Sunday, November 28, 2010

An Ode to the Leaders of Learning

Hey, you, Socrates, take one step forward......everyone else, take one step backward. This is a battlefield promotion. You're the Leader! It's not the Superintendent. It's not even the Principal. It's you!

Like Socrates, you, teacher, are your own leader. You are the one and true leader of the learners entrusted to you. You lead your learners. And more:

• you respect them all,
• you take them as they are,
• you encourage them endlessly,
• you never give up on them,
• you affirm them with praise and encouragement,
• you send them back to their task when the product of their work is lacking,
• you elicit from them the answers to questions they never thought they knew,
• you expect their best from them, always,
• you model learning for them by remaining yourself a learner,
• you tell them failures are just another step to knowledge,
• you truly care for them, each and every one.

And at last, when they leave your classroom, you send them on their way with their own fishing poles and toolkits for learning how to learn.

YOU are the leader! A fellow teacher may encourage you. A principal who truly cares about you may have your back.

But no Superintendent has ever led you into your daily battle against ignorance. No superintendent is in your classroom to help those kids who need help right now. No superintendent gives you kudos when it's due or help when you need it most. No Superintendent passes on the culture and the breadth and depth of what we need to know.

Superintendents may be required by law. A teacher is required by students. A teacher is the real and true leader.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Inspirational Quotes on Teaching and Learning

These powerful quotes gathered by Mr. Vincent are worth sharing:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Saturn School Story and Educational Reform

Thanks to Shelly Terrell who interviewed me recently on the Saturn School of Tomorrow and School Reform.

Here's the video:

Friday, August 6, 2010

TO GRADE OR NOT TO GRADE, THAT IS THE QUESTION...SO, WHAT'S THE ANSWER?

How did you feel the first time you had a grade attached to you? You know...a letter C, maybe with a + or a -. Or maybe a number, like 82 or 69?

Suppose you had a good grade way back when; did you deserve it? Or, how about a bad grade in 3rd grade? Was your performance really that bad? Well, the teacher must have thought so. How did it affect your view of yourself? Were you the better or the worse because of it?

No Child Left Behind, that wonderful mantra, is still leaving far too many behind...attaching their accumulated standardized test scores to their teachers and their schools, assigning extra homework to the errant teachers and closing those bad, bad schools. But how do these test scores help the individual student from being left behind? They advance or retreat one child at a time.

So, what's really wrong with a grade or a standardized test score? The pundits and experts call them objective scores, as they are thought to be free from subjectivity and less prone to error. OK. So someone who really believes this, please tell me what a D- is, or what's a 72? Is there a teacher or an objective test out there with the wisdom of Solomon who can defend the complete objectivity of the grade or the test score? Anyone? Anyone? I thought not.

So, how do we assure that students possess the needed skills and competencies to succeed? How do we know if they can do quality work? How about we look at their work? Why not put each student, with help from their teachers, parents and mentors, in charge of designing, creating and collecting their best, summative projects, papers, videos, presentations, collaborations, apprenticeships (maybe), designs, solutions, poems, pictures, dreams, improved work,....well you get it: a Personal Portfolio of the Emerging Learner. Authentic assessment, if you will.

Why, with help, most students could create an assessment rubric too, so they can learn to judge the quality of their own work. Of course, they want reviews and input and suggestions from their teachers, fellow students, parents, mentors, Skype-buddies...you name it. In time they may need less help and have far more confidence in their skills.

Wouldn't that be far more meaningful than a number or a grade? Sure, students and teachers could keep a checklist of skills possessed, works in progress or improvements still needed. But, most of us in this profession can look at a student's chosen, best work and immediately tell what they know and what they don't know. Even better, with a little help, so can they.

Think of the time and energy saved from all the irrelevant, meaningless measuring we now do. And no one really, truly knows what it means for each learner. Or, finding something effective to remediate it.

It's time to make some fundamental changes in our educational system. How about replacing grading and testing with Personal Portfolios of Excellence and Progress? When they leave their classes next spring, they can only take their fond memories of their good teachers along with them. How about giving them the gift that keeps on giving: Learning how to learn.

Take a look at the changes we tried at our Saturn School of Tomorrow some years ago. We need more ideas like this one. Real reform. Not a race to the top of something that won't be there next year.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS ISSUE? POST YOUR COMMENTS BELOW.....THANKS!

video

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Passing on the Baton in the Run for Reform!


Think of the millions of educators out there every day running the race against ignorance and lost opportunities for learning among the kids and communities we serve. Is anyone getting tired, cramped up or out of breath? Does anyone need a break?

Well, many of us now have one: Summer! A chance to reflect: What worked? What didn't? What could I have done better than I did? What more do I need to know? What can I change? Where can I find more help? Where are the others who will run this race against ignorance that holds back so many in our schools? I can't do it all myself! How can I better pass the baton?

20 years ago I and a dedicated teaching staff were running in such a race ourselves. We were in the midst of starting up a new school, called the Saturn School of Tomorrow, and dedicated to the simply stated proposition that "More must learn more!" We required a student-designed personal learning plan for every student. We were able to get nearly 100 percent parent involvement in their child's education. We empowered our teachers by giving them greater control (and even compensation!). We used the community for our classroom (art museum, science museum, library, etc.) Technology empowered both our students and teachers. Amazingly, 10,000 visitors from everywhere came to see what we were trying to do, even the President of the United States, who recognized us for our efforts.

Where is that school today? It is gone!

Some have asked "why?" Having served as the leader of that school, I know there were many reasons: the superintendent who supported our project left in the midst, our standardized test scores fell a little, the local newspaper and other district staff, after the hoopla, "fell out of love" with us and what we were trying to do. But key among the reasons was our failure to better "pass the baton." Not only did we need more outside help in our race for needed change, we didn't take enough advantage of the help that was there to take. Why? As one of our teachers said, "It's hard to change a flat tire on your car when it's moving."

The creative teachers who started the school, who invented new and powerful ways to deliver the curriculum, had a difficult time welcoming and inviting in and including the new teachers who joined us in subsequent school years. We no longer had a shared vision, to say nothing of a shared song-sheet, so to speak. All need to be empowered.

We were developing portfolio assessments at the same time we were trying to improve student scores on basic skills using computer-based learning systems. More support was needed from vendors and experts in that area. Why didn't I push for more help from them?

While we captured the attention of many outside our community, we were unable to secure tacit support among those in our own school district. They saw us as different and threatening to the so-called establishment. Why didn't I invite them in to help us, co-teach with us, brainstorm, observe and suggest?

When we learned our standardized test scores were below expectations (whatever that means), our local press, which had been supportive at first, ran every headline they could to make us look worse. One of the paper's columnists criticized a student who misspelled a word when he was showing the visiting President Bush one of our technology tools, never mind that the columnist has a misspelling in that same column. Never fight with those who buy their ink by the barrel! Had I been better at PR, perhaps I could have secured more support from the paper's editorial staff.

We even tried the fine suggestions that fellow blogger and tweeter Shelly Terrell has listed in her call to more "passing the baton" action:

  • Mentoring
  • Creating a plan
  • Creating leadership positions shared by many
  • Having appropriate measures in place
  • Establishing a vision


But, we needed to do a far better job of monitoring, promoting, including, sharing, telling, asking and passing on. As I look back now I know the students, who did a lot of this for us, could have done even more. Here's their own video they made about their own very different school:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGLeGWLWNcQ


How about that for an unprompted closing statement from the narrator? It still makes my day.


And as I reflect on it, I think more videos like this one and presos from the students would have greatly helped our cause and success. The students can be great runners in this race, too.


In case you're wondering, I do know I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. IF I could find some more passionate, caring, able educators and supporters who want to join in the Race For Reform, and are willing to grab a baton.

On your mark!……

Thursday, April 15, 2010

That More May Learn More! Who's the Learner?

The EdWeek blog recently posted an interesting statement by NYU Professor Pedro Noguera in response to where the NCLB accountability must lie:

"(Teachers') unions need to make it very clear that the interests of the teachers are aligned with the interests of the children. Whatever's good for the teachers better also be good for the children."


No matter our professional affiliations, as teachers, our calling makes it clear whom we must first serve: the students.

Far too many students are being left behind. Why? There are so many reasons, it's hard to know where to start. But if we want to focus our lessening resources on where most of the variance in student achievement lies, we must acknowledge what Bill Maher almost got right on his recent TV show when he called out parents for their failure to be part of the solution. He might have said "parents and students!" We know Maher's not the only one who understands this, but his bully pulpit gives him a louder voice.

It's too bad that those words aren't coming from the mouths of our political leaders. Parents, yes! Teachers, yes! But students first. Then the school leaders, the districts, the states, the feds in order of accountability.

Sound like an impossible list? It is! Clearly, there's too much curriculum to be taught today. We are trying to create a cookie-cut student from a growing diversity of students. But, no matter how you cut it, these so-called critically important standardized tests label the schools instead of helping the students.

Yes, for us educators, it's first and foremost the students we serve. But it's a reciprocal issue. Students, with support from their parents, have got to own their own learning. They need to dream more about their futures, build a plan to develop the skills to get there, list and demand the resources they need to learn....in short, design and follow their own unique learning plan, one which addresses their own interests and talents, and also addresses their own needs.

Parents absolutely must be a part of this, or it will continue to fail. Many parents spend more time watching their kids play sports than checking their homework.

Next comes the teacher, and the rest of us in the Village of Learning, who are also here to help all learners succeed. A Personal Learning Plans for each student would cost little or nothing. Yet it would place the major responsibility for learning in the hands of the learner. This is where it must be. Then, it's up to parents, teachers, administrators to encourage, assist, find resources, help assess progress and remain committed to helping each child reach his or her goals.

Professor Noguera from NYU was right in his recent statement. The focus for teachers must be the learner. Maher was right: Parents must help.

But it all starts with the learner committed to learning, and a personal plan to make it happen.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Race To The Top of….What?


Subtitled :How Many School Districts Are There on the Head of a Pin?


I recall a Superintendent in my bygone days who, when queried about our district's insatiable need for more money during hard times, quipped: "I never met a dollar I didn't like." I suspect that applies to many of us, even if we're not running a school district. $4.35 billion in RTTT funding is a lot of dollars to like. So how much of the meager energy we have left after our days and nights in the classroom, or supporting same, can be spent on winning the Race?


What are we to make of these well-meaning feds, from the President to the Secretary of Education, to say nothing of those reading proposals from the likes of us, and who are dangling these golden RTTT carrots in front of us…the "us" being the we being who pull and push the school district's ancient oxcarts, loaded with kids who want to learn? These are the kids who need to learn, but far, far too often aren't learning nearly well enough. These funds won't likely go to the schools, being left behind, nor the students, nor the districts, but to the states!


There are 16,000 school districts in this nation and if there's one out there who doesn't need more money, please raise your hand. Of course, no amount of printing more money would provide enough for even the deserving top ten percent….whoever they are and whatever "deserving" means. If 20 states split the pot, each would get a couple hundred million dollars to split among school districts. If a state had, say 400 districts, the dollars would average $500,000. By the time it gets divided again amongst the schools, the pot of gold has shrunk to a more molecular level, nowhere near enough to address the lofty requirements of the RTTT manifesto.


It wouldn't be so bad if these funds actually helped us leave no child behind. But most of the states, districts, schools and classrooms that need them most probably won't see a nickel of it. Our local school district has to cut 25% from its strapped budget in the next 2-3 years. It would be higher if there weren't temporary federal funds for this year (unless more money is printed). Class sizes of 50 students?Yet, higher standards? More teachers fired and more schools closed? Another "Newsweek" diatribe?


On top of that we are all being asked to ensure all the the children we teach are soon above average. Never mind that the standardized tests that measure this are designed to replicate a normal curve and ensure that only half are average or above. How can that strategy possibly help in leaving no child left behind?


Did I mention that all of this depresses me greatly? I have been looking for a silver lining or at least some answers.


Anyone?


Anyone?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Syllabus or Silly-bus? A New Way to Learning!

One of my teenage sons used to refer to the syllabus in his high school course as a "silly-bus." In many ways, in today's ever-changing world, it still is: "Silly"; a learning "Bus", if you will, and far too often to a new destination, or at least one whose route has changed.


For many of us, the courses we teach today change as we teach them, right in front of our collective nose. The content we chose on Monday has been tweaked by someone on Tuesday, and repackaged before the week is out. What we thought was good and useful gospel may now be considered whimsy, or worse. If we had put our syllabus on a Wiki, it would be no longer what it was. It might be a lot better, too.


Some may claim, for example, that a math syllabus may be exempt. I taught math for many years and Euclid may be as immutable as parallel lines, but just as there's often more than one way to a do a proof or solve a problem, there's more than one way to learn.


I have prepared many a syllabus in my 40+ years of teaching. Like lessons plans, many educational institutions from K-12 to higher-ed require a syllabus. Truth in packaging. Syllabi are the blueprints for our courses, the GPS on where the nuggets lie, the product information booklets for education. We may not offer guarantees when we teach, but there should be full disclosure and recourse.


Take textbooks, too, for example....please! I can't use a textbook anymore. The content changes by the time it's published. Used to be in olden days that the textbook was the syllabus for many teachers.


Here's what American Heritage Dictionary has to say about the word "syllabus":


[Medieval Latin, probably alteration (influenced by Greek sullambanein, to put together) of Latin sillybus, parchment label, from Greek sillubos.]


Here are some non-traditional suggestions on this tradition-bound issue:


1. Invite your students in to help create or modify your course syllabus.


2. What should be included or left out in the syllabus?


3. How should it be learned? What's the best lesson plan for today and tomorrow?


4. What are the effective ways to show what we know? Let students help make the rubric.


5. Can rubrics differ for different learners? How can we all show that we know?


6. How can we gather useful feedback to improve the syllabus for the next group of learners passing through this chartered territory?


In today's ever-changing world, a syllabus needs to be dynamic. Even more, it needs the learners as active participants. Both teachers and students should be owners and doers and helpers. What's a village for, if we all want an educated village?


For education to become better, we must all become co-learners and co-teachers. The Wiki concept is a powerful model to help make that happen. Google, too.


I'll bet there are many more ideas out there on how to make a syllabus come alive with our synergy.


We are all of us smarter than any of us. But we already know that. Let's use it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Out of the Box and Into the World of Learning

Of all our out-of-the-box educational thinkers, I find Michael Wesch among the most engaging. He uses out-of-the-box ways of showing us his ideas and conjectures about cultural and educational change.

How does it differ? He uses his students at Kansas State to share what both he and they are learning. My guess is that these students contribute greatly to his unique message, with their unique massage of it. Here's an example from his youtube site:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9ySxrzpP-g&annotation_id=annotation_593591&feature=iv

There's a lesson here for all of us: invite your students in as fellow teachers and learners. Give them the power, and they will give it back to you as an empowered Classroom Learning/Instruction Community (CLIC).

This CLIC is a new kind of clique and kids will find it way-cool to belong. It will liberate them from the box too.

There is virtually no static syllabus any more. As Wesch, and Marshall McLuhan before him, remind us: the medium and the message are changing right before our eyes.....continuously.

We need more teachers and learners in every classroom. Promote your students to a greater team role. They'll do you proud and promote you right back!

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Thanks to a Twitter today, I saw an inspiring website article today in Edutopia.com by Mitchel Resnick, entitled, "Kindergarten Is the Model for Lifelong Learning."

I encourage you to read it at: http://bit.ly/KhLh6

Dr. Resnick directs the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT's Media Lab, from whence many other good ideas have emanated: Sherry Turkle's publications on the sociological implications of computer chat (subsuming the billions of text chats, I'm guessing ), plus Seymour Papert's seminal work 40 years ago with Logo’s Turtle computer software.

There's lots more from that MIT corps, but suffice it to say Resnick's conclusions are simple and worth our consideration:

"…kindergartners playfully create stories, castles, and paintings with one another, they develop and refine their abilities to think creatively and work collaboratively, precisely the abilities most needed to achieve success and satisfaction in the 21st century." - Edutopia

He talks too about a new computer program they developed for kindergartners, called "Scratch", a free download at: http://scratch.mit.edu/ and all the community interest and participation evoked by a Kg student whom he anonymously calls "BalaBethany", a malaprop name if there ever was one, made up by permuting the real-life name of Bela Banathy, one of the founders and forerunners of instructional systems thinking. So, it's clear Dr. Resnick still likes to play too.

As another reviewer noted, many of the sound points made remind the reader of Robert Fulgham's classic book some years ago, "All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten." It's all true of course: holding hands while crossing the street, say you're sorry, don't hit, flush, and the biggest word of all: Look! And that last one is, of course, what education is all about.

Why can't the powerful model of kindergarten be extended into the upper grades? That's a good question. And there are far too few "good" answers. Among the biggest obstacles is we group our learners by how old they are instead of what their needs are. Followed closely by the fact that there's little chance to play and learn in groups, talking is not tolerated, naps are not encouraged when your brain is tired (see my earlier blog on "Sleeping Students), there's no milk and cookies, and learning is way too often boring and no longer fun.

After kindergarten, labels get hung on learners like an albatross and too many of them give up and become negative self-fulfilling prophecies: "I didn't think I could do it, either." How sad!

What can we do? Bring some of the fun back to learning. Break some of the rules….especially the ones you think you can get away with: more collaborative group work, answer fewer questions but ask more, let them teach you, give them the tools to show what they know. Say, "Look!" more often., “Hey, everyone, look at this!”

When the lights start going back on in their eyes, you'll know it’s working.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Never wake a sleeping student!


This commentary was first published in

Shelly Terrell's blog:

http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/

It's a great resource and

worthy of your bookmark!

==========


What Do You Do With A Sleeping Student? by Tom King


Written on February 24, 2010 – 7:49 pm | by Shelly Terrell

Part of the series: Global Issues in Education


A tweet flew by this morning about what a teacher should do with a sleeping student. I sent a response to Shelly Terrell about my experience years ago as a young math teacher who tapped the shoulder of a sleeping kid in my algebra class, and with all the empathy of the rookie I was, asked him how in the name of the quadratic formula, could he be sleeping in my class.

He opened his sleepy eyes and said, “Sorry Prof King. I couldn’t get any sleep last night. My dad came home drunk and was beating my mother and me.” That was the last time I ever woke a sleeping student.

When I was in high school, corporal punishment was still meted out to any errant students, usually a slap, or the infamous paddle. But there were some sadists who somehow got to be teachers and literally punched kids into submission. Although the bruises healed, my guess is that the inner scars are still there. How do I know that? Some of those kids, now men and fellow alumni, were still talking about at our 50th reunion. They weren’t laughing, either.

Positive reinforcement works. I’ve seen it light the eyes of a learner many times. Negative reinforcement never works. Physical punishment not only doesn’t work on students (or anyone for that matter), but it may keep them from ever becoming a real learner. It turns an incident meant to be a positive learning experience into a painful memory of punishment. The only thing a student learns from the experience is that it’s OK to strike someone when rules are broken, or someone else just makes you angry. The punishment is perpetuated.

I grew up in an era where spankings were occasionally administered. I’m not going to say that the couple of times I got one didn’t get my attention focused on my poor behavior. But, as I grew older, I was more concerned about letting my parents down, or worse, having done something I knew was wrong. Most parents today eschew spankings for the same good reasons. Regardless, it never belongs in the classroom or in a school. Ever. Anywhere. Anytime.

Psychologists tell us that painful memories are often hard to eradicate. The really bad ones can result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Corporal punishment may not occur in a battlefield, but that doesn’t mean emotional scars won’t be lasting. Negative reinforcement obliterates the desired learning and replaces it with pain or shame. The negative is what has been learned. There are no positives.

————————————————————-

Tom King is a retired math teacher, the founder of the Saturn School of Tomorrow, adjunct professor for 35 years +, husband, father, grampa, friend, tennis and golf partner, coffee buddy, reader, photographer, poet, and a marveling lifelong learner. He blogs at Tom King’s Blog of De-Fogand tweets by the handle, @profTK. Read his previous contribution to Teacher Reboot Camp, Oh, the Lessons I’ve Learned.


How do you feel educators should manage classroom behavior problems?

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  1. 10 Responses to “What Do You Do With A Sleeping Student? by Tom King”

  2. By ktenkely on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    It is so important for teachers to get to the root of the problem. As in this situation, the student wasn’t being disrespectful with his sleeping through class. He was naturally responding to events in his life outside of school. I have found that many times students who are acting out in the classroom aren’t doing so just to be naughty. There is generally a “good” reason for the acting out. The pressures of home are stressful, the student is being bullied or teased mercilessly by another student, they are tired, they are hungry, they are insecure, they think they are stupid, they are being put in adult situations at a young age. The best way to manage behavior in the classroom is to understand what else is happening in the lives of your students.

    [Reply]

    Tom King Reply:

    @ktenkely, There’s some fine advice! Thanks, Kelly! The issue was more about me not being a compelling teacher at the moment, than the needs of my students. A lesson learned!

    [Reply]

  3. By ultimateteacher on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    It’s so easy for teachers to be reactive in situations like this. They hear students yell and they discipline hard. They see students acting out, and they send them to the office. I applaud teachers who can hold back their first instinct of attack, and instead go for inquiry. Love and Logic is great option that teachers can also use as well. Great post.

    [Reply]

    Tom King Reply:

    @ultimateteacher,

    Fine point! We have much to learn as young teachers, and often our students will teach us.

    [Reply]

  4. By surprisesaplenty on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    I teach ESL at a university in Korea. The way the university entrance exam works is that many students do most of their studying outside of class. At university, these habits remain and students often sleep in class. As my class is more of a seminar than a lecture, sleep is a no-no. I go for the humorous approach and take a picture of the sleeping student from an angle that obscures the face, then post it on a class blog. If the student is a repeat offender, I offer them money and the chance to go to the coffee machine. Few students take me up on it and even the ones that do try harder to stay awake afterward.

    [Reply]

    Tom King Reply:

    @surprisesaplenty,

    All cultures are different.

    But I’ve found that anything we do to embarrass a student works against our effectiveness as teachers in the long run. Even when we mean well.

    [Reply]

  5. By JW on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    I was a sleeping student and had reason. That’s always in the back of my mind. You never know, unless you take the time to ask and care. Nice post.

    [Reply]

    Tom King Reply:

    @JW, Yes! And ask the student in a respectful way…not in front of the entire class.

    [Reply]

  6. By Todd Wandio on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t wake sleeping students. I figure they showed up with the intent of participating in learning, but their body had other ideas. Students today have horrible sleep patterns, and our strict school schedule doesn’t exactly match up with the circadian rhythm of the average teen. I let them sleep. Sometimes I have a little fun with it, but mostly I just ask the class to not disturb the student, and leave him/her be. Incidentally, I have had VERY few girls sleep in class. Any thoughts as to why?

    [Reply]

    Tom King Reply:

    @Todd Wandio,

    I like the concept of just letting them be and talking with them afterwards.

    As for girls not sleeping in class, I found that true too. It must explain why they often do so much better than the boys! :)

    [Reply]

Friday, February 5, 2010


“Oh, the Lessons I’ve Learned!”
Tom King

(With apologies to Dr. Seuss from his classic: “Oh, the Places I’ll Go!”)


I’ve learned lots of things on my way to retired,

That I never thought then would leave me inspired.

One lesson I’ve learned is when it comes to the Group,

We’re somehow all different, like veggies in soup.

But when you mix us all up and sum up our best,

Why, together we’re better than any one of the rest!

Some folks you might pass seem too busy to say, “Hi!”

But if you asked for their help, they’d never pass by.

And some folks with a burden too heavy to bear,

Still find time for others, and step in and share.

So, I’m thankful for alikes and differences too,

For together, there’s nothing our “togethers” can’t do.

I’ve even had students teach me new ways to divide.

That are often far better than ways I have tried.

I remember a student who couldn’t square root a “darn-ful”,

But given a math puzzle, he could do a whole barn-full.

As I look back on teaching, there’s no better career, ‘

Cause you’re taught lots by others, year after year.

And, after 33 years, I’ve learned as much as I could.

So, given time to learn more, I’d move on, yes I would!

I’ll always remember my wonderful co-workers,

Learning from you has been one of those marvelous “perkers”.


You help change kid’s lives, and deserve abundant high praise,

So, in closing I’ll just say, why you all get all “A”s.

Oh, the things that I‘ve learned, but there’s more to be found,

So, I’m off to learn more, for at last I’m unbound!

“Thanks for the Memories!” Tom King,

ISD 625, Retired:1995


Friday, January 15, 2010

How about a Socratic Oath for Educators?


“That More May Learn More”


--ICOSE--

International Community of Socratic Educators

--Founding Charter Principles—


As a member of the Socratic Community, I hereby attest:


1. That the desire and capacity to learn is inborn within me and others...


2. That a spectrum of talents and gifts is possessed by each of us...


3. That I respect the dignity, worth and uniqueness of each learner...


4. That my talents have been given to me to be developed,

to be shared and to leave the world better for my being here...


5. That I am privileged to be called as an educator, and entrusted with the passing on of our culture,

the world’s knowledge and our collective bests...


6. That I shall always remain open to the insights and gifts that others bring,

and add them to my own store of knowledge for sharing with others...


7. That I will stand up for my beliefs and principles, but always thoughtfully consider and respect the same in others who may differ with me...


8. That I will admit my error or change my stance when confronted with incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, no matter the personal risk...


9. That I will suffer the unsettling experiences and stresses that accompany the risks of learning more and espousing the new and unknown...


10. That I will join in and help establish the many circles of learning that are a part of my learning life and Professional Learning Network...


11. That I will persist in my efforts to grow as a person and share as a teacher and educator as long as I live...


12. That I will remain committed to my Socratic oath: “That More May Learn More!” and more!


=== Established: July 3, 1999 By Dr. Tom King St. Paul, Minnesota