Saturday, March 12, 2016

Why Do You Do It?

My head was spinning with all the new information. I was having a hard time remembering the different programs and/or applications that were just shown to me. To be honest, I could not have remembered half of it if you offered me a million dollars to try and list them. I do remember saying to myself, as our tech guy was quickly leaving my class before we both had to head out to lunch duty, "This could change the way I do things."

The last few years, I have found myself uttering this same phrase repeatedly. Saying it to myself as I attend an EdCamp, participate in a Twitter chat, share information with my colleagues, and participate professional development sessions. To be honest, I am constantly searching for new ways to do things in my classroom: new projects, apps, getting the kids to blog, and implementing essential questions more consistently are just a few things over the years.

I had a friend of mine, who is not a teacher, ask me the other day: "Why do you do it? You have 20 years in, you know your material, the kids generally like you, so why keep pushing yourself?" I honestly did not have a very lengthly response. It was not full of a lot of teacher jargon using the latest catch phrases to make me sound effective as a teacher. I had a great interview response I was prepared to give, but found myself saying this simple sentence: "Because it is what I ask my students to do."

I work hard to walk the talk in my classroom. I want my students to see me making mistakes, challenging myself to learn more, asking questions of myself and others. I want them to see that learning stuff is fun. That figuring out a problem that we did not previously know can make us smile from ear to ear. That hard work can lead us to where we want to go. Things may not be handed to us, but that does not mean we can not have it. We just need to work harder for it.

How does this all relate to me being part of the Compelled Tribe Blogging challenge? I guess I was looking for another way to challenge myself. I know the importance of blogging regularly, but unlike exercise, it is not something I have implemented regularly. I am hoping my participation in this monthly activity will encourage me to be consistent in my reflection. If you are looking for a great post on constantly looking to get better, see this post by Rich Czyz (@RACzyz on Twitter) Titled Plussing. I think his post does a better job explaining why I am joining this project better than I could.

Oh, and what were the things our school's tech guy was showing me? How about Symbaloo, Desmos, and the latest search/citing choices through Google. If you have not taken a look at these, you really should. But be forewarned, you will have a headache from all of the new information. But, if we are doing it push ourselves and our students, then it is a pain worth getting.


Allyson Apsey said...

Jim, I am so glad to decided to take the plunge and join the tribe...even if it will mean information overload at times. I am excited to learn with and from you!

Jim Cordery said...

Thank you, Allyson. Have a great week!!

Jonathon Wennstrom said...


Thanks branching out once again and joining the Compelled Tribe. Like you, I'm always looking for new things to try to become a better educator and this group will help push your ideas and expand your thinking. Welcome!


Jacie Maslyk said...


I find that great educators do just that-- push themselves to try new things and explore new challenges. Sometimes we put ourselves into information overload but only on our path to learning new and better ways to reach our kids! Glad to join this Tribe and looking forward to hearing more from you.


Debbie Campbell said...

I am so glad to be a part of your tribe and learn along with you. We are no doubt at a crossroads with information overload and I think through blogging and reflecting we can help each other discover a few insights that we have grasped that make us stronger as educators. Keep listening to your "tech guy" and trying out the new things he brings to you! (I am one of those tech people and love the teachers that embrace the ideas that are brought forward and give them a try!) #CompelledTribe


Angie Murphy said...

There is so much information and it definitely can be overwhelming. I've started filing interesting Tweets, websites, blogs, etc. electronically and constantly pull from these resources when needed. It is great that you embrace new things in your classroom but make sure to process and reflect. This is why I'm so excited to be a part of the Compelled Tribe!