Of Aqua Net and Apologies…. {Slice of Life}

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Source: http://bit.ly/1FcxMni

Recently, while hurrying through our teacher workroom before sunrise, a fellow teacher stopped me.

We worked together in Career & Technical Education a few years ago. She was a tech center instructor, while I served as an instructional coach, bringing pedagogy to CTE instructors.

Now, we both teach at the local high school.

“I owe you an apology,” she declared.

I quickly sifted through my not-yet-awake brain, but couldn’t think of a single reason. “No, I can’t imagine you do,” I answered.

“Oh, but I do,” she insisted.

Now she had my attention.

“Remember when you came out to XYZ  Tech (protecting the innocent) …  and tried to do training?”

I smiled, remembering in clear detail, the training sessions at her tech center. I listened. And kept smiling.

“Well….” she went on, apologetically, “…. we weren’t very nice to you.”

I was stunned.

Like angry waters pushing through a yielding floodgate, her words rushed through my head. “We were rude to you. We acted like snobs. We didn’t see how what you were teaching us had anything to do with us and our adult students at a tech center. We thought what you shared was for K-12 teachers, so we ignored you.”

Me {thinking}:   Never mind the tech center campus provides classes for adult and high school students, and effective learning strategies are effective learning strategies. Period.

I kept smiling, insisting that no, they weren’t rude.

Finally! I had answers to questions that bugged me back then (about four years ago)… Why did some of the participants write snarky, personal comments in their feedback?  Why was the mood so hostile?

I had never experienced such an uncomfortable training environment, one that required three training sessions over a few months and one that was in stark contrast to similar sessions happening at a fellow tech center campus, in which participants were collaborating on ways to build newly-learned strategies into their instruction, sharing how they’d tried strategies with their high school and adult students, and inviting me to visit their classes and see them in action. *Westside Tech, you were The Best to work with!! Thank you for your enthusiasm.  🙂

She pressed on….

“I had no idea what was in store for me ….. that a year later, I’d be here, teaching high school kids.  I struggle every day.”

After offering my colleague support in her current teaching assignment, we hugged as I shared, “Thank you. You helped me understand some things I wondered about for a while.”

As the first bell rang, teenagers pushed past us. We were caught up in the flood of feet heading to first period.

Aqua Net lingered on my clothing the rest of the day, reminding me that sometimes, an unexpected apology can put things in perspective….

I'm Sorry Sticky Note

Classroom 411: An Interactive Training Session Leads to New Ideas

Recently, a dedicated group of twenty educators and industry experts from Valencia Community College, Orange County Public Schools (Career and Technical Education), and Osceola County Public Schools (Career & Technical Education) met on a Saturday to participate in a lively staff development training session that explored ways to build “classroom community” regardless of the environment: live, online, or hybrid, and more importantly, why to do so.

With coffee in hand and preworkshop self-assessments completed, participants arrived for the four-hour session that promised discussion, interaction, and exploring ways to learn about themselves and their students ~ all in an effort to build nurturing, successful, effective learning experiences.

 

Though seasoned in their industry experience, and for most, in their scholarly experience as well, we all agreed that the demographics of our classrooms, whether in person or online, are changing rapidly, and in order to accommodate those changes, we need to better understand who our students are as learners as well as who we are as instructors (and learners) ~ how core personality characteristics, preferred learning styles, and cultural/generational elements affect learning (and teaching).

Through the True Colors and Generational Profiles models, we also discussed how these characteristics affect our relationships with family, friends, and coworkers.  Awareness and understanding of the influences lead to more effective communication at home and in our offices and schools.

Purposeful  thinking and engaged discussion  assisted  participants  in developing  a clearer understanding of  how  innate personality traits, brain-based  learning styles, and generational influences affect the learning environment, which led to  action plans that included tools for getting to know our students better, supporting them in getting to know themselves and each other better, and ways to tweak the learning experience to increase student (and instructor) success.

 A big “thanks” to everyone for their active and enthusiastic participation!  I enjoyed your insight, creativity, and professional dedication on an early Saturday morning.

THINK.  DISCUSS.  ACT.