This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge was the guest host on This Week in Ontario Edublogs this past week. She really understood the concept of the show and how it doesn’t necessarily need to stick to the script. It was fun and we managed to work WKRP’s Turkey Drop episode in there. In typical Doug fashion, I lost it but she and Stephen covered for me. The joys of live radio.

But you’re here for the blogging – here goes.

Take Ownership: It’s Leadership!

When possible, it’s nice to get the guest hosts to talk about a personal piece that they’d written. Nilmini chose this one from almost a year ago. That can be dangerous as perspective can change in that time. This time it hasn’t and she says that she’s hanging true to what’s in there.

In the post, she talks about a number of “isms” and we had time to talk a bit about racism.

  • Ableism
  • Classism
  • Ageism
  • Religion as an ism
  • Racism
  • Homophobia / Heterosexism
  • Sexism

I thought it was a great conversation and, personally, not a talk that I have often enough with a person of colour and so I appreciated her openness and kind thoughts.

Nilmini claims that it was her first podcast but I thought that she did an admirable job and it was she, at times, that steered Stephen and me back to the timeline!


A Plague of Willful Incompetence

Marie had indicated in a previous blog post that she had left the teaching profession. I was a little worried that maybe she’d left her blog as well in search of new things. Nobody should criticize someone for making that decision but, at least until now, she’s back at the keyboard. I appreciate her candor as she talks about things she’s passionate about.

This time, she took a kick at how we’re handling the continuing issues of Covid. (Spelling hers) She shared this video:

Her words and this video hit me right between the eyes. I had been at Dresden Raceway last weekend in the open-air grandstand. That’s good, right? There was a lady in the next column of seats a couple of rows down and she lit up a cigarette.

Within a couple of seconds, I was breathing it. I was much further away than the recommendation for social distancing that we get. All that kept running through my mind was Marie’s post and what would have happened if this lady was expelling the virus instead of cigarette smoke.


Friday Two Cents: The Pen is Mightier

Paul has an interesting take on note-taking. This post is devoted to his experience and thoughts about the importance of writing pen to paper instead of going to the keyboard. The irony that I’m sitting here in my work area typing is not lost on me.

I do go back to the time when we were taught cursive writing in elementary school. Somehow, we were assessed on those abilities as well. My mother had beautiful handwriting and it was something that I always aspired to emulate. At university, taking Mathematics and Computer Science courses, I shifted from cursive to printing because of the nature of what I was doing. It also was far more legible.

These days, if I can find a pen that hasn’t dried up and I need to write something, I still mostly print but honestly, since most of what I do is published to the web or shared with others, you’ll more often than not find me at the keyboard.

I did own a spectacular fountain pen once and a Staedtler mechanical pencil at one point. I hadn’t thought about those in years so thanks for that, Paul!

Kudos to him for working penmanship into his curriculum – read the post to see how he does it.


Flashing Back Over a Frightening and Fantastic Five Years

Noa takes us on her personal journey over the past five years after leaving a full-time teaching job to pursue other efforts. I mostly knew bits and pieces of it so I appreciated the fact that she pulled it all together in this post.

I guess I know her best for her work on OnEdMentors. Recently, I appeared on an episode.

If you only do one thing and I know that it’s difficult but listen to the Noa part. She exhibits the pedagogy and the skills that we try to impart to students – listen carefully and rephrase by using part of what the guest said as you move on. It’s Podcasting 101 folks! Her podcasts aren’t about Noa but if you look at why they’re so enjoyable, they’re all about Noa.

While podcasts come and go because it seems so easy just to pick up a microphone and talk, Noa’s work has stood the test of time and doesn’t look like it’s about to end any time soon.

I asked Stephen about her – he’s had many would-be broadcasters who have come and gone or broadcast intermittently. Noa’s the exact opposite and why you should stay up on Thursday nights to hear the show (or download it afterwards).


Covid Finally Caught Me.

My heart goes out to Jennifer and her family after reading the post. Had I not had a guest host on the show, I would have shuffled it so that Marie and Jennifer’s posts were back to back. I just didn’t want to upset any plans that Nilmini had made for the show.

Despite doing everything right – masks, social distancing, four of Jennifer’s five family members ended up sick.

In the post, Jennifer talks about how it affects her during the day and ongoing. I hope that it clears for her soon. I can’t imagine water tasting bitter.

In the post, she shares an infographic that visually describes those things that we can control and fades to things over which we have no control. It’s an important visual to think about and reflect on. If there’s an action item from this, it’s to identify things in the “Some Control” group to see if you can’t move them a little closer or even inside the “Most Control” group.


Flip Phones, iPhones, And Avoiding Assumptions

  • How the mighty have fallen!
  • Hell just froze over

Nope. It took an internet outage and the challenge of running around looking for free wifi that took Aviva into The Source to buy a SMART Phone.

Kudos to her. She’ll be able to do everything that she could do with her old flip phone with this device. And more, if she wants.

I enjoyed reading her thoughts about dreading becoming one of those people that are constantly looking at their phones. It’s the whole fear of missing out thing.

Actually, being late to the party may make it easier for her to decide if the phone will change her life. I’m sure she’s been in enough meetings or covered enough intermediate classes to see what can happen when you go unchecked.


Education as Identity

This is the post I made reference to on Wednesday. Elizabeth had written her thoughts about a career change and shared them with the world.

This really leaped out at me.

After I “announced” (or started to share) that I was leaving the teacher-librarian position and going back to the classroom in May I found myself in a really strange position of consoling other people about my decision.

It is indeed a strange position. If the decision had been a result of a provincial or district decision to shut down libraries, consoling might have been needed.

This wasn’t the case; it was a professional decision and should be one that is celebrated. In today’s educational system, not many people are afforded the luxury of making such a move on their terms.

It really is something that everyone should sit down and write a post about from their perspective. Perhaps only then you can draw the conclusion that Elizabeth did that “I am a teacher.” It’s why they remain on my Ontario Teachers lists even after they’ve moved on.


It looks like another great Friday is in the works but find some time to check out all these blog posts. Aviva, you can do it on your new phone.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Nilmini Ratwatte-Henstridge – @NRatwatte
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Noa Daniel – @iamnoadaniel
  • Jennifer Aston – @mmejaston
  • Aviva Dunsiger @avivaloca
  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary

OTR Links 07/22/2022


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.