teacher motivation

Things I Heard This Week

Feeding the BirdsI teach in a district that’s had some struggles in recent years. We’re majority-minority and 100% of my kids are “free and reduced lunch” (mostly “free”). Add in eighteen months of not having real school and the fact that most of the schools feeding into mine are already under state “control” (an ironic term by any measure), and it’s easy to grow discouraged. There aren’t always those “breakthrough” moments you count on to stay motivated - personally or academically. 

All the more reason to build a few monuments to the encouraging or amusing episodes which do occur from time to time. Here are three from this past week.

The Blue Cereal Podcast For New (Or Reviving) Teachers

Recording TechWell, my #11FF, I decided to record a few podcasts for new (or reviving) educators. This seems like a wonderful idea because I lack the proper equipment, there are dozens of excellent education podcasts out there already, I have nothing to sell, and this year is so weird it's hard to know how to prepare for it anyway.

In other words, why not?

You Get Up

Take Me Anywhere

Buck Owens

I was in a band many, many, MANY years ago. We considered ourselves “college alternative” – immersed in R.E.M., the Smiths, the Cure, and MTV’s 120 Minutes. We didn’t actually sound like ANY of them, which was both a glaring flaw and source of inner pride. Originality and Lack of Quality formed quite an edgy Venn Diagram back in the day.

Better Than You Think

Teacher ShameLet’s face it – no one carries around a pervading sense of guilt and inadequacy like teachers. They care deeply, feel strongly, and give muchly – often to a fault. Many of us are able to be professionally developed, pedagogically creative, and politically active, all while scoring way too high on any clinical assessment of personal dysfunctions.

I think it actually goes together – the passion for learning, the tolerance for teenagers, and the emotional mess most of us manage to be. Two sides of the same smashed penny. 

"Flexible"

Flexible GuyThe Offer

Several years ago, I was asked by a major edu-organization for whom I did some work to lead a week-long training in Jordan. Like, the country. In the Middle East. Far away. 

The workshop was for no less than the King’s Academy – a prestigious boarding school founded and regularly visited by, you know... the KING. Like, of Jordan. The country. In the Middle East. Far Away. 

It's About What You Believe (Wonder Woman)

Wonder Woman Movie CoverI’m a sucker for superhero movies. They’re a sub-genre of sci-fi, and the best sci-fi takes us out of our reality, out of our time and place, to better comment on that reality and force fresh eyes on our time and place. A good superhero picture isn’t about the cool powers and mega-battles; it’s about becoming better versions of our boring ol’ selves.

Tearing It Up

Tear Art

We’re exactly two weeks into the new school year, and things in AP World and AP U.S. History have started off about as well as one might expect, given the many interruptions and the wide variety of skill levels and content-knowledge gathered together in each section.

They may be talented teenagers, but they’re still, you know… teenagers.

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