Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

I’m going to post this in seven parts over the next two weeks!

Back to school is almost upon us! So, this blog post has to do with school. Now, I’m a teacher, not a parent, so this is why this post comes from the teacher perspective. I would love to hear what parents would like teachers to know!

One thing is clear, teachers and parents both play an integral part in shaping a child’s mind. Both serve as guides and examples of how to navigate this journey that is life. And, with the ultimate goal to create independent people by the time they graduate, it is imperative that both parent and teacher do everything they can to support, encourage and guide our future adults.

I’m going into my eighth full year of teaching this September and I think I’ve seen it all. I have met some wonderfully supportive parents and I have been raked over the coals by others. Here are seven things as a teacher I (and my teaching friends) wish parents knew and understood about teaching/the education system. Again, I’m sharing this to help facilitate a partnership between teachers and parents. Because ultimately we want what you want-for your child to be successful, both at school and at life.

1. Every teacher is different- Teachers, like people, are different. They have different personality types, they have varied interests and strengths, have had different experiences and communicate in different ways. That is what makes teaching so great- when you are dealing with a variety of children and a variety of subjects, you need more than a cookie-cutter definition of what a good teacher is. There are always a few funny and vivacious teachers on staff that all the kids love and clamour to get in that teacher’s class. That being said, there are some amazing teachers who are quieter and all around good at delivering solid teaching. They may not be one of the “cool” teachers, but your kids will learn so much from them.

Teachers are like shoes…

Comparing teachers is like comparing shoes. You just can’t. Some are instantly comfortable, and others hurt your feet. But, each has their purpose and even those high heels that pinch will help you with your posture! Each teacher you have will teach you something if you are open to it. Sure, some teachers you will connect more with and you’ll enjoy their teaching style more. But, there are others that you shouldn’t just write off because you don’t like them as much as another teacher. Encouraging your child to see the good in whatever teacher they have will help them to be successful.

I remember teaching an academic English course where the kids were constantly complaining that I wasn’t as fun as their teacher from the year before, mainly because I made them do some serious reading and writing. It’s hard not to take comments like that personally, because as humans we all have a desire to be liked. I told my kids, “I don’t care if you like me. My goal is to make you better readers and writers and to have you rock the essay form. I care that when you are at college or university you have a moment where you think, thank you Ms. B.” And, it’s been cool to have kids come back and share how a skill or strategy we worked was useful to them in other courses and later on in life and post secondary studies. My job as a teacher is not to make friends.  My job is to teach your kids.

A word about technology and communication here. Every teacher’s experience with technology is different. Every classroom is equipped with different technology and every subject is different. I’ve taught English in a computer lab, but I’ve also taught it with limited computer access. Some teachers are able to do a weekly email update to parents. Some teachers have all their lessons online on a website. Others still break out the overhead projector. Some have classes where there are a lot of difficult students, so you may never get a phone call if your kid is one of the ok ones. All of these scenarios can allow for good teaching, if you have one thing: a good teacher. A teacher’s merit should not be placed on how many smart board lessons use, how many foldables they create, or how many lights and special effects they put into their lessons. Sure, when used effectively- they breed great results. But, I’ve seen some amazing teacher led pencil and paper activities. The worst thing you can do is say, “Last year, Mr. So-in-so did this,” or “Ms. So-in-so was so much more engaging.”

Embrace differences and encourage your children to so as well.

Don’t believe me?  Check out this post:



Facebook is probably the number one way people communicate now a days. “Call me” has since been replace by, “Facebook me!” and instead of asking for someone’s number, you merely ask, “Are you on Facebook?” And, it’s always exciting when someone adds you to Facebook: the instant connection you feel as you declare, “Yay, we’re Facebook friends!” is the best feeling in the world.

ID-10055791But there is a dark side to this community. Sometimes it is worse than the playground at school. If people can add friends, then they can also get rid of them.  Or in Facebook speak, “de-friend” them. I’ve gone through my list occasionally to look for someone, who I knew I had been friends with to see the dreaded “add friend+” button. Sometimes I understand; I too de-friend every once in a while. I clean up my list, getting rid of people I don’t talk to, and can’t see myself interacting with them ever again. Nothing personal, but your account is a personal thing, and the things you share are meant for your followers/friends only.

Other times though, the de-friending is hurtful and feels like a personal attack and you can’t help but ask yourself, “Did I do something?,” “Do you really not like me enough anymore?” or, “I thought we were friends…. 😦

De-friending someone, is almost as big of a deal as adding them.  So, when is it necessary to hit that “unfriend” button?  Here are seven friends you most certainly should delete.

 1. Inappropriate Friend- this is the friend who posts such scandalous things, that you are always worried to open your newsfeed with anyone around, for fear they’ll think you are perv. It’s usual pictures, sayings, and sometimes status updates of a sexual, racist, or just social unacceptable nature. I think there is a way to make sure his/her posts don’t end up in your newsfeed, but if it’s a constant thing, one starts to reevaluate that friendship. Are they a perv? A racist pig? Or just plain creepy, serial killer material? Could be de-friend worthy.

2a. TMI Friend- I don’t get this friend. Something personal and private is going on in your life and you’d like to rely on your friends for support. So why not inform all 700 of them at once? Surely, there will be an outpouring of love and support for you… or not. What do you say to someone who posts a status like, “thanks for leaving me alone and pregnant, jerk” (true story) or “just got over my bout with hemorrhoids!”?  Better to PM the 10 or so of your closest friends who truly care and will be inclined to do something for you. Remember, you have people who potentially could employ you, date you, be future family members, co workers etc on this thing. Careful what you tell the world! Too many of these posts and you end up in my de-friend pile. Lol, or on my list of people to creep when I’m bored and need a laugh…

Just got the broccoli out of my teeth- check it out!

Just got the broccoli out of my teeth- check it out!

2b. Too Many Updates- going along the same vein with too much information is the person who updates their status too many times.

“Just got up, going to be a great day!” “Bagel or Toast: The great debate” *pic of me eating my toast* “Ugh, first period is dragging on forever” “I love my best friend, she’s so awesome!” “Has anyone noticed that Mr. Brown has a striking resemblance to Mr. Potato Head?” “Oh. My. Wow. Just got a wink from Sweater Vest Boy…. swoon! #Mrs.SweaterVest?” “Hey, anyone want to meet me for lunch? I’ll be sitting on the north side of the caf, you know the table beside the vending machine, the one with the Pespi, not the chips… “

And it’s only lunchtime! I often wonder if I’m going to get the play by play of every bowel movement as well. I mean, I am concern about your gastro-intestinal well being, but how could I ever keep up? By far the number one reason people de-friend is because of too many updates.

 3. Incessant Game Requests- I do have to admit this allowed me to discover the amazingness that is Candy Crush though… but a lot of people voted this as the biggest reason.

4. My life is so amazing friend- I’m all for positivity but people like this: “Just got back from an amazing vacation with my amazing family. Amazing pics to follow!” “My job is so amazing!” “My husband is so amazing! Look at the amazing roast he made today! And he did an amazing job cleaning up the house!” “My kids are amazing, they are so well behaved and amazing!” either make me feel horrible about myself, or wish something horrible would happen to him/her…. just to see if he/she would post about it. I’m all for cutting out the negativity in your life, but this over the top display of positivity, turns me into a Negative Nelly. Lol, I should start posting the opposite version of these status updates and see how people respond.

Going on that vein. Anyone who makes you feel negative, angry and upset needs to go. You don’t need that negativity/drama in your life!  

Say goodbye to those negative influences!

Say goodbye to those negative influences!

5. The Cryptic update friend/Needy friend- I’ve had to defriend a few over this. I’m not a counsellor or a shrink. Sure I love helping people out, but scary Emo updates and cry for help messages are beyond me and my scope of training.

6. The Preacher Friend- whether it’s politics, religion, heath debates, mommy issues- if you are posting very one sided articles and comments on the same thing over and over and over again, you’re getting the de-friend. I’m all for sharing your opinions, but in a way that creates dialogue and discussion, not judgment.  And, what better place for that then Facebook when you have so many diverse and interesting opinions and thoughts?

7a. No, “Hey how’s it going?” in over a year friend

7b. Old co-workers/people won’t talk to again/contacts you added for business at a time friends

7c. People you just aren’t friends with and don’t deserve to have that much insight into your life. Friendships grow over the years, and sometimes they come to a natural close. I’ve gotten rid of a few people who I just wasn’t friends with anymore and didn’t desire to be.

7d. The ex-boyfriend/friends/family of the ex- (including friend/families exes). Without getting ranty, Facebook is unnatural. In olden days, you would break up with someone and never talk to him or her again. You (or your friends) wouldn’t be able to keep tabs on them. It’s creepy to know what your best friend’s ex husband’s daily status is, or that your ex’s brother met up with your ex and his new girlfriend for dinner. It doesn’t allow anyone to move on at all. I even know friends who have divorced and have an amicable relationship with each other who chose not to be facebook friends, and I know that’s what’s allowed them to be good parents.  It’s called closure people.  And, as a friend/family member, it’s important that you value your family member/friend over your attachment to his/her ex and his/her family and friends.  That probably means doing a little de-friending.

I love Facebook; it’s allowed me to connect with so many people, find lost friends and make new friends. The ability for networking (as a teacher and musician) is amazing. I can post questions about anything and get such a variety of answers. I’ve been able to keep in touch with students, campers, and old friends from elementary school. The important thing to remember is this, “Social media is a relational tool, but it’s not a relational reality.”* Knowing that can keep your Facebook list in check, and keep you from being de-friended!

So, who have you de-friended?  Or, who has de-friended you?  Comment at the Speech Bubble at the top of the post!