Blue Serials (4/3/16)
Go Not Softly Into That Dark Budget Cut
It’s been several wild weeks for #OklaEd and #OKPE4PE (the definitive Facebook Group for Parents & Educators who support public education in Oklahoma). I’m sure more weirdness is coming. The beauty of it is that we never know what or when.
Where is fairly predictable.
In the meantime, though, it’s possible you’ve missed some quality edu-bloggery from #OklaEd and beyond – some of which isn’t even about fighting legislative insanity.
Must-Reads From the Past Week
What I Am For! – Scott Haselwood, Teaching From Here, reminds us that while we’re so often backed into battles over what we’re against, there are far more important things we’re actually, you know… FOR.
It’s far too easy to forget this simple reality. Fortunately, Haselwood not only reminds us, but does it so very well.
Be FOR @TeachFromHere on the Twittering, and I suspect he’ll remind you of many good realities along the way. It’s kinda his thing. #oklaed
On Advocacy and Activism – Cory Williams, An Early Modern Millennial, ponders the blur between educator and advocate, citizen and employee, and the unending empty lip service paid to public education. Along the way I think we saw a little bit of his soul showing through.
Follow @MrWilliamsRm110 on Twitter. He's actually fairly sharp, despite the hair, and maybe he’ll show more of that soul of his. #oklaed
I’m Done With 21st-Century Learning! – Rob Miller, A View From The Edge, has had his fill of the noncompulsory drafting of rhetorical scholastic gilding. It’s recrementitious! He has this weird idea that we should label good teaching less and practice it more. Huh.
Experience pedagogical and practical venery with @edgeblogger on the Twitters and see what other bedlam he propagates. You won’t end up chapfallen. #oklaed
Green Band Bandits – Sarah B, LadyWolf2016, is a relatively new voice in #OklaEd bloggery, but she’s already raised the bar for social justice in the classroom. Not that we're into such things often in Oklahoma - we're more of a 'The 19th Century Will Rise Again' kinda state. Still, there are oases of 14th Amendment-ness here and there...
I’m not a big nurture-y, feely-lovey guy myself – my kids respond better to Wheaton’s Law than to Cyril the Cyber-Bulling Awareness Cicada or whatever – but THIS is an impressive tale of young people learning to find energy in building one another up instead of feeding on the fragmented power of tearing others apart.
Feed on @LadyWolf2014’s energy on Twitter and see for yourself how good it feels. #oklaed
Finding My Voice – Cassie Nash, Just Teaching It Real, is another fresh voice in blogging à la #OklaEd, and an immediate favorite of mine. We always say to be yourself and write what you know - apparently Nash takes this to heart:
I need to quit being fearful of teaching writing because I know they struggle – why give them another opportunity to fail at something they already find daunting? Perhaps a bit of this is my fear that I’m not teaching them as well as someone else could…
Writing doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s hard. So what is it that propels me forward with this project? I think I have a few things to say. I’ll bet they do too.
She's funny, too - but pointing that out on a Blue Serial summary simply puts too much pressure on an exciting new baby blogger, so you'll simply have to stumble across that reality on your own.
Be introspective with @cassieknash on the Place of Tweeting and find out what else she has to say. I know I will. #oklaed
I don't normally link to my own stuff on the weekly wrap-up (which, come to think of it, it rather odd - given my penchant for self-promotion), but reading this week about the hacking and slashing of so-called 'extra-curricular programs' already beginning across Oklahoma just kills me. Such a preventable problem, hurting the most those least able to do anything about it. We all know what sorts of programs go first, and it’s just wrong.
Ethically, pedagogically, professionally, politically, emotionally, statistically, spiritually, fiscally, and historically wrong.
Extra-Curriculars - "Algebra is important, but so are athletics. If our goal is 'college, career, and citizenship ready,' Basketball is far more likely to help you with the latter two. Algebra wins for the first, but mostly that just means that doing math qualifies you to do harder math. Most of these kids are never going to be professional athletes. But neither are they likely to become professional mathematicians, or chemists, or historians, or novelists. The skills and knowledge gained in each of those realms nevertheless serve a larger good. They help to form a fuller, better, hopefully somewhat happier person."
And they're $#%&ing it up on purpose, and we're going to Teacher Hell if we don't make them stop.
That's It This Week.
Take deep breaths, rejuvenate a bit this weekend, and then teach like you're their only hope this coming week. Love them like no one else does. Push them like no one else has. Tap into all that experience and learnin' you've got to try one more way to make those damn horses drink that water.
Win or lose, short-term or long, at least we can say we left it all in the classroom. At least we can say we refused to let them be taken softly.