Tuesday, May 3, 2016

#WeirdEd Week 101- A Chat in the Classical Style (Plus Teacher Appreciation Week)

this is the punchline to one of my favorite jokes

**The top of this post is the overview for my edchat, the bottom of the post, after the "***" is a Teacher Appreciation thing. Why combine them? Because they came out together and I trust my readers to be able to find what they're looking for.**

#WeirdEd Hath Returned! After a well-earned month-long hiatus The Chat That's Where It's At is bringing all the weirdness, freedom, and joy you want from education. Who says teaching needs to be serious business and who says teachers are serious people? We hang out with kids all day. Normal, straight-laced people don't do that. We want to have a good time when we talk about teaching because we want to have a good time teaching. We want to find connections where others may find none because that keeps our Teaching Brains agile, fresh, and sharp.

Yes, today's chat is on May the Fourth so in theory I ought to be writing a Star Wars-themed chat. But we did that not long ago and we did a hundred chats with barely a repeat in the bunch so why start the second century with one? No, no, no, my friends. Because I love you, because I appreciate you, because I care that you care enough to spend an hour with me, with us, I'm bringing you a classical #WeirdEd.

I want to talk about things we're doing at the end of the year like breaking kids up for next year's teachers, keeping kids awake as we rocket towards the finish, keeping the end of the year angst from boiling over, and more. There's a more specific theme to the chat, but to tell you would be to spoil the surprise and I wouldn't do that to you.


On another note- Happy Teacher Appreciation Week. This isn't the easiest job and none of us thought it would be. I'm not sure if we expected it to be as trying as it can be, and I know I didn't realize the rewards when I first started. We spend long hours away from our own families, we think about our other kids even when we're with the ones we live with. And we don't get the love we deserve. It's nice to have the week. And yes, it's fun to be cynical and say, "Boy, this is sure better than those other 51 weeks when they complain about us!" I like getting donuts from my office staff and lunch from the PTO. I also think we need to be strong enough in our convictions that while we love being appreciated we don't need it.

Teaching is The Long Game. I know I'm saying and doing things that won't hit some kids for years to come. We act as a delayed action bomb except we can only hope that one day it goes off. We try to get the wiring right. Say things, do things, set up this and that, give wide experiences, read the right books. Someday maybe I'll be more than, "I had this goofy ass teacher in fifth grade. He had blue hair and rode a motorcycle." I know that right now my kids appreciate our classroom, how we are and what we've built together, and I love that. Their appreciation means more than anything. But I hope that one day that appreciation blooms again.

I've been a parent for three years now and every day I appreciate my parents more. Every day I understand a little better. I'm starting to think teaching is a lot like parenting. Similar to how I loved my mom and dad and step-dad, my students love me. With kid understanding, which is still powerful and deep. But later, as I grew, I understood and love my parents more, in different ways, more mature and reflective ways. Hopefully our students do that too. I do, when I think back on my favorite teachers- Mr Greatman, Mr Slay, Mr Avalino, Mr Ingman. Now, I spend a lot of time thinking about teaching and so thinking about teachers, and I don't expect most of my kids to think back on me like I do on mine. But they do appreciate us now, and hopefully one day, they'll grow to understand why they felt that.

I appreciate you. My teaching brothers and sisters, we're in this together. We might not always get along, we might think the ways some of us go about things are ridiculous or worse, but we're in a small club together. One that says, "If you understand, no explanation is needed, and if you don't none will suffice." We understand.

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