2017 #Deanie Awards

At the same time, it’s my way of saying thank you to those that do little and sometimes big things to bring a smile to face throughout the year”

Like my video of the year I wasn’t planning to do my #deanie awards this year. Mostly because it’s so random I hate the thought of someone being upset about being left out. The key is not to take them too seriously. I don’t. At the same time, it’s my way of saying thank you to those that do little and sometimes big things to bring a smile to face throughout the year.

In case you missed it, here are all the winners:

Update: Because Storify is pooched and Alan Levine pesters me to own my own stuff, I abandoned the third party and share and host my own tweets:

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2017 in Photos and Video

This year was going to be my 10th year of doing an annual video of my year in photos but it almost didn’t happen. In May I had an issue with my external hard drive and my normal routine of saving and uploading photos was in jeopardy.  Like losing your Fitbit and deciding exercise is futile, I was less diligent about my photo a day effort.

I still did take photos but missed way more days than I ever had. So as the year was ending I thought it might be the year I put my yearly video to rest. Our New Year’s Day tradition includes having my family endure the 20-minute video of my year after which I’m teased about the number of golf and conference photos and generally the boringness of it all. And yet when I announced a few weeks ago that I wouldn’t do it, those same kids told me I had to.

Once again, more golf photos than you’d like, lots of sunsets and dog photos. But as October came, all that changed with the birth of Harriet Marigold Hynes. Our granddaughter is now the dominant subject of all photos and videos. While I … Read the rest

When Will We Get Serious about Teacher Stress?

I’m privileged to work with some of the very best educators around the world. I’m continually inspired and in awe of their expertise, energy and commitment to their craft. They are true artists.  I marvel at these artists and the different ways they approach teaching and learning.

Of late, I’ve become acutely aware of one sad commonality among these very good people. Teachers are stressed. One could argue teachers have always been stressed but I’m sensing something new and disturbing. Today’s headline confirms some of my hunches. I’m sure some will read this article and suggest teachers are weak or lazy or manipulative. However, it’s the increase that needs to be noted. Perhaps teachers are taking better care of themselves and thus are taking time to recover rather than bringing their sickness back to the classroom. If that’s the case I see a problem in a job that requires employees to take that much time off.

In Ontario, mental health and well-being is now a mandated goal. While I applaud that move, several educators questioned the strategies suggested that are designed to deal with the stress the system itself created. “Try these mindfulness activities to deal with the … Read the rest

Sometimes I’m not Very Bright

Depending on who you ask “Sometimes” is a very loaded word.

As someone who has been pretty vocal about the limitations of Twitter, I should know better.

I’ve railed against the use of pithy tweets and so only moments after I send this baby out did I realize that:

  1. I was guilty of breaking my own rule.
  2. I had started a small fire storm.

Immediately the retweets and likes started flooding in. I hopped on a plane and landed to see the error of my ways. This tweet, in particular, reminded me of what I had done.

They’re right. It was a rather insulting tone and that was the moment of regret. I wanted to start a conversation but the awkward tone, lack of nuance, and labelling teachers  with such a volatile topic polarized the tweet rather … Read the rest

What about Contentment?

Well-being is a critical movement led by the province of Ontario that is essentially a response to the ever-increasing mental health issues of our students. While this is a complex issue with many factors, the one factor that we do control is the messages we send to students. Again this is tricky. On the one hand, it is our duty and privilege to empower students. We want them to realize their potential and see things that may not even know exists. We want them to feel as if they can change the(ir) world. On the other hand, this message often turns into a high-pressure environment where unreachable, unattainable goals and achievements have students consumed with stress.  So how do we provide both messages?

How do we empower students but at the same time protect and build their mental health?

I think a missing conversation is about contentment. Contentment is defined as being satisfied and not wanting more. The idea of being content can be seen as anti-innovation. Contentment is not very inspirational. It doesn’t do well on in a pretty image quotation. For some, it’s almost a downer or even a step backwards. Innovation is the buzzword of the day … Read the rest