Blue Serials (5/8/16)

Mr. Smith Frantic

Why, yes - I AM a bit behind on the weekly wrap-ups lately. It's just that, with the time of year, and state elections, and some uncertainty regarding, you know, how much anyone - I'm genuinely sorry. I should try to stay more... I mean, not that it's any reflection, I just -



Not to get all deep and meaningful, but that same dichotomy - recognizing our own faults and shortcomings, while at the same time feeling rather hostile towards anyone from the outside who wants to point fingers - is the norm for many of us in education. 

I don't think it's unique to our profession. Watching my Dallas Stars struggle their way through Stanley Cup Playoffs, I read the frustration and targeted criticism alongside the celebration of faithful fans on social media. If Coach Ruff says our performance in a game was embarrassing, we nod and agree and love his honestly. If one of our own analysts points out weakness in our defense, we tweet our validation because we said that EXACT SAME THING only with more cuss words during the game.

But let those hacks from NBC say the same things in their game recap and our venom and defensiveness will FLY - because WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT IT YOU OLD RETIRED SUCKY LIAR PEOPLE?!?

It doesn't help that they can't seem to get any of our players' names right, or keep their facts straight, or demonstrate any real understanding of what THIS team is about. It doesn't help how clearly they favor some of the other teams in the running. So yeah - we're probably a bit defensive, but that doesn't mean they're not also full of $#@&. 

This is the season during which, as educators, many of us are simultaneously beating ourselves up for yet another year in which we didn't manage to do or be all the things we're sure we could do or be if we'd just get it right. There were a few small wins along the way, but sometimes it seems there are fewer and fewer each year. We didn't cover everything we meant to cover, or fix all of the things we tell ourselves we'll fix next year... every year. Not that we're all that sold on the system itself, you understand - it's just that no one's come up with a better one that doesn't cost 10x as much to run. 

At the same time, when those from the outside think they should have something to say about it, well... let's just say we can get a bit touchy. It doesn't help that they can't seem to get our kids' values and essential natures right, or do a little basic research on good pedagogy. It doesn't help how clearly they favor some of the other systems which could be tried - systems with entirely different goals and priorities. So yeah - we're probably a bit defensive, but that doesn't mean they're not also full of -

Well, you get the idea. 

Nevertheless, there are some moments from the world of edu-bloggery over the past few weeks which you simply SHOULD NOT MISS. Hang that 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the back of your laptop or tablet and get comfortable.

What Do Teachers Want? - Rob Miller, A View From The Edge. Miller has been on fire lately, covering state edu-politics, explaining national reformy-type issues, and writing inspiramotivatemotional essays about kids and teaching and feelings, warm and broken. If you're not reading him regularly already - no matter WHERE you live in this corrupted world - then you're doing it wrong. All of it. 

In this piece, he tries again to explain what the rest of us know but no one outside the profession seems to understand - yes, the money matters, but it's not just about that. It's about marginalization and agency and expecting professional results from fast food treatment. We're not claiming to be miracle workers or martyrs, but we DO have degrees and stuff. Some of us even read.  #oklaed 

Redouble Our Efforts? You Go First. - Rob Miller, A View From The Edge. "Subjecting millions of American children to a regime of test, rank, sort and punish has simply turned many of our public schools— particularly in urban areas— into joyless, drill-and-kill test factories completely disassociated from real learning and the development of meaningful employment skills. Yet, the message we are supposed to read from these NAEP results is we need to “redouble our efforts” one more damn time! Maybe we should start giving 110% while we are at it."

I'm so thankful for people who can make me laugh through my perpetual state of dark, defeated outrage. Follow @edgeblogger on Twitter and have thoughts and feelings with him.  #oklaed 

VAM: Better Never Than Late - Rick Cobb, OKEducationTruths. The problem with teacher evaluation rubrics is that people use them to evaluate teachers. All they manage to do is muddle how insanely subjective the entire concept is and must be. Cobb explains both the mindset and status of this particular inanity in Oklahoma edu-slation - AND works in a dead parrot. So there's that.  #oklaed 

Two Things: As You Like It (and a hey, nonino) - Rick Cobb, OKEducationTruths. Of Romeo, and Juliet, and oil prices, and edu-budgets. This time we get a double-shot of Willy Wonka old school. There's no knowing where we're rowing... but you might as well boat along with @okeducation on Twitter and enjoy the ride.  #oklaed 

You're Not Alone, Teacher - Jennifer Williams, Depression, Confession, Expression, and Acceptance. I don't normally do, you know... FEELINGS and stuff, but this is solid. And essential. If not for you to feel better understood, than for you to better understand. Good stuff.

Follow @jennwillteach on Twitter, but be prepared to keep it fluff-free. It's her thing.  #oklaed 

I Used To Be A Fun Teacher - Pernille Ripp, Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension. Ripp drifts from her joy and strategy-sharing for a very brief, honest reflection on how teaching a different grade - and a TESTED grade - has changed some of the things she values most about herself as a classroom teacher. Follow @pernilleripp on Twitter and reflect with her. I promise you, this one is a good use of that little blue bird icon. 

ICYMI: Some Edu-Reading For The Day - Peter Greene, Curmudgucation. I realize that linking to a page of links you shouldn't miss as part of a page of links you shouldn't miss is akin to using one of your wishes to ask the Genie for more wishes, and could lead to revoked lamp-rubbing privileges. But you should be reading Greene anyway, and - like myself - he's golden when it comes to highlighting great work from others.

You should already be following @palan57 on Twitter and keeping up on your own - but don't stop coming here as well. He knows more, and is consistently pithy and hilarious, but I have that certain adorable something...

Finally, a piece from the Washington Post this week - It's Teacher Appreciation Week. Why some teachers don't exactly appreciate it. This link was sent to me by someone who noticed one of my tweets was quoted, which of course amused me to no end. It's a good piece overall, though - especially for legit news. Take a moment and check it out. 

Say what you like about the Post, @valeriestrauss is one of the best edu-reporters out there. Follow her so you don't miss the good stuff like I almost did. 

I'll close with this video from Supt. Joy Hofmeister for Teacher Appreciate Week. She goes a little easy on some of our state legis, but, you know - politics and pragmatism. I will say that WE appreciate HER more than I can express here.... but I'm not making a video about it.

Teacher Appreciation Week

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