Thursday, May 17, 2012

MAC Week Three: The Way Things Are, and don't forget Rule No. 6!

As I read the next four chapters in The Art of Possibility this week, I couldn't help but reflect upon the discussion board topic that we were also give for this week.  I'm pretty sure Dr. Joe knew what he was doing this week.  Our discussion this week had to do with the barriers to integrating technology in the classroom.  We were supposed to discuss, from our experience, what it is that keeps teachers from embracing new technology.  Our answers varied from time commitment to fear of failure, lack of PD to lack of support from Admin. Since most of us are classroom teachers, we hit probably the top ten roadblocks, easily.  But after the reading this week, my eyes are open to some new possibilities!

In the chapter, The Way Things Are, the authors discuss our tendency to see the negative in a bad situation, instead of seeing it for what it really is...just another situation.  They also discuss the tendency to express problems as a downward spiral, I hear this all the time in the Teacher's Lounge!!  The same teachers who balk at integrating new technology are typically the same people who express their frustration with "these" students, who are always the worst students ever, and Oh! Just wait! The class coming up is the worst EVER!! It's so frustrating, and disheartening, if you buy into all that talk.  Why would anyone ever want to dedicate their lives to teaching? It's much more encouraging to think of these kids as being different from previous generations, not better or worse, and to think of ways to reach them that weren't available in previous generations.

Where are you speaking from:

And finally, lest we all forget, remember Rule No. 6!!

{Not to give it away if you haven't read the book, but Rule No. 6 simply states: Don't take yourself so goddamn seriously!}
{PS: There are NO other rules!}


  1. I think that you've given me a bit more credit in my discussion board question balanced with the reading... but very good reflection on your part. As far as negative teacher talk about students, I always welcome the previous instructors experiences with groups of students, 'cause no one wants to get caught unprepared, but then i want each group to have an opportunity to not live up to their reputation. Being aware but not limited to previous reports has served me well as a teacher. Whether talking about seventh graders or graduate students, it's amazing how much better things go when one begins with a little respect and a willingness to listen and defuse the objections... :-)

  2. Hi Amanda;

    I've seen and heard those type of teachers or should i meant, professors at the university. They are always complaining during the trimester about this group of students or that group of students. They always had a group who are good and a delight to teach and other groups that are a nightmare to teach. They don't look at what can they do to make that nightmarish group a good group. They don't look for ways or alternatives to motivate them to assist to class or to motivate them to study.

    I think that in last week's discussion board or one of the comments that I made was from one of the professors that didn't want to teach the basic literature class because the students don't like reading. I told her why she didn't chose another type of literature, one they would like, for example comic books, magazines. She told me that it was ridiculous to have them reading comic books. I told her not the Archie or Mickey Mouse type of comic books, but graphic novels, where there are more mature themes or issues. She kept complaining and not look at the possibility to adapt or to try, at least, the alternative that I was given her.

  3. Amanda,
    Isn't it interesting how different school settings (and different teacher's lounges) can take on a life of their own? I have taught at a school where almost every single staff member expressed problems as opportunities. Students were valued, challenges were discussed, and solutions were found. Sure, at that school we had "those parents" and stinker students. But the staff never whined about this these issues, but instead found ways to work together and make good things happen.

    I have also been at a school (it will remain anonymous) where the teachers' lounge is a horrible place to visit, and I avoid it at all costs. I actually shook my head when I read your post that said "The same teachers who balk at integrating new technology are typically the same people who express their frustration with "these" students, who are always the worst students ever, and Oh! Just wait! The class coming up is the worst EVER!! " I heard those EXACT sentiments recently. "Oh my gosh these kids are just awful. This year can't end fast enough. But I've heard that next year's group is even worse. Not looking forward to August to come..." If that is your mind set, why come back in August at all?

  4. HI Amanda,
    The stories you tell about the teachers lounge are so so true. It is amazing that no two teachers lounges are the same, but often times the conversations are. The teachers who are negative all the time, seem to be those who are stuck and find themselves on auto-pilot. It takes an open mind and heart to find the good in any student, and it is worth searching for. I am lucky that we have no real teachers lounge any longer. The district was going to remodel it, but ran out of funds. They no longer serve teachers lunches in there any longer, so no every really uses it.
    I find myself talking with other special ed teachers, and most of the talk is HOW can we do this, or change that...we want to benefit a student. I get frustrated when other staff do not treat our students like they would any one else. If our students break a rule they should have the same consequences. We have to remind staff from time to time that our students know the rules and need to be held accountable.


  5. Amanda. I absolutely can understand your frustration when you hear those negative comments about students from other teachers and their warnings about their attitude. I also know that many students who have a tough year feel that their reputation will be following them to the next grade so what is the use to try and change. Because of this I tell my new incoming students on the first day that we are all starting on a fresh slate. I tell my students That I don’t care if you won state science fair or were sent to the principal’s office five times last year, you are all starting on a level playing field. I feel that by doing this the students who feel that they have a BAD reputation with teachers will be able to work with me and work hard for them.

  6. Hello Amanda!

    I love this blog post. I had intended on taking the same diagram that you added here to put in a place for a reminder, as I can be more goal driven instead of inspiration driven. Thank you for doing this for me. I enjoy reading your stories and benefiting from your experience. I had to laugh when I read about your naysayer teachers. I work with the opposite of this situation. Every year I hear her telling someone how lucky she is to have such a truly great class. She has been teaching for quite a long time, so I think she forgets that she says this every year. One year I heard her and I chuckled, and then of course she asked me why I chuckled. I could only answer her with the truth, to which she responded, “but I do have a truly great class, this year, truly!”