Friday, January 23, 2009

Conference Envy Anyone?

This morning as I was catching up on school email, Lisa Durff sent out a tweet with the words "Do you agree or disagree?" I clicked the link she provided and read the post by kwhobbes titled "What's the rest of us to do?" I encourage you to read the post and add your thoughts. Last I checked my comments were waiting moderation so I thought I would go ahead and post some additional thoughts here.

Unfortunately, these are economic times that we will all have to struggle through. We never have enough funding for the things we think we want much less the things we truly need. Mandates from the government be it National, State or local and little to help back it up continue to frustrate all of us even without the thought of trying to convert my school to an SLA look alike. So we all have to be more creative. Yet the thing to think about in my opinion is that if we continue to do things the same way over and over again, our children will follow suit.

We have to work with our students to try and reach each and every one of them in some form or fashion. We need to model life long learning and passing that on. I think of the signs posted in every room and in the hallways at SLA that say "CORE VALUES - Inquiry, Research, Collaboration, Presentation, Reflection." I start thinking do I do that, do our teachers do that? Do we approach all we do in that manner, so as to model it? While I may not go to every conference or see everything I think I need to see or even hear the same thing others hear, it is important to get out there, to be aware, to take teachers to these things so they can be a part of the conversation or at least be within earshot of the conversation, to bring them to the water and let them decide to drink or not. But I do so knowing full well that if I can get there, many others can as well.

There are plenty of frustrations out there without suffering conference attendance envy. Then we we get to conferences the frustrations are also many because we keep hearing the same phrases. In our buildings we continue to beat our heads against the same walls and feeling like we are not moving, but we have to continue to strive to help others make the "shift."

We do that by continually modeling, giving links for the K-12 Online Conference as well as the Not K-12 Online Conference, for Educon for NECC and we have to keep offering people opportunities to make the shift. We have to continually spoon feed and work with and supporting the believers and recruiting new ones all the time.

Frustrating I know, but after 32 years, these are exciting times and I am glad I am here able to be a part of it. On to SLA to learn more so I can share with anybody that wants to listen.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tagged and Passing it along

Lately there is a meme tag going around and Jen Wagner tagged me for "7 things you did not know about me." I have seen people tagged for different ones in the past and I thought it would be fun to be tagged but now I am not so sure. I have read several other people's 7 things and now I am trying to think what to come up with or what I might consider to be important. Oh well with that in mind:

1. I have always wanted to be a psychologist, but maybe for the wrong reasons. As an 8th grader one of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart where I went to school asked each of us what we wanted to be when we grew up and my response was a "Psychologist." The response of the class to my response was to laugh. I still remember what that felt like. That was back in 1968. My desire was to help people then and it still is today.

2. One of the most influential people in my life was a nun by the name of Miriam. She is a wonderful Sister of St. Mary of Namur nun who is still around today and I still see and visit with on rare occasions. We would talk about many things while I was still a student. The fascinating thing about her is she was a relative of one of the members of the band "The Monkeys." Well that wasn't the only fascinating thing about here as there were many. She however took the time to talk, listen, question me as well as make me feel that I was important and had a purpose for living. Because of her time and energy I left for college and came back to teach and coach at the very school I graduated from and have been there for 32 years. She was my department head when I first came back to teach at Dunne. I think she also had a lot of influence on my being a deacon but more on that later.

3. I took steroids in high school. Sorry to say that and I wished I hadn't but I did, all for the love and the desirous glory of Texas Football. I liked the way I grew, I liked the muscles that I built, but then I learned to absolutely hate football and a lot of the things I enjoyed around me. I still feel as though I have some of the after effects of the steroids but I doubt I would have come to my next point in life had I not taken them.

4. As a senior in high school I spent many months considering suicide. The phrase I have heard lately is a "convergence of circumstances" or "the perfect storm" related to my senior year. I held several offices in the school, I was probably more popular than I thought, but everything about myself and my life I questioned. I felt so out of place, I felt as if I was at a totally different level than so many of the people I was in class with and as a result the only out at that time for me was the one out I work to make sure no other student ever feels. I often refer to it as a long term solution to short term problems. High school should not be that way for anyone and my hope has always been to help people see the good in the whole situation.

5. I gave serious consideration to becoming a priest while I was in college. I quit dating totally (what was I thinking?), I actually drove to different places in the US and visited seminaries since my parents told me that did not want me to go to the one in Dallas (how interesting that is looking back on things now) but I could go to any seminary in the US. I finally decided that I truly liked women and that the two conflicted so I stayed single for a good while after that but of course I did date often however.

6. I hate accolades of any sort. Most of the recognition I have received are things associated with my job. My feeling is that I am paid to do my job and therefore I don't need to be recognized for doing my job the right way. I do however like to be told thank you on occasion. That is more than enough for me. I think a large part of the not liking the accolades is the fact that I hate crowds and having to schmooze. I guess due to shyness but a lot of people say they would never know it.

7. In a continuing pursuit of trying to help people I entered the formation program for the Diocese of Dallas to become a permanent deacon. The program is a long and hard journey of 5.5 years. My wife had to be there for the first 2 so that she would know what we were getting into and then she stayed through the other 3.5 years with me the whole way. I am very fortunate that she accepted my desire to enter the program and even more grateful she has stood by my side all these years, before and after the formation program. It is a tough program but I feel it is worth it. What time I had that I thought was my own now no longer is. I am assigned to Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Duncanville, TX where I can baptize , marry, bury, distribute Communion but can not consecrate, I can't say Mass but I am allowed to assist, I can't hear confessions but I talk with a lot of folks that need to be heard, and on occasion I get to preach. Miriam had a lot to do with forming me in the early part of my life and enabling me to get here.

Seven things you probably don't need to know about me but now you do. Jen, I thank you for tagging me I think. So let's see if we can get a few more folks in on this and if you have already been tagged feel free to pass it along. I tag:

1. Miguel Guhlin
2. Scott Floyd
3. Kyle Stevens
4. Carolyn Foote
5. Clif Mims
6. Randy Rodgers
7. Alan Lutz