Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is teacher appreciation week, and I am very fortunate to be in a place where teachers are really appreciated. This has not been the case in every teaching job I have had. I started my career in Philly where new teachers were human resources and not much more. After teaching four grade levels in three buildings in two years, I decided to take a break.

When showing appreciation for your teachers, your children’s teachers, your former teachers, technology can play a role. From finding people on Facebook or person finders to email and skype, tech can serve as a link and communication tool.

However, I vastly prefer the hand-made cards and heartfelt conversations I have had over the years.

I have now found an email for my AP physics teacher in high school. I hope it is current and finds him. What an amazing teacher.

Bullying Response Critique

I can’t get enough of Rethinking Popular Culture and Media by Rethinking Schools. One of the articles, by Gerald Walton, I read today is a critique of the portrayal of bullying in Glee and by extension and connection the commercialization of the anti-bullying messaging in our culture today.

Walton focuses on how gay bashing is lumped in with other forms of bullying when it should be categorized under sexual harassment. He capably argues this point with ample evidence from the show and from literature about LGBT harassment.

He then states, “The broad representation of bullying in Glee can be tied to the concept’s commodification. Bullying has become useful and profitable for corporations.” (p.218) In the article, Walton provides several resource boxes including one for intervention strategies, books for children, films, and websites.

Toward the end of the article, he asks, “Why do so many school administrators and teachers, real and fictional ones in shows such as Glee, claim their schools are save for children while homophobic harassment remains prominent and obvious. While his focus is on this more narrow topic, I feel the same is true about bullying, cliques, and other aspects of students’ social interactions. Bringing this up runs a bit contrary to the purpose of Walton’s article, but being tasked with presenting on Internet safety, I am attuned to messaging from schools to their parent and public audiences. To really grapple with the many issues that pervade our growing children’s and adolescents’ lives, we have to admit they are there and recognize the scope of them.

Starting a New Book

With my focus on reducing entertainment screen time, on changing my diet, and on exercising, I am finding that I am reading again. The most recent book I tossed in my bag for reading on the T during my commute, Rethinking Popular Media and Culture edited by Elizabeth Marshall and Ozlem Sensoy, has been sitting on my pile for quite a while. I am passionate about teaching media literacy, and every publication I have used from the Rethinking Schools organization has been excellent. Already I am hooked on this book after 40 pages. The first section is titled, “Study the Relationship Among Corporations, Youth, and Schooling.”

I think it is imperative for technology teachers to be acutely aware of media literacy issues because they are so embedded in content to which we provide access.

And Now a Handout

For my Internet safety talk for parents this Tuesday, I have created a Prezi presentation as an overview, a Livebinders binder to hold the content of the presentation, and now a handout for parents which I have uploaded to my Google Docs. Now all I have to do is show up!

Fragile Concepts Meet the Battering Ram of Reality

 Today, after teaching a class, I prepared to buckle down and get some work done on the parent Internet safety talk I am giving in a few weeks. I am grappling with how to transition parents from the very emotional and dramatized ideas around Internet dangers to a more rational approach that confronts those trends, puts them in context, and spends most of the time working on proactive things parents can do in the course of parenting. Needless to say, this involves some thought.

I was wrapping my head around some articles and data when reality struck. I needed to cover a lunch and then most of an afternoon in the Kindergarten room. I absolutely feel that being flexible and covering for other teachers makes a school work better, and that as a specialist I am more than happy to do so. However, my mind was slowly drawing these disparate ideas together and had not really gotten to a restore point yet to which I could return. Abruptly, I was called to do some work with upper elementary students in their research, so I got moving. As the day progressed, those wisps of thought unravelled and will have to be coaxed out again before I can draw them together into something coherent.

It was an entertaining day, though, with much more student time than I had previously counted on.