Educators are all in this field because we like to help and support others, right? However, due to the traditionally isolated nature of our profession, we can often feel disconnected from one another. A teacher on one side of the building may have no idea what is going on in another teacher’s world. We rarely get a chance to shoot the breeze with one another while running around to get 30,000 things done in one day. We spend a lot of our time building relationships with our students (as we should!). But unless you’ve got a well-oiled PLC culture, we don’t always get a chance to build strong, positive support systems with our coworkers.
December brings a lot of stress to get every last bit of content in before the new year, the pressure of exams, and excitement for that mid-year break that we all desperately need. It’s cold out, it gets dark early, and it’s easy to fall in a slump this time of year.
Instead of trying to stay positive on your own, I’d like to encourage you to take some time out of your crazy day to offer some encouraging words to another teacher (even better if it’s someone you don’t normally get a chance to talk to). Acknowledge their hard work. None of us are in this line of work for the recognition (if you are, get out now because it’s a thankless profession more often than not), but think of how good you feel when someone does compliment your hard work. I promise you’ll feel even better when you know YOU are the one who gave someone else that glowing-feel-good feeling.
So before you shut down that computer (or iPad, or tablet, or ChromeBook), and say “see you next year!” to everyone on the last day of school in 2013, celebrate your colleagues!
Our CPII Freshmen English teacher, Ashley Markesbery, used Twitter and Storify to help students write a collaborative paper and interview people for the first time. Students had to interview other students and faculty members around the building by asking them a series of questions and then Tweeting the answers using a class #hashtag. In groups, students chose the best tweets and pictures after looking through all students’ tweets via the #hashtag. Each group used Storify to aggregate their favorite tweets. From their group’s Storify story, each student wrote their own individual paper. Ashley has been nominated for Ohio’s first ever #BestEdTech Awards in the Best Use of Social Media in the Classroom Category. Very cool use of Twitter and Storify, Ashley!
Art teacher, Mel Gaskins, has turned her classroom into a thriving educational technology hub-spot for students. She has architechture students using Houzz and Pinterest for idea boards as opposed to cutting out fabric swatches and pictures from magazines. Students from her independent art studio, ceramics, and architecture classes use Rhino, Illustrator, Photoshop, Auto Cad, and different iPad Apps to create their projects in her class. Mel also initiated an in-house quad-blogging project with two other teachers in the building (English and Religion) where Mel’s students blogged about Art reflections, and students in the other classes commented/blogged from their respective subject area views. Mel is currently seeking out a way to bring a 3-D printer to the building for her sculpture and architecture students. Lastly, she is working on setting up a department blog to give all our fine arts teachers and students the chance to collaborate in one spot. She is constantly brainstorming ways to reinvent her class and use educational technology to ensure her students continue being accepted into very competitive art and architecture programs around the country. Mel, very deservingly, has been nominated for Ohio’s first ever #BestEdTech Awards in the Teacher Innovator Category!
Help me vote for Ashley and Mel until January 10th by clicking here.
I’d like to leave you with a quote and a question. How will you celebrate your colleagues this year?
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” -Maya Angelou
Tech To You Later!