The Vulnerability of “Learning Publicly”

The last two sessions  “Intro to Connected/Learning Network” and “Sharing is Accountability” have given me a lot to think about.  Alec used the phrase “learning publicly,” and the idea really resonated with me.  Then today Dean Shareski said we are all doing research in our classrooms every day.  These ideas are so powerful.  We as teachers are exposing our thought processes, our methods, and even our very souls to the world.  We will get support and camaraderie, yes, but we should also welcome critique and scrutiny.  This is how any other academic discipline operates, and education should be no different.  We need people to challenge our ideas and stretch our thinking.  It is what we try to do with our students, and they should be able to see us striving to be that life-long learner as well.

Unfortunately, this is why many resist sharing so much.  It puts a person in a very vulnerable position.  It is hard for some teachers to admit that they don’t have all of the answers.  It is hard to admit that you’re struggling.  Would you want a parent of a student to see that?  Would it undermine your effectiveness?  I don’t think so.  Seeking out answers and asking for help is the mark of someone who desires growth.  That would be the kind of teacher I hope my children have.

Making time for blogging

I caught the beginning and the end of Sue Walters Intro to Blogging course tonight.  Unfortunately, my husband came home sick today (hoping it’s not the flu), so I was left to getting the kids bathed and in bed by myself.  The discussion was interesting, and I look forward to going back and watching the recording.

I have been thinking about blogging a lot in the last few days.  I am beginning to truly understand how valuable a learning tool it can be.  When you force yourself to sit down and articulate the things you are struggling with, wondering about, or accomplishing, you are already moving yourself forward.  Reflection is such an important part of learning (whether you are a student or a teacher), and unfortunately it is something for which we often do not make time.

And time is one thing I wonder about the most.  I know the last time I was teaching I always felt like I was running out of time.  I always had a stack of essays to grade, lessons to plan, co-workers to meet with… the list goes on and on.  I do wonder how to build blogging and reading others blogs into my schedule so that it is something I do regularly, but does not become a time suck.  I feel like the blog could easily fall by the wayside if I do not structure my time better.

At this point I want to do all I can to get my PLN and my blog up and running so that when I do go back to teaching it is already an ingrained behavior.  Then I can move on to getting my students blogging as well.  Any advice on keeping up with blogging would be fantastic.

The stay-at-home mom’s introduction to #etmooc

Disclaimer – I really wanted to make a cool animation to introduce myself, but this was what I had time for today after the kids were in bed.  Thanks for understanding.

Hi, everyone.  My name is Jeanne Garvey.  I live in Collingswood, NJ.  I have a BA in English from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and my Masters in Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania.  My first job out of graduate school was at Haddon Heights High School where I worked for six years.  It was a wonderful experience.  I had my daughter, Sasha, in 2006.  Being a working mom was overwhelming for me.  I wanted so much to be the best teacher and the best mom, and I was a bundle of nerves the entire year.

At the end of the 2008 school year, I decided to give up my position as a teacher in order to stay home and raise my family.  This was without a doubt the hardest decision I have ever made.  As I walked out of school on my last day, I truly felt like I was losing my identity.  For months I was plagued with feelings of shame and uselessness.  Eventually I came to terms with my role as a stay-at-home mom.  I had a son, Owen, in 2009 and he has kept me very busy.  I have come to cherish this time I have had with my children while they are young, and I count myself very lucky.

At this point, I have been away from teaching for almost five years.  The time has come for me to get back to work.  This coming school year I will be actively searching for a new teaching position.  I am both excited and scared.  I am excited to return to my calling.  Nothing gets my blood pumping like talking about a great book, helping students research topics they are passionate about, or encouraging them to express their ideas.  At the same time, I will need to learn to juggle home life and school more effectively.

A lot has changed since I have been in the classroom.  There are so many exciting tools to help make the classroom a more engaging place.  I truly look forward to hearing all of your ideas and perspectives.  Thanks for helping me get back in the saddle.