Without question, 2006 has been one of the most amazing years of my life. Writing a book, quitting my job of 21 years, getting a chance to meet and work with thousands of educators around the world…and that’s just professionally. My wife Wendy and my kids Tess and Tucker have been incredibly supportive and loving throughout, and all of it has left me feeling very, very lucky.
It feels like my relationship with this blog has been evolving this year as well. I’ve spent quite a bit of time the last couple of days reading through it, and I’ve been surprised by how much of my writing this year seemed relatively forced. Sure, there were moments of some real passion, but all in all, it’s made me think hard about where to take it. More on that tomorrow (or soon after).
At any rate, just for my own sake, here are my favorite six for ’06, a year that I will not soon forget.
6. 49 Captive Superintendents—One Message (May 29, 2006)
So, I get the chance to address 49 Superintendents in Upstate NY on Thursday. Iâ€™ve got some ideas of what I plan to show them about the power and potential of the Read/Write Web, about what teachers and students are already doing, and about the obstacles that we need to begin having serious conversations about. But Iâ€™m wondering, if you had 90 minutes with this group, what one thing would you bring up/point to/challenge them with? What would be your most important message?
Read the comments…
5. Teachers as Learners Part 27 (August 30, 2006)
In a world where knowledge is scarce (and I know Iâ€™m using that phrase an awful lot these days), I can see why we needed teachers to be, well, teachers. But hereâ€™s what Iâ€™m wondering: in a world where knowledge is abundant, is that still the case? In a world where, if we have access, we can find what we need to know, doesnâ€™t a teacherâ€™s role fundamentally change? Isnâ€™t it more important that the adults we put into the rooms with our kids be learners first? Real, continual learners? Real models for the practice of learning? People who make learning transparent and really become a part of the community?
4. The Bigger Shifts…Deal With It (July 13, 2006)
And so there it is. Another one of those nasty little truths about all of this. The biggest shift is not the technology, not the practice, not even the implementation. Itâ€™s the cultural, social shift that moves us from the idea that we must prevent our kids from seeing and engaging with this â€œstuffâ€ to the idea that says, lookâ€¦itâ€™s a different worldâ€¦theyâ€™re going to find sex and porn and bad stuff and bad people no matter how hard we try to keep them from it, but when we weigh that fact against the incredible learning potential that the Web provides, weâ€™re going to choose to educate rather try to block and filter it all…
3. Owning the Teaching…and the Learning (November 3, 2006)
Iâ€™ve been growing more frustrated lately and Iâ€™m feeling more pessimistic about the prospects for any serious change in how we as an education system see teaching and learning, and I think Iâ€™ve figured out why. I hate to generalize, but the thing that seems to be missing from most of my conversations with classroom teachers and administrators is a willingness to even try to re-envision their own learning, not just their students…
2. Dear Kids, You Don’t Have to Go to College (November 7, 2006)
For most of your young lives, youâ€™ve heard your mom and I occasionally talk about your futures by saying that someday youâ€™ll travel off to college and get this thing called a degree that will show everyone that you are an expert in something and that will lead you to getting a good job that will make you happy and make you able to raise a family of your own someday. At least, thatâ€™s what your mom and I have in our heads when we talk about it. But, and I havenâ€™t told your mom this yet, Iâ€™ve changed my mind. I want you to know that you donâ€™t have to go to college if you donâ€™t want to, and that there are other avenues to achieving that future that may be more instructive, more meaningful, and more relevant than getting a degree…
1. Reinvention Chapter 2: “I Quit” (February 7, 2006)
After 21 years in public education, after teaching English, supervising teachers, integrating technology, advising the yearbook, starting a student environmental group, coaching softball, basketball, soccer and gymnastics, running student counseling groups, chairing sabbatical committees, ed tech committees, professional development committees, serving on hiring committees, being public information officer, mentoring new teachers and goodness knows what else, today I notified my superintendent that as of May 15 I would be leaving the district for parts somewhat unknown. To put it simply, I quit…
Thanks for reading.