The Thoughtful Teacher


I’m not just talking about me…I’m talking about you, too.

Let me know if the blog name change is too much, or whether it’s more in line with what I hope to achieve, which is exploring education topics that defy universal agreement, but demonstrate a commitment to caring and professionalism.

Why didn’t I call it The Reflective Teacher? I’m thinking that the word  “reflective” is overused jargon, don’t you? The ideal reading level for understanding and being understood is around eighth grade. That’s what newspapers shoot for, and I’m thinking they have a good idea.

Taking My Medicine

I recant my intention to move lock, stock, and barrel over to Straight Talk. I was one of those ideas that seemed okay on the surface, but it didn’t survive four days of attempted implementation.

Frankly, the focus of Straight Talk is too narrow. The local folks who have it on RSS would tune out if I had too many discussions that were not directly relevant to what’s happening in Hillsboro, and other readers would tire of the local stuff. Tom Brandt was right. Two blogs it is.

My apologies for the false alarm. It’s embarrassing to have growing pains at my age! But I am significantly closer to being less bit-challenged. 😀

Big However: I did replace the stuffy links on Straight Talk with my home team. Some of those links will perk up the locals, eh? And I did unsubscribe to all “permission” Outlook emails (except the local weather) over these last four days!

I haven’t even visited my fly fishing forum recently, and I don’t feel like I’m missing much. My email’s in my profile, so I’m not unreachable to the fishing folks I know there.

So much for the personal drivel. I’m ready to take my medicine.

Stepping Back to Assess

What’s wrong with this picture?

Well, yeah, the dragon’s in a cage, but the dragon’s still breathing fire. Good for the dragon. I think I need to follow the dragon’s example.

Since I went live with my real identity, I feel like I’ve been caged and my fire has most certainly been reduced.

A number of bloggers I’ve read recently have talked about struggling with going “live” or remaining covert. Tough decision. I’ve seen how it affects my writing and I’m not real happy.

Anonymity is not a free pass to be rude or sloppy with the facts. But being out there as yourself can inhibit expression.

Lately I’ve been reviewing the internet literature on standard-based grading and marvelling about my loss of literary passion. I’ve never stooped to ad hominem attacks on adversaries, but I’ve never backed off from calling plays as I see them.

Lately, I’ve been somewhat mute. I’m not afraid of lawsuits, but don’t want to embarrass folks I associate with and care about. The fact is, though, if they’re worth caring about, they won’t be embarrassed by me. That goes for my fellow board members and my excellent superintendent.

So the first thing I’m going to tackle is the irresponsibility of print and internet publications that wear the mantle of “official and valid teacher information.” The Teacher Magazine blog board is one of those gratuitous fonts of drivel and cool stuff that enjoys the halo effect of education establishment legitimation. See if you can find some problems I have with this particular edition…

PS: Tomorrow I’m gonna wish myself Happy Independence Day for a number of different reasons. 😉

Oh Yes, I Have Been Working!

I have a favor to ask of my gentle readers…

I’ve been distracted from my usual free-roaming education discourse here on RepairKit because we have a lot going locally, in Hillsboro School District 1J.

So, as some of you may have noticed, I began a local community blog that I hope will become a nexus of school patron communication. Already one elementary school parent blogger has linked up with me, and I hope for many more.

I also hope that the blog can refer district patrons and others interested in public education to sources where they can soak up some information about the inner workings of our school district, including administration, board work, and curriculum and instruction.

My links on Straight Talk are to blogs and web sites that address national education issues, so don’t be offended if you don’t see your blog linked there. (RepairKit’s not there either.)

Back to the favor…I’d appreciate comments here on how to improve this effort as well as indications that I’m heading in the right direction.

Straight Talk from a Hillsboro School District 1J Board Member

Thanks very much!

Photo: Century High School, Hillsboro, Oregon (3rd of four high schools, opened 1999)

Technorati Recency Widget Useless

Preface: Blogger is having some problems. I just published the first iteration of this post and it went into the ether — gone. The photo uploader isn’t working at all.

Photo Uploading Unavailable

Blogger photo uploading is currently down. Our engineers are working on the situation.

I have to wonder if I’m being punished for 86ing the Technorati widget that supposedly keeps track of the “freshness” of your favorite blogs. It doesn’t work. At this moment, at least three blogs I read regularly are listed as “stale.” Or not fresh. Whatever. Those three blogs have posted in the last 24 hours and therefore the widget is useless. I’ll leave is on board until tomorrow so you can see what I’m talking about. (Scroll way down.)

In fact, keeping Technorati “fresh” is a bother too. If you’re currently on my blogroll, consider yourself a “favorite,” please. I’m no longer bothering with Technorati, unless I encounter a plea to “Fave This Blog” when I visit (then I’ll punch that button for good luck). When technology demands more time than it saves or returns in benefits, I say, “adios!”

PS: I think photo uploader just got back. I’ll post a pic.

"Can We Keep ‘er Dad?"

I began this blog as an experiment, knowing nothing of the edusphere or the amazing opportunities for collaboration that can occur on your own time. Although I used a pseudonym, a local person who knows a little about me could have (an some apparently did) follow the bread crumbs to my secret identity.

Why secret? Well, if I somehow managed to create a mess, I thought I could just vanish the blog and forget about it. But of course, the internet never forgets. So I kept it simple, sane, suitable for general audiences, and responsibly critical.

Since I’m retired (and elected), nobody can fire me, and I don’t have to put up with any bozos who might try to restrict my first amendment rights. So I asked myself, shall we keep the blog? The answer is yes. The connections, collaborations, and insights shared have been great, so Repairman becomes yours truly, Hugh O’Donnell.

For those of your with Blogger platforms, my “comments” nom de plume will automatically change. For you WordPress folks, I’ll sign in all over again.

Funny, I do feel the freedom!