Paper reinforcers

August 18th, 2011 | Filed under: personal

meticulous: showing great attention to detail; very careful and precise

fiddling: annoyingly trivial and petty

I spent a disturbing amount of my puberty putting paper reinforcers on the holes of college-ruled notebook paper. This started as early as eighth grade when I attended a small, evangelical Christian school in Chesapeake, Virginia. While the school’s curriculum included a number of unofficial yet unfortunate topics (ie: how Catholics are idolators, why dating isn’t Christian, etc.), I came to appreciate its emphasis on primary-source documents and the development of notes and resources by the student that would then become a resource/textbook. Maybe it stemmed out of a need to save money, but “your notebook is your textbook,” they would always say. With this in mind, I would convince my mother to drive me to OfficeMax at the Janaf Shopping Center in Norfolk where I would think and mull over which folder or tab system would be best for which subject. Always ready in my well-organized Jansport backpack was a roll of paper hole reinforcers, White Out, and various shapes and sizes of Post-It notes. Oh, and who could forget the mini stapler and the matching, very necessary mini staple remover? Needless to say, I was poked fun of by my friends for my quirky concern with office supplies.

And this was just office supplies. I would also go through phases in school where I decided to suddenly alter my penmanship. I went through the phase of writing in tiny CAPS before moving onto a Frankenstein hybrid of print and cursive that I thought seemed more adult. As if the penmanship was more important than the words going onto the paper – the college-ruled, hole-reinforced paper.

That was then.

My love of the Internet and technology has ushered in an entirely new way of obsessing over and tweaking my systems. I recently read David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done.” As someone perceived to have so much potential and yet hopelessly prone to procrastinating and missing deadlines, I am always in search of something to save me from myself. I approached GTD out of the same desperation. Many of Allen’s concepts blew me away – I had lots of aha moments and lightbulbs. Yet I still spent an inordinate amount of time tweaking and fiddling with my Evernote, with tags and saved searches, to set it up as a digital GTD system. I even had a friend bring a box of plain manila folders over from the U.S. for my paper reference/filing system because I just wasn’t into the folders here in The Netherlands.

Tags and file taxonomies and GMail labels – these have become my paper reinforcers and White Out and file tabs. I am still doing the same thing and letting the same behaviors mask problems and confidence issues I have lurking underneath all of this seeming “organization.”

I come from a family of attention-deficit folks. My father, my brother, my uncle, and probably countless others are textbook “ADHD” and have been diagnosed as such. I have never been diagnosed nor have I sought out doctors to tell me either way. Young girls weren’t diagnosed with ADD or ADHD as often as boys when I was in middle and high school. If you were a daydreaming girl who couldn’t focus or stay on task, you were deemed lazy or told to “get your head out of the clouds.” I always seemed to be on task, seemed to be busy focusing and working to the untrained eye, but any close inspection (which my teachers never did) would have revealed a serious problem. I did not have trouble focusing, but rather found it impossible to focus on the right thing when I needed to. I can cook a big meal from start to finish and not forget an ingredient. I can knit a pair of baby mittens while listening to a podcast. However, ask me to meet a writing deadline after I’ve finished the interview and I shut down. I’m not ready. I’m still thinking. I’m still brainstorming and figuring out my lede. Ask me to sit down and write that unit plan, the one I’ve been googling and saving links for, the one I’ve been jotting down notes on legal pads for, and again I shut down. I’m not ready. I’m too busy thinking and trying to plan before I plan before I plan. These behaviors are problematic for someone who has an affinity for jobs that require grown-up homework (journalist, teacher).

I came to think about all of these issues while listening to one of my favorite new podcasts. At first blush it would seem to have nothing to do with my life and work, but “Back to Work” with Merlin Mann & Dan Benjamin seems to speak loudly and clearly to my current situation and the way I approach my work and creativity. These are two guys that seem a world away from my life as a teacher, but I can’t help but identify with them. In many ways it’s a superficial connection – I’m a nerd and enjoy the geeky banter, strange facts and movie references that pepper the conversations. I’m also a Mac geek like the both of them. But more than these, I identify with the hunger to create something and the many, many things that can distract and keep you from doing just that if you allow them to.

I just started listening to this podcast, so I’m a bit behind on the episodes. In the most recent episode I listened to, Merlin Mann said that “no one has ever thought a novel into existence.” He rambled on about how the brain and the gut can do a lot to discourage our hand from making something (and I mean ramble in a very good way). He clearly admires writers like Don Murray and Natalie Goldberg and references them often, in connection with writing of course, but also in creating anything. I too came to love Don Murray for the way he framed writing as an approachable practice – it is something you have to practice to get good at. Before he died, he wrote every single day. If a writer stops writing, she is no longer a writer. Anyone can write, but to be a writer, you have to sit down and write. You can’t just think about writing and expect a piece of work to appear. Seems simple, right?

Writing is another activity I avoid – a creative process for which I find countless justifications for not engaging in – because I am afraid of the permanence and finality of having something on paper or screen. With my students, we write in journals every day and practice the act of freewriting – of letting your hand just move across the page, without editing. I tell my students that they can save a piece of writing or throw it away – it doesn’t matter, because it is the act of doing it that is important. However, I also understand how difficult that can be for some of them. This is my own complex, but yet it is something that connects me to those students as they sit down to write. Some get this concept easily while others need support, encouragement and coaxing to move toward a regular writing practice. They need to practice writing if they ever hope to slough the fear of writing. I am not there yet myself.

One of my favorite quotes is by E.M. Forster who pondered “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” That to me is one of the things that can be so intimidating about writing. You may not truly understand yourself until you get things down on the paper or the screen and maybe there’s a reason you avoid doing that – maybe there are things you aren’t ready to understand about yourself. Julia Cameron and her recommendation of “Morning Pages” – of writing three pages every morning, long-hand – approaches writing as near-therapy.

These memories are bubbling to the surface as I think about my students. Those few students who, like myself, are painfully organized and enjoy using highlighters and Post-It notes, only to miss out on the messy, real learning that can go on if you just let go. One of my favorite comedians  is Marc Maron. He joked once on his podcast that he visited a friend’s house only to find the friend’s house was extremely clean and organized – every little thing in its place. Maron chuckled and asked “So what are you running from?”

I struggle. I concentrate too much on getting the system just right that I miss out on the opportunities to create somehting with the system. Right now I am thinking and thinking about units and what to do with my students, but avoiding putting anything down on paper. I am letting my mind run wild as my hands sit idle – as the creating muscles atrophy.

I’m just beginning to analyze my perfectionism and procrastination as a sign of something deeper. An apprehensiveness about making mistakes. And when you’re a teacher, mistakes are par for the course. As a teacher, you take time getting to know students, their learning differences and interests so that you can meet students where they are and help them stretch and grow. And, now and again, you make mistakes. You select texts that bomb. You assume students know something only to realize mid-lesson they don’t and then you need to reteach it. You have your “off” days.

I am walking into this new year with goals in mind, hoping they aren’t too pie-in-the-sky or unachievable. I plan to sit down with students and have a discussion about what we all want out of this learning experience. I’ve been reading through “The First Days of School” based on rave reviews from teachers. While I understand the need for procedures – and I will certainly have them – I am more interested in getting to know these kids first than in scaring them into submission with lists and policies. It’s important that I see who has the messy bookbag and who is fiddling with organizing papers rather than paying attention. These observations are just as important as responses on surveys and paragraphs about summer vacations and writing diagnostics. And it is important that they learn who I am, faults and all. Building trust and community is my goal. But first, I must create learning experiences that will allow this all to happen naturally. I must commit them to paper and shake that feeling of permanence and remind myself: every lesson is a draft.


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Shrugging off cynicism

April 19th, 2011 | Filed under: personal

Mama Worrell helping me see with new eyes.

I just returned from a trip to Paris with my mom (“Mama Worrell”) and my partner Thomas. It was amazing, frustrating, fun, exhausting…all of the things you’d imagine it to be. We saw amazing art, ate the best falafel of our lives (I’m still dreaming about it), and witnessed monstrosities like the Eiffel Tower. I had moments of wonder as I held my mother’s hand climbing stairs throughout this amazing city. And I had moments of despair as I tried to ignore four young African men trying to sell pieces of string as friendship bracelets. There is a lot of poverty every where I look, even when I’m not trying to see it. Seeing these sides of a touristy city make it hard for me to not feel ashamed of myself as I waltz around spending money in a place where so many struggle.

But then I remember the life I lived growing up with my mother working her ass off to support her children while my father was out of work. The mother who didn’t think twice about her pride when it came to seeking social assistance to feed her children. The mother who worked two full time jobs. The mother who got to go on one vacation to Florida with us when I was 11 years old. The mother who was probably still paying off the debt from that trip for years after.

Experiences are relative. I try to tell myself that when I feel guilty enjoying something I know many around the world wouldn’t dream of being able to. I sometimes envy those with thicker skin – the ones that can turn their empathy on and off when they want to really, hedonistically enjoy something without a hint of shame.

I made sure I brought a video camera with me to document all of my mama’s reactions and learning and amazement. I knew this was important and exciting. I’m still not sure how I’m going to compile the whole thing – maybe a few mini movies – but I just know I need to get this on record somewhere. So we can go back and see that from those humble and heart-wrenching beginnings, a family can still make it to the Eiffel Tower and read into that achievement however they wish. It can be nothing – just a trip – or it can be something inspiring. An event to give us happy memories and hope and pride and comfort that it was all worth it somehow. Mama is still pulling 60-hour weeks on nights as a nurse just to be able to fly over here and visit me. But she made it. While her 57-year-old body and achey knees struggled climbing and descending the many stairs of the Paris Metro (not even to begin talking about the stairs she climbed to the Sacré-Cœur), she would turn to me and say with pain still furrowed into her brow, “I can’t believe I’m here,” or put her arm around me and say “Can you believe we’re in Paris…together?”

This was my second time visiting Paris, but it felt new all over again seeing it alongside my mother – a person with whom I share a closeness that Hallmark cards and commemorative mugs can’t begin to explain. As I witnessed her wonder I couldn’t help but think about my work with students and bearing witness to their discoveries and amazements. I’m a bit of a cynical traveler when I visit cities like Paris, seeing the wealthy flaunt their money and my eyes turning instead to beggars and souvenir sellers and wondering about their stories and struggles. I couldn’t even bring myself to visit Versailles since I knew it would frustrate me – to wonder how much money is laid in every inch of that place that could have been used in more productive ways. I rarely see beauty in monuments, but rather waste and death of those used to create it. Traveling with me can be tiring, as you can probably tell.

I came from a low-income family that did a pretty good job of faking lower middle class status thanks to credit cards. It gives me perspectives I’m happy to have, but in some ways clouds my experience of other cultures and monuments and sites. I wouldn’t change anything, but I want to be more like my mother. Someone that can walk into a city wide-eyed, amazed, and not let the scars of her life taint her experience with cynicism. I am always learning from her and from the children I teach and hope to teach.

It’s never to late to shrug off the cynicism and see with new eyes. I’m trying.


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Close of school business (and reflections)

June 6th, 2010 | Filed under: personal, teaching

I wouldn’t say the last year has been the ideal experience of a new teacher, but it has certainly shown me a diverse population of students, given me the chance to try different techniques, and taught me more than anything else to roll with the punches.

I started this 2009-2010 school year as a student teacher in Virginia Beach working with ninth graders in a Global Studies and Foreign Languages Academy program at Tallwood High School. They gave me the chance to cut my teeth with them on challenging world literature. We slogged through Tu Fu and Jorge Borges together and came out on the other side feeling pretty damn proud of ourselves. But like all things, my time with them came to an end in December along with my teaching certification program.

It was time for me to move on to something new, but what? It was the middle of the year and school systems were cutting positions not hiring. I decided to fall back on my freelance writing and editing work and hope for substituting gigs. Little did I know that another door was opening just as I was getting into a routine.

Along came the sixth graders at Ruffner Middle School’s Young Scholars program, a gifted education program in Norfolk. It was an amazing, long-term substitute opportunity and I snatched it up. I taught reading, writing, and early American history to 38 children that renewed my optimism and excitement about teaching even as they challenged my remaining threads of patience. They were so curious and opinionated and intelligent and they really had no idea of any of it. I went into the job thinking it would renew my feelings about the age group I wanted to teach, but instead they opened my mind and had me thinking “Sixth grade is pretty great. I wouldn’t mind doing this for a while.” I feared teaching history. I love history and enjoy consuming it on my own, but I’d never considered myself a history teacher until this job. Now I have a history endorsement on that list of goals in the back of my mind along with those other lofty ones (master’s degree, publishing articles, etc.). I’d planed to teach the sixth graders as long as the school would have me, but Virginia Beach called again and wanted to interview me for a full-time, contract position teaching core 11th graders. I got the job and it was time to move on again.

One of my sixth graders warned me “You think we’re crazy, Ms. Worrell? You’re gonna miss us once you get with those 11th graders!” I laughed it off. I wanted to teach high school and this was my chance to work with yet another age group and learn more about my strengths and weaknesses. But in that first week my little sixth grader’s ominous warning echoed in my mind. I felt I’d been thrown into a lion’s den of hormonal teenagers ready to claw their way through me to get out of high school. Gone was the feeling of being a learner alongside them. They saw me as an adversary and I wasn’t sure how to reach them – or if I even could. It was a Herculean struggle, but I’m happy to report that I have come out on the other side learning more than I ever thought I would in a contract only three months long. The eleventh graders (the large majority of them boys) taught me so much about classroom management and patience that I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I taught The Great Gatsby, a book I myself hated in eleventh grade, and learned to love it. Even more exciting – I watched students learn to love it. I didn’t have my own classroom, so I was forced to drag a cart around between rooms and classes, teaching me the value of obsessive organization. Along with my four blocks of eleventh grade, I also had a block of core ninth graders whom I taught The Odyssey and Romeo and Juliet – stories I knew but had never really given close scrutiny.

And more than anything, my experience with my first contract position gave me a taste of what I really want in an English department – co-workers that are great friends and colleagues depending on what the situation demands. The English department at Green Run High School is a motley crew of large-hearted, loving teachers that want nothing more than to see one another succeed. If there ever was tension among teachers in that department, I never noticed it. I felt I could approach any teacher with advice on lesson plans or for ideas on teaching a certain story or book. It’s a supportive and collaborative department and I’m sad I’m not going to be there next year. I have never laughed so much at work.

I’m starting another chapter in this whirlwind year, but I’m hoping to settle down with a teaching position where I can teach students from beginning to end, on my own. I’m moving to The Netherlands in July to pursue a career abroad and to expand my experiences in an international environment. I’m excited about teaching students from a completely different culture than my own and watching those same light bulbs go on in their minds. I’ve daydreamed about what it would be like to teach The Great Gatsby to a group of non-American teenagers and to make connections about the American Dream to their own dreams – are we that different?

So, I’m off again to search for a teaching job – this time in a country not my own. I’m hopeful and optimistic and just as inspired as when I started.


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Reading Rainbow and Student Choice

August 30th, 2009 | Filed under: Opinion, personal, teaching

reading-rainbow-logo_small

I’d heard rumors that the show was having trouble keeping its funding, but this week PBS finally announced that Reading Rainbow is ending after a 26-year run. Having just turned 25, I spent a lot of time as a kid watching the show’s host Levar Burton on his book-themed adventures, listening to reviews of books from kids my age, and then heading to the library to check out a few. I always thought my kids would have a chance to experience the same excitement about books that I did at a young age through this show.

As this article explains, there’s a lot of debate about whether kids need to be taught how to read first, with phonics and other comprehension strategies, or whether getting them interested in reading should be the first plan of attack.

I believe that generating interest and excitement should be first and foremost our goal as educators. If we get them interest and excited about reading, they are interested in learning, right?

My Facebook feed was a flutter this week with old college friends lamenting the death of Reading Rainbow and they all said the same thing “I like to read because I watched this show.” Sure, they may have seen parents modeling reading in the home, or teachers that encouraged independent reading, but they all felt that this show had a big impact on their reading habits today.

The lyrics of Reading Rainbow come to mind…”I can go anywhere / Take a look / It’s in a book.”

My philosophy of education is ever-changing, but one of the things I always maintain is that I want to cultivate curiosity in my students – a desire to find the answers on their own. I’ve met so many adults that ask questions of friends and coworkers that could (very, very) easily be answered with a quick Google spin. I want my students to know that they can find the answers on their own – that I, as the teacher, am not the font of knowledge in the classroom.

Reading Rainbow did more than just create excitement around reading for children – it taught them that reading is a normal thing, that you can have your own opinions about something no matter your age, and that the more you read the more opportunities you have – that you can “be anything” and “go anywhere.”

The story about the end of the Rainbow hit around the same time as a much-discussed and Tweeted-about New York Times article about giving kids choice in what they read as opposed to assigning class sets of the same novel. The story is part of a great series in the paper on the future of reading.

A reporter follows Ms. McNeill, a teacher in Georgia, as she shifts her classroom from the traditional reading methods of class sets and textbooks to giving students freedom of choice in what they read. McNeill implemented the method after a workshop she attended with Nancie Atwell, author of “In the Middle” and “The Reading Zone.”

What got to me about this article was not the success Ms. McNeill had with the method, which was impressive, but the constant speculation about whether this is the way to go. The reasons behind the speculation? That it may not prepare students adequately for standardized testing and that teachers may have trouble keeping up with all the different books. For me these problems don’t outweigh the potential payoff.

One quote left me hopeful, though, from Catherine E. Snow, a professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education:

“But if the goal is, how do you make kids lifelong readers, then it seems to me that there’s a lot to be said for the choice approach. As adults, as good readers, we don’t all read the same thing, and we revel in our idiosyncrasies as adult readers, so kids should have some of the same freedom.”

I’m always frustrated at policies and methods that seem to move kids away from personal freedom, because shouldn’t that be one of our ultimate goals? To give them the skills they need to make big and little decisions on their own?

Hopefully pilot programs like the ones detailed in the Times article will spread with success, because we’ll need something to pick up the slack if the canceling of Reading Rainbow is any true sign of the times.


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Home stretch! An update

April 27th, 2009 | Filed under: personal, preservice, teaching

Well, it’s the home stretch for this semester at least. I’m taking two more classes this summer before heading into student teaching in the fall. This week I have plenty of assignments due (many of which I’m procrastinating on while writing this blog post) and exams next week.

I can’t believe how much I’ve done in these last few months – I quit my job, moved, started my own business, and started an even more rigorous class schedule. But sometimes it’s hard not to always feel behind. I just have to keep my eyes on the prize – a new, more rewarding career! Ironically, a career where other people assure me I’ll always feel behind on my to-do list.

I finished my last day of practicum hours with the middle schoolers this past week. I was sad to leave! As I’ve said before, the school where I was placed is a wonderful and caring community to say the least. I always thought middle school was something I didn’t want to do, but it’s funny how quickly those feelings can change.

I have plenty of posts I want to share once I have some free time, including my recent thoughts about GLBTQ literature in the classroom. It’s a big interest area of mine and luckily the newest issue of English Journal is dedicated to sexual identity and gender variance. If you’re a member of NCTE, you can read the articles online here. I highly recommend it. I also have a book review I’ve been working on that I’d like to share in the coming weeks.


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Teaching stress – not teaching it, dealing with it

March 28th, 2009 | Filed under: personal, teaching

I’m under plenty of stress with school and work. It’s my first time filing business taxes, so I’m busy gathering receipts and documents all so I can know how much to shell out to the government this quarter.

But I found this great article from SmartTeaching.org – thanks to a tweet by @msstewart – listing 101 ways to deal with teaching stress. Check it out!

101 Ways to Cope with Teaching Stress


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A teacher’s health

March 19th, 2009 | Filed under: personal, teaching

I’ve been swamped with school work. It’s mid-semester and exams and projects often loom around this time, but I’ve been trying to make my health a priority. I’m already vegan, but when I’m cramming for classes and trying to meet writing deadlines, “vegan” doesn’t necessarily translate to “healthy.” You know, most salt and vinegar chips and soda pop are vegan.

However, working out has always fallen by the wayside when I get busy. I’ve been told by friends that you have to make fitness a priority – like eating, sleeping, etc. But that’s been a hard change for me to make since I feel like I could be getting work done when I’m at the gym. However, the past two weeks I’ve been following a regimen of hitting the gym at least three times a week. I’m hoping that doing so will give me more energy in the long run to complete the tasks I need to get done.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the health and wellness of teachers. I’ve known a lot of teachers to gain weight when they start teaching, because they spend so much time planning, eating when they can (and usually not healthful foods), and never having time for things like the gym. I have a friend whose mom, a special education teacher, hits the gym at 5 a.m. every morning before heading to her school by 6:45 a.m. My head spins just thinking about it.

I’m wondering how other teachers make time for their health and family while being in such a demanding career? I think of Erin Gruwell in the “Freedom Writers” movie, spending every hour involved in her teaching or fund raising for her class. So I guess this is more than just a question about fitting in time for working out, but for yourself in general. How do you do it?

I’ve been warned of teacher burnout – that most new teachers leave the profession after five years or less. I think figuring out a positive teaching / life balance will be important, but I’ve never been one to be good at balancing anything, especially when it comes to my time.

So, teachers, how do you do it? How do you make time for working out, eating healthfully, taking care of kids, having a life, etc.?


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I switched to Diigo

March 11th, 2009 | Filed under: personal, technology

So, I’ve been using del.icio.us for quite a while now to track my bookmarks. If you’re unfamiliar with social bookmarking, here’s a good explanation by Common Craft. But basically it’s a Web-based way to track you bookmarks and share them with others if you want (you have the option to keep them private as well).

Del.icio.us has worked really well for me so far. You can tag each bookmark, make notes and search within the bookmarks. Most of mine deal with crafts, vegan cooking and education stuff. You can check out my bookmarks here.

But…something better came along.

Diigo is just like del.icio.us, but with some awesome extras, my favorite being the ability to highlight parts of a Web page and make annotations within it. This solves my need for an online notebooking service. Google is doing away with its Notebook, which I loved, and I’ve been searching for a good one ever since. I’ve been testing Zotero, but haven’t enjoyed it as much. With Diigo I can highlight the parts of the page I like or plan on using in a paper, for example, and make notes of where I want to use it.

And there’s a social part of all this, of course. You can add friends on Diigo, see their bookmarks and see the annotations of every other Diigo user that has made their bookmarks public. So, for example, if I make a note on a page, you can check out the same page and tell Diigo to show you my notes. And you can make your own notes – or even respond to mine!

Another feature I like is the ability to mark a page or article as “read later.” Often, with del.icio.us, I would tag an article and plan to go back later, but I’d never get around to it. Out of sight, out of mind. With the Diigo toolbar, I’m reminded of the articles I need to check out. It’s a small thing, but I like it.

The biggest thing that sold me on Diigo was that I didn’t have to leave del.icio.us. I uploaded my del.icio.us bookmarks to Diigo and can request Diigo to post my bookmarks and tags to del.icio.us concurrently using the “save elsewhere” feature. Seriously!

There has been a lot of discussion on Twitter and forums about moving to Diigo and I decided to go for it. I’m loving it so far and I’m sure there are great features I haven’t used yet. This article really sold me on the reasons to switch.

Here I am on Diigo – let’s be friends!


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A lesson about Twitter

March 2nd, 2009 | Filed under: personal, technology

No sooner did I post about how much I want to utilize online networks, such as Twitter, to communicate with my future students did I make a huge, embarrassing mistake via tweet.

Imagine sending a personal e-mail, full of that dirty language you need to get in check before you start teaching, to everyone in your address book. I did that today, but with Twitter. It could have been a lot worse considering the friend to whom I was trying to send the text message, but still very embarrassing.

To explain, I have Twitter set up through my cell phone and can send text messages to it from wherever. I should have been more vigilant about checking my to: field when I responded to my friend’s message. Luckily I could delete the tweet from my page, but it doesn’t change the fact that I exposed (hopefully only) a few of my Twitter followers to my nasty sailor mouth! No offense to sailors with clean mouths out there.

I have to thank @msstewart for letting me know that if I plan to communicate via Twitter with my future students, I can’t send tweets out like that one. I would have never known had she not said anything. I definitely agree that swearing and sharing personal info with students is not a good idea, especially via Twitter, which is why I plan to have a separate Twitter account for students/parents if I decide to go through with it.

I hope everyone learns from my lesson here – even when a friend sends you a shocking text that gets you cursing, don’t respond via tweet. Check your to: field constantly!

And in an attempt to laugh about this, which I’m trying to do, check out the Twitter Hall of Shame. A few of these are NSFW – aren’t you glad I warned you this time?


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A teacher’s immune system

February 25th, 2009 | Filed under: personal, teaching

I don’t have it!

After just a few days working with middle schoolers I seem to have caught a cold. Now I understand why my practicum teacher has a Costco-sized bottle of hand sanitzer within reach at all times. Ever since I started following a vegan diet a few years ago, I’ve been cold/sinus issue-free, but it looks like my plant-based diet is no match for the school building.

Sticking close to home today with a jug of orange juice nearby.

I still need to get up the motivation to do some research for an I-Search paper I’m writing for my methods class on project-based learning in the secondary English language arts classroom. Most of the research I’ve found deals with science and technology classrooms. Anyone know of resources dealing with English classrooms and PBL?


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