weekend. Life shines and life sucks.
Mr. Z was an amazing coach. I wouldn't be who I am today without his guidance and motivation - he's a part of that and in a strange way, lives on. A great father whose sons followed in his and his wife's footsteps as teachers. He was tough as nails and pushed us hard - we all appreciated that about him, at the end of the day. He never gave up, like a great teacher, like a great coach - he believed in his athletes, great or not so great.
Belief. That's what makes a great teacher and coach. Research is unequivocal on this point - students who have a teacher who believes they are intelligent, gifted, talented, great, outstanding - will undoubtably do better and achieve more. A student isn't born, they are made - made by the power of a teacher that believes and cares. It almost makes one think there is some invisible spirit and force which emanates from one and empowers another.
Mr. Z, is the guy with the beard. Here I am at 15. We'd won an all Ontario medal. It was just the beginning for me. I've won marathons and national championships, set a world record - but most importantly, I found something I loved, running. That wouldn't have happened without Mr. Z's faith in me. How he hounded me to train, to keep at it. He did. I never got a moments rest - he was always encouraging and keeping me in line. And believe me, there were many times I could have fallen and not got up. Thank you Mr. Z. Your belief made a big difference. I hope as a teacher, I can also "believe" in my students as strongly as you did.
I regret not having spent time with him nor telling him directly this. Here I am running in the Hamilton Spectator Games a few years ago. Rounding the 180m track at a speed that almost made me dizzy - I kept hearing this, "Go Deubel" from the stands. I did a warm down lap, looking up to see who it could be. Sure enough, there was Mr. Z. cheering me on like it was 1977 and I was 15 years old. I should have told him then.
But that's life, it never sits still. There is no center where things hold. We just have to live with our regrets, the best we can.
To end, I hope many of you will watch this video. It's about death and regret. A hard subject for your students. Still, if you do show it, it might just save them from the regrets I have at this moment.
There's a nice transcript to use in class.
What would the world be like without someone teaching another?
You make the world a better place.
Let's pat ourselves on the back and be happy that we make a difference. This video is for YOU.
If you liked this video you may enjoy reading: A Spring Message
** Not your ordinary, endless list - just what's number 1.
The Hey Jude Kid
This tottler, just 2 years old at the time, belts out "Hey Jude" with the best of them! Really inspiring and after watching, your students will be a little more apt to "take a swing" and just try to speak some English. He really helps lower the affective filter!
Strong seconds and recommendations go to: Lily - the Geography Genius and Andora Svitak - the young writing genius.
This is a truly inspiring soccer documentary, the best of the best. It tells the story of how amputees, former child soldiers in Liberia, came together and through soccer, found some healing. Told in a slow voice over, it is really easy to follow and offers a world of inspiration for anyone - especially during the World Cup season.
Here are two of my other favorite "inspiring" documentaries about soccer/football.
Kicking it! is an amazing film about the World Cup for homeless soccer teams. Incredible!
I speak(pick up) soccer (HULU) / Trailer looks at the world of pick up soccer around the world. A game that is truly everywhere, all the time.
Make sure to visit our World Cup resources!
** Not your ordinary endless list - just what's number 1. Just the BEST.
Bill Cosby's Carnegie Mellon Commencement Address.
Here it is below. It is beyond comment. Just listen. Perfect delivery, even students of higher levels can follow and understand. The message is immortal and I listen to this over and over, whenever I need the "will to carry on". Inspiring. Please tell us what it means to you.
I am writing to send out another echo, burp, scream, yelp, howl, whisper, warning, I love you, admonition, gaga-gogo - to all members about TED - Technology, Education and Design videos
Our player is great and has been a source of solace for me. Never fails. When life gets too hectic, I pour a glass of wine, click TED and get blown away. Blown away mostly by the emotion of the speakers. Without a doubt, it is that passion for their ideas and interests that really hits me in the gut and moves me. Ah, the human condition!
So I'd ask all members, when the world really has you by the throat. Kids screaming, bills to pay, errands to run, students to help -- when this all becomes too much. Pour yourself a glass of wine, click our player and listen to a random TED Talk. Surreal, it will make a difference to you.
For example - tonight I clicked and randomly played Jonathan Drori's talk - 4 things we think we know but don't.
Which got me thinking about how as educators we MUST do more to respond to children's questions and not our own thought of what they want to know. Negotiate the syllabus. What interests THEM? Also got me thinking about two presentations I made - asking Teachers and then Students about the questions that mattered to them. What's Worth Knowing. Ask your own students what they want to know....do it tomorrow! I also love his idea that students do better without teachers than with!!!!!! So much of teaching is reinforcing superstitions and wrong knowledge. It truly, truly IS.
Check out my fav. TED talks in this previous blog post. But really and truly, any one will do.
Remarkable People Unbelievable Talks, Free to the World
When I was a young(er) teacher, quite cut off and alone in a town in the Czech Rep. -- one of the books that were my best friends was "The Dimensions of the Present Moment" - a collection of essays by the Czech immunologist / poet , Miroslav Holub (more on him HERE). In one essay, he outlined how each breath / line of poetry is less than 3 seconds or 1 moment. He continued to outline how a moment can be defined as 3 seconds. About the time it takes to oxygenate over and over, the brain.
I've always returned to that thought, that moment.
This video really shows what moments are.... It could be used in class to great effect. Just go through and pause. Ask the students what is happening at that moment. If I have time this week, I'm going to make some learning material for this... enjoy the moments!
Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0
Hat's off to David Truss for helping me find this marvellous video!
#1 - One Buttocks Teaching.
Although not directly about teaching, Benjamin Zander relates with humor and intelligence, many important messages about teaching and relating/inspiring others. This is definitely number one and of high note!
Continuing on from our other BEST Videos series (Funniest / Inspiring Students), here are my pics for favorite videos to inspire teachers. They all contain important messages and I consider each and every one MUST viewing for any long term teacher. Honorable mentions to the following: Did you Know Pay Attention , Educational Quotes, Teaching How to Learn and Making a Difference.
See more INSPIRATIONAL Videos on EFL Classroom 2.0 HERE.
Also, many of these videos can be found on our unique TED Talks player. Convenience and inspiration for all teachers.
#2 - Education is destroying creativity.
Ken Robinson delivers in a dead pan style, a crie de coeur, an appeal for more creativity in education. He really questions the goals of education and gives all teachers inspiration to value each and every student.
# 3 Hole in the Wall.
Sugata Mitra shows us how powerful it is when we allow our students to teach each other. A cry for more collaborative learning and for unleashing the power within students. An appeal to the inductive and contructivist approaches with facts and results.
# 4 The Last Lecture
Randy Pausch, really gets down to the nitty gritty - what life is about. A superlative teacher, he gives his last lecture before his death and relates a special message of "what it is all about".
# 5 The Future of Learning
This video asks us the questions we should ask ourselves - about our own teaching. It encourages us to turn on our students by teaching through their digital world/life.
I just did a write up about the top 5 "funniest" videos about teaching English and also the Top 5 about learning English. Well received and I got lots of nice comments. So - I've decided to continue the series and reveal some more "gems" buried here in the hundreds of videos on EFL Classroom 2.0
I really think a BIG part of teaching is being a motivator. Especially with language where there often lacks a lot of intrinsic motivation (the stuff that lasts). Language takes a lot of time compared to other subjects and we just don't have that in our classrooms. So, if we can inspire our students to learn English or just to "reach for the stars", all the better. They'll be able to get there on our own. So without further ado - here are my top 5 for motivating and inspiring students. Special thanks to member Naima who shared a couple of these with us. Please add your own mentions too!
***** Coming next - the top 5 videos to inspire teachers!
Best Videos to inspire students.
** Honorable mentions. Lily the Geography Whiz Adora Svitak - young writer. Bruce Lee plays table tennis
1. Where the Hell is Matt (Series of 3 videos). - travel the world dancing with Matt!
2. The Message. Powerful and teaches a lot of English too!
#3 Jason McElwain shoot for the stars (and 3 pointers)
#4 The Hey Jude Kid
#5 If you fall down, you can always get back up!
I have the honor and privilege of quite often giving end of year, end of course, graduation and other speeches to teachers. I take it seriously and usually end with a story. Stories work well and inspire. One of the ones I've used most often is this one - MAKE A DIFFERENCE. But I have a number of personal anecdotes and also folktales. You can read many others in the thread I've been keeping - Stories to Inspire and Teach....
However, last week I was confronted with the task of giving a speech to a group that had heard many of my stories before..... so I pulled a story that has been around the internet - out of my hat. Today, It is originally a self-help story about life but it applies to teaching. So I remixed and made it teacher friendly. I hope it inspires someone!
Here's the Flash full screen version.
To me - Peace is about seeing the similarities within us all. We humans are hardwired for "difference". Our egos dominate and our identity over powers. But really 99.9% of us are similar, the same, part of all life. We need this wisdom of seeing the similarities - if we are ever to achieve peace. Teach your students to see "same" and how in our yearnings, our desires, our emotions, our bodies, we all equally participate in the drama of being human.
To this end, there was a recent experiment undertaken by a Swiss artist Olivier Suter. Read about it below. Amazing! Which one of these children are a boy , a girl? Which one is Palestinian, which one Israeli?
-- Thanks to Iqbal at Palestinian Mothers for bringing this to my attention. Please visit Project Peace for lots of great classrooms sharing songs of peace!
Can you tell the difference between an Israeli and a Palestinian?
By Dalia Karpel, Haaretz Correspondent
Tags: Palestinians, Olivier Suter
The advertisement published in Haaretz in March read "Wanted: people who look alike," and promised NIS 8,000 to anyone that could locate someone who looked like one of the eight people featured in the advertisement.
What the advertisement didn't say, was that the eight people pictured were Palestinians.
The ad was made by Swiss artist Olivier Suter, as part of his project 'Enemies', which focused on the absurd ways people identify "the other".
The advertisement is similar to a project Suter performed in Belgium, which asked viewers if they could dfferentiate between Flemish and French speakers.
Out of the dozens of photos he received, Suter picked a photo of an Israeli girl and a Palestinian boy who looked alike. The girl is one Hadas Maor, whose photo was sent in by her father, geography professor Yehuda Keidar.
Keidar, a long-time supporter of a two-state solution said "[David] Ben-Gurion was right when he said 'The Palestinians are not our cousins, they're our brothers. Turns out, they could be twins."
The Palestinian boy is named Adam Shurati and he was none too pleased about his likeness to a girl, according to his mother Nancy. Adam was further dismayed when his mother took him to have his hair cut to look like Hadas'.
Nancy, who lives in Bet Hanina, called the project "amazing" and said that her son's resemblance to an Israel girl surprised her.
"The project is a work of art meant for all of us, not just for the sake of art," Suter said.
Suter's next "Enemies" project will take place in Rwanda and the Congo.
I recently read an article about the continuing miraculous efforts of Greg Mortenson. It reminded me of his book and life and example and I thought I'd share it here today.
If you haven't heard of him, he's most widely known as the author of "Three Cups of Tea". A bestseller detailing his efforts to build schools in Afghanistan after being saved from some mountain villagers. He talks in the interview below about what "Three Cups of Tea" stands for and I also think it relates to a principle of life -- we should seek relationship rather than destruction and the best way is through common ground, sharing and getting to know each other as human beings. He awoke, saved by those villagers and after seeing them learning outside on the dirt, using sticks for pencils and the earth for paper -- he vowed to do something one school at a time.
I share with Greg the belief that if we think big but act local - we all can accomplish a lot, one student, one school at a time. We need this voice in our world, a voice of quiet action and community, a voice of investment in education (not only money, also time) and not guns and tanks....
Take a look at his blog and about CAI (Central Asia Institute) and his own work. It was an Outside magazine article that inspired me to spread his "good news" again... They have a couple of very interesting videos about Greg. In the first, you can even see him try his hand at teaching the kids English! Video 1 Video 2
Greg Mortenson Interview from KCK Public Library on Vimeo.
Today I launched Project Peace, a collaborative project where classrooms from all over the world can share peace videos of themselves. Watch the example videos there and download the songs/lyric cards and take pictures of your students. Put them together with the music and bingo! - you have a peace video. I'll be adding up lots of resources for classroom teachers to access for teaching peace.
I launched this project today in memory of John Lennon. Killed Dec. 8th, 1980 - aged 40. His message had always been love, friendship and peace. Especially through the power of music. As a teacher, I remember my early years teaching in the Czech Rep. and every Dec. 8th, going to the John Lennon wall in Karlovy Vary with students (yes, we'd just leave class early!) and singing his songs. Holding candles of hope.
Why isn't "peace" part of the curriculum in our schools? We have everything else it seems. Yet peace gets short shrift - however it is the MOST vital component of education. Presently, our curriculum is formed around teaching "differences". It really truly is. Look at any science or math, or social studies unit. Look deeply and you will see how it is organized in divisions. We teach students from a young age about differences, to see and divide and delineate. Even in the Deweyian sense of school being a social and enculturating mechanism, we teach students about WE, our country, our difference. Nowhere is that most miraculous fact of life celebrated - that we are SIMILAR. Much more similar than different. Alligators, amoeba, Albert Einstein and Mickey Mouse are all more similar than different. We are all invested in LIFE, we are all on this planet earth, we are all part of the miracle that is our journey here......
Why don't we teach similarities and by default PEACE? This age we live in, if you haven't noticed, is an age of the eve of destruction. Death and war and annihilation are norms, you can't turn your head from it , even if you live in a "peaceful" suburb. How do we get our children to stay as children (and this was Picasso's point when he said, "the problem of life is not to become an adult but how to stay as a child". ) and not grow into monsters of destruction? This is John Lennon's message, "give peace a chance". This is my own...... Decide today and participate in something peaceful. It is these small steps that make a difference....
Give Peace a Chance
Establishing lasting peace is the work of education;
all politics can do is keep us out of war.
Listen to this HERE. INFO here
Ads seek to bolster distribution of laptops for Third World children
By Steve Lohr
NEW YORK: After a rocky beginning, the nonprofit group One Laptop Per Child thinks that an advertising campaign will give a lift to its effort to place low-cost laptops in the hands of children in developing nations.
About 500,000 of the group's light and rugged machines are being used in 31 countries, including Cambodia, Peru, Uruguay, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Ethiopia and Rwanda. But the cost of the laptops, at less than $200 each, has been prohibitively high for many countries, and the number of laptops distributed has fallen short of projections.
An additional 500,000 of these XO laptops are in transit or being built, and should be in use by early next year, said Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of the education and computing project.
The marketing campaign seeks to increase those numbers sharply.
Television time, billboard space and magazine pages are being donated by media companies, including News Corp.,
The goal, Negroponte says, is greatly increasing the donation program, "Give a Laptop. Get a Laptop. Change the World." For $399, a person can donate an XO laptop and also receive one. Or donors can simply donate $199, to give a child a laptop, at www.amazon.com/xo.
The advertising time is donated, and the spots are expected to start conversations. One spot is an uplifting vision of a 7-year-old girl in a South African township, sitting in a dark room, her face lighted only by the laptop's glow. "With education, we will solve our own problems," she says.
Another TV spot says children learn quickly, whatever their tools of survival are - whether loading an AK-47 or mastering an XO laptop.
Other settings show child labor camps and child prostitutes. "There are some very challenging scenes," said Paul Lavoie, chairman of Taxi, the agency that created the ads.
Other innovative ads are in the works. Negroponte is talking to Yoko Ono about using lifelike digital images of John Lennon in ads discussing the opportunity to end the digital divide between rich and poor nations.
Marketing, Lavoie says, can help the program move toward its original goal of a $100 laptop, which is possible only with the economies of high-volume manufacturing. "To get there, they need to sell a lot of computers," he said.
See More Great Olympic Moments
As I wrote in my first blog post on the Olympics - the Olympics are the perfect, "teaching moment". I hope many teachers will "seize the day" and use the Olympics to get their students learning -- not just English but the history of the human spirit.
Please see all the materials I've made and collected here in our Resource Share area. Lots there to chose from.
BAAM is a great game and just have the students try to guess the sport or country.....
The Jeopardy could be fun with the right levels..... Also, play any of the presentations as a game. Stop the video before the answer pops up and ask for the correct answer. Play "Whiteboard Soccer" to keep track of points! [draw a soccer pitch, form 2 teams, magnet is the ball. correct team keeps control of the ball, advances the ball. 3 correct to score. ].
I"d highly recommend the Olympic project I've attached. In pairs, students can collect information on an Olympic country and also profile the country as an Olympic nation. Even guess the Beijing medal count! Offer a prize to the teams that were closest! Get them presenting the information or making a nice big poster of the information for the class/school walls. Enjoy!
I've also attached a run down of the best videos of the Olympics. A very complete list, please pass on and get your friends excited! Lots of learning in these videos and here are just a sample from the attached list..... My favs...
Derrick Redmond pulls up injured and his father helps him finish. The REAl Olympic spirit revealed.
Never give up - Steve Bradbury does the first "Bradbury"!
U.S.A defeats Canada at Lake Placid! REAL great stuff and I admire it (despite my Canuckness...)
Here's Ali lighting the Olympic flame to begin the games in LA!
Please enjoy the list!
Korean Marathon History Sohn.doc
I've competed at the highest end of athletics but never made the Olympics. I yearned, I tried but the Canadian standards just couldn't be met and the sport I really truly excel in and was Can. champion in, ultrarunning, despite yearly campaigns, never made it to the Olympics (yet). So, each Olympic year, each Olympic season, my blood cell count increases, my nerve endings twitch and I'm back there again -- yearning to be a champion.
I think on some level, we all have our own "wish for excellence" and deeply understand this drive to excel. It's this drive we have to turn on in our students and there is no better teachable moment than the Olympics! And unlike a butterfly on the window ledge, this moment lasts 3+ weeks!
So use the Olympics, even in Sept. to uplift your students, get them to dream and be their best -- and of course, learn a little English....
Larry Ferlazzo has already listed some very good resources for us EFL teachers. I'll be doing the same next post (Part II) and also find games/presentations on the main page.....slowly drifting in. This BAAM game should get you started! Also, find here some great worksheets from the Olympic Museum....
But let's test your own knowledge of the Olympics today, of the heroes that uplift us. Take a look at this presentation -- how many of these heroes can you name? What Olympics. Part II, I'll post up the finished presentation with answers . Enjoy - Higher, Faster, Stronger!
Here's my greatest Olympic moment -- Billy Mills and the 10,000 metre victory in Tokyo, 1964. Still brings a twinge to this old athlete....Wow! Compare it too with the movie version! Here are some really cool Olympic momentsand look in our A/V player for many more next week. I'll be uploading the best of the best for quick classroom viewing...
The internet is changing the face of Non-profit work. Kiva.org is a perfect example of this. A group of strangers or friends can come together to pool their money to make micro-loans to borrowers that have their own profiles detailing their location and business plan. When the loan is paid back lenders are offered the opportunity to withdrawal the money, or roll it over into a new loan.
You can also go to companies like Vestergaard-Frandsen and individually donate life-saving products like high tech mosquito netting or water purifiers. I am getting a kick out of this company. They are providing low-tech, practical, and effect solutions for world poverty.
Here is my proposal. I want bloggers, teachers, nerdfighters, MySpace and Facebook thugs to agree to pool $25 each month. I want people to propose NGO's, websites, projects, and individuals to receive a pool of money funded by participants. Each member would be responsible for sending their donations directly to the selected recipient groups, projects, and individuals would voted on by the group each month. Nominees should exemplify the new generation of Aid Organisations, have verifiable and clear results and goals, and generally constructed to genuinely reduce world suck.
This hardly has to be at a grand scale. I estimate a close knit group of about 12 people would be a manageable and effective. I am uncertain as what a proper venue would be for such a project as I would be drawing on people from Myspace, facebook, Nerdfights.ning.com, EFLclassroom.ning.com, LiveJournal, and whoever those reading this care to pass the word on too. I think if enough people could be convinced to open a Ning.com account I am sure that would be a great venue for such a project.
Any thoughts or suggestions? If you are interested be sure to message me or comment as I am not a mind reader.
Listen and Read the NEWS here!
Returning to the Classroom
By Kathie Marshall
Teacher Leaders Network Is it true you can’t go back? I’m about to find out.
Six years ago, after a 26-year career as a classroom teacher, I opted to become a middle school literacy coach in the Los Angeles public school system. It was a stimulating career change in many ways. For the first time I had some breathing room. I was able to gaze out beyond the four walls of my classroom and the immediate needs of my own students and examine the educational world at large.
In my role as a supporter of other teachers, I’ve had the opportunity to immerse myself in the “best practice” literature and to carry out action research. Much to my delight, I’ve learned that many of the instructional practices I figured out along the way have been judged effective by education researchers. And they actually have names: constructivist, performance-based, inquiry-based, active learning, student-centered learning, choice, differentiation.
In my emerging role as a teacher leader, I was also fortunate to be invited to join the Teacher Leaders Network. For the past three years, I’ve participated in a virtual professional community filled with smart, insightful teachers. I’ve learned a great deal about education policy and found public and private venues to give voice to what I value in curriculum and instruction.
Now I am ready for another challenge. I can feel my passion for coaching other teachers is waning. It seems my heart never left the classroom, and I’m in need of a new creative outlet, having accomplished everything I could figure out to accomplish in my role as literacy coach. I want my own classroom again—my own students, my own daily classroom routines, my own opportunity to make a difference with individual children who find themselves within my personal sphere of influence.
As part of a partnership, teachermagazine.org publishes this regular column by members of the Teacher Leaders Network, a professional community of accomplished educators dedicated to sharing ideas and expanding the influence of teachers.
Interestingly, because of my many years as an educator, my recent tour of duty as a professional developer, and the fact that I have a Master’s in administration, almost everyone I talk to about this career-shift wonders what has gotten into me.
It seems that stepping back into the classroom is most often perceived as a step backwards. I’m hearing, from colleagues and supervisors alike, questions like: Why are you returning to the classroom? You really want to teach again? Your perspective is so much broader than the average teacher; don’t you think you belong at the district level? You should be a principal! Why?! You’re going to be tired, Kathie!
Ah, and therein lies the rub. When I return to the classroom next fall, I will be turning 61 years of age—no longer a cheery 20- or 30-something, or even a sprightly 50-something! My energy levels may have dropped, but the paperwork certainly will not have. Nor have I managed over my decades as an educator to rein in my impulse to do everything “just so.” There’s plenty of hard work ahead.
The saving grace for me, though, is the fact that I actually find middle school students energizing. Crazy, hormonal, silly, vexing, incessant, yes, but energizing nonetheless. As a literacy coach, my happiest times have been when I was welcomed into class to do demonstration lessons. So I am not at all concerned about having the energy to teach all day in a classroom filled with lively adolescent minds.
I will admit, however, that the paperwork is another issue altogether. As a literacy coach, I have not had to take home reams of essays to correct at night and over weekends. I’ve had no grades to compute and no parents to contact. No papers to photocopy or forms to fill out for the office. You know the endless drill.
Fortunately, as I prepare for my return to the classroom, I bring with me a mature appreciation for professional literature. One of the first things I’ve done as I anticipate my plunge back into a sea of children is to pick up a copy of Carol Jago’s Papers Papers Papers: An English Teacher’s Survival Guide. I’ve just begun to dip into Jago’s advice (which includes “Ten Tips for Handling the Paper Load” – oh yes!). It’s a comfort to know there may be answers for me that will make my transition back to the classroom a little easier.
As Ms. Jago says in the introduction, “(W)e must not allow it to become the case that only teachers without families or a life outside the classroom are able to teach children to write well. It should not be necessary to sacrifice every evening and all day Sunday to the grind of grading papers.”
I’ll second that! In early June, my little granddaughter Sofia will be joined by her new baby brother, Jack Thomas. Much to my dismay, my grandchildren live 400 miles away; and although I will be completely devoted to my students come September, I will need time to talk to Fifi and her mommy via Skype or the phone, and to create the next series of photo storybooks at Kodak Gallery for little JT. Plus, my oldest daughter just moved back to New York, so I will need time to travel.
Being a mother and a grandmother continues to be a huge priority for me. So I know finding balance remains the key. But I have four more years until I retire, and I intend to make the most of every moment.
I still consider teaching my highest calling. A return to the classroom is just what I need to get my passion back.
Kathie Marshall is a veteran language arts teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Her article about the importance of service learning for at-risk students in the middle grades appeared in the March 2008 online edition of Educational Leadership.
This isn't exactly "EFL" stuff but it is very much "LIFE" stuff and since language is life.....I have to write about it.
I stumbled across this blog and the story of a man, a film maker who took a photo a day for 18 and a half years! YES, 18.5 years! The photos are collected at this site (though it is sometimes on, sometimes off) and show a remarkable story of a man's life. Ups and downs and most importantly his struggle with cancer and early death. More info. on Jamie Livingston here and here.
An amazing, almost surreal site. Something that just makes one ponder "what is a life"? and more importantly, "what is its purpose?"
I have no answer, just questions. Also just wonder at this amazing, photographic story.....
ANNE GEDDES GALLERY>>
Anne Geddes is an Australian-born photographer, clothing designer and businesswoman who now lives and works in New Zealand. She is well-known for her stylised depictions of babies and motherhood. Her work is extremely idealized; babies in her photographs are almost always sleeping or staring blankly into space, as if still in the womb. This has led to criticism of her photography as being overly sentimental, even grotesque. Nevertheless, she has been very successful; her books have been published in at least fifty countries.
I've always, my whole life long, had the sneaking suspicion that adults really didn't know much and were just as scared as us kids and as frightfully "groping". My suspicions were confirmed as I reached adulthood and realized that adults don't "know it all", nor possess some magical "togetherness".
Same with teachers. I've been there and confirmed it! They are usually just one step ahead of the students or their lessons are so full of B.S. that it is just to give the appearance of learning or more precisely, the apearance that they are "teaching".
But where teachers can make a difference is in the area of "inspiration" and motivation. We will always need teachers for this -- even when the new digital age gives us the possiblity and tools to learn at home, learn anywhere and quickly, in small cooperative/sharing groups.
That is what I try to do and which "affects" all I teach. Does it allow those insights, that freedom which will let students reach "for what's a heaven for ?" Do I make them see their potential and not their inability and set my class up for success? Is the future on my mind, and not just the need to "cover up" and get through the moment and this day?
Here's an inspiring video. Put your feet up , feel the words and music and realize that as a teacher, you are in that race and doing so much and can do so much more....
I've also attached for insightful reading, a great article, a bit about the same thing.
These calendars, you can edit and personalize for your own classroom. Really great way to learn about holidays around the world, important dates etc.... Each group designs and researches one month.
Also get inspiration with our free EFL Classroom 2.0 calendar!
Go HERE to see all our inspirational ppts in Video or see all of these in quick, one mouse click flash on our Practice page. Just scroll down to that category.
It's my own "clean" secret - that I produce a heck of a lot of inspirational powerpoints! I borrow from others, remix, make from scratch, edit, add music, splice, make flash files but most of all try to inspire.
But you might want to carry these around for non internet use or just remake what I've done.... They are great for story telling and higher level thinking.....
Here are a few.
Here are a few frequently requested posters you can use to decorate your work area or classroom.
This timer will allow you to change the picture and set the time for any length.....to change the picture click Format / background / arrow (fill effects) / upload photo / apply to all .....
Go here for some writing posters.
We are closing in on 1,200 videos in our catalogue here at EFL Classroom 2.0. So many amazing ones.
I'd like to know which one here (or elsewhere) you really liked. Why? I'd also to encourage members to rate the videos and photos. This really helps others find useful stuff. Just click on the stars.
I showed one of my favs, a Ted talk video of Ken Robinson discussing if "Schools kill creativity in our children". I like it especially for how he can be so funny then so deadly serious. This kind of "presenting" is so human and so effective. If you haven't watched it, take a look!
Looking forward to your fav. video mentions....for class or yourself.
I'd like to share in this forum and would like others to share, short stories that might apply to education / teaching and that will inspire. I believe stories and a narrative are powerful, whether in our classroom or for our own professional development and reflection.
Here is my other series for professional development - Learning Through Stories.