Priorities and Cell Phones (A Two Part Post)

Part I: Priorities

In an effort to try and do a better job in both teaching and CFF Coaching, I have realized that I need to better prioritize what I need to do. My body is constantly telling me that it cannot handle the stresses being imposed on it by the double duty, so I guess I should listen to it and rethink how I am approaching the two positions. So here goes:
  1. My students. They have to come first. That's why I'm here. And as long as I am teaching and coaching, teaching must be the top priority. After all, without them, I wouldn't have either position.
  2. Reflection. I need to reflect better. I have this blog, so I need to take the time to use it. I constantly jot down notes, but often find I don't have the time to do anything with them. That needs to change if I am to grow.
  3. Time for me. As it is, it is now 4:30 in the afternoon, almost 2 hours after the contractual time we are allowed to leave school, yet here I am, still in my classroom, gathering resources and organizing. I often remain here until 5 PM or later, then go home and do more work. I need to tell myself that enough is enough. If I can't get it done during my work hours, I shouldn't kill myself trying to get it done at home. I'm only a half-time coach, so I can only accomplish so much. I have to look at the small accomplishments I achieve as the successes they are. If my district truly wants to get the most out of this position, they must be the ones to commit to making it a full-time position. I'm not a miracle worker. Of course, this will also mean less that I will be offering my district, but again, I'm killing myself right now and that needs to change.
I guess those are the three big goals that I need to accomplish right now to get things back on track for me. My body has been telling me that I'm demanding too much. I need to start listening and get it back in shape. There are some roadblocks, however. I can't always have my students as the number one priority, as there are requirements of CFF that take me out of my district and, thus, away from my classroom. I have seen that it has had a negative effect on them. Grades aren't where they should be. We're a whole chapter behind where I need to be due to having to review what was to be covered when I was out.

In an ideal world, I would be able to be a CFF Coach full time. I would be able to achieve so many of the goals that I have set for myself, and would be able to assist the staff and student body to better understand what the 21st Century skills are and how to include them in their everyday instruction and learning.

Part II: Cell Phones

It's no secret that I am a big proponent of using cell phones in education. I have used them sparsely at this point, and I really want to see if I can fully integrate them as a learning tool, so my Advanced Algebra students have a treat awaiting them when we return from break.

I already have great ideas for using Poll Everywhere (and their web voting for those without cell phones) for quick feedback as to whether they understand the concepts we are covering. I tried it once, and it worked pretty well.

But I want to look at it as something more. How can we use the cameras on the phones to analyze with the math? How can we use calling features to record our thoughts? What about texting to gather information and get quick answers?

It's time to shift into driving the technology to do for us what we want it to do. True, there are many arguments out there for not allowing cell phones in schools. But they'll be there, whether we allow them or not. Why not teach the proper use?

To help me with this, I just ordered Toys to Tools by Liz Kolb, and I am using her blog as a wonderful resource. She truly inspired me last year at NECC, and now is the time for action! Over the coming months, I will be blogging about how the process is going (what works and what doesn't) as an effort to reflect more (see Part I of post) as well as to help share why we should embrace this technology in our schools.


Wulf said...

Now a days, cell phone are very useful device in education!!

Dave S said...

I can identify with you there when it comes to 'time for me.' Monday was an extended day off - that I spent working on a presentation for work this week, as well as answering work email, etc.

Sometimes you just have to let it go - it will be there when you get back.