Saturday, April 28, 2007

Just a question

Why is it that with all the furor about students using iPods to cheat on tests, no one seems to be considering the fact that maybe it is the tests that should be changed? Yes, even with a test that requires students to think and write a coherent answer, they could use an iPod to cheat, but it would be a lot harder I think. And they would still have to take the information on their crib sheets and turn it into an essay that answered the question.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Update on the job hunt

Before the update, I would like to thank everyone who has taken time to leave a comemnt on my earlier post about losing my job. I can't tell you how much they helped! Not only did they help me not to feel so alone, but they also contained very good advice.

I have applied for a number of jobs and have had several interviews. Some have been better than others, of course. I actually had a second interview for one job. So far I have not been told that I am not getting any of the jobs for which I have applied. I am trying to accept the fact that I may have to be patient.

I have thought a lot about what many people have said: that I need to figure out what I want to do. I am getting closer to understanding just what that is. It has been an interesting process. And then there is the very real possibility that I will be offered a job that I am not sure I want. I hope it doesn't come to that because I am not sure how I would handle it.

You can be sure that I will blog about it when I get a job and/or when I really figure out what it is I would like to do with my life. Intil then, thanks for the good thoughts!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sharing Knowledge

Yesterday morning I checked my email and found a message from a young man I did not know. He had looked at my old online portfolio and wanted to know how I had done different things because he had an assignment for a class to create an online portfolio and wanted to do something like mine. I hoped he was talking about my new portfolio because I couldn't remember anything about my old one, but he really wanted to know about the old one. So I looked at it again and tried to remember how I had done things. Since I didn't know very much when I created that one two years ago, it wasn't hard to reconstruct what I had done.

So Gabriel and I spent the day yesterday exchanging emails, him asking questions and me trying to answer. In the end, he had a great looking portfolio ready for his instructor to look at this morning. I feel kind of like a proud mother!

This sharing of knowledge is what makes the world so different today. It isn't about protecting what I know but about seeing how what I know complements what you know and what we can construct with our combined knowledge. It is about how we can learn from each other -- whether we are teachers or students, parents or children, from this country or that. All those divisions are, in some ways at least, artificial.

So I thank Gabriel for asking me to share my knowledge. I learned as much as I taught.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Who am I?

I have been trying to figure out why I haven't been able to post very often lately, and I think I have finally figured it out. The answer is so simple that I can't believe it took me this long, but it did.

Having my job end has been a lot more traumatic for me than I realized at first. As my impending joblessness has gone on for almost 2 months now, I realize how lost I feel. I really feel like I am having to reinvent myself now because there aren't many jobs in my field in places I want to live. So if I am not an ESL teacher, who am I?

Six years ago before I started in my present job, it was much simpler. I still had a child at home, so I was not as much defined by my job as I have become. Also, it has only been in the last ten years that I have really felt like I have a profession. Until then, I just went from job to job and had a good time.

Part of me wants to go back to those more carefree days, but I have really enjoyed the last ten years and feel I still have a lot to contribute to my students. I would like to continue in the field of ESL, but I am not sure how many sacrifices I am willing to make - or ask my husband to make - to do it.

All I know for sure is that I wake up each day a little less sure of who I am. On so many levels, I don't like that! I'm not sure how I got to be so defined by my job. It leaves me wanting to get another job -- almost any job -- just to end the agony of not knowing. But then the cycle would just begin all over again. There is obviously more to this than finding another job. But right now, I would settle for that!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Food for thought

Thanks to Derek, I found the Making Teaching Public website. The site offers a look at some great teaching and great teachers from around the country.

What impresses me most about the site is just how public these teachers have made their teaching. I wonder at times just how much of my teaching I am really ready to make public. There are days when I am ready for the world to see what I do, but there are other days when I find I would rather keep it quiet.

As I have made my teaching more public by putting it on Moodle, by including wikis and webquests and blogs, I have fewer moments that I wouldn't want others to see. Not that everything goes perfectly, but I feel more like I am following a coherent plan. The secret, I think, is that I reflect much more on my uses of technology than I used to in my strictly textbook-based days. While my reasons for doing what I am doing may not be any more valid than they were before, the fact that I have thought more about them and expressed them more coherently seem to give my classes a more solid base. And it gives me more confidence in them, too.