Friday, September 26, 2014

Teacher Technology Training

I'm in the midst of a Teacher Inservice Day.  As seems to be the tradition here at MTHS, the district has slated this as yet another all-day training workshop on a new program that, if tradition follows, will be obsolete in two years.

This one's extra fun since it doesn't currently support any of my course curricula.  I pointed this out to the workshop leader at the beginning of the meeting.  "Oh," she said.  "Yes.  We don't have those classes in there yet.  Could you use the World History curriculum?  Is that close enough to yours?"

"Not really," I replied.

"Well, you can just watch what your neighbors are doing instead."

My neighbors dutifully worked on their assessments for about an hour.  Then, as humans do, they gradually stopped paying attention to the presentation.  My neighbor on the left is researching trips to southeast Asia.  My neighbor on the right keeps nudging me to show me pictures of her latest Renaissance Faire exploits.

I gave up on today actually being productive a while ago.  Instead, I've been making this list in my head:

Things I am Expected to do as a Teacher
That Teacher Trainers Never Do

- State the objectives of the lesson at the beginning
- Use a pre-assessment to determine what your students already know
- Cover more than three items in two hours (seriously - two hours in and we've only looked up the website, logged in, and clicked on the first link)
- Differentiate the instruction to account for different student abilities (Man, I miss IB during days like this!)
- Adjust the environment to make sure all students have access to the materials (As gorgeous as the full-length windows in our cafeteria are, they do not make seeing the projected instructions easy)

I'm trying to be a good student.  I promise, I am.  It's just difficult when I don't have access to the examples, the instructions, the assignments, or the settings to create for my dang self what doesn't exist in the first place.

Le sigh.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Grandma Cook

My grandmother, Lois Cook, passed away two weeks ago.

I wanted to write about this sooner.  I was asked to give a speech at her funeral, something I was glad to be able to do, but for the week in-between her death and the ceremony I found that composing a blog entry in my head was muddled with composing a eulogy in my head.

The weekend in Salt Lake and the funeral itself was as nice as such things could be.  It was good to see family again; and although I miss her and I'm sad that it feels like a door has been permanently locked on one part of my life, I know that this is what she wanted.

I learned a new favorite story about her.  She was serving as Gospel Doctrine teacher in her ward.  She's done that calling before - we used to talk about her lessons when I would go over to her place for Sunday dinner, and I know that she enjoyed it.

Apparently she was called into the Bishop's office several months ago.  He told her that she was going to be released from the calling.

She said no.

That... that just doesn't happen.  It's rare to say no when they offer you a calling.  It's downright unheard of to decline leaving it.  She kept the calling for a few more months.  Then, when she was too tired to continue, she informed the bishop that now she would be released.

She was smart, stubborn, opinionated, devout, compassionate, and she was my friend.

She decided when it was time to go, but I'll still miss her.