Saturday, January 30, 2010

Time---Who Dares To Waste It?

I came across this quote tonight: "A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life." by Charles Darwin. This may be the only thing I have in common with Darwin...the appreciation of my time!
I think the logical part of me has always valued time. I use my time work...I try to utilize every minute...recording grades, entering grades into the computer, teaching, recording absences and anything else that comes along the way that day. Once work is done...I get to enjoy my Family Time!
I watch my study hall students and how they use their time. Some are diligently working on their homework...some are reading....some play games on their computers. It is frustrating for me to watch the young people who choose to "waste" their time. I offer to help with Math...I encourage them to get their homework...yet, some choose to do their own thing. I have shared my thoughts about time management...and perhaps the true value of time is not appreciated at such an early age....perhaps one has to have an enlightening experience to appreciate every minute one is given?

The Evolution of Communication

I have been teaching since 1992...and have experienced so many changes in the way I communicate with parents.

When I was a beginning teacher...the phone was about the only way to communicate with the parent. It was difficult to contact some parents due to the fact most had jobs and the only time to talk would be before or after school hours. We would often play "phone tag" and finally after many hours...or days...we would be able to address the situation at hand. It often became a hassle to make contact.

As a beginning teacher, I dreaded making a phone call to a parent regarding a "situation" with their child. I chose most often to wait until parent/teacher conferences to talk about concerns. My reasoning was "if a parent really wanted to know or was concerned about their child...they would make sure they contacted me".

Things changed over the years. I became a parent...and Email became a way of was fast! It was convenient...and no phone tag! I loved it! It was a great way to communicate the "good, the bad...and the ugly" :) My reasoning changed from "if a parent really wanted to know"" as a parent I would like to know what is happening and how my child is I'll let you know how your child is acting in my classroom". It really changed how I did my job! A late assignment....turned into an email...just to let the parent be aware of the situation....a good test....turned into an email...a poor test...turned into an email...a cuss word....turned into an email.

I was writing about 5-20 emails per day. On test days...I wrote about 50-70 emails...just to let parents know how the student did on the test. I would be exhausted!

Now, I have made another change to my communication strategy. I have put the RESPONSIBILITY into the hands of the student. My school was blessed with 1 to 1 computers. Each student was given their own email address. Now...each student is responsible to send an email to their parent regarding a late assignment....test grade....or discipline issue. I get CC'd in the email...communication is complete! Sure there are still several emails I still send in a emails stay short and to the point. I try not to let personal feelings take any part of the email..just sticking to the facts.

I enjoy reading the emails the students send to their parents...some students are so proud of themselves...some are very tough on themselves...some just write a short, quick note. Whatever, the email may least they have the POWER to convey the message to their parent and tell them what is going on in my classroom!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Make Up Days

I'm sitting here thinking how the Iowa winter has taken so much time away from school. The ice storms, the wind and the snow has accumulated to 7 snow days from school. Luckily we have 2 "built in" days at the end of the we just need to find 5 other days on our calendar!
Working with 1-1 computer access, has allowed the administrators to poll the students about how they want to make up their "time". Do they want to lengthen the school day, add days to the end of the year, make up a day on a Saturday or perhaps take time from Spring Break?
I am looking forward to seeing the response from the it will be interesting to see if they agree with my thoughts???
I, myself, would like to lengthen the school extra hour to each day wouldn't be so bad! :) It would save the district money actually....the buses would not have to run extra days...the cooks wouldn't have to cook an extra lunch...and think of the money saved from heating the place!!
Anyway, it will be interesting to see the outcome of the poll! I am hoping Spring comes soon!