Conversations Episode 94 March 13, 2011

Post-Show description: 

We're back from a two week leave due to school vacation weeks. Today's Conversation was about using events, patterns and structures and examining the 5 events that led us to go into teaching. Lisa, Maria and Sheila each shared the 5 things that led them into education. They looked at the events and then looked for the patterns. Taking it further, they asked about the system that is in place that allows for these events to happen or for the pattern to evolve. Of course, there was plenty of conversation.

Chat Log

11:22:58 Lisa Parisi: Hello Scott

11:28:24 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Hello ladies.  What is the (starting) topic today?

11:29:36 Sheila: HI Scott! "Events , Patterns, Structures"

11:29:48 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Ok... Thanks.

11:29:57 Sheila: Systems thinking

11:31:45 PeggyG: Hi everyone

11:31:54 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Hi Peggy

11:32:01 PeggyG: Hearing you great

11:32:17 PeggyG: Welcome back Sheila!! Can't wait to hear your stories!

11:32:53 PeggyG: I always get confused with the time change because AZ doesn't change

11:33:08 Sheila (again): Oh, right!

11:33:48 PeggyG: everything is an hour earlier for us in AZ but we don't change our clocks :-(

11:34:40 PeggyG: are you talking to your computer Maria?

11:34:55 PeggyG: I have NO problems on my Mac!

11:35:06 Lisa Parisi: Hello Porchdragon

11:35:39 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): I like macs.... McChicken, McNuggets, McRibs

11:35:42 porchdragon: Howdy!

11:35:55 PeggyG: funny Scott! me too!

11:35:59 Sheila (again): Hi porchdragon!

11:37:40 PeggyG: you've really had an exciting few weeks Sheila!

11:38:49 PeggyG: those are great steps to think about

11:39:17 PeggyG: my problem is "remembering" those events! :-)

11:39:50 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): I remember (but that was ony 5 years ago)

11:40:03 PeggyG: :-)

11:40:37 PeggyG: but you may have had a lifetime leading you towards that decision Scott

11:41:20 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): True... but now the profession is in such turmoil I'm having second thoughts

11:41:41 PeggyG: I can definitely understand! and those aren't the reasons you decided to be a teacher!

11:41:42 Lisa Parisi: I would never go into teaching today, Scott.

11:42:00 Lisa Parisi: But don't know what I would do instead.

11:43:51 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): I decided to leave my hi-tech job and reduce my income long before things got ugly... but now it seems that states are trying to turn teaching into a minimum wage, entry level job.

11:45:59 PeggyG: there will always be a need for good teachers Scott! I believe things will begin to turn around for teachers and education

11:46:25 woodenmask: Good morning.

11:46:49 PeggyG: hi woodenmask!

11:46:49 Sheila (again): Morning John!

11:47:08 MariaK: hi john

11:47:24 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): @Peggy - That is true.  As ugly as things are right now, this may be the BEST time for an innovative, change-agent type of teacher to start a career. Merit pay might end up being my best friend.

11:47:49 PeggyG: yes! excellent points!

11:48:58 PeggyG: interesting that you can name specific people that were turning points for you Lisa

11:49:18 Lisa Parisi: The people seem to be more important than the events.

11:49:45 PeggyG: and each person represents more than one idea

11:50:01 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): @Lisa  Great points! Collaboration works... but yet so many teachers insist on a "quiet classroom" with no talking at all :(

11:51:08 Lisa Parisi: Oh yuck!

11:52:21 Lisa Parisi: I find myself adding noise when it gets too quiet in my room. LOL

11:52:24 PeggyG: @Lisa-also interesting that your events (people) were not historical events like a war but very personal connections with people

11:54:43 PeggyG: Sheila can you type the 3 steps here in the chat?

11:54:49 Sheila (again):

11:54:56 Sheila (again): try that link

11:55:02 Sheila (again): Does it work?

11:55:07 Lisa Parisi: Hello Karen.

11:55:25 PeggyG: Perfect Sheila! Thanks!

11:55:34 McTeach (Karen): Good Morning, Lisa!

11:55:46 PeggyG: Good morning McTeach!

11:56:25 McTeach (Karen): Hello Peggy!

11:56:43 PeggyG: @McTeach is CUE this week? Are you going? I can't go this year :-(

11:57:29 PeggyG: wow Maria!!! not exactly the encouraging type!

11:58:09 PeggyG: it certainly isn't all about grades!

11:58:20 McTeach (Karen): Yes...and no. Boss wouldn't pay for it. Tech teacher is paying her own way, I can't afford it.

11:58:45 PeggyG: all of my graduate courses were pass/fail and it completely opened the door for learning without worrying about grades :-)

11:59:18 PeggyG: so sorry McTeach!! I'm in the same boat! Can't afford it.

11:59:25 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): I encouter that attitude often.  I think it is a way for thinning the herd by scaring off the "weak ones"

11:59:51 McTeach (Karen): Peggy...I did get her to agree to pay for ASCD, which is in SF this year!

12:00:26 PeggyG: that's a GOOD thing McTeach!! Hooray! ASCD conferences are very different from tech conferences :-)

12:01:25 McTeach (Karen): I'm excited! I've heard such great things about the ASCD conferences!

12:01:33 PeggyG: importance of relationship with teacher! very powerful statement!

12:02:05 Lisa Parisi: HEllo BDM

12:02:18 woodenmask: I'm not sure the not-remembering thing is an indication of how committed a teacher is. I know that my brain is an Etch-A-Sketch. Each June, I immediately lose all the names as I focus on the new group of incoming students.

12:02:40 PeggyG: I actually think my last ASCD conference was in San Francisco. Long time ago! But I am still an ASCD member :-)

12:02:40 BDM: Hi Lisa

12:02:41 Lisa Parisi: I do too John but still remember the essence of the kids

12:02:43 woodenmask: Or perhaps I shouldn't have drunk so much in college...

12:02:52 Lisa Parisi: I might not have names but I have personalities down.

12:03:01 Lisa Parisi: LOL

12:03:51 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): People try to talk me out of teaching almost daily

12:04:03 PeggyG: that's really interesting John. I still get together with some of my teachers where I was a principal and we have all been retired for quite awhile. Some still remember kids names back 35 years ago--lots of them but I don't.

12:04:37 PeggyG: they not only remember names but lots of stories about the kids and even their families and friends--always amazes me!

12:04:55 PeggyG: don't let them talk you out of teaching Scott!

12:05:32 McTeach (Karen): I wanted to be a teacher since I was in Mr. Fambrini's fifth grade class. But I never thought I was smart enough to be a teacher...still don't.

12:05:41 woodenmask: I really think that the best teachers had the hardest time in school.

12:06:00 Sheila (again):

12:06:08 Lisa Parisi: Amazed with people like you and Maria, Karen, who go into teaching from a situation of not being a good student.  I am awed by you both.

12:06:11 PeggyG: not sure about that John... very hard to generalize

12:06:13 McTeach (Karen): @woodenmask School was easy for me...learning was hard.

12:06:15 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Ive got too much invested and too many job offers to quit now. 

12:06:31 Lisa Parisi: I don't think so John.  I didn't. :P

12:06:58 PeggyG: my thinking exactly Scott! There's a place for you and schools need someone like you!

12:07:18 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): I am getting tired of being asked when I will move into administration.  Everyone assumes my K-6 certification is just a stepping stone.

12:07:27 McTeach (Karen): Thanks, Lisa...but I'm not sure that's deserved on my part. Totally agree with you about Maria!

12:07:31 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Thanks, Peggy

12:08:19 McTeach (Karen): Faculty meetings are just painful for me!

12:08:30 MariaK: just trying to make a difference and trying to change things for students - from my own point of view and experience.

12:08:31 Lisa Parisi: Faculty meetings are painful for us all.

12:08:35 PeggyG: interesting direction with faculty meetings Sheila! Creating a different kind of faculty lounge at our school helped to change the culture

12:08:50 PeggyG: that's a structural change

12:09:24 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): @Peggy How is your lounge different?  I hve not found one yet that did not suck your soul into the sewer

12:09:38 PeggyG: faculty meetings can be very frustrating if they are just "sit and git". I felt the same way about principal's meetings

12:09:49 McTeach (Karen): But you need a leader who's willing to allow change, and willing to give up some of the control.

12:10:23 McTeach (Karen): I've stopped paying attention in meetings.

12:11:13 PeggyG: Scott it was making it a beautiful place with nice furniture, paintings, round tables, etc that started it--was no longer like a cafeteria where you just run in to eat, complain and leave

12:11:27 McTeach (Karen): My desks are in rows...not a lot of choices in my classroom with 36 desks.

12:11:47 PeggyG: teachers all participated in the decisions and planning which allowed for lots of conversations about what they wanted the faculty lounge to be like

12:12:08 Sheila (again): @McTeach - seems like there have been a lot of events and a long pattern for you to stop listening at meetings. Can you add something to create the change?

12:12:16 PeggyG: good point!--can't even move with 36 desks!

12:12:52 PeggyG: wow! be right back! I have a blog post to read :-)

12:12:56 McTeach (Karen): Sheila...everyone has noticed (and commented to me) that she shuts me down as soon as I start talking. So I've stopped.

12:14:03 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): I'm currently spending 60 hours in kindergarten.  It is making me rethink classroom arrangements for higher grades...

12:14:27 Sheila (again): I hear you! So I added some things to the agenda at the end and have asked whoever to stay to share. We started with a small group but hung in there and no more stay to share.

12:14:33 PeggyG:

12:15:52 PeggyG: are you saying "no more stay to share" or NOW more stay to share?

12:17:13 Lisa Parisi: We should have more classroom like kindergarten, Scott.

12:17:36 PeggyG: Scott it's often frustrating in schools when you have a vision for how you'd like to create your learning environment and you're given desks, chairs and bookshelves. Really have to be creative and hit yard sales

12:17:58 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): @Lisa I agree!

12:18:43 PeggyG: really good points Lisa! very helpful to think about that

12:18:49 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): @Peggy  Have to be careful with yard sale stuff.  Some schools forbid bringing in "unapproved furniture". 

12:19:57 PeggyG: I know and there are lots of rules about that but it's worth exploring options for changing things--fire marshalls and custodians often determine classroom environments

12:20:52 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Yep.  Another topic to duscuss when I'm interviewing schools where I would like to work.

12:21:51 PeggyG: and it's not just furniture I'm thinking about. buying lots of books for a classroom library from yard sales can really help to create an environment that says you value reading

12:23:20 PeggyG: pattern sometimes feels like a series of events that are used to make you feel you're doing something wrong and get defensive (thinking of this from a parent perspective right now)

12:25:01 PeggyG: funny Sheila!

12:25:46 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Don't the pull-out teachers document their interactions with students?  Sounds like a good use for a google doc or similar tool.

12:26:07 PeggyG: sometimes it's accepting your role/responsibility in the problem and the solution

12:26:17 woodenmask: It is really, REALLY hard to keep track of all the specialists, SPED service providers, 1-on-1 adults in our school. I'd venture to say, almost impossible.

12:26:26 MariaK: have used a google do before but so many folks use tech issues as a reason not to do it.

12:27:33 PeggyG: in my experience the pull-out teachers spend too much time "documenting" student progress with test scores and don't have time to do things like communicating with parents. Always issues with confidentiality with special ed kids on IEPS.

12:27:59 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): But at some point, everyone assuems that "the other teachers" are teaching the student.  I've seen kids slip through the cracks because of assumptions like this.

12:28:14 PeggyG: don't think you can legally email about student concerns and personal information

12:28:34 PeggyG: exactly Maria!! formal kinds of testing

12:29:27 woodenmask: That's another problem with this situation, Peggy. Many of the SPED providers in our school won't even use individual students' names in spoken conversation, so it's insanely hard to keep track of who we're even talking about at a given time.

12:30:22 PeggyG: yes Scott! that's been a serious problem for way too long! teachers feeling that they aren't responsibile for teaching anyone but the kids in their room and if they have a pull-out teacher they pass that responsibility on to them--rather than thinking of themselves as a team with the parent to help the child learn

12:31:27 PeggyG: funny but true John!!! that's a cop out though and keeps them from having to communicate

12:31:32 PeggyG: partly legal :-)

12:31:33 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): The US vs THEM issue seem to be a common theme tihe special ed / gen ed

12:31:53 PeggyG: absolutely Scott! for too many schools!

12:32:45 PeggyG: that has just gone way too far if you can't even discuss a child f2f without using their names!

12:32:51 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Sounds like the confusion that HIPPA caused in the medical field.  you MUST relay the information

12:32:53 woodenmask: Don't know about almost pregnant, but I've got semi-morning sickness.

12:33:18 MariaK: Almost congrats - John!

12:33:22 PeggyG: thanks for getting me all stirred up today!! didn't realize I felt so strongly about some of these issues

12:34:15 PeggyG: that is a huge decision and statement Lisa!

12:34:32 Sheila: NASA  Tweetup

12:34:39 PeggyG: some things aren't as "free" as they appear :-) free PD!!!

12:35:10 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): You can let go of contro at 5th grade, but what is the lower limit? Can it be done in 3rd?  1st?

12:35:57 PeggyG: interesting question Scott! many people don't feel they can let go of control in college :-)

12:36:10 PeggyG: don't think it's about the age

12:36:14 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Oh, You have met my professors?!

12:36:21 PeggyG: :-) yup

12:37:05 Lisa Parisi:

12:37:11 PeggyG: those pictures are great Sheila! you need a whole show to talk about your last few weeks

12:37:29 Sheila (again): Belize photos coming soon!

12:37:34 McTeach (Karen): Guess I'd better get up

12:37:47 PeggyG: Have a great day everyone!

12:38:33 PeggyG: Matt's gatorradio students interviewed Kim Cofino on Friday

12:38:44 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Thanks all

12:38:44 Lisa Parisi: bye everyone