A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Friday, August 31, 2012

Licking my wounds

Disappointment and failure can be the mother of change and invention, or it can slowly destroy a person. I choose to work on perfecting myself, rather than allowing these temporary setbacks destroy me. I choose not to allow my God-given talent to be buried under the current of life. Even though my unique skills are not being recognized, even though I have utterly failed to persuade interviewers that I am light years ahead of where I was when I launched my first classroom in 2007, with no student teaching experience, I will acknowledge my failure and seek to get better, because that's what winners do.

Having made the decision to be brutally honest with the world, I have finally come to terms with the fact that I have utterly failed to get a teaching position and am not afraid of sharing my failure with the world. Despite a Master's Degree, despite a license to teach K-12 Special Education (General Curriculum), as well as Elementary Education (PreK-6), despite a degree from Georgetown University, my skills and experience are not valued sufficiently to earn a position. My performance during the interview process was not been sufficiently focused, and the opportunities were scarce. I have nobody to blame but myself.

Having decided to use the sting of failure to motivate me to become better as a teacher, instead of allowing my insecurity to destroy me, today I immersed myself in I See What You Mean: Visual Literacy, K-8, 2nd Ed. I decided to use OneNote to prepare a visual literacy toolkit which I can use to plan Bloom correlated activities. The process is like eating crabs -- painstaking, but the rewards are worth the trouble. Since time management is, frankly a challenge for me, having a comprehensive visual literacy toolkit at my fingertips, should provide the cognitive leverage I need to make the lesson planning process highly efficient.

During one of my interviews, I picked up a generalization that visual literacy is a great way to teach oral learners, which sounds totally counter-intuitive. Having failed in the interview, I lost motivation to read the book, and this powerful book sat in my book bag unread, like an unfulfilled wish. The comment was like a planted seed, however, and just needed the right conditions to germinate. I thought I might use the SQ3R reading strategy to get me to skim first, before digging in, then I discovered something that hooked me in a way I could not let go. The author, Steve Moline, visually organized the tools in a summary organizer. Click on the link, you will be as amazed as I was. I immediately realized that I had stumbled upon probably the most useful tool I have ever discovered in my search for better teaching and learning methods! Since I am using OneNote to take notes, I will be able to retrieve the precisely the right thinking tool any time I need to plan a unit or a lesson. If I like you, I might share my notes with you, using OneNote's powerful collaboration features. Ha!

One of my great joys this summer has been explicitly teaching my son Joe how to do a deep read and how to write a proper sentence, which he has had to to in order to respond to the high level thinking questions for Paul Coehlo's The Alchemist, required for his 9th grade Honors English class. One of central concepts in the book involves the way, when you have a dream, the universe conspires to help make it happen.

If I am fortunate enough to find a job, something that I need desperately, I might be the most highly educated customer service representative, or evening shift worker at a home center. But I will continue to work on perfecting my craft.