As teachers, most of us are happy to spend hours giving out about all that’s wrong with our education system and what should change. All too few of us however are prepared to put our head above the parapet and take the time to make our opinions public (with the obvious exception of salary talks). It doesn’t help that the main teacher organisations are reluctant to set up discussion forums – possibly for fear of legal repercussions should the wrong thing be said.
Which is why we are delighted to welcome morestresslesssuccess to the blogosphere. The blogger in question is Humphrey Jones (pictured above) of thefrogblog fame. It’s best described by himself:
More Stress, Less Success is a blog about being a teacher – a busy one. But more specifically it is about recognising the work that teachers do in a society where they are rarely valued. It’s also about exploring new ways to teach and learn, specifically using technology.
I don’t know if I would say that teachers are rarely valued – personally I believe that as a profession we could be doing so much better and so much more to help ourselves (and yes of course I include myself in that). Our teaching styles (at secondary level at least) are still very much ‘chalk and talk’ together with ‘the sage on the stage’ when that whole approach has been lambasted by educationalists for decades if not centuries.
Nevertheless it’s great to have the opportunity to ‘converse’ with a fellow teacher in this fashion – I suspect we have a lot more in common than not, and I luck forward to changing my own opinion when needbe.
With a bit of luck it may just prompt some more ‘lurkers’ out into the open.
Don’t tell anyone. I got a got a sweet deal with my bosses and I want to share it with just you.
Keep it to yourself.
These are in no particlular order. What have I left out?
- See where I work nobody checks up on me.
- I get paid over 60 grand a year and my job description hasn’t changed since I first began fifteen years ago.
- Truth be told it probably hasn’t changed much in over one hundred years.
- The material I teach hasn’t changed much in three hundred years. One of the sections I teach is called Modern Physics. This section is almost exactly one hundred years old.
- My holidays cover over one third of the year. Fully paid.
- I got job security for life. Nobody can touch me.
- Over 90% of what I teach seems to serve no purpose whatsover, which is just as well because nobody remembers it after they leave school anyway. Has Hooke’s Law saved your life lately?
- In theory I teach some of the most interesting subject matter that exists anywhere in this universe; in practice the writers of the Junior Science and Leaving Cert Physics syllabi couldn’t have done a more botched job if they deliberately set out to remove everything but the dry-as-dust ‘facts’ that we are left with.
- I can take up to thirty days sick leave per year without needing to provide a cert.
- Promotion in my job is based on how long in the tooth I am; therefore those longest in the tooth are the highest paid.
- I can close my door when I step into my classroom for the very first time and hardly anybody ever gets to look over my shoulder between then and the day I retire.
- Once or twice over the course of my career an outside ‘inspector’ may get to call in to see how I’m getting on, but not unless I get a couple of weeks notice so I can prepare for his visit so that I give him the impression that those few highly prepared and highly artificial classes are the norm.
- In a world which now cannot function without technology I too have moved with the times; where I once used chalk and a blackboard I now use (drumroll . . .) markers and a whiteboard.
- In a world where I can be in touch with a colleague half a world away quicker than I can make contact with a colleague across the hall, there is no onus on me to do either.
- I teach in a pretty well-to-do school where almost all students are interested in going to college, and where discipline issues mostly revolve around top buttons not being done up properly. I get paid the same as colleagues in schools where very few wish to learn and where discipline issues involve physical and verbal intimidation on a daily basis.
- I got a sweet pension which is fully secure. I don’t really know anything else about it because, well, I guess I don’t need to.
You gotta promise me you’ll keep this secret; I don’t want the word getting out.
I was talking recently about setting up a group blog for students doing Scifest 2008.
John Hegarty suggested Google Groups might be a good way to go, and also mentioned that Tom Kendall gives talks on blogging in schools and he suggests the following site as a platform to work on http://www.21classes.com/
Tom has set up two of these in his own school: http://msmccarthy.21classes.com/ and http://crazy.21classes.com/.
Mags Amond however has suggested another alternative, which she mentioned on the DICTAT forum
“Also, nearer home, TeachNet / Digital Hub people are piloting a space for Irish Second Level students called Project Blogger (building with WordPress). The TY science students in 15 schools are being introduced to it over these few weeks, so Blogs being what they are there hopefully should be something to see very soon.”
All of these are involved with CESI, which is holding its conference on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th February, so maybe I’ll delay things a little and hopefully talk to them there.