Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In what other profession indeed!

Just a little mini rant.  I have been thinking about David Reber's article in the Topeka Examiner.

In what other profession are the licensed professionals considered the LEAST knowledgeable about the job? ...In what other profession is experience viewed as a liability rather than an asset? ...In what other profession is the desire for competitive salary viewed as proof of callous indifference towards the job? ...And if teachers dare ask for a raise, this is taken by many as clear evidence that teachers don’t give a porcupine’s posterior about kids. In fact, some say if teachers really cared about their students they would insist on earning LESS money....If that entire attitude weren’t bad enough, what other profession is legally held to PERFECTION by 2014? 

In what other profession indeed.  However, as a 6th year teacher in California who has been laid off every single year of my teaching career (after enduring only one layoff in my 20 years in hi-tech), I've been thinking about adding a few more..

In what other profession so people get laid off three months before their last day, while expecting them to be productive, inspiring, and engaging, working long hours and weekends, all the while knowing they don't have a job soon? While I don't want only two weeks notice, I do expect some appreciation for the fact that I come to work with a smile on my face every day.

In what other profession are employees retained almost solely based on seniority while passionate, talented and in many cases excellent "young" employees are let go? I am not saying experience doesn't matter, it does! I am a better teacher now than I was 5 years ago.  But there are some people who are in the profession that simply shouldn't be, but our system is broken.

In what other profession would someone question whether you know how to do your job?  Do you see the credential, the hours of continuous professional development, the masters degrees?  Yes, I am qualified and quite good, thank you.  Now, if I just knew where I was teaching next year.

iPads in Education

My district is rolling an an iPad Academy, the purpose: To provide our teachers with a collaborative learning opportunity to develop their use of technology as a powerful teaching and learning tool for the integration of 21st century skills. I am thrilled to have been accepted to this program and wanted to share the concept. The use of iPads in education seems a no brainer to many, though I wholeheartedly agree it is not a one size fits all solution.

Components of Professional Development/Areas of Study

  • Through action research, investigate the use of iPads to individualize learning for all student
  • Building upon the integration of technology into standards based instruction that leads to measurable student achievement gains
  • Increasing student creativity and innovation
  • How to increase student collaboration and problem-solving skills
  • Fostering the use of engaging learning environments
Each participant in the academy will receive a class set of iPads & cart, an Apple TV, to will project from your iPad. We will have to attend monthly meetings and keep a digital journal.

I am hoping to compile lists/links what have you of iPad resources for educators in my district. For example, CUE pointed me to Sample Lesson Plans

My application provided justification for my participation in the iPad Academy. I jointly applied with our Special Ed teacher (grades 3-4-5) as we see the iPads as another way to provide engaging and creative ways for our students to learn and demonstrate learning.

As I was writing my applicaiton, I thought, sure others have applied or will apply to something similar, so to pay it forward, following are excepts from the application:

As soon as the iPad came out, I knew I wanted them for my classroom. They bring a level of student motivation, engagement and learning possibilities that was unprecedented before. I have used my own iPad as a productivity tool and have let students use it to play educational games and to make teaching videos (that is, students teaching other how to do something – like a mini-khan academy). I have also had BYOT days where I had 2:1 “iThings” (touches and pads) for math and literacy centers. I am interested in the iPad Action Research Academy as a way for me to learn new ways to harness this tool but also as a way to find out what works and what doesn’t. Some teachers are apprehensive or unaware of the benefits of using technology in the classroom. I’d like to be able to share tools, procedures and apps that will help allay some fears of implementation in their own classrooms. I see the role of teachers in the iPad Academy as being tech evangelists. Learning with an iPad provides additional opportunities for differentiation and compacting as well as an opportunity to present information to students in a variety of modalities. They provide access to information and research that is too expensive to do with books and hard to access with only old PCs or even the computer-on-wheels (with netbooks), including access to regularly updated core content, without waiting for the next textbook adoption. With iPads, students can create their own learning opportunities and teach each other. I would love the opportunity to bring this technology, and these opportunities, to my students.

I believe I am a good candidate for the iPad Action Research Academy because I am an open minded, tech-savvy, and extremely enthusiastic. I have taught other teachers how to use technology on my own time, including a summer website building workshop. Once I learn how to use something, I want to share it with anyone. .... It is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the early stages of this project with the district...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wait til Next Year

Well, it happened again, I knew it would and I knew it all year and it still made me cry!  I was hired as a temp status by my new district. I tried not to get involved, to stay distant.  But it still hurt like hell on March 15 when they told me I won't be hired back. My cousin had dinner with my superintendent this week (it is a small world) and I asked jokingly, "did she say good things about me?"

"Actually, yes. But she still pink slipped you any way!" he ribbed back.  Funny but not.

Why is it good employees get laid off? The system is broken and I wish I knew how to fix it.

 Of course there is a strong likelihood they will call me back in August to offer me another temp contract for a year.  Yeah - I'll get to keep teaching...Boo - I still have to pack and move  and move and unpack