This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Welcome to July! I hope that everyone is enjoying the beginning of summer. I hope that you can fit reading these fabulous blog posts into your day.


Leadership Lessons from Baseball

Charles’ post takes me back. Not only a memory of Tony LaRussa coaching but going to a Phillie’s game while in Philadelphia at a conference. I’m in the picture here with another Doug from across town.

Charles gets to LaRussa’s retirement and then being brought back to coach and making the decision to walk someone with a 1-2 count. That does seem a little bizarre!

There are great questions at the end of the post that Stephen and I talked about during the Wednesday radio show.

  • Can you think of a public figure who owned up to a mistake in a timely and totally contrite manner?  
  • Can you think of a leader who moved on to let the next gen leaders come forth? 
  • Can you name someone who made a successful and inspiring comeback after a ten-year gap?

They’re great questions. If you have answers, swing over to Charles’ blog and share them there.


Teachers Make Mistakes: Here’s What To Do When You’ve Made One

Kristy’s post was so appropriate to read after Charles set the stage. Do you want to do something scary? Do the math here. (No, it’s not the math that’s scary, it’s the result!)

Years ago, a mentor teacher explained the reality of teacher imperfections. He pointed out that teachers are in the business of communicating – we say, write, and teach a lot of things every day – and if each of us makes only one mistake per day and we multiply that by the number of days in a school year and then by the number of years we spend in the classroom, that works out to many thousands of mistakes and missteps over a career. 

Gulp.

She discusses the topic in some detail that offers a what-to-do when it happens.

  • Admit Your Mistake
  • Hold Yourself Accountable For Your Actions And Remedy The Situation
  • Make Your Admin Aware of Big Mistakes
  • Everyone Makes Mistakes

On the show, Stephen made reference to an incident where he needed to talk to his admin immediately after he shared something in class. He shared it with me privately afterwards and yeah — the administration would want to know when the parents start calling!


Ode to our Guest Educators

I held off on this post from Sue for the last show of the school year. I hear so much about how teachers are moving on but I never hear about administrators moving on.

There will be teachers becoming vice-principals for the first time; there will be vice-principals moving to the big office. Come September, they will have the opportunity to set a mindset and environment for their school.

There will be regular visitors to classrooms who aren’t the regular teacher. We used to call them Supply Teachers and I don’t recall them being treated all that well when I went to school.

In Sue’s school, they don’t use that expression; instead, they’re known as “Guest Educators” which immediately changes the mindset and Sue uses the post to describe what it means to be a guest educator in her school.

I can’t help but think that this is a mindset that should be expected everywhere. So, if you’re making a move this fall, read and consider what you might do.


What you think you know

Cal’s post will have you thinking.

Certainly, as educators, we are well aware that some students do well in other classes and are challenged in ours or vice versa. When you do the math, there are all kinds of students that you interact with daily and as Cal notes, “you can only know so much”. You’d have to be a permanent shadow to understand everything about everybody.

That’s just in the classroom.

Take that to the next step and think about the administrators in the school. They’re even further away from understanding everything about everybody.

My first superintendent was really inspired by the writing of Tom Peters and the philosophy of management by walking around. That is a good step but often an administrator needs that formal feedback from staff and students as well.

Cal had an interesting observation that often administrators only hear about the positive things. But, they’re only human. How should they handle criticisms?

And, … if you’re like me, you’re going to want to look up umwelt.


Create Safe Spaces

I loved the insights from this post from Nilmini. Of paramount importance is the concept of stories. She sees the classroom as being a safe place for students to have a conversation and be comfortable in doing so.

She addresses areas where stories can be used.

  • History
    • This got me thinking; I still know so much about my childhood community and I can tell you stories about it!
  • Reflection
    • For me, the big advantage of blogging is to reflect on something that’s of importance to me. If it’s helpful for you, then great
  • Journalling
    • We were told to keep a journal when I was in school and it should come as no surprise to regular blog readers that I did so to the bare minimum. Now, if blogging had been a thing back then…
  • Graphic Organizers
    • This is so important to computer programming where you lay out your logic. These days, I also do that in preparation for the Wednesday show and this blog post

Last Day of Teaching – Ever!

There have been lots and lots of sentiments of this type on social media. As my dad always said “it’s time to call it a day”. Since I’ve found Marie’s blog, I am an avid reader; she’s frequent and so open and I hope that she continues in her retirement.

I’m envious as I always thought that I’d like to teach in the same school that I went to as a student. That wasn’t to be and I had to learn all about a new community over three hours away.

In Marie’s typical style, it’s not a short post but is so rich in details. She tells a great story. As someone who has gone through this, I do admit to having a tear or two on my keyboard reading this. When I left my school, I got a set of bookends; when I left the Program Department, I got a plaque. As luck would have it for this post, I was cleaning my bookshelf and my wife wondered why I kept those up there.

I think, and it rings solidly in Marie’s post, that there’s something extra special about being in education. Yes, it’s like banging your head against the wall; it feels good when it stops. And yet, there’s something about being an educator that never, ever leaves you. I will always treasure those gifts.

That comes across so clearly in this post and you can see and hear her thoughts here.

https://watch.screencastify.com/v/WH7fCErEfbZh0ws4cgnp

How did she hold it together?


Looking Back Over the Year

Gary gives us another look at a reflection as the year ends. It’s really been a year like no other. Could this have been the worst of the COVID years?

He identifies

  • start the year by working at home
  • getting a new central position
  • getting shifted to a new role
  • becoming a blogger

This truly is a unique year. I like the fact that Gary indicates that he couldn’t have done it on his own. But, it’s not just about him; he acknowledges that so many others struggled through it as well.

Gary, I agree with your plans of kicking back and really, really recharging. We’ve talked about this so often but never has it been so important as this year.


Please take time to read this and follow these great bloggers on Twitter.

  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Kristy – @2peasandadog
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Cal Armstrong – @sig225
  • Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge – @NRatwatte
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27

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