Dear Parents, Be Less Involved

Okay, there’s a title to raise some eyebrows, but hear me out.

As a kid, I never really thought about my parent’s involvement in my education. Like most parents, no news was good news. Neither of my parents had a high school diploma and like many parents of that era, teachers were more educated and placed in relatively high regard as experts and professionals in the community. As more people become college educated and society, in general, became less compliant towards authority, schools and teachers were now more accountable for their actions. That was certainly an important and useful change.

As a teacher, I soon was able to see categorize the levels of involvement of parents. As a first-grade teacher, parents generally were fairly involved and interested in their child’s education. Particularly if this was their first child, they were anxious to know if their child was having success as a reader and learner, if they were developing social skills and if they were enjoying school. Most parents already knew the answer to these questions but appreciated affirmation. Yet while this was generally true depiction, there were some differences among parents. A small percentage of parents never showed up for … Read the rest

The #deanie awards for 2021

My annual giving out of random-meaningless-to-most-but-meaningful-to-me awards which began in 2015, almost didn’t happen. With the year(s) that it has been, it’s difficult to find routine at times. As well, when this began I was a travel warrior and my memories of interaction were largely in person. Yet Twitter was the glue that kept relationships alive and in some cases where they were born. (FYI, if you’re curious about the fake trophy, it’s a picture of shorts, in other words, no pants which have been an ongoing trope of mine for quite some time. Don’t overthink it)

My annual giving out of random-meaningless-to-most-but-meaningful-to-me awards which began in 2015, almost didn’t happen. With the year(s) that it has been, it’s difficult to find routine at times. As well, when this began I was a travel warrior and my memories of interaction were largely in person. Yet Twitter was the glue that kept relationships alive and in some cases where they were born.

My process for choosing who to honour is terribly random and arbitrary. As I’ve mentioned previously the danger of leaving someone out is great. It’s not about who I value most or who my closest friends are … Read the rest

Two Things are True Part 2

My ongoing exploration and interest in better understanding the intersection of acknowledging the current fatigue factor in our schools and the need or desire to learn and grow as humans and professionals continues.

Every time I interact with educators I ask them about this question and get their perspectives. My anecdotal data would suggest things are relatively constant: Teachers are tired and struggling. One conversation I had with a superintendent suggested that one of the things that are causing fatigue is the lack of automation in our day. Duties and routines that were previously automatic are now taking a cognitive effort to execute. Things like getting kids to work in groups, scheduling meetings used to be about the content and task and now are about how to ensure safety and comfort. I recently listened to an episode of This American Life where the opening segment showed how much work it is to communicate given masking, ventilators and distance. That once natural exchange requires an added effort that is surprisingly tiring. The piling on of these daily challenges naturally makes us more tired. This isn’t the only thing that is adding to our fatigue but seems to be something that is … Read the rest

Two Things Are True

This is essentially what I’ve been trying to figure out for the past 18 months

The real truth is I’ve been trying to figure that out for the past 20 years, ever since I shifted from teaching children to teaching adults. As much as we try to model the classroom experience to adult learning, I realize that pedagogy and andragogy are different. This is true not only in terms of capacity and perspective but also the environment. Classrooms have the advantage of a daily connection. In lower elementary, it means you’re spending hours each day with each other. You have time to connect and build relationships which we know is essential. We also have learners whose primary job is to go to school to learn. When it comes to professional learning, it’s above and beyond their main job. Even when time during school is given, it’s extra, let alone the time it would take to prepare for a … Read the rest

Joe’s Videos

It’s hard not to like Joe Sanfelippo. Despite his annoying habit of posting the Packer logo after they win, he’s a good man, doing good work. He also uses video in a pretty unique way. As part of a workshop I was doing with some local administrators, I wanted to share Joe’s approach and thinking around how and why he uses this content. I was intending to have him share during our live session but he wasn’t able to make that time so he graciously agreed to sit down with me via Zoom for a quick chat. Here’s the edited version of our conversation.

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