Rules For Posting To This Blog and Weekly Blog Question

1. Only use your first name (no last names, addresses, IM screen names, etc.)
2. Show respect and consideration of others when posting and commenting. This includes individuals, students, organizations, political parties, colleagues, etc.
3. Check all posts for spelling and grammar errors before posting.
4. Protect the privacy of others. Gain permission from other people before you write about them. Avoid sharing someone else's last name. Use job titles or pseudonyms when writing about experiences with your co-workers or students.
5. Watch your language. Use politically correct and non-offensive language.
6. Make sure you write about things that are factual.
7. Keep your postings education-oriented. Avoid discussing plans for the weekend, etc.

This week I would like you to use your imagination. You have just won the lottery and will leave your teaching post immediately to travel around the world. As you leave your keys you meet your replacement. You are asked to give this new teacher just ONE piece of advice. What would that be, and why? Enjoy your world expedition!

Blog Post - Week 7
This past week in my own teaching I felt a little disconnected which prompts my question to you, "What was the moment (or moments) when I felt most disconnected or disengaged as a teacher - the moment(s) I said to myself, I'm just going through the motions here?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 6
For the past couple of weeks you have experienced asynchronous online learning (doing modules by yourself). Previously this semester you have experienced synchronous online learning (all together in the Collaborate room). Which do you think is more effective and why do you think that? Which do you like better, and why?

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 5
This week we have what we call "open mic." You can write a post about anything related to your teaching that you would like responses from your classmates.

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 4
Here is this week's question: "What was the event that most took me surprise this week - and event that shook me up, caught me off guard, gave me a jolt, or made me unexpectedly happy?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 3
Please write a post about the following question, "In thinking about my past week teaching what is one thing I would do differently, and why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 2
Please write a post about the following question, " In thinking about my teaching activities this past week, of what do I feel most proud? Why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 1
Describe something you used in your program in the first weeks of school that you learned in the summer NTI program. How did it work? Did it get you off to a stronger start than last year?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Thoughts on Success

When I read these quotes, my football players instantly came to mind. If we were to always win our games, we would never have those teachable moments that are built from reviewing film from week to week, game after game. Although winning is great, don’t get me wrong. However, the sense of accomplishment that the players feel after working really hard and growing throughout the season is something that can only be experienced by failing first and then succeeding.

So as I was reflecting about my football players, I see how this relates to my classroom experience. I am one of the students that has been really discouraged this year, I have been very open about it. Much of my discouragement has come from influences that are outside of my control, however, some are within my control. I will use my first evaluation by Dr. Montrois as an example, it was good, but he gave me several tips to make it much better, such as sharing the workload with my students so that I am not trying to do it all by myself. The next time he returned, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I had improved. Had it been perfect to begin with, I would have not have had those learning opportunities. So in this regard, I completely agree that success is developed from failures. And perhaps, I should take the advice I would give my own players… never give up, nothing is ever accomplished without hard work, sweat and tears. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When they get it!

I guess i am going to talk about the kids that really make it rewarding to come into school everyday. We all have those kids that really seem to want to get into what you are doing. The ones i seem to really enjoy are the ones that don't do well in core classes but are "star students" in the shop. Many of them struggle with the first nine weeks of all book work, but once we get into the shop they begin to shine. These students make me smile, because shop class may be the first success in school they have experienced in school. I was that kid when I was in school. I had a shop teacher that really helped keep me in school. I was not the ideal student in high school, but Mr Griffen put me on a land judging team and made me be apart of something. Once I was in, I was hooked. I love to see these kids get in SKILLS and learn something in the shop that will be with them for a life time. They may not be a carpenter or construction worker but they will still have skills to use for a life time. Some days I wonder if I am getting to anyone and then I see a kids in the shop working and using skills I know they have learned.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fundraiser turned Successful

As a CTAE teacher, you have so many ways on how to use creativity with your students. At the same time, our schedules and demands can weigh on us as if we teach core classes. In this case, I decided not to focus on deadlines but concentrate on what matters the most with students and even entertainment all teachers. Last Friday, my students put on a fashion show that turned out to be so successful. It was a fundraiser and an entertainment event all wrapped up in one. The students participated as models, singers, dancers and we even had a student comedian. To my suprise, more than six hundred students bought tickets and attended the event. Everyone enjoyed themselves to the point when the show was over, no one wanted it to end so soon. This event allowed me to incorporate the interest of everyone on a whole including the students, teachers, faculty and staff. Day after day, compliments are still coming in. I didn't realize how much of an effect this show had. I was glad to be a part of a show that helped to ease the minds of everyone while allowing creativity to take its course. In the end, we all won. Aside from schedules and demands, I truly enjoyed this part of my teaching.

A Positive Free Style about teaching

It seems so easy, when given the chance, to speak out negatively, so I would like to speak this week in a positive manner generally about a career as a teacher. This job has been like no other before it. I have had so many new experiences that I would have never gotten anywhere else. Not every one of them has necessarily been a pleasant one, but they all have created a level of growth and knowledge that where little or none existed prior. I have always enjoyed leaning, I love exploring and discovering new things and this is really a great field for doing so. Being a teacher allows you to experiment with social behaviors and with what does and doesn't work in the classroom. It also allows time to learn perspectives of younger generations and different mind sets. The other learning side of this career, is the subject matter. The subject I teach is so broad that there are so many places of exploration to delve into. It would be relatively impossible for an individual to be an expert in, machine tool, robotics, welding, engineering, chemistry, electronics, pneumatics, hydraulics, AC and DC theory, programming, and so on. With that said, I have years of knowledge to absorb, and nothing but incentive to do so, in a comfortable, conducive atmosphere. What better way to spend a day, spreading knowledge, learning, and infecting others with the passion to move forward in life. I do believe that I love this job.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Open Mic….

I'm here to vent… Let me just tell you guys about our SkillsUSA Adventures. We took 23 amazingly talented kids to Atlanta for the SKillsUSA State Championship and I was sure we'd bring home some type of medals but we didn't. Not one, but 3 kids to be expelled. We have worked with these kids for months, stayed after school several times a week, prepped them during class, had countless talks about expectations, behavior, and the way that our school is represented. I don't know if it's some March Madness or what but we had some serious issues. The first night we started the night off by going over rules and expectations before giving the kids some downtime to themselves. They knew the rules, but leave it to teenagers to push the envelope. We had 3 advisors present and monitoring students all through the night. I have a hard time sleeping so I was up until 2:30 that morning checking on the students but that didn't stop them from being sneaky and breaking not only our rules but SKillsUSAs rules. We had a female student sneak into another schools boy room. This is a nightmare no advisor, parent, chaperone, wants to have to deal with. All students involved were sent home. It's hard not to be disappointed when you expect so much out of these kids. It's not like we open the bus door and let the first 23 on go to championship, these are kids we teach, kids we respect and trust, kids that normally make us proud. I felt that i did everything possible to prevent this but this was totally out of my hands but it's hard not to feel guilty and disappointed. After a long morning dealing with the situation we had competitions for the rest of our students. We had to suck it up and push forward, guiding these kids to where they needed to be. If you've ever been to State you know how hectic it can be…imagine running on a few hours of sleep. Sadly, the chaos wasn't over. The very next night we had 2 of our other kids sneak off to the balcony to smoke. Really, At this point I'm ready to lose my mind. I seriously wanted to cry. We spent the rest of the night and morning dealing with that situation. The kids were upset, parents upset, and advisors all upset. It was a nightmare. I don't know if this is normal teenager behavior or what but I wouldn't wish that kind of weekend on anyone. I feel so sorry for the kids because stupid mistakes really messed up the rest of the year for them. All 3 students involved were expelled for the rest of the year. Have any of you had to deal with trouble like this?? Please tell me I'm not alone in this...

Open Mic

I have to say that even though this is my second year, I feel that I am not doing as good of job as I was last year. Perhaps it is because I took on additional coaching responsibilities or perhaps it is because I am trying to balance the additional work from NTI with my already overwhelming tasks. Or maybe it is because since I have been going through NTI, I am learning all the things that I didn't do the first year. No matter what the reasoning, I am frustrated. This is a frustration that is making me reconsider education altogether. Maybe you all have felt it at one time or another over the past year, but teaching is not easy and I am really second-guessing if this is for me or not. For example, I was notified last week at the last minute that I have to be out Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for S.L.O. Training. So, of course I didn't have time to prepare during the day to be absent three days, and I don't have time after school because I am coaching. I spent all day yesterday at a track meet, so this afternoon I had to go to school and prepare my substitute plans and make copies. Needless to say, I am exhausted and being out of the classroom only creates more work. So, I am highly anticipating Spring Break for a mental break. I appreciate everyone listening to my rant..

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Open Mic

This has been a really busy year for me and it has taught me some valuable lessons. Two lessons which I learned very quickly are, I implement everything I have learned this year in terms of the NTI material, and two I have to learn to balance my time better. All of the ideas and lessons I have learned throughout the NTI courses are exceptional, however it's probably going to take this summer for me to go over every lesson plan to figure out how I'm going to implement certain things from the NTI classes. I will say that the lesson plans, the rubrics, and the organizational materials I have used from NTI have worked brilliantly! A lot of my students have said, "This looks different from the past rubrics we have gotten." I replied, "Yes they are, as a teacher you have to continuously work to become better, just like students, you have to always work to become better students and not become complacent!" When I said that, it put my reasoning into perspective for a lot of my students. The second lesson I learned is the never-ending chore of trying to balance my time more efficiently. One thing about career tech classes is that they include so much more than other core classes such as math and history. The reason why I say that is because there is so much more skills challenges, professional preparation, and lessons outside of the classroom which are involved that we have to get across to our students. I will say that I enjoy prepping my students for these activities but it is very time-consuming. Although it is challenging to fit everything into my schedule however, I wouldn't have it any other way!

Friday, March 21, 2014

SkillsUSA competitions

This is was our first year trying to compete in SkillsUSA and we learned a lot. Unfortunately, we were unable to go to the State competitions due to funds and we didn’t do well in the regions competitions. But as I mentioned we learned a lot from these experiences and next school year should be a different story. We now know what to expect in the Regions competition and we are starting a few fundraisers this school to help build up our funds for next year’s State competitions. If anyone went to the State competition could you help us out and give us some information on what to expect, we would really appreciate that.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Open Mic

It's open mic so I just want to vent. At my school, whenever we (the teachers) want to do something, whether it's a field trip, fundraising opportunity, "out of box" classroom strategy or even something that is required like teachers getting their required professional development hours, the initial answer is always no. This is the most frustrating thing I have ever experienced in a professional work environment. Everything is always "policy and procedure" this or "district policy" that. Most days I'm optimistic but sometimes I get really down. I want to help the kids and give them new and real world experiences, of course while covering all the standards. Case in point, some of our CTAE students attended a district-wide health and wellness symposium at Atlanta Metropolitan State College this past Wednesday. The field trip had to be rescheduled because it was originally scheduled to take place during our 2nd Snowpocalypse. Our CTAE department notified us (after the district notified them) that we did not have to resubmit the field trip paperwork, we only needed to have the students and parents complete a new permission slip. My administration did not allow this. I wasn't made aware that I had to resubmit all the field trip paperwork until the Monday before the trip. On this past Monday I had to drive to 3 separate locations and retrieve signatures because interoffice mail would not have gotten the paperwork to the necessary offices before the field trip. It was storming rain and very chilly on Monday. I really wanted my students to attend the symposium so I did what was required from my administration to make that happen. I feel resubmitting the paperwork was very unnecessary, especially since the district did not require it. Why must potential road blocks be placed in front of us, while attempting to help the students?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

And now for something completely different............

Okay, since its open mic, I am going to take this opportunity to tell a funny CTE story which occurred in my class recently. Let me set the scene for you. As teachers, we all know how tough the time period AFTER lunch can be. Full tummies and sitting in class many times can be a bad mixture for a teenager. Upon returning from lunch, my class sat down to complete a reflective writing assignment they had begun before the lunch bell rang. I was concerned that many of the students had not finished the five paragraph task before going to stuff their faces so I was mentally prepared to “help” any students needing a little push once we returned.

What I was not prepared for was the puddle of drool that had formed on the desk just under the mouth of one of my students! He had obviously succumbed to the tryptophan in his lunch-time turkey sub and had made the mistake of laying his head down on the desk. Sleep won, he lost. So this is the state I find him in, near comatose and likely dreaming of running with puppies through fields of flowers. Luckily, I was not nearly as incapacitated as he and was able to make a quick decision to save the day.

The note I wrote on the dry erase board was simple. “When you read this, slowly, quietly make your way out into the hallway in small groups”. As the students read the note and realized the situation, they gladly complied. Some crept like ninjas others moved with the stealth of a world class secret agent. Within a few short moments, my room was emptied of students, save one; my drool manufacturer was still fast asleep in his comfy desk.

It wasn’t long before he emerged from the classroom, book bag slung over his shoulder and moving with a sense of urgency. The look on his face told us everything we needed to know, he had no idea what time it was or what period/block we were in. Insert howling laughter here. He was a good sport about it and was able to laugh along with the rest of us. I did make him clean up the puddle though.

Open Mic - Caring TOO Much

I am going to take this open mic post to use as my own personal therapy session. Over the past few months I am facing a similar dilemma over and over again: caring too much! I was told by a veteran teacher, “Once you start caring too much, that’s when you start getting into trouble” and I have begun to see that take place in my life when it comes to my kids. Without going into too much detail, I have a student who has become very attached to me and even calls me “mom”. Her mother has acknowledged that her daughter responds better to my directions than her own for some reason, and has asked me to have one-on-one chats with the student on several occasions about issues they are facing. I don’t mind helping out, but the other night my substitute parent role got out of hand when I was asked to get involved in something I wasn’t comfortable with. Long story short, DFACS ended up getting involved, and I feel guilty for not doing more to help the situation. Those close to me have told me to step back and realize that there is nothing I can do. In a two week span I had to deal with a student who was sent to alternative school, a student who was arrested, a student who is threatening to drop out, and a student who confided in me that her mother is dying. I love these kids as if they were my own, but I feel that is starting to get me in trouble. I worry about them constantly, I try to “save” them from their problems, and I talk about “my kids” all the time. I know that I am a caring individual who wants to solve everyone’s problems, but that very fact is becoming my own issue. Am I being too whiny? Does anyone else feel my pain? How do I turn off caring too much?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Open Mic Post

Last night I was able to participate in my first 8th Grade Parent night at the high school. Needless to say it was a great experience to see so many parents, future students, but most of all community members. This was especially unique to me because I got to see how all the different programs offered at the high school are represented.

There were several booths out and displaying highlights and articles/ some project-based items. This gave the teachers of different clubs, sports, and organizations to showcase their programs to appeal to next year’s upcoming freshman class.

The best part of this night was that I got to participate in representing SkillsUSA with our Special Education for CTAE liaison. It was a great experience and very informative to both myself and several parents/students. Explaining the many successes of this organization was an occurrence I soon won’t forget.

Mr. H

Everyday is a learning curve.......

I am really not sure if I should say this out loud and I hope it is not a disappointment to our fearless instructor, but I tell you what, I feel like everyday I am reevaluating myself and my plans for instruction. Y'all know me and to say that I am an overachiever is an understatement so this is a real struggle. Maybe this is what is supposed to be like as an educator, constant evaluation/reevaluation so that we do not get stagnant. More often than not, I feel like we are in the 9th inning with bases loaded and I strike out... can I get an amen??? Can someone give me some pointers on how you handle these overwhelming feelings of "is this ever going to get easier"?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Theorem 15

We are returning to history and Prosser this week. Please comment on Theorem 15: "The administration of vocational education should be efficient in proportion as it is elastic and fluid rather than rigid and standardized." I do agree with theorem 15, vocational education should be fluid. The administration, or delivery, should just "go with the flow". The time frame an instructor uses to deliver instruction should be fluid and should be determined by the class dynamic. For instance, my students were without instructional time for 2 weeks because of the weather. Although the students were familiar with information, they had lost the "why?" component of the unit and had difficulty connecting everything together. I decided to increase the instructional time for those 2 units. Increasing the instructional time allowed the students to gain a higher understanding of the unit content and increase the amount of information they were able to recall. Increasing instructional time describes now vocational education should be fluid. We have end of pathway assessments (EOPA) in our programs and for some pathways those do not cover a greater understanding of the course content. For instance, the EOPA for the physical medicine is not specific to my pathway. The EOPA is general for introduction to health care and is not specific for our pathway. I personally feel as though this is a "flaw" in the system and further proves Prosser's theorem 15 that vocational education should not be rigid or standardized.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Theorem 15

I strongly believe all successful teachers have the ability to be “elastic and fluid” within their classrooms as there are always unexpected distractions and delays. As for CTAE teachers, they must be a degree or two more flexible within their subject areas because these will change more than most core classes.

In CTAE areas such as Sports Medicine or Video Broadcasting or Business, industry standards will change often. Sometimes these changes are even year to year. Teachers of industry must be up to date with what is going on in the working worlds which mirror their classes. If not, they may teach outdated material or procedures.

Core classes will rarely have the amount of industry reflective changes we in CTAE do. For example, 2+2=4 isn’t going to change. Neither is water freezing at 32 degrees. But, the way you wrap a sprained ankle or how best to interview for a job is more opinion based and will most certainly change over time. Because of these changes, CTAE teachers must be “elastic and fluid” across all aspects of their teaching.

Theorm 15

"The administration of vocational education should be efficient in proportion as it is elastic and fluid rather than rigid and standardized." This quote can be interpreted many ways but I believe it out of all of the ways it could be interpreted, I believe the one thing that is universal about it is elastic and fluid. One thing that I know for sure in a work-like environment is that something is always changing. That's why I believe that the learning experience for CTAE classes should be "elastic." The way I would interpret the word elastic in this example is being able to constantly change but to never lose a beat in a methodical work place. An example of this would be if there is a certain way to edit a piece of video that has been done the same way for five years, but could be completed another way in half the time, that is being more efficient or elastic without losing a beat. The last part of the quote said "rather than rigid and standardized." I believe this is not a good way to complete anything because standardized to me means a routine without thinking. Change is always good, even if it's during a transition period such as a new boss, or location for a new job. It seems like rigid and standardized means that something is hard and nobody is going to change it because that's the way it's been for a long time. Vocational education should have multiple ways for something to be taught because students are always looking to be challenged and find new ways to complete something,

Theorem 15

Theorem 15: "The administration of vocational education should be efficient in proportion as it is elastic and fluid rather than rigid and standardized."
I believe in this statement. The difference between what we do in the vocational field and the standard classroom are two totally different beasts. If you think of a traditional classroom setting you tend to look at it as a place of rules and boundaries, procedures and policies that are the norm for way of life there.
When you take a moment and really look at all of the vocational offerings in our department, then you really see just how robust and dynamic it is. On any given day, even in my structured lab environment, I have two to three different activities going on simultaneously. This leaves little room for a rigid and standardized atmosphere when students are learning at different levels and experiencing a variety of dynamic stations.
This is not to say that there does not need to be structure and rules. We must still have an overall control of our environments no matter what is going on, but the idea of being efficient in proportion to the tasks at hand maximizes the learning opportunities for our students.
Mr. H

Prosser Theorm 15

I know that I often times feel like meeting certain criteria as a teacher can feel rigid and standardized, but one of the luxuries of my job is that I get a sense of freedom in my classroom when it comes to teaching my course. I agree that vocational, or career and technical education, should not be set to a standardized way of thinking. Careers as a whole are always changing and always evolving, so I think it is our obligation as educators to make sure our curriculum meets those changes. In my two years teaching, I have noticed that comments are often made along the lines of “but you teach a fun class”, or “the kids want to take your class”. I know that teachers don’t mean this as an insult, but it can feel like they are saying I am not good at what I teach, that instead, the curriculum is drawing the kids in. Even if that is the case, how lucky am I to be able to teach a “fun” class that is always changing and always evolving!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Administrative guidance will typically have a rigid, firm stance, leading by example. In the Career and Technical Education fields there is a constant moving target in the classes, labs, CTSOs, and industries. If things stayed the same in all of the fields of industry and areas of society, we could easily stay firm and rigid, but in order to grow and progress we must change. I believe I would have to agree with Prossers' Theorm 15. The fluidity and elasticity of the administration is key. If their had not been a small deal of "elasticity" in the requirements from me at the administrative level in these first two years as an educator I would not have been able to maintain. I am thankful for the WONDERFUL administration that I have. When faced with any change, question, or option in reference to my program, they have nothing but good input and an open mind.

Prosser Theorem 15

I believe there is a lot of truth to this because we as CTAE teachers need to be able to teach to the standards of our industry. The only way we can do that is if we stay current with what is happening in the industry, therefore we must be flexible and adapt when necessary. For example, if there are new laws put on the books that change a process or procedure in law enforcement, I need to be able to make changes in my curriculum to address those changes. I also asked my wife who has been in CTAE for 12 years now, what her thought on this is and she said CTAE is famous for changing the standards bringing up the point that we are currently rolling out new standards and that this was done just a few years ago as well. If we are preparing students for the demands of the workplace, then we must change as the business and industries change. It only makes sense to do this to keep viable and meaningful programs that truly prepare students for a seamless transition into post-secondary schools and/or the workplace. 

Elasticity and Fluidity

When I read Prosser's Theorem 15, I almost laughed. I totally agree that in CTE a certain level of flexibility and flow are necessary to achieve success in and out of the classroom. I chuckled because of the lack of flexibility and flow I feel on most days. Let me explain. We are forced to include differentiation in our lesson plans so that the needs of ALL students can be met. Differentiation mirrors Prosser's Theorem 15. We are flexible in that we understand students learn differently. We do not expect them to "fit" into one particular style of teaching strategy so we plan using several teaching strategies. The hope is that every students' strength is acknowledged in the course of the lesson by this type of flexibility. I chuckled because although I have to differentiate for my students, nothing is differentiated for me. I am forced to "fit" into a specific style of planning that is not conducive to my learning style. I feel as though flexibility and fluidity are thrown out the window and the cookie cutter expectation is the only acceptable method of planning. I truly believe that if teachers could experience the flexibility and fluidity that Prosser dreamed of for students test scores would rise, classrooms would run more efficiently, and teachers would be less frustrated at the end of the day!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Rewards and Challenges

Like teaching, counsels has its own rewards. Part of the duties of counselor rule is too have students complete and not drop out. Too keep a student from dropping out the student would completed an IGP. The Counselor would review the plan with the student, evolve other teachers and Administrators in an effort to get the student to finish school. Where it be with his/her home school or an Alternative school. So in this situation the at-risk student has two options for completing school. The worst case is the student drops out. Some other rewards are when you open a person up to something new such as CTAE and then run with it and succeed. The great reward for anyone in education is to see students succeed and the student comes back and says thank you, the light comes on moment. The real challenge to any part of education is not want to give up on a student.

Changed Impressions

Previously I stated that counselors were more like shirks (Psychiatrist) than anything else. After completing the required reading they have some additional responsibilities. They may include but is not limited to student scheduling; IGP (Individual Graduation Plan) development; IEP (Individualized Education Programs); SST (Student Study Teams); Consultants to special education teachers; and mat serve as administrator if designated the principal. This may seem like a lot but the Guidance Counselor does have some additional resources themselves such as Social workers and Community outreach if necessary. The school Guidance Counselor also to meet deadlines set by State and Federal government. No wonder why my High School Counselor was always stressed out.