Guest blogger, Cheryl Oakes, reporting for duty!

Dear administrator,

I am writing after an exhausting year of instructing my students. I want to thank you for hiring me and keeping me in this position. I have been teaching this same content for the past 5, 10, 15 years ( you choose). Each year it gets harder and harder to teach these kids. They come to school tired from all the activities they are involved in. They are tired from staying up late watching TV, I don’t even have time to watch TV! I don’t understand why they are not doing well on their tests. I know my content, I know my students from 5, 10, 15( again you choose) years ago did much better on these tests. I don’t think the tests are testing what I have been teaching, but rather testing students who are not interested in learning the way they have in the past.

You say maybe I should change the way I am presenting information to my students? What do you mean? I have a new whiteboard, I use colored markers, I have the latest maps to show the changes in the world. Well, last week I even borrowed a projector from the teacher next door and I showed a powerpoint presentation I found on the Internet. Oh, I haven’t had time to learn how to make a powerpoint presentation, the kids all know how to do it, and well, if I had time I would, but it is not important, it will take too much time out of the content I need to deliver before we have the next testing dates.

You say maybe I should engage my students more using technology? You can’t be serious, that would be giving in to them, they spend way too much time on Facebook, Ning and Myspace as it is. What, you say even the presidential candidates have a myspace page? Well, that is, that is not education that is politics.

Oh, another thing, parents, those parents just are not as involved as they were before. I finally gave out my email address to parents but I told them that it is easier for me to answer their questions with a phone call, but I can’t always get a phone line out of the building, so I just wait for them to call me. What ,you say, I could have conversations with parents by email or a blog. It is just not as personal, you can lose the meaning of some conversations through email and blogs, well, that is just way too public to have conversations in a blog. You can’t possibly think I will publish what we are doing in my class on the Internet for all to see anytime they want. Well, maybe next year I will try using email more with my parents. Only if I find the time.

Exhausted and looking forward to summer,

Your 20th century teacher trying hard to find the time to move to the 21st century.

You know if I knew how to use a blog, or saw some examples of how a blog could work for me I might give it a try next year. What, you say, you will blog with me? You’ve been thinking of having a blog for the past few months?Well, I guess if you had time in your busy administrator schedule to have a blog, I too could find a little time to try out posting to a blog.

Here are a few examples that may just jumpstart your journey into the 21st Century. There are many people online who will support you! Just start reading a blog a day, you will be hooked. You will find the best staff development and encouragement online! – a great place to listen to some good conversations about 21st Century Literacy.

K12Online Conference

Melinda Miller- an elementary principal who just started blogging and podcasting

Mark Alhness- an elementary teacher who blogs and podcasts with his students

Tim Lauer– an elementary principal who blogs about his school

Bob Sprankle– an elementary technology integrator who just finished podcasting with whole grades of students!

Vicki Davis– a middle school teacher who began blogging a little over a year ago

Jen Wagner– the absolute best at collaborative online learning projects

Sharon Peters– a high school technology teacher who gets her students collaborating worldwide

Dr. Cheri Toledo- an education professor who believes that requiring her students to use Web 2.0 tools will have far reaching implications.

Be on vacation, be cool and learn new tools.

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5 Responses to Dear administrator,

  1. Mrs. Durff says:

    Hey! I talk to parents in my room on my computer using Skype and they call me there too! Why not try Skype? ‘Tis free, now I do pay for the Skype number but you don’t have to.

  2. Cathy Nelson says:

    Cheryl, I’ve been bemoaning the dreaded handout for an upcoming presentation that will be geared towards principals at SC’s Summer Leadership Institute, trying to decide how to approach it. I think you’ve just solved my dilemma! With you permission of course, I would like to use this letter and your links, and then add a few links of other content I plan to cover (like RSS readers on the web, just to name a few.) I want to post it in my own blog too, so that not only will they have a “paper” handout, but they will be able to access the same thing online in my blog, where they will be able to visit the various links mentioned in the presentation. Please say it’s okay….Of course You and Wes Fryer will get complete credit for this inspiration, and there will be a link directly back to this original post. Let me know!

  3. […] Parts of this post and handout have been borrowed from guest blogger Cheryl Oakes  on the Moving at the Speed of Creativity blog. […]

  4. Cheri Toledo says:

    Great stuff Cheryl,

    I’m going to send this to my colleagues at Illinois State. You really capture the range of thoughts and feelings that I hear from students and teachers.


  5. Cathy Nelson says:

    Thanks so MUCH! I have sent you via email a “hard copy-very web 1.0” handout that I will have to give out at the conference. I did decide to use a few different links (more global and administration specific) since the target audience is school administrators. But the “letter” is used as a hook, or an attention grabber, which I plan to use in my presentation too. And your links included here will be included in the presentation itself. Here is a link to the “online handout” which is part of another blog I use.

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