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

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Playing with fire

As an extremely private and protective person, my mother is worried sick about my defiant response to her recent discovery that You Tube automatically associates videos with related key words, which I suppose, might give somebody the false impression that I might engage in inappropriate behavior with students. Instead of backing off my decision to post my innocent Bad Hair Day Videos with the unfortunate You Tube keyword associations that I had nothing to do with, that were automatically generated by a computer, since I did nothing wrong, I decided instead to directly face the unfair perception just like I would face any bully. Instead of backing away, I decided to share my experience with what was, potentially, a life altering situation that I experienced a few years ago, an experience that boils my blood whenever I think about it -- I refuse to back down.

Mom is concerned that my decision "to be real," defiantly so, is akin to committing career suicide. Education has, in my view, become a female dominated business where risk-taking and blunt talk are often considered liabilities, but after 10 years, during which I have payed my dues, both literally and figuratively, and have put in the time and study needed to master the core skills needed to be an effective teacher, I have come to the realization that my decision to play it safe in interviews has not been working, probably because those evaluating can easily spot the incongruity with my true, far bolder personality. Lately, I have purposefully been adopting a more "manly approach," one that is more congruent with how I view the world, since proceeding in fear and worry is no way to live, no way to teach, and sends the wrong message to students, who when they smell and worry fear devolve into ravenous beasts.

Instead of recoiling in fear from interview questions about difficulties I have had to overcome in becoming a master teacher, I have decided to be more upfront about the formative experiences that have shaped my approach to classroom management, my concerns about the appropriateness of subjecting certain students to certain assessments, my insistence on evaluating students for developmental readiness, my experiences with collaboration, both good and bad, and my conviction that any new teacher needs to be supported by a strong team, particularly in the identification of appropriate instructional resources. A quiet, humble, and perhaps fearful approach has never worked for me in the classroom. If you were a fly on the wall, and if I were totally unaware that I was being observed, I might be caught using highly expressive story telling, which frequently leads to belly laughter, surprising shifts in intonation, pregnant pauses, controlled gestures, as well as a call and response rhythm to my delivery, all with the purpose of getting students engaged, all intended to emphasize critical attributes and essential knowledge.

While I am blogging today, as this blog is like an "artists sketchpad," what I am actually doing is preparing to update my applications with various school systems. For those who find their way here, I am pulling back the curtain a little, sharing my thinking, living a little dangerously.

Meanwhile, I am trying to figure out a way to embed videos without the use of You Tube, which I intend to work around from now on, because I do not like the way my videos were associated with content I find highly objectionable.

Although I still have not found what I'm looking for, here is a site that lists 47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom. Now it is possible to embed Picasa videos within a Google Site, which I did with my Google Site. I just have not found a way that I like that will enable me to embed video on my blog. Maybe the problem is that I am cheap, and lack unlimited time to explore at the moment.