Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Saddest Sound in the World

What is the saddest sound in the world?

A teacher excited about a new idea/ tool/ pedagogy having to ask "Are we allowed to use that?" (In other words "Is this blocked?")

A little tear rolled down.....
True story. Honest.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Want a New Job


I am sorry to have to do it but this post is not a informative, instructional post. It is a rant. If you are here to learn how to use the internet and technology, good. But ignore this post. If you are interested in reading the opinion of somebody who is completely and utterly right then read on. 

I want a new job.  You heard it right.  I want a new job.  Well ok, I would be satisfied with somebody else having this job if they had the power, authority, desire, and ability to do it well.

Ewan McIntosh described his dream job in the Ed Tech Posse podcast he participated in.  He wanted to be paid to jump on each and every bandwagon that came up.  He would then report back to others to see if the bandwagon was worth it.  Now I don't want his job - but my job would probably work well with his.

I want to be a Yes Man.  I want to be a Lets Find a Way Man.  I want my job to be finding ways to say yes to educators requests.  

Educator:  "Can I do/have (insert random skill/technology/tool)?'
Me: "Heck ya - that sounds awesome.  I am not sure how but lets find a way!"

Can I have that job?  Please?  Pretty please with cherries on top?  

I am qualified.  It started back when I was a kid with a bucket of Lego.  Any time I saw a new toy that I wanted (and knew I probably wouldn't get) I found a way to build it.  I was finding work arounds to get what I wanted.

I wanted a Smartboard.  It was not in the budget so I found a way to build the Poor Man's Interactive White Board - for a lot less money.  

We wanted GarageBand on our PCs.  So I found a PC equivilent (and if the Division doesn't get me the license soon going to get a less than legal version!  Yes this is an idle threat.)

I wanted Rockband but didn't want a console.  So I found a free open source program that works the same way.

We wanted Macs to do media editing.  The tech powers that be said no.  I found a way to say yes (and dealt with the consequences later).

I have been trying to do this job for a while now.  I just want the power and authority to make it happen.  I have the desire.  I want to say yes.  I want to say yes to other people!  I just don't have the authority or the power.  

Now we have some of these people in our division.  Yes people.  I suspect that you know who you are and you are wonderful.  You are awesome.  You are great.  Keep it up.  The problem is that you are blocked by NO people.  People whose first reaction is to say NO (usually with capital letters - sometimes with an examation mark).  NO People are controllers - they give up power grudgingly.  Yes People know that sharing power grants you the uber power of collaboration.  It is like that magic penny that keeps growing the more that you give it away.  Yes People scare No People.  No People don't understand them and find them threatening.  

Do not despise No People.  Pity them.  The world is strange and incomprehensable to them.  Treat them like a child that insists on telling bad knock knock jokes that make no sense.  Humour them and pretend that they are funny.  Then move on before things get too awkward.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

To Heck with Following your Dream

Ok - once you get past the very entertaining story about sheep ..... um ...... surgeries, Mike Rowe (from Dirty Jobs) has something interesting to say about jobs and our future.  The people he does shows about are not doing their dream jobs - but they are happy.   Watch the video.  Laugh, and then learn.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Business of School

School is a business.  We are selling education to our students.  How do we get them to buy what we are selling?  What price are they willing to pay?  Attendance?  Homework?  Emotional involvement?  What price are their parents willing to pay?  Time?  Involvement?  Risk?  Money?  What price is our community willing to pay? 

Finally, what are we teachers willing to pay to sell our product?  Are we willing to pay the price in time and personal commitment?

In his blog marketing guru Seth Godin wrote that in order to sell you need:

1. A group of possible customers you can identify and reach.
2. A group with a problem they want to solve using your solution.
3. A group with the desire and ability to spend money to solve that problem.
Well lets look at those three things.

#1 - We have them in our classrooms.  The law says that they have to be there.  All we have to do is reach them.
#2 - Here is a little bigger problem.  Do they see us as a solution to their problems?  Are we relevant enough?
#3 - Are they willing to pay the price for education?  Or do they have something else going on in their life that makes school impossible?

It is interesting to look at our jobs through a different lens.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lost Generation

This is something my VP emailed me (I suspect she may have picked it up from admin council). Sometimes adminstrators bring us something more than just paperwork. This is one of those things. Nice.