Wednesday, March 30, 2011

C4T#3 Post Summary

A GeekyMomma's Blog

The teacher that I had the privilege of commenting on for this round of C4Ts was Lee Kolbert. Lee Kolbert is a teacher in Boca Raton, Florida. She is a very interesting woman and I loved reading her blog. Her interests (according to her blog) include helping educators learn and learning from others. I think this is something we should all take notes on.

Here is what Lee talked about in her first blog: Meetings: Who Owns the Problem?

This blog discussed the issue of meetings in the workplace. Lee started her blog out with a question: "Meeting's make me__________." Here are your choices: a. want to call in sick on meeting days, b. want to stick toothpicks in my eyes, c. understand how people can "go postal", d. feel inspired to work hard towards our common goals and mission. If you pick option d., you truly have something to teach everyone else! Lee then goes on to talk about her struggles with meetings.

Lee says that through her career she has sat in on many meetings and even had to lead several meetings. It is through this that she has formed her opinions on how meetings work (or don't work). Lee believes that basically everyone has the same goals with regards to their school or organization. Everyone wants common goals and a mission, to be understood, to be trusted, and to be treated fairly just to name a few. She then goes on to say that many of the behaviors employees take part in, especially during meetings, tends to take away from achieving these goals. Such behaviors as texting, emailing, whispering, and bad body language take away any benefit from the meetings by distracting the person giving the meeting.

Lee says that since becoming manager her perspective about meetings has definitely changed. She goes on to say that she used to be guilty of some of the very same behaviors listed above, and now she wishes someone would have told her how distracting they can be in a meeting. Lee compares meeting with teachers trying to teach their students. It is very difficult to teach a room full of students when you have any distractions. You can lose your train of thought and not be able to focus on the lesson at hand. This leads Lee to wonder if the people in the meetings or classrooms even care that they are distracting others who want to pay attention? Also, is it the teacher or meeting leader's fault that the presentation was not interesting enough to keep everyone's attention?

Lee ends her blog post by talking about another blog written by Chris Brogan. In his post, Brogan talks about meetings and here are a few of the things that caught Lee's eye. Schedule for brevity- keep your meetings short and only discuss decisions that need to be made. Keep agendas taut- don't try to rush through your last few items because time is short. Table anything that does not fit the format- if it is not on your agenda try to put it off until the next meeting. The last thing Lee says is "I do believe these ideas from Chris would help make meetings more efficient. But, would more efficient meetings really correct the issues with adults behaving poorly?" This is the key point to her whole blog.

Here is what I had to say in response:

Hey my name is Jenna Baxter and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am taking Dr. Strange's class EDM310, and am commenting on your blog as part of an assignment. You can find a summary of your blog with my comments here by April 3. You can also follow me on Twitter @jennabaxter1988. First of all, let me say thank you for allowing me to view and comment on your blog. It really shows how interested you are in advancing the education of others.

I thought your blog post was quite interesting. While I have not been in very many meetings, I can definitely see your point. It is very hard to concentrate on what you are trying to say, especially when no one seems to be paying any attention. You then start to wonder if it is your fault because your presentation was not interesting enough. I don't really think it is the content of the meetings that makes everyone start "multitasking." I think it is the notion of the meeting itself. I know when I hear we are having a meeting at work I instantly dread it, before even finding out what it is about. I believe the word "meeting" has so much stigma attached to it that people often assume they will be boring and want to do something more interesting than paying attention. Good luck in your future meetings and thanks again for allowing me to read your blog!

cat resting his head on a table

The next blog that I commented on in Lee Kolbert's blog was titled "Are You a Good Teacher?". In this blog Lee shows a picture of the Palm Beach County Teacher of the Year Award winner, Kristen Rulison. In the back ground of the picture you see a bulletin board that lists the FCAT skills. This leads Lee to two questions: What does this say about the things our district is forcing our "good" teachers to teach? and at what/whose expense? and What is our district's criteria for "good" teaching? Finally Lee asks, "Are you a good teacher?"

Here is what I had to say in response to Lee's blog:

This is Jenna again from EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. This is the second blog that I will comment on for my assignment. My summary will be posted by April 3 on my blog. Once again, thanks for letting me follow your blog.

This blog post brings up an excellent question: What is a good teacher? While I may not be a teacher yet, I do have my opinions. I believe a good teacher stands up for her students and tries to always put their needs first. Good teachers are willing to put in the extra hours necessary to make sure their students succeed. Also, good teachers think of their students as individuals and not just a name on paper (or computer). We must always remember why we wanted to become teachers: to help children have a better chance at life by giving them the best education possible. I hope to be able to instill these beliefs in my teaching and be the best teacher I can be. Thanks for making me think about what makes a good teacher!

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