Blue Serials (8/7/16)
Effect & Cause
The Powers-That-Be seems to have confused "cause" and "effect" recently. As the ominously-uttered (with-background-music-in-a-minor-key) "Teacher Caucus" struggles forward, trying to save our students and our sanity - not necessarily in that order - entrenched power has begun hammering a narrative in which we sorta sprang out of nowhere, determined to cause trouble. Presumably we simply have a hankerin' for discord and a little time to kill - us not having real jobs and all.
My favorite part is how we're all so greedy and wasteful... and the more they hack away at basic resources, the greedier and more wasteful we seem to be.
Here's a little tip for the angry elves - we hate politics. We all have cooler things we'd rather blog about, and better uses for our $100 contributions here and there - pathetic as they may be compared to your out-of-state fiscal overlords. Given the choice, I'd probably go back to things just mostly sucking several years ago and ride it out as best I could, focused on my kids and my workshops and periodic bursts of issue-specific ranting.
But you just had to keep hacking away to please They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Taxed, didn't you? And you broke it all. Then you doubled down and broke it all more, on principle - because the more you break it, the more 'freedom' and 'prosperity' is apparently happening.
And we're the danger to innocents across the state? Really?
Still, there have been some powerful moments in the midst of the inanity. While I can't possibly do justice to the edu-bloggery proffered from #oklaed and beyond since the conclusion of the last school year, here are a few which you simply SHOULD NOT MISS...
Failure - Scott Haselwood on Teaching From Here isn't the first to highlight the importance of reframing how we think about "failure," but this is one of the best pieces I've read on the subject. No diatribes on "grit," pro or con - just honesty and reflection. Remember when we used to do that in order to get better?
Follow @teachfromhere on the Twitters to experience even more failure!
Wait, that didn't come out right... #oklaed
The Growth Mindset Initiative - Amanda Smith on Running Through Elementary talks about helping students press through the struggle, academically or otherwise. Like any good revival meeting, some of the thoughts are familiar, but expressed in fresh, clear, introspective prose.
Writing like this makes me want to be a better teacher.
This is not an argument about Dweckian this-or-that, just a simple reminder that the words we use mattter, and that kids are smarter and more capable than they think they are. More than we sometimes think they are.
Be smarter and more capable by getting Twitterized with @runnningthruelem. #oklaed
Dear Target Mom - Meghan Loyd on For The Love recounts an inexplicably hostile encounter with a parent while shopping. While the mother's behavior is atypical, it pulls back the curtain on so much of the underlying frustration and misunderstanding over budgets and funding and the plethora of miscellany which teachers (and parents, and many others) juggle on a daily basis.
The teacher isn't the "bad guy," but neither is the mom - we're being played and pointed towards one another while handed pointed sticks and bangy rocks. Don't bum-fight for the powerful.
The Proof Is In The Paycheck - Mindy Dennison on This Teacher Sings instigated a unexpurgated kerfuffle when she wrote about her paycheck recently - in part, perhaps, because she included the entire check stub without black boxes or edits. She avoided all the usual teacher martyrdom rhetoric, and merely explained the key items on her pay stub and compared them to a neighboring state.
People lost their $#%&. It was weird.
It's the second of Dennison's posts to go completely viral. Imagine what she could do if she focused on farme and publishing deals instead of just trying to educate and enlighten her kids... tsk tsk.
Follow @MrsDSings on the Twitters and see what other trouble she causes. #oklaed
For any of you feeling a bit overwhelmed by arguments over tax policy, statistics, needs, wants, and values, OKPolicy.org is probably the best all around source for presenting complicated issues clearly and with lots of visual aids.
I know we sometimes wish it would all just go away, but the first step towards change is being armed with understanding. They've even broken it into Part One and Part Two to make it less intimidating.
Now go read it, dammit.
I know these are tiring times, my darlings - but you must choose to believe. This is your state, these are your kids, and this is your calling.