Saturday, September 19, 2015

There's A Disconnect

If you have read my blog before, you know I am a proponent of the proper use of social media by schools and teachers.  I have tweeted recently that according to the PEW Research Center, 75% of parents use social media.  To me, this is a pretty good reason to at least explore the possibility of using social media to connect and communicate with your parents.  As a school leader, when is the last time you have had 75% of your parents in any one place?

Just yesterday, I came across another statistic.  According to a survey conducted by the Harris Poll for the University of Phoenix, 87% of teachers have not incorporated social media into their classrooms.  That is an incredible disconnect, and quite frankly, a missed opportunity.

Our school, Big Walnut Intermediate, located in Sunbury Ohio, has embraced the use of social media with the support of our central office staff and school board.  We have seen amazing results in the past two years because of it.  Great things were happening in our schools, but I am not certain that message was getting home to our families.  Through the use of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, that message is now being delivered, and our parents are appreciative.  In has made it down to the classroom level, as we now have teachers doing their own video newsletters, class blogs, and Instagram pages.  These are tools that not only inform our families about what is happening in their child's educations, but also serves as a hook to get the kids excited about coming to school the next day.

Again, the statistics are pretty mind boggling, and at least warrant a conversation about using social media. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Not Getting Rid of the Teachers' Lounge

Ohio's Governor, and Republican Presidential candidate John Kasich was recently quoted as saying the following, "If I were not president, but if I were King of America, I would abolish all teacher's lounges, where they sit together and worry 'woe is us.'" Now his spokesperson quickly dismissed the statement as simply a metaphor, and was shocked educators took it literally.

Now in full disclosure, I was not an English teacher, so I cannot say with 100% certainty that the statement would actually be classified as a metaphor, perhaps grandstanding would be a better description, but I digress. 

I walked into our Teachers' Lounge this afternoon and saw the following posters made by our students.  Our students, 5th and 6th graders at Big Walnut Intermediate, made inspirational posters for our teachers.  Where better to hang them than in the Teachers' Lounge?

Perhaps they heard Governor Kasich's comments and decided to help him to inspire our teachers. Our kids know who he is as our school has been the recipient of the Governor's award for excellence in STEM education in Ohio for three consecutive years.  They certainly must feel a bond (If I had a spokesperson, they would be proclaiming my use of satire right now).

I will not get rid of our Teachers' Lounge literally or metaphorically for the following reasons:

  • Our staff talks about how to help kids in that room. 
  • Our staff gets to know each other as people in that room which leads them to working harder for each other because they CARE about each other. 
  • Our teachers share great ideas in that room. 
  • The next great "thing" may very well come from that room. 

John Kasich may become POTUS, or VP, or maybe just remain Ohio governor.  However here is what he did with his statement. He further motivated a group of positive educators to be even MORE positive. 

I agree that no one likes to hear anyone play the "woe is me card."  However, what is even more annoying is when some politicians play the "teachers are the bad guy" card.  I do not think John Kasich is a bad guy, but I KNOW my teachers are not as well.