Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Life as a Bobble-Head

Boy do I love having summers "off". It is such a HUGE benefit of being a teacher...no really...it is. Of course having two months off does make it a tough nut to swallow when you have to finally return to the daily grind...I mean classroom. Don't get me wrong...I'm excited to get back to doing what I love...but I did love sleeping until 7am too.


But I digress. As part of my contractual obligation, I am attending "new" teacher orientation. This is a three day event developed to introduce newly hired teachers to the district including policy, pedagogy, and juicy little tidbits of info. Who doesn't love to get a free lanyard, coffee mug, clicky pen and key chain? I LOVE that stuff...can't get enough. And the four inch binder FULL of info...great stuff. But a light bulb went on during day two as I was struggling to keep my head from flopping around like a bobble-head doll on the dashboard of a Jeep while four-wheelin' on the beach.


As I watched the third presenter face the big giant screen in the front of the room and read the PowerPoint slide verbatim to the crowd (about how to engage students)...I said..."Hey! I know how to read!!! What exactly is your POINT!!!!" Of course I only said this in my mind for fear of being ostracized as the one idiot who blurted out what everyone else was thinking. If I ever taught like that in my classroom the kids would eat me for breakfast...or at least slip into comas only reversible by the bell at the end of class.


Now keep in mind, EVERYONE who is presenting is involved in education in some way.


At one point we were talking about the need for students to get up and move around because they will learn better...yet we had been sitting in a chair being read a story from a giant screen for 45 minutes straight. Granted, the chairs were comfy...and I discovered early on that the chairs were bouncy...but anyone see the disconnect here??


And this wouldn't be the first time this has happened. I once attended a day long professional development session (in a different district) where the speaker (a very famous child psychologist who shall remain nameless here but he talked an awful lot about one mind) repeated over and over the importance of differentiating our instruction. He stressed how much more successful our students would be if we could address all different types of learning during the course of a class. Funny thing is that for 6 hours...yes 6 HOURS...this guy stood at the front of an auditorium...in one place...just holding a microphone and talking. There was no presentation, no video, no music, no special affects, no handouts, NO NOTHIN! He didn't even move around. He stood still and rambled on. Talk about being a bobble-head doll...I counted 99 people fast asleep at one time.


But lets get back to the present. Several of the folks who came to speak with us about being the best we can be were excellent. They were energetic, engaging and clearly passionate about teaching.


Just one suggestion...if the expectation is that the new teachers will stay in the district and be exciting, engaging, and knowledgeable educators...please provide the same for them!! Just sayin'


All the moanin' and groanin' aside...I was pleased to see all the excited folks just itchin' to get started again. We learned some interesting info, were reminded of some things we already knew (somewhere deep within our brains), and were motivated to make this year the best year ever.


Trust me...I'll be ramblin' some more about all the GOOD stuff we've got going at our school...this is going to be a GREAT year!!!

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