(picture created by Jennifer LaGarde)
So, after a horrible week of saying goodbye to my close friends and family at Jefferson Middle School, I am trying to find solace in summer vacation. I am still reeling from more or less being forced out of the school I started back in 1999 because of budget cuts. But, I am not the type of person who wallows in self pity, but I openly admit this has been a very hard pill to swallow.
I am looking for sources of inspiration, and as is often the case I find them in social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. My friend, Jennifer is always one of my inspirations. I admire her positivity, her determination, her sense of humor, and most of all the quality in her that is always looking out for the best interest of teachers and especially students. This week she posted two blogs that inspired me.
First is one about professional reading ideas for the summer:
http://lib-girl.blogspot.com/2011/06/professional-beach-reading.html One of the many things I love about this blog is that she acknowledges what teachers have gone through this year, and thus her number one suggestion for the summer is to "HEAL". How simple yet profound? This simple message of caring tells teachers that while we do need to grow, we first need to acknowledge the mighty challenges we have experienced this past school year. How many times do we get directives for professional development from "higher ups" that don't acknowledge what we have gone through as teachers? This blog also speaks to me particularly in light of what I have endured the last few weeks.
The second blog is a plan of action to address in a small yet effective way the attacks on teachers that seemed to have "snowballed" during the last year: http://lib-girl.blogspot.com/2011/06/2000-hours.html
Here, Jennifer is planning to document the work she does outside of school as described in this blog by a teacher named: Charles Ripley http://2000hours.blogspot.com/2011/06/hello.html . Charles plans to video blog all the things he does this summer as a teacher that are professionally related in an effort to counteract the myth that teacher sit around doing nothing while the rest of the wold works during the summer. I think any teachers out there will find themselves shaking their heads as his first video really speaks to many issues that teachers are feeling right now. I have started my google doc, and have already logged four hours this weekend.
This documentation is in fact something I already started this past year in an effort to highlight my daily job for a new administration at my school as well as for representatives in our state legislature who seem to think schools do not need technology facilitators at the building level. I am going to build on this google doc with the summer work I do. I hope you will join me, and send the message that teachers should not be taken for granted. We should not allow ourselves to be sheep whose profession is under attack by "the wolves" who recently swept into power and apparently feel they have a mandate to destroy public education.