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Reasons for Not Maturing 2

Have you ever realized how the word childish is so undermined? and, have you ever seen how it seems that in adulthood the word “childish” is treated as a means to undervalue adults and their actions alike?

Sometimes, I feel like I can see people waiting for the right moment in order to point out how childish any adult is behaving in a certain context. They are like childish-like-behavior patrol, and it seems like this kind of behavior is very offensive for these people. Playing on the ground, touching, creating, solving, getting your hands full of dirt, and laughing in the meantime are activities that must be avoided by all means when in among adults.

I completely agree that there are situations, ceremonies, rituals and positions where a specific type of behavior is expected from any person. And it is the best practice because this behavior is a social contract accepted by everyone within their culture, hence the Pope is expected to perform in a specific way, the president is expected to address with such correctness that no one would behold otherwise, brides and grooms are expected to develop their love for each other in rituals only people in love may understand and so on. A teacher is expected to perform and conduct their duties in ways to favor children’s learning. Besides, teachers also have the duty to protect their students and keep them out of danger and because teachers are adults, students expect all that and maybe more from them, even though nobody has ever told anything about this to a child. However, none of these examples have anything to do with the “fact” that an adult must not be childish at all times.

Have you ever been a teacher in a kindergarten? -If you are a parent, it works too. I’m not one though- But I am the coordinator of many things in the school I work, and part of my duties is to oversee my peers, so I have to go to kindergarten classrooms many times and it must be mentioned that I absolutely love it. This is the best place to watch childish actions happening; it always amazes me how a child explores any little thing that appeals to her or him and the awe phase children always experience with that new little thing is what I cherish the most. Once I read that in order to continue learning throughout life is to never stop being in awe; to be amazed by new knowledge is what will make that new information remain stored in our heads, just like a child.

Another childish action that I love is the lack of fear of being wrong, a child will continue on doing or undoing until he or she gets what he or she wants, or the child may speak out his/her mind trying to answer the teacher’s inquiries no matter what. As people get older, people start to think before speaking and that is perfect; I do not like people participating with arguments not worth sharing. But what people must not forget is their capacity to being wrong, and that being wrong is not wrong at all, and that no matter what, people have to explore every possibility in order to be right. As teacher, I sometimes need to teach children that being wrong is right an that it is only an opportunity to learn a little bit more about that fact and about ourselves.

Because a child likes to explore, a child needs to move around and because I am childish I like to move too… a lot. A different responsibility of mine is to give a “lecture” from time to time, so I have to hand the books/copies/booklets out to the rest of the staff and to settle a date and time for the feedback. I always try to make the meetings interesting, motivating and not boring, as a result I move the participants around, change teams, find out more about the others and small activities that would make them to be in awe. Unfortunately, this does not appeal to some and they feel threatened and maybe even disgusted by the idea of moving because they already are “mature” teachers.

I embed an animation that I enjoyed tremendously and the first time I watched it I could not stop laughing. It is an excellent reminder of not getting mature. Enjoy.

 

The Chase from Philippe Gamer on Vimeo.

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Lo Más de 2010

Lo sé, este post tiene un mes y medio de retraso; pero como dice el dicho: mejor tarde que nunca. No lo pude hacer antes por todas las razones que ustedes puedan pensar, pero yo me quedo con el síndrome del escritor bloqueado.

Hace un año escribí una entrada parecida a esta la cual acabo de leer para inspirarme un poco, pensar sobre aquellas categorías pero ahora del 2010, si era necesario escribir una nueva o quitar otra. Deben de tener en mente que estas categorías y la entrada en general no necesariamente tienen que ver con mi ámbito profesional, sino también envuelve situaciones familiares o personal que hayan hecho un cambio en mi ser, pensar, sentir o idear.

De igual manera debes de tener en mente que estas categorías abarcan desde enero hasta diciembre del 2010 y que por lo tanto hay dos ciclos escolares en final de 2009 -2010 y el inicio del 2010 – 2011; ambos con alumnos diferentes y muy posiblemente con grados igualmente diferentes.

Sin más preámbulo, aquí están los momentos “más”:

1. Momento más feliz: cuando decidí que era tiempo de cerrar una puerta y una ventana se abrió. Me sentí feliz porque me di cuenta que era lo que yo quería, anhelaba y necesitaba en ese momento; simple y llanamente la vida que llevaba en ese entonces me hacía infeliz y se tenía que terminar de tajo. Desde que me inculcaron en un curso que en una vida profesional atraviesas por tres pasos, siempre he tratado de aplicarlos. El paso uno es conocer tu empresa y que ella te conozca a ti. El siguiente paso es que en tu área puedas ver si estás en acuerdo con las normas, reglas o puntos de vista; si estás en desacuerdo, ver si lo puedes cambiar o innovar. Y el último paso es entender si aquello es para ti, si lo aceptas como está o si lo puedes cambiar; o entender que es mejor irte. Yo decidí: Gracias, pero no gracias.

2. Momento más triste: aquellas personas que deje detrás, aquellas que me apoyaron incondicionalmente, me divertían, me hacían la vida más fácil día con día, se preocupaban por mí y lo más importante, me querían. Gracias por todo.

3. Momento de mayor satisfacción: ver todo lo que se hizo dentro del salón y de los grupos de secundaria. Debo admitir que hubo momentos muy difíciles (los adolescentes son algo especial) pero al final entendimos que aprendimos de ambas partes y se lo reconocimos. Fue la primera vez que aplique el blog como herramienta de publicación de trabajos, y fue la primera vez que mis alumnos se enorgullecieron por lo que sabían hacer con el inglés.

4. Momento de mayor orgullo: Los dos reconocimientos que mis alumnos de secundaria me dieron; me reconocían lo bueno y lo malo, pero por ello mismo, son los reconocimientos que más aprecio. Es cierto, dentro de la escuela es una actividad obligatoria pero no es obligatorio dárselos a todos los maestros, ni es obligatorio que te lo enmarquen.

5. Momento de mayor sorpresa: En agosto regresé a una gran escuela con grandes alumnos, la sorpresa fue ver que con aquellos no se había perdido la amistad, el cariño y familiaridad que ya habíamos construido durante dos años de clases juntos. Ellos me conocían muy bien, yo los conocía mejor, ¿cómo nos llevamos?, de maravilla.

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Best/Worst Teacher Ever

Have you ever wondered what makes you the best or worst teacher ever?

I know this is a stupid question for teachers, as we are used to question our work every day in every class; but, what makes the difference? how is it possible that the same teacher is the best during one school year and the worst the next year?

Teachers must know that in order to answer those questions they have to take into account all the variables possible, which most of the times are endless lists of what could go right or wrong. During their time in university teacher trainees should have discussed endless debates of those lists and no one could have reached a final resolution, has anyone?

I’m the Best Teacher Ever! 🙂

Have you ever felt the excitement of having fantastic-to-work-with sponge students?

I know, this is also an stupid question for teachers, as every class is full with students eager to learn -at least that has been my case- but what I want you to think about and feel  is when you’re doing what you’re supposed, and magically all around your class works out perfectly; the students are learning, the parents are grateful, the school praises and the teacher is not working.

I’m the Worst Teacher Ever! 🙁

Have you ever felt the necessity of turning everything around, upside down, over and any other preposition you may think of?

Yes, it is indeed another stupid question for teachers, as we work in the educational context; teachers want to change every single thing they may think should work better in a different way. Nevertheless, teachers cannot change all; even though they know what is affecting their environment and they know how to solve it, teachers most of the times have to cope with huge pink elephants which are impossible to move. The students are not learning, the parents complain, the school pushes and the teacher works.

Viewpoint

The endless list I mentioned before is naworred to four main aspects: students, parents, school and the teacher. However,  the term “school” will be changed to “syllabus” because that is truly the issue. And again, this is MY very personal point of view based on MY very personal experience.

Syllabus

Have you ever felt happy or unhappy with your class contents?

Eureka! That’s not a stupid question; well, I have felt both and both have gave me sorrow and pain, but also gratification and something to write about. 😛

This has been the biggest issue when it comes to perform an excellent job in my teaching years. It appears that when there is a main objective at the top and better yet, there is a method to achieve it: all the variables come together thriving. If a teacher studied to be a teacher, (s)he knows what (s)he is doing in front of the classroom and acknowledges the problems which are arising within the class, therefore the teacher must propose a solution. If the syllabus accepts the solution it is almost certain that the people involved will be satisfied.

If it is considered that the teacher knows how to teach, then it is supposed that (s)he uses the correct techniques and activities to teach what the syllabus asks to teachers and students. Here it is where the problem shows up, under the statement that the teacher will do all possible to achieve the objectives of the syllabus, there should be no problem in any way. But, what if there isn’t any general objective and the syllabus is not intended for the particular social and cultural background of the class? Of course all sorts of problems will  show up throughout the school year, and because students are not able to complete such syllabus, frustrations will grow on the people involved: teachers, parents and worst, students.

As people in Mexico say: “hay de dos moles” -you’ve got two flavors-  whether the teacher follows the syllabus or (him)herself; ok… maybe more than only two.

Students, Parents and Teachers

If there is a general objective, a well established syllabus which is intended for the level, culture and society of the class, besides a trained teacher who likes what (s)he does; I do not think there should be any problem.

Have you ever experienced something like this? -not another stupid question.

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Enthusiasm? Shock? Excitement? None?

Yesterday afternoon, I found out that Sue Waters had published a post where she mentioned our class blog, “Publishing Corner“. It surprised me a lot as it is the first time any of the blogs I have a participation is mentioned anywhere! – nevertheless the blog is 4 months. The major audience “The Edublogger” receives every day has helped us already by increasing the blog’s international visitors.

That afternoon I e-mailed my students so they could see by themselves what a big step they have taken, as they have reached real audiences which also was the main purpose of starting a class blog.

This morning when I was with them in class, we talked about it and I explained how important “The Edublogger” is in the Education on-line community, how this small mention in a list had given us the opportunity to get closer to the rest of the world and that it IS actually true what they say in the “Think Before You Post” security videos; if you are on-line, anyone may see you anywhere.

I could see that for these 11 and 12 year-olds it was like an eye-opening experience, to see light for the first time. Now, they are aware of what monumental responsability it is to be on-line: Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, Hi5 and this time around, blogging.

Without knowing, Sue has helped me a lot when this Friday I present to my students the new approach we’ll be working through the semester for blogging: awards!

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Lo más del 2009

Siempre como maestro te preguntas qué, cómo, cuándo y porqué suceden las cosas en tu salón; la grandísima mayoría de las ocasiones, lo haces al finalizar el año escolar, ya cuando has podido saborear el éxito de ver a tus estudiantes crecer y aprender. Esta evaluación es principalmente profesional y te ayuda mucho en prepararte para el siguiente año.

En esta ocasión, después de leer un post de Larry Ferlazzos’s Blog, me puse a pensar qué es lo que me había pasado a mí como maestro este año 2009, pero que además haya influenciado en mi vida personal debido a la relevancia que tuvo en mi forma de ser, sentir, pensar y enseñar.

Los “más” momentos son los siguientes:

  1. Momento más feliz: cuando mi ex-alumno de primer año de primaria Gabriel me preguntó en septiembre el por qué ya no fui su maestro en cuarto año, cuando se suponía que iba a estar conmigo por segunda vez. Él comenzó “¿Porqué ya no nos dio clase?” -“Pues ya ves cómo son las cosas; te salvaste de estar conmigo otra vez.” le contesté. Acercándose a mí, me dio un abrazo y me dijo: “Ah, yo sí quería”.
  2. Momento más revelador: casi al finalizar el año escolar un alumno de sexto comentaba de cómo había tenido una clase maravillosa en dónde había tenido la oportunidad de escuchar música, utilizar la computadora del maestro y platicar en clase -era una fascinación para él por que deberían de haber estado trabajando- finalizó haciendo hincanpié que aquel maestro había sido un excelente maestro. El compañero con el que hablaba respondió muy seriamente “¡Ese no es un buen maestro! Un buen maestro es el que te enseña.” No se me puede olvidar la manera en qué lo dijo, lo había dicho con muchas ganas de que el otro entendiera que estaba equivocado.
  3. Momento más triste: cuando algunos alumnos se habían lacerado sus brazos con la misma punta del compás por que era “padre”, para estar a la moda y para ganar una apuesta. Al principio pensé que había sido causa por la indiferencia de sus padres; fue increíblemente triste cuando me di cuenta que la verdadera razón era porque sus mamás eran unas “alcahuetas” y la conducta de ellAs (así es, femenino) se justificaba porque estaban en la adolescencia. Por lo tanto decidí hablar solamente con aquellas familias que sabía iban a hablar con sus hijos.
  4. Momento de mayor orgullo: un alumno de primaria a quien siempre le pedía que trabajara, quien siempre sacaba bajas calificaciones, quien siempre le gustaba meterse en problemas, dijo en inglés “horseback riding” entendiendo cuál era su significado, en el momento correcto y contexto correcto. Ahí me di cuenta que sí había aprendido.
  5. Momento de mayor sorpresa: cuando mis alumnos me vitorearon el día de la clase muestra.
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It seems so; Así parece

I post this to express my astonishment when tonight I steped into my blog’s clustermap and I saw red dots from a lot of heterogeneous places; somebody was brave enough to visit from Ghana and Greece. Google Analytics shows that these brave people spent less than 30 second in here, but the word is spreading. 🙂

Escribo esto para expresar mi sorpresa cuando vi el mapa del blog y pude ver que había puntos rojos de lugares muy heterogéneos el uno del otro; alguien fue lo suficientemente valiente para entrar al blog desde Ghana y Grecia. Google Analytics muestra que estas personas tan valientes pasaron menos de 30 segundos por aquí, pero la voz se está esparciendo. 🙂