First, if you’ve been here before, you’ll notice that the blog has changed name and design. It probably won’t be the last time. Blog206 was my erstwhile class blog that never really went anywhere anyway, so I doubt the half dozen students that took advantage of it will miss it.
The new name comes from a seminar that Rob Evans gave at our school my first year at Westminster. I stuck that term in my hat, and pretty much went back to teaching in my good, old comfortable style, with little variation for eight years or so. Last year, I started getting the itch to take more chances, frustrated that while the kids continue to learn Spanish at a decently high level of proficiency, it’s mostly due to their raw intelligence and motivation. I wasn’t offering much in the way of compelling salesmanship or relevance.
Last year’s participation in the PLP was a big first step in changing the way I do things, and on the whole, I probably deserve a B- for my attempt. Most of my growth pertained to my job as language lab director. I was a proficient developer of other peoples’ tech-based activities. My own teaching remained largely a kill-and-drill enterprise.
So, the Golden Plunger comes out. The Golden Plunger refers to that grand idea that falls on its face. My goal is to posit a number of creative and collaborative approaches to my teaching. I’m ok with failing, as long as I get it right a couple of times.
I’ve really enjoyed being exposed to expert voices in our readings and in what little blog surfing I’ve done in the last month. However, although I did a lot of reading during this past month, I didn’t take time to reflect on it here, hence my two brief posts. On a number of occasions I’ve felt the urge to blog, but immediately looked at my watch, and feeling crunched for time because of an upcoming class, sports practice, or family outing, I decided I didn’t want to just “knock something out”–I wanted to sit down and really dig into my reflection. As a result, I wrote very little.
So here’s what I’ve decided. In order to get my fingers traveling, I’m going to blog when I get the notion (don’t expect Wallace Stegner-like prose); however, in order to respect my reader (in the case of this month, Matthew), I will try to be as relevant as possible. So, I won’t give you Wallace Stegner, but I promise not to give you James Joyce, either.
3 thoughts on ““Matrix Rebranded””
It is difficult to find the time just to do the research. The reflection and planning necessary to make the research worthwhile requires a certain amount of sacrifice. This is an observation from an individual that does not have to dedicate time to a spouse or children. I dabbled in coaching last year just as an assistant for football, but it took so much out of me that I retired from coaching after the season. I respect greatly those that balance family responsibilities and coaching on top of being an educator.
Last year I was provided with several great technology tools to use in my classroom through a grant. While I did use certain tools daily and other tools at several points throughout the year, awarding myself a B- for my participation in the grant would have been much too generous. I am hopeful that this fellowship will provide the resources and encouragement I need to really push myself as an educator to use these tools effectively.
I completely connected to your comments, Ted. I’ve read numerous articles and reflected on what I’ve been learning, and there have certainly been times, often when I’m running or just before sleep, that I’ve thought of ideas and commentary that I wanted to share, but time just slips away from me.
However, my research and learning are finding expression in my teaching and in my interaction with other teachers. As the curriculum director and the mentor for new teachers at my school, I find plenty of opportunity to share best practices and what we are learning in class. If I could clone myself, I could find time to express all of those moments on my blog.
Matthew, good luck and go for it. One thing I like about last year’s PLP and this year’s cohort is that it gives us license to experiment and leap out of our comfort zones.