Back to Teachin’ and Bloggin’

115 degrees and lawnmower accidents

Yeah — we're back in school –but getting back here was a near fiasco —

  • a heat wave with a heat index of 115 and my compressor went out in my computer lab,
  • my oldest son went off of a bridge on a heavy duty lawnmower due to a brake malfunction (but fortunately came out of it with only a cracked elbow!),
  • and another of my children started middle school — Whew! it is Nutty.

But when someone said to me the other day:

“If you could be anywhere, doing anything in the world right now, what would it be?”

It hit me like a “ton of bricks” — really, I am exactly where I want to be. I love teaching!

When that bell rings and the kids fill their seats and begin work (usually before the bell rings) and when we get to talking about the cool tools (such a great talk about Microsoft Surface the other day) and technologies — boy, that is a rush any good sky diver could understand. There is nothing like it in the world!

My precious children are here at school with me! I am part of their day and see them grow, learn and struggle. I love it!

And what makes it even better is that I have great administrators with a common belief system. Our principal has one rule “Do right.” He tells us and the kids, “If you have to ask, its not right and don't do it.” I could go on and on but I know how fortunate we are to have such great administrators… it seems that the high pressure and temptation to disconnect from the classroom have bred many administrators who aren't reaching their full potential.

Why I'm going to keep blogging

After taking a bit of a hiatus from blogging (for obvious reasons), I am back at this blog with a confirmed calling that I am indeed part of this educational discussion.

When the honeymoon of blogging wears off

Beginning bloggers beware, at some point as you become more connected with incredible educators, you will also find that there are those out there who may be great but just don't like you.

Some of these people may e-mail you or comment anonymously or do other things that will wound you and make you feel like, “I don't have time for this” and some may even creep you out!

But, I have found that the only people who don't receive criticism are doing nothing! So, at some point, you have to decide if it is worth it.

For me, it is. The benefits of connecting and blogging both for me and my classroom far outweigh the personal chagrin I feel when personally attacked. (And it makes me that more adamant about teaching effective online interpersonal skills.)

Perhaps I'm just a bit more sensitive right now with the passing of my grandmother over the summer, and I'm sure that's true — but there must be others out there who think about quitting too or like Kathy Sierra, do quit.

But what does quitting do?

But when we reflect upon Kathy Sierra quitting. Many of us read her blog and learned a lot. We enjoyed her writing style and perspective, and just enjoyed her. And now, two or three jerks have taken her away from inspiring thousands of us who she helped learn and work on a daily basis.

Is that fair?

So, my issues in the blogosphere seem so very small compared to Kathy, but I won't quit — I am called to blog as surely as I am called to teach and be a mother. I enjoy blogging, it is important to me.

Things to talk about

So, enough about me, let's talk about the cool technology tools that we can get excited about!

Like the super cool Ning that I had for summer assignments (sorry it is private) and the fact that you can now do groups and preapprove video and pics on ning.

Or about the fact that my computer science textbook now has podcasts associated with each chapter (Oh yeah!), and super cool videos embedded on almost every page on the book on CD. (Such a great thing for the students who don't learn well with text. This is something every curriculum director shouldn't just ask for but demand!)

Or how exciting it is that schools can add to their AP curriculum (like we are) with the Virtual High Schools that are cropping up everywhere.

And especially about Edubloggerworld and the things that many of us are working on to help us do a better job of connecting with newcomers to the edublogosphere, whether they are readers or writers. My friend Dr. Shepherd, director of the PhD program for Walden University, has talked to me many times about how us bloggers often don't think that other people exist and must do a better job of reaching out to non bloggers who want to connect and learn. So, I dedicate my work with edublogger world to her and her daughter — because connecting with others is important.

There are so many things I still have notes to share from NECC and a lot about the importance of common sense tagging. (My goodness, don't create a tagging standard with a two digit year — let's show that we learned something from Y2K — only use four digit years, please!)

And there are so many things all of you out there have taught me: at NECC, or as you direct messaged me and I received them on my cell phone as I was walking into Granny's funeral — the connections with many of you became very personal this summer.

So, welcome school year. Come on to class, you're right on time.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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SherryC August 15, 2007 - 6:03 am

I love reading blogs of teachers that truly love what they do! It always stuns me when I talk to teachers that are just doing a job.

I am still new to blogging and I am trying something new this year. I have been teaching middle school students computers, but this year am going to teach 8th grade English and Social Studies with the hopes of truly integrating technology and getting my students excited and engaged. I am not getting a lot of support and found myself down today. Reading wonderful blogs like this really helps lift my spirits and make me ready to just get back at it tomorrow. Thanks!

Raffi August 15, 2007 - 12:20 pm

Hi, You’ve been one of those who inspired me to blog.

As for blogging, I am against too much personal facts appearing on the blog. Also, moderation of the comments is important.

Miguel August 15, 2007 - 3:32 pm

Vicki, you’re an inspiration to me as an administrator. I constantly refer to the Flat World Classroom project, as well as others you are engaged in.

Yesterday, I was sitting at lunch with an MBA professor from a local private university. We were discussing collaborating on an article for a Texas publication. As she pulled out her newspaper clippings, underlined and highlighted, I realized she was Web2-clueless.

So, I shared the power of blogging, wikis, podcasts, Read/Write Web, publish at will, and how her MBA classes could be so much more powerful. Then, as an example of that, I shared with her your (and Julie’s) project on the Flat World Classroom. Although we were sitting at lunch, munching on enchiladas and fajitas, the it was amazing to see the smile that came to her lips as I shared the project.

As a long-time blogger, I know what you’re talking about. I sometimes feel excluded from the “big talk,” but I realize that it’s because I am unique in my way of sharing what I think. There’s no crime in that uniqueness. Sometimes, we have to take breaks…for me, it’s like a dry waterhole in the desert. It is exhausted after much use, but given time, refills since it’s source is deeper and inexhaustive.

I hope you continue to look beyond the surface to that inexhaustible supply, remembering that the cool sip of water that strangers take brings smiles to their faces.

Best wishes,

Miguel Guhlin
Around the

Vicki A. Davis August 15, 2007 - 4:01 pm

SherryC — we all need encouragement and we all get down and feel misunderstood, I think it is the nature of being on the cutting edge, sometimes we are cut too!

Raffi — thanks and I agree as well!

Miguel — We are members of the mutual appreciation society. I too feel very “out of it” most of the time as I spend so much time working, running my kids to practice, and just doing things here — I don’t have a lot of time to connect with what seems to be a critical mass of educators who seem to communicate a lot — I just can’t make it into SL much at all! But I’m glad I can read about them and share what I learn and it is OK to be on the periphery!

Thanks all of you for your encouragement! Let’s keep on doing what we’re doing!

Susan Funk August 17, 2007 - 2:10 am

“The ones who don’t received criticism are doing nothing”. Thanks for the reminder. In need to remember this when I take a stand which proves unpopular. Thanks for being out there and taking us along on the ride.

Repairman August 18, 2007 - 12:03 am

This is a new world to me, and that you’re on David Warlick’s blogroll made me curious about what’s happening here.

I’m looking forward to learning more and I can hardly believe that so much has transpired since the last time I took a serious look at edutech!

MrsC August 20, 2007 - 8:27 pm

As always your posts inspire me to comment. It has been a rough time for me and I am currently enjoying a new baby and taking a short hiatus from teaching. I am glad to get back into blogging although it will be more professionally than in a classroom setting. I too was so sad to see Kathy’s blog stop. She was a source of inspiration as well and always had fresh words to give. Your comments about “connecting with non bloggers” is particularly true since I have met resistance from teachers, administrators, and even students who not only don’t blog but see it as fluff and frivolity. As passionate as I am about the blogs place in education, I know it will never take the place of the teacher and the face to face discussion. Thanks again for all you do for the edublogosphere.

Richard August 21, 2007 - 2:54 am

Since reading yours and a few other blogs I have been able to encrourage other teachers of their worth as a reflection tool. It always makes me smile when someone reads something in a school journal or has a discussion in the staffroom and says “thats worth blogging about” it really means that they are thinking teaching and learning. Fantastic.

Anonymous August 21, 2007 - 6:27 pm

I noticed that you mentioned Ning as a cool social network where videos and pictures can be preapproved. I have come across a similar website called It is not much of a social network (which I personally like about it)but students upload videos in various categories, and apparently all of the videos are approved by teachers.

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