Wednesday, January 8, 2014

While waiting for change to happen...

In that I'm hoping to make both #ptchat and #sbgchat tonight, I was thinking about parents and what they're to do while waiting for schools to change practices over to methods that truly seem to be on their way. I'm also thinking about parents who are lost in the middle of debates such as homework and wondering, from their perspective, what can be done to help the students. Right now, I'd still bet that the majority of classes in the majority of high schools, for example, are assigning nightly homework, and yes, students are struggling with getting it all done. Nothing new there. This also means that there are a lot of parents out there who are going to be trying to help their kids. We could talk about political action and pedagogical reform, but I'm also wondering about helping today's parents, those parents whose kids are expected to do the work and will be "held accountable" for not getting the work done. There are also still - I'd bet - a tremendous amount of parents who want their kids to have a "solid amount" of homework. If you could talk to these parents and were to offer some practical advice for today, what would you tell them? Perhaps we can change the way it's assigned and used from our end in the future, but - for now - how can parents help high-school kids be more successful with homework? Your thoughts and comments, as always, are welcomed and encouraged.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

PERSISTENCE - The state of my life in #oneword

It's 2014, and I'd love to think that this year will bring an end to the tumult that's defined my family's world for the past five or six years. We left Maine in 2009 when the recession dramatically shrunk my wife's company, she found a position in NYC. At the time, our children were very little (1 and 3), and we figured we'd be going on an adventure. While it certainly has been adventurous, what actually happened turned out to be an exercise in change, humility, reflection, rebirth, growth and survival. I'm a lot better for it all, but it's exhausting to now find myself in a new state without a position. Giving up, though, isn't an option that I actually understand.

Logistically, I have no intention of not working as an educator. My wife has a good job, and I've actually looked into a new line of work, but it would have been just that, work. I'm an educator. I will work in and/or with schools again, so I'm not going anywhere. I am a husband to an amazingly wonderful woman with whom I want to share a fulfilling and exciting and interesting and meaningful life, which means that I need to have a career that leaves me proud and provides and comes with a paycheck that's on "this side of livable." Most importantly, though, is that I'm a father, and my kids not only have a ton of interests I want them to explore, but also that I want to be the type of role model that shows them what it means to have a passion and overcome obstacles that may be in the way of achieving related goals.

Philosophically speaking, it's all wrapped up in something I read succinctly put on Twitter the other day: "You've only failed when you stop trying."


It took 10 months to get all of my certifications transferred over from New York to Massachusetts, but it happened because I kept looking into regulations, taking (and passing) necessary tests, applying and following up. I had to apply twice to get accepting into substitute teaching pools in local districts, but that's also done, so I can at least make some money and be connected to schools in some way. I've written a bottomless amount of cover letters and application essays, and I need to keep at it until I connect with the right fit.

I know why a lot of people up on things in their lives and/or themselves altogether, but I'm not going there. A few weeks back, I wrote this post about my motto, "Fingers crossed, feet forward," which is essentially the same thing as saying that I'm persistent, but I wanted to write it again. It's not about envisioning the work I need to do or getting up and starting the work I need to do. For now, it's about staying with it, through whatever process turns out to be necessary, until I find a happy place. Once I'm there, I can work to make the most of my new scenario, which includes being in a new state, making new friends, helping my kids grow up happy and healthy, loving with my wife and kick-starting the next phase of my career.