Thursday, November 17, 2011

'Tis the season to give thanks!

I found this past Friday Focus to be more relevant than ever. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks, Randy, for allowing me to share it once again. Enjoy your Thanksgiving Vacation. Jamie.

Guest Writing – Randy Burlingame

When Jamie first asked me to contribute to his Friday Focus, I wasn't quite sure what I could offer. But, as the Thanksgiving holiday draws near, I began to think about how it might be nice to give thanks for the many great things that make A.A.K. a special place.

I am thankful for many things here at A.A.K., and as I reflect upon my lengthy time here, I am most thankful for the people whom I often refer to as my "work family." Seriously, I spend more time with the people in this building than with my "real" family. My colleagues are more than just co-workers. They make me laugh when I need to, listen to my frustrations and complaints, give me support when I need it, and genuinely care about me and my well-being. This family isn't comprised of only Team 7; it extends throughout the building. This staff has a good time together, in and out of school. For this, I am thankful.

I am also thankful for the community spirit that permeates this building. Walk down any of A.A.K.'s hallways and it's easy to see that every adult and every student is a part of this community. Each person's role may be different, but when all of those roles are put together, the sense of community in this building is very evident and very real. Just ask a member of the Schools-to-Watch team that visited earlier this year or ask a substitute who has experience in other buildings or other districts. They recognize what many of us may take for granted. For this community spirit, I am thankful.

Despite what I may lead many of you to believe, I am also thankful for the students of A.A.K. Our students are really good kids! Compare them to students in other districts and our worst troublemaker would look angelic to teachers in other places. If you have any doubt about this, talk to a substitute who has worked at other districts (some not too far away from us). Do they frustrate us sometimes? Absolutely! But, before screaming at (fill in the blank) next time, remind yourself that you could be teaching in one of these other schools. For our generally well-behaved and respectful students, I am thankful.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, let me extend a very heartfelt thanks to all of you for helping to make our work setting a pretty great place to come to every day. Have a great break, don't eat too much, and enjoy your time with your family and friends.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Are You Bored Reading This?

I must preface this Friday Focus with informing you that I scripted this only after a seventh grade student with learning disabilities said to me, “Look what I did!” Their excitement was palpable as they produced, wrote, spoke, collaborated, organized, and learned.

Sitting and listening can be boring. I’ve actually heard many teachers tell me how awful a professional development opportunity was based on the simple fact that they had to sit and listen. Let’s stop and think about that…

Most people don’t place much time thinking about all the years they spent sitting and listening as children. They’re usually just glad it’s over. As educators, we endeavor to educate children who have an ever broadening spectrum of consumer technology at their fingertips and ever decreasing attention spans. The time-tested methods are no longer sufficient. Now more than ever before, it’s important that we are relevant in the lives of our children.