Friday, May 31, 2019

Poseur Poser

Poseur Poser

I am driven by Passion
not my passion
but others

I read a book
on punk rock
and I picked up
on the writer's Passion
and I became passionate
about another's Passion

I listen to punk
I enjoy punk
I am passionate about punk
but I am not Passionate

I am no Zelig
I don't attend shows
I don't wear leather
or dog collars
or safety pin my ears
I am only passionate
about the music

Can you love something
without being in love with it?
Can I listen
without living it?

I tell myself
It is about the music
not the lifestyle
not the drama
not the scene
but what if
I am wrong?

Consumed by Consumption

consumed by consumption

do i binge
movies         no
film nevermovies

paralyzed by production

do i write
movies         no
flim nevermovies

subsumed by social

do i post
fb         no
twttr neverfb

there is no quiet
either i create
or i consume
or share

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Leaving Public Education

I was listening to a podcast today and one of the panelists mentioned she was a former teacher. As I continued listening I realized my perception of her had changed (not for the better) and I realized it was because she is a 'former' teacher.

I started to think about all of the reasons why I would negatively judge a former teacher, and remember this a judgemental and I know it:

  1. They thought the job was easy, and then when they found out it wasn't they left. 
  2. It was something to do until they decided what they really wanted to do.
  3. They can't hack it. (Insert whatever the word 'it' means to you.)
  4. They wanted to raise a family. Ok, this one needs explaining. I don't mean they want to have children and stay with them until they are grown up or in school. What kind of monster do you think I am? What I mean is they say they want to raise a family as an excuse to quit. Remember, I already pointed out I am judging.
  5. They want to make more money.  This one is a trap in my thinking. I mean, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make more money. Also, we know what we are getting paid when we sign the contract. Also, teachers are underpaid. Also, teachers have bills. Somewhere in all that is the problem. They judge the value of the work solely in monetary terms. Again, judging!
  6. They think kids these days are horrible. I can't even...
And this is the problem I have to address with myself, it shouldn't matter to me why they left. It isn't my business. I think that the teaching profession is somehow more than just a job where people come and go. It isn't, despite my romanticism of it. And as long as I romanticize it I will keep judging the people that leave, and that isn't right. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Why Do People, or Government Agencies, Have Social Media Accounts If They Never Plan to Be Social?

I saw that the US Department of Education, @usedgov, was hosting a Twitter chat tonight so being the curious person I am I decided to go check out their Twitter page. I noticed that they followed 151 accounts so I wandered in to see who they deemed worthy of following. Can you imagine my surprise when I saw the account followed only a handful of educators, and they are ambassadors for the department. Other than that, I found they follow no educators.

While I know there is plenty of opportunity for negative tweets to be sent to the account and this might explain why there is not much community creation by this and other accounts that have high followers but few followees, I still think they are missing out on the point. There is a real opportunity for the Department of Education to have good conversations with educators and barring that there is still a real opportunity for it to read tweets from a few select educator accounts that are talking about important things.

Should the Department of Education follow more educators? I would love for your insights. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Open Up Commenting

I don't believe blogging is dead. I believe that blogging conversations are. There was a time when a new education blog post could drive a ton of traffic on Twitter. We would leave comments on the post and 'back-channel' here. Then, along came the trolls. So many of the more highly followed ed blogs started to turn off comments. They did not want to have to constantly guard against angry, inappropriate comments that did not further conversations.

Did this contribute to blogs becoming less influential, and less influential here? I would think so. There are still tons of educators writing blogs, but are we seeing those ideas being discussed here? Are they driving conversations?

I have had many, many interesting conversations around tweets lately, but only one that focused on a blog post. The post was actually written about tweets. So, what are we losing out on if we aren't reading/sharing/commenting on blog posts? 

Probably the most important thing is the freedom to time shift the conversations long enough to think critically about the post and our reply. The well thought out and unhurried conversation. Am I the only one that thinks we need to go back to this?

Let's start by opening up commenting. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Student Walk-Up Songs

I'm a rebel just for kicks, now
I been feeling it since 1966, now

Portugal. The Man

When a baseball player walks up to bat, you will often hear a song being played. Each player has a different song and that song means something to the player. This is commonly referred to as a walk-up song.

I adopted Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man as my unofficial school walk-up song last year. I was born in the 60's, my teen years were in the 80's and being a 'rebel just for kicks' seems to perfectly encompass my attitude. (And yes, I am very aware of the privilege I have to be able to say that.) 

I would occasionally ask a student what their walk-up song was last year, but that is a really hard thing to do without some serious (or maybe not so serious) thought. This year I have decided to make the question my first homework assignment of the year.

The students will be asked to pick a song that will tell me something about who they are. We will discuss what makes a song school appropriate and how we must be aware that public behavior may have to be different than private behavior. This is a very important continuous discussion with junior high students. This will also be a great time to discuss how social studies is much more than studying history and geography.

The students will share the lyrics they feel reflect themselves and we will listen to a snippet of it. My goal is to get a feel for what they think it is important I know about them as well as what kinds of music they are listening to. This will help inform some of my music choices for the class as well. Maybe we will make a class playlist too.

I would love some feedback on this idea. What would you do differently? What questions would you ask? How would you modify this lesson to work in your classroom? 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Blogging Is Dead (Nope)

I used to blog.

The Twitter thread has taken the place of the long form writing blog post. Somewhere between the end of a lot of RSS readers and the ability to link tweets together blog posts started to get fewer and fewer. Eventually, it seemed posting became relatively rare (with certain exceptions.)

I personally quit posting here, except for the occasional poem, years ago. I also quit regularly visiting other blogs that I would go to every day with my morning coffee. Maybe I was burned out, maybe I was over-busy, maybe I found something else to do I preferred. I don't believe that I am the only one.

Have conversations over complex issues become too simplified on Twitter? I suppose that depends on your own perception. I do know that I learned much more about people whose opinions I trust by reading blog posts over tweets. Respect was earned on a blog.

Is it time to rejuvenate my blog? I think so. I am planning on my students blogging this coming year, something that I have not had them do in years. That means I better get to it myself. Would you like to join me and start/continue writing on a blog? Maybe we together can make the medium an even more valuable learning space.

I would like to take this space to thank the amazing educators that have continued to blog over the years. I have learned much from you and you have challenged me over and over. If you had quit like I did, I wouldn't be doing this now. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pictures In the Hallway

In the hallway of my school
There are pictures of former students
Their graduation photos reflect the excitement
and promise for the future the must have felt
Most are gone now, graduating from this life.
And I wonder, where did their time go?
My own picture hangs in a hallway and
students must look at it and wonder about me.
What was his life like?
Just as I ponder the lives of those in my hallway.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Things He Left Behind, The Things I Leave Behind

I wouldn't choose to walk through the rooms with all the debris my dad left behind.
He had no idea he would not have the time to pick it up.
Every thing I see makes me wonder what will be out of place when I die.
What things will be too painful for my kids to notice.
I consider cleaning.
I consider getting rid of the mementos that I know will be meaningless when I am gone.
Will that make it easier for my kids when they walk through my rooms when I am gone?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Power of Other People's Words

The Power of Other People's Words

Rarely do we inspire ourselves
We don't say or write things that
make us want to do better
or be better.

But the power of other people's words
can cause us to stop and pause,
reflecting on parts of our lives
we have long forgot.

The power of other people's words
can inspire us to change our lives
or work to change the lives
of others.

The power of other people's words
can demand we take action
to vocalize our anger, or terror
or dismay.

The power of other people's words
make me want to do better,
to be better.

That is the power of other people's words!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Poem, September 8

What is a life well-lived?
Can a short life measure compare
to a longer one?
What is more valuable, excitement and adventure
or longevity and consistency?
Do you prefer the idea of celebrating
your retirement or others celebrating
at your wake?
Do the dead enjoy memories of a life gone too soon
or of a long-lived life?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Poem, September 7

What will it mean
when I hold my first grandchild?

Will I finally be able to accept I am no longer young,
That my time to be an adult is overdue?

Will I reject the feelings of age, rebelling against societies (or my own)
expectations of what a GRANDPA must necessarily be?

Will I simply quit, for a moment at least, living in my head
and finally enjoy the simple pleasure of holding a new baby?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Poem, September 6

Game Day Ritual

Turn the channel to College Gameday
I need to see what They say about the Hogs.
I wait for the phone call from dad.
The ritual of the phone call every time they play

He won't be calling anymore
That ritual died when he did.

comes the text.
Are you ready for the game?
A new game day ritual starts with my daughter.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Poem, September 5


You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone meant
nothing to a teenager who had everything
and had lost so little

Amazing how the songs of youth
become the painful triggers of the old

You see, nostalgia isn't about recapturing joy of the past
it is instead a way to escape the painful
memories of the present

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Poem, September 4

How much time should a teacher spend
Learning more about the content
Simply to keep alive the love
and excitement
Of learning more about the content?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Poem, July 21


These words are not mine
They were given to me by
all the authors and singers and speakers.
So if I use one of your words please
remember, you taught it to me

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Poem, July 20


I would love to
and state my opinion but
last time I got castigated
now I am

Monday, July 18, 2016

Poem, July 18


The old don't shrink because of loss of bone density, or muscle mass or even the wearing away of cartilage.

They shrink from the weight pressing on their shoulders from the loved who are no longer there to shore them up.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Poem, July 17


Why am I so surprised by the number, and the power of the memories associated with old clothes?

'This was one of my favorites," she smiled as she held up the dress, not bothering to share those memories. 

I rarely am drawn back simply by the sight of old clothes, clothes are simply too utilitarian.