A chat between two educators….

What do two educators chat about online in their spare time, from opposite sides of the globe? Here’s a transcript of a conversation I had on a lazy Sunday morning with Stephen Davis, a thoughtful middle school teacher in Orange County, California. We have previously collaborated via our blogs in Bridging the Primary/Middle School Gap. Our conversation is cross-posted at Steve’s blog Rush The Iceberg.

Stephen: Hello!
Edna: I seem to have abandoned ‘Teacher’s Desk
I keep forgetting… my new job is so hectic.
How are you and your family?
Stephen: No worries I have been neglecting it, too. I have about three or four desks I need to update!
Are you enjoying your new job? To what extent is it fulfilling vs. your previous job? Or, are they both fruit and you like both an apple and an orange?!?!
Family is great! Wifey is a little tired due to baby #2 (Casen Patrick) growing inside her, but she is handling it beautifully!
Edna: Oh that’s lovely to hear.
Job… hmm…
The first few months I wasn’t enjoying as much as teaching.
Now I am more into it and like working with the teachers too.
And I’m going back to teaching a little so that’s better!
Stephen: Yeah…those first few months did you regret your decision?
Edna: Not really, I know it takes time… but I need to teach kids
Stephen: How much teaching (kids) are you able to do now? Daily?
Edna: I’m going to teach 4 lessons formally a week, but I do some team teaching and work with other teachers
Stephen: What’s the biggest challenge now?
Edna: Shifting teachers’ thinking!
Is this an interview?!!
Just kidding… thanks for your interest
Stephen: LOL! 🙂 Just questions that have been on my mind!
Take a look at www.rushtheiceberg.com
The Writing Process and Science
Edna: In the PYP we say that all teachers are language teachers… your post fits with that idea. I like this: ‘I firmly believe there is much to learn about the art and craft of teaching by watching/reading teachers from across content areas and grade levels’.
It makes for excellent teaching and learning…
The idea that learning is subdivided into separate content boxes is ridiculous in reality.
Stephen: I agree…I want to learn more from teachers about their content and what influences them…
I’m tired, really tired, of educational philosophy dressed up as dogma…
Stephen: The last two weeks I have participated in the #mathchat on Twitter…it has been educational, enlightening, and enriching! Challenging, too!
Edna: Trans-disciplinary learning. Same expectations for students?
Stephen:Yes, same expectations for students…I want them to see their world as blurred, not compartmentalized…more like a frozen dinner than a Bento box…
Edna: Excellent!
Stephen:I’m also growing tired of teachers only tweeting/RTing the same few teachers…
Edna: So do you think on twitter that people often RT by name, rather than by value of what’s being said?
Stephen: Absolutely! I think many of them are trying to benefit off of doing that somehow…
Edna: Maybe you should follow some different sorts of people!
You can follow my PYP list… some different people there…
I guess everyone has their own motivations for twitter. I tend to ignore the parts that irritate me.
I read what I like. I tweet what I like.
Stephen: Yeah! I get that irony…I think the edutweeps have reached a ceiling…meaning, I think we have reached a point where everyone is echoing, echoing each other instead of progressing past…plus, progress is not always addition…
Going to your PYP list now! Who, not just on your list, is really interesting/challenging you on twitter lately?
Edna: I disagree with your use of the word ‘we’!
@sherrattsam is an awesome educator
He really understands learning and he writes great stuff, even his class blog.
@librareanne is an excellent librarian who tweets great links
Stephen: I’m ok w/ disagreeing on ‘we’, probably should have used ‘many’ because, I agree, there are ‘many’ that are doing great things!
Edna: These PYP teachers often share great links
@ jessievaz12 and @surreallyno
It’s better not to be part of a ‘specific group’ I think, just open to learning from everyone
Am I being teacherish? 🙂
Stephen: You are a teacher! Teacherish is fine! Any non-education recs? Books…
Edna: I only do teacher people on twitter I think
Oh books, yes
I love the visible thinking stuff…
Have you read Ron Ritchhart’s Intellectual Character? and he has a new book out Making Thinking Visible.
Oh, non-education you said!! non-edu I read mainly fiction!
What kind of fiction do you like?
Stephen: Re: fiction – Robin Sloan is great… I try to read the books my 13 year old students are reading…I tend to read much, much more non-fiction than anything!
Edna: This is one of Sam Sherratt’s blogs http://artoflanguage.wordpress.com/ and this one http://timespacelearn.wordpress.com/
I just read Richard Zimler’s latest book
Stephen: http://longform.org  has curated many great articles from a variety of print sources that I read through my Instapaper account…
Edna: Have you read any of Zimler’s books?
I loved this one..
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Warsaw-Anagrams-Richard-Zimler/dp/1849013691
Stephen: Nope! But I just looked up the Art of Language on the Kindle shop! I love the thinking/mind maps project out of Harvard you turned me on to!
Btw, this is exactly what I envision my ‘interviews/conversations’ to be!
Edna: I know. I love one on one conversations about books and learning, but not so keen on interviews.
I don’t want to be a ‘celebrity.
Stephen: Well…being on my blog in an interview will not make you a celebrity! You have significantly more readers than I do! 🙂
Edna: I recall you were one of the first people to encourage me in early blogging days
Thank you.
Stephen: I also just put the two sites you rec into my RSS feed…
Edna: Is http://www.openculture.com/ in your reader? always interesting clips and things to make you think..
Stephen: I like  http://kottke.org/ (kind of tech focused, but other stuff, too…)
http://snarkmarket.com/ talks about culture, design, books, news, cities, movies, the future and the present…
Edna: Thanks!
Stephen: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/ A good friend’s site who does much curation and finds many wonderful nuggets! He teaches at an independent progressive school…
Edna: You can use the transcript of this conversation to write the interview, then I won’t have to do a video interview 🙂
Actually that was a joke but now has me thinking…
Stephen: I would love to use it…with your permission…of course!
Edna: It could be a series…
What do 2 educators, from different places, different backgrounds, different teaching areas, different ages… chat about online in their spare time?
Stephen: That would be awesome!

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6 thoughts on “A chat between two educators….

  1. I do hope you guys will turn this into a series of posts or perhaps a series of podcasts. I find the conversations much more helpful than interviews. I’m curious though about you issue with who people RT. I have never RT’d a post because of the author’s name, buy I do tend to mention & RT the folks whose blogs are in my RSS feeds. I think I’m just drawn to certain folks because of our interactions and the way they challenge me. I certainly want to be open to new connections also, but I know I’m going to gravitate toward certain folks. Does that make sense?

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    1. Yes, total sense. I can’t answer for Steve (you’ll have to put your comment on his blog too!). I wasn’t agreeing with him, just clarifying what he said. I RT what I find interesting and I think others might like, irrespective of who said it or where I got it from. I have found that following too many people makes it hard to keep up, so I don’t automatically follow back, but I usually follow anyone who talks to me and I have an interesting interaction with. I know what Steve means but I think everyone is entitled to do it their own way. He seemed ready for some new people from different backgrounds, so I shared some. The great thing about following international school teachers is that you already have a wide range of perspectives. I was at a conference the other day where one teacher said she chooses to only follow Australian educators. I thought that was a rather narrow view (although she is entitled to it!). What I love most about my Twitter learning is the interaction with all kinds of people from around the globe. Is there anyone in Africa who wants to talk to me?

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  2. May I second the call to make this a blogging interview series? I’d love to read about what educators “chat about in their spare time”, and perhaps participate at some stage.

    I can personally vouch for @whatedsaid’s ability for interesting conversations, as I have had the pleasure of getting to know via our online interactions.

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  3. I very much enjoyed your blog! As a soon to be teacher, I would love to hear how you think teacher’s could quit echoing each other and progress. At first I was thinking, step outside the box and show kids the many ways to learn through technology in the classroom. You can contact me at http://rigbyheatheredm310.blogspot.com , I can’t wait to hear back from you! – Heather Rigby

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    1. Hi Heather

      I think starting from technology is not the right place. The technology should enhance and support the learning, but you always need to think about the learning first. My tip would be to focus on learning (not on teaching). Read lots of blogs, articles and books about learning. When observing lessons, watch the children more than the teacher. Develop your beliefs about how learning takes place. You can read about my school’s learning principles here

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