Sunday, August 28, 2016

Politics and Social Media

It seems this election year, with the two candidates we have to choose form, politics is as polarizing as ever.  So what's the role of social media when it comes to politics, opinions, and debate?  I don't know. But I do know that it is a rare occurrence that you will change someone's mind through a facebook post, picture, or video in terms of trying to get them to "see the light" and agree with you. Especially those who solely get their political information from Facebook and articles people post. Being a polarizing political Facebook user or Twitter user will definitely turn people away, so maybe we shouldn't bring our political views and opinions into social media. But what about standing for what you believe in and standing up to falsehoods and inflammatory remarks?  What about those Facebook users who post their opinions/material every day which is drastically different than what you believe in? Do you comment back and start a Facebook argument that has no chance of ending in anything productive? How do you act if you see them in person? Just ignore the fact that what they post on Facebook is drastically different than what you believe and sometimes offensive? I do think in this election year, with the unique nature of this presidential election, the worst is being brought out in people. It seems more than ever, people are trying to tear the opponent down with negative posts, rather than trying to build their candidate up with positives and valid points. No matter what side of the spectrum, entering the election year with love, kindness, and an open mind, I think, will make for a better process. A healthier process.  A process in which we get solutions, rather than problems. Progress rather than ignorance. Hope rather than fear.  It is your right to free speech and that certainly means social media too. But take a step back. Look at what you post and how you share your beliefs. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A good chuckle, sometimes, is all you need

You may find yourself down and out or depressed or bloated or scared or nervous or anxious or bored or frustrated or trapped or fearful or cowardly or dejected or morose or brooding or vengeful or spiteful or any number of other negative feelings. So if you do find yourself in that emotional and mental state, perhaps all you need to do is watch a couple of Philippino high divers. Despite their efforts, they still get applause. So, too, can you still get an applause, no matter how bad it gets.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Eagle Vs. The Goat

Sometimes, you might feel like there is this giant burden on your back, like the talon's of life have sunk into your shoulders so far that there is no chance for escape. You might face seemingly never-ending obstacles, insurmountable challenges. The struggle might be real. You may have lost hope that there will ever be a way to shake your plight. But like the goat, if you keep fighting and fighting and running and running and rolling and rolling and battling and battling, eventually you will free yourself and defeat those demons.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Role of the Teacher

August has arrived and that means another school year is getting ready to launch. It's an exciting time of the year. Students are dying to see their schedule, see who they got for a teacher, see if their friends are in their classes, school supply shopping, perhaps get a few new pieces of clothing, etc. Teachers are excited as well: to see their class roster, get their room ready, organize their materials, plan that first week, and try out new ideas they came up with during the summer.  August is the perfect time of year to think about what the role of "Teacher" is, exactly. It sets the foundation for a great year. An impactful year.

First, what the Role of Teacher is NOT: 
*The role of the teacher is NOT to simply raise test scores.
*The role of a teacher is NOT just to bust kids for chewing gum or leaning back on their chair.
*The role of a teacher is NOT simply to show up, hand out worksheets, and collect a check.
*The role of the teacher is NOT to dish out pages upon pages of homework.

The Role of the Teacher
*The role of the teacher is first and foremost to build relationships with their students. I send my own kids to school, expecting their teacher to put forth the effort to get to know them and care for them.

*The role of the teacher is to make kids (or keep kids) curious. I send my own children to school expecting them to be more curious than when they started. Sure, I want them to learn skills and content but the MAIN thing I want is for my kids to be curious. I want them to ask questions and wonder about things.

*The role of the teacher is to encourage their students. I send my own children to school, not to be praised for any little thing they do but to be encouraged and pushed to do their best and built up to reach their potential. False praise and praising them for something they are expected to do can stay home.

*The role of the teacher is to inspire. When I send my kids to school, I want them to be inspired to do something great. I don't want them to be told "no, you can't use Twitter" but rather taught how to use Twitter effectively to increase their learning. Don't tell them No. Teach them "how."

*The role of the teacher is to care for their students. When I send my own kids to school, I want them to feel safe. Safe to learn, safe to ask questions, safe to make mistakes. If my daughter comes home and says she wasn't willing to try something because she was afraid she would fail, I will not be a happy camper.

*The role of the teacher is to build a culture of learning. NOT everything needs to be graded. Grades are not important. Grades are not why we do things. Learning is the goal. I want this to be talked about in class daily, that it's the learning that is important not whether you get an "A" or not. I don't want my daughter coming home with pages and pages of busy work homework night in and night out, crushing their spirit and making them hate school. They are kids who need to play and run around and be free, not homework robot machines who are victimized by grade-happy teachers who love to fill up their grade book.  It's okay for them to do school work at home, as long as it's "home learning" and NOT "homework."

*The role of the teacher is to be a leader. Show students by example how to try, how to risk, how to make a mistake, how to innovate, how to be passionate, how to put forth effort, how treat others, how to work together. When I send my kids to school, I want their teacher to lead them to be better people.

The Role of the Teacher is deep and meaningful and complex. It is an honor. It is one to be taken seriously, yet one to have a lot of fun with.
Own your Role as Teacher!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

So Long Owner's Manual!

I recently had a problem. The drain to my sink broke. Though I installed the sink to begin with, it had been a while so I had forgotten exactly how to do it. So, I found a tutorial on Youtube. Three minutes and thirty-five seconds later, I knew how to install a new drain. I had another problem. My dryer was not drying clothes properly. It would either run through the sensor dry cycle and still have wet clothes, or it would quit a few minutes after I started the cycle, thinking the clothes were dry (they were not). Manual dry worked and dried the clothes, but whenever I used the sensor setting, it didn't dry, so I figured that was the problem. So I called Sears (where I bought the dryer five years ago). Sears said they could send out a guy to look at it. It would cost $80, plus whatever he had to do to fix the problem (parts + labor). Or, as the polite phone operator informed me, I could pay $400 to get all my appliances covered for the next year. So I did some thinking and decided that both options seemed rather pricey and that there had to be a better way. A cheaper way. So, I checked YouTube. I had a pretty good idea the sensor setting was the problem so I "youtubed" Samsung sensor problems. Sure enough, I found a video showing how to replace the sensor bars. Piece of cake. I then looked up online how much sensor bars cost. $1.50 per sensor bars. Perfect. I ordered the sensor bars and eventually fixed the problem. All it cost me was $3 and 4 minutes of time watching YouTube. I was driving down the road and I had another problem. I wanted to customize the control panel on my dashboard. Did I pull out the thick owner's manual, locate the correct 'chapter' and figure it out? Nope. I went straight to Youtube and found what I needed. 

In our world, technology and in these examples YouTube specifically, creates a more efficient way of doing things. It saves time and money. If you have a problem or want to know how to do something, sifting through a big owner's manual or waiting for someone to show you in person is a thing of the past. You have a gazillion tutorials at your fingertips on YouTube, just waiting to be watched. Just waiting to teach you how to do something or help solve a problem. 

We want our students to have this mindset and equip them with the skills and knowledge to know HOW to find the best way to solve a problem. YouTube creates active problem solvers. They have a problem-they seek out the solution via Youtube-and problem solved. New thing learned. They do not just sit back and wait for someone to show them how or just give up because it's "too hard." 

Feel free to leave a comment on this blog post of how YouTube has helped you solve a problem. If you do not know how to leave a comment on blog posts, then look up a tutorial on Youtube! :)