Saturday, September 3, 2011

10 Things to Do Now That I Have Left Teaching

13 months later, almost.  I have not blogged or journaled for the simple reason that the weight of being a teacher became too great. I marvel at those who maintain thoughtful, daily blogs while teaching full-time in a public school.  The only comment I will make about the last year is this: It is too bad that racing to the top has too often meant sprinting away from "what works" and towards a flashy "solution" to a "problem" that is only vaguely understood and at best minimally examined.  Students and teachers alike are spun round and round in the process.  Successes, like fireflies in June, are ephemeral "in the can" and quickly fly off, uncaught, most of the time.

So I am moving on, but not leaving education either in practice or in interest. Specifically, I continue to be passionate about YA literature as an important genre and study, in ELA/Literacy as a learning and pedagogical study, in online and other technologies to support this learning, and in how "teaching" can be improved.  In order to keep channeled and busy, I have made a list of 10 things To Do.  Some are just technology skills, others are interest threads, others are real tasks I want to complete that will support learning.
  1. Tweet effectively. I have had an account for years, now I am going to use it to learn and network.
  2. Find the best apps to synch my Apple tools (iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro) - and use them.
  3. Volunteer locally in a Literacy capacity (beyond the support I give to our local woman's group)
  4. Design and implement a free online global-awareness club for middle school students - that is in the works. An alternative is to work on a very local middle school version of microlending (to improve the lives of local kids and encourage their independent creativity)
  5. Investigate The Bad Guy in YA fiction
  6. Use Twitter and this blog to encourage Creativity and Vocabulary Development
  7. Write a digital All You Really Need to Know About Grammar that will be a self-guided text with collaborative elements
  8. Beef up my site - probably totally redesign it using new tools (Google, some apps I like) and definitely write some essays on pedagogical topics
  9. Review literary YA titles - they are being written and teachers need to become aware of them
  10. Write a blog post addressing every one of the Grade 8 CCSS ELA standards from the POV of the public school ELA teacher.
The last item on the list was inspired by the frequent postings on EC (English Companion ning) made by teachers who have been blindsided by a principal's decision to change curriculum in response to standards AND at the same time to mandate change in teaching methods in response to one of the several ELA pedagogies currently in favor.  ELA has never been more confusing as a subject,  more heavily weighted, and less supported within the schools.  

I also want to have some fun. #5 - The Bad Guy - is where my brain keeps going, so I will follow.

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