Sunday, January 5, 2014

A teacher's job is never done.

Even though I am a year into retirement I am still teaching and learning.

The teaching part is obvious, as I have taken a volunteer position with the SPCA to do the Humane Education in schools and for community groups. In order to do this, I had to read the thick Humane Ed manual given to me by my predecessor and decide which lessons and materials I would use for the different age groups. I scoured the internet for images to help little ones understand our mission and how to care for their pets. I helped some cub scouts and brownies get their badges connected to pet care. I even visited someone's home to learn about caring for and transporting bunnies when I had to take one to visit a class.  I am also learning how to interact with various people in the shelter who do vastly different jobs. And of course, I learned how to take the dogs out for walks during the day. That way I get to play with them too!

In my capacity of teacher-volunteer with the Steamboat Floating Classroom, SPLASH, I had to learn how to capture and identify macro-invertebrates, and what they told about the amount of pollution in the water. This was also something I used with my classes at school after I attended a weekend workshop at the Cobbs Creek Environmental Education Center. We have three stations on board the steamboat, so I had to learn all stations, including watershed ecology and water chemistry. I thought, being a teacher, I already knew about watersheds and environs. Nothing like realizing you know nothing! LOL.

When I was teaching in the public schools, I often used to scour the internet for help with subjects, strategies and behavioral issues. Even as a retired person, I still like to keep my fingers on the pulse. Some of the best places to go for information and assistance are Educators blogs, the Notebook, and The Educator's Room. Links will be given at the end of the blog.

The Educator's Room impressed me for the excellent articles on topics of interest in the classroom - inclusion, parent conferences, learning disabilities,  addressing the Common Core, standardized testing, etc. I have even written a couple articles for them myself. It's a great place for ideas and a place to learn new things. There is an Educator's Room conference in Atlanta this June 25th to the 27th, with workshops and speakers. I am giving a workshop on using vocal music in the classroom and I'd love to see you there! Check out the conference page and see if you can join us! I guarantee you will learn a lot from fellow educators.

The Notebook is specifically about the policies, problems and successes in the Philadelphia Public School System. They have a myriad of reporters writing for them and education blog links, and a newsletter which is issued daily, keeping you up-to-date on everything happening in the city and state regarding education.

Diane Ravitch's blog is one of the places to go if you want to know about national topics connected to the reform movement for public schools. Although she is 75 years old, she hasn't let that slow her down much. If you want to know what to do to get involved in the anti-reform movement, see Diane Ravitch's blog.

Want to learn more? Visit these links. You won't be sorry.

The Philadelphia Public Schools Notebook -

Educator's Room -

The Educator's Room Conference -

Diane Ravitch's Blog -

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