WHAT DID I LEARN WHILE MOVING BACK TO WORDPRESS.COM

THIS IS REPOSTED FROM (haroldshawjr.com)

Since I decided to move back to WordPress last week, I have learned a lot about changing a blog over to a different blog host.

In the process of this transfer, I ran into several questions about the physical setup and how they would relate to my goals for Resource Room 220.  I found that I needed to answer them with brutal honesty, not  just give them a cursory review and just move on.  This blog is and will be a reflection of who I really am, my professional or personal views on a variety of subjects and I want to portray this to those of you who are kind enough to read it.

So who am I?

First and foremost – in my professional life I am a teacher, but just because I am a teacher that does not mean it is who I am.  I have a life that I enjoy immensely beyond education, school or my classroom. My “other” life often takes a back seat to my educational activities – both online and as a result of the classroom, just as it does for many other teachers whether they are active online or not.


Therefore, every so often some of my personal life and things I do to decompress from the stresses of teaching will find their way into this blog.  I enjoy reading about what others do in their “downtime” and hope that others might enjoy reading once in a while what I do in my “downtime”.

I am a Special Education Teacher who hopefully teaches my students “differently” than they have probably been in the past. I strongly believe that this is the right thing to do, but at the same time I do feel constrained by the current definitions of rigorous, scientifically based and data driven instruction methods which seem to over-ride all other types or styles of teaching by many in leadership positions today.

These approaches may have a place in my classroom, but I question their need to be the over-riding instructional strategy for my classes.  I know by current law or regulation they have a greater impact on how I teach, than I believe they should.

So this blog will discuss those questions and pedagogy as it pertains to my how I attempt to teach and the changes that I have made and will make, to allow my students to learn and yes “test” better.  That is the hand we have been dealt and until our efforts to change these current laws and regulations are successful, whether I agree totally with it or not, it is the one that I have to play.  I will do what I am expected to do within the policies and rules that the school that employs me has in place.

I also want to write more in-depth about Special Education and how it relates, involves, is looked at by, and pertains to Regular Education and the teachers or administrators who are not Special Educators.  There is a lot of good “stuff” that happens, but sometimes there is less favorable stuff that I have seen, heard or been a part of that needs to be discussed also.

Then there is the Special Education paperwork, which I to be honest, I have come to dislike immensely, it tedious, time-consuming and endless.  At the same time the reality is that paperwork is a part of what I do, I am pretty good at it and I will continue to complete it to the best of my ability. However, I will write about State and Federally mandated forms and what I see as strengths, weaknesses or uselessness in them.

I have learned that I love learning and communicating with other teachers who have ideas, strategies or views on education that make me think about my own biases and ideas about the direction that we should be heading in education and in our classrooms.  Do I always agree with what I am hearing or reading here in the Blogosphere or Twitterverse – of course not, but blogs, articles, comments and tweets that I read, do cause me to dig deeper and research the issues.   Whereas before I often didn’t know there was another side to many of the issues that we discuss – so thank you Web2.0 & Social Media for that increase in my ability to learn and also to look for both sides of issues, not just one.

In Resource Room 220 I will attempt to sort out – at least from my perspective some of the current questions going in education – from the level of someone in the classroom, who came to teaching from an alternative route and may have a different perspective than other classically trained teachers or other teachers involved in Web2.0.  Do I claim to be an expert – nope, do I expect everyone to line-up and agree with me – nope, but I do expect that those that do or do not agree with my positions or ideas, do so respectfully, just as I would on their blog or website.  Flamers – I don’t have patience or time for that nonsense and I will delete those comments or not approve them. No apologies – my blog, my rules here.

Finally, I am a geek.  Nothing more, nothing less I love technology and I love to integrate it into the classroom.  Please notice that I say integrate, not use. Technology to me is not something that is simply added on because it is neat or nice to have or supposed to in a lesson plan.  I do it because without the knowledge of how to use technology and adapt what the students or teachers have learned to new technologies that we may not have even heard of yet, is a necessary skill in all of our futures.  Otherwise their and our futures will be much more difficult and we run into being left even further behind technologically and educationally.

I believe that we have to experiment with tech, to see what tools work for the student or you and I.  If it works great, reflect on why it worked or when it doesn’t work or if you “break” it,  fix what you have broken or look at something else instead (much like I have this past week setting up this blog – which I actually loved doing).

I do have some limitations, I am in a probationary status where, for 2 more years. Which means I will stay on the positive side of anything at the local level, using a (hopefully) great deal of common sense before making any posts. That is just the way it is and should be…going out and flaming others (except for “occasional” Federal or State policies that I vehemently disagree with) isn’t appropriate.

Unless there is a specific reason or purpose for what I am knowingly writing up front, I will go with the old mantra of – be positive or say/write nothing at all.

How does this relate to Special Education?  This is a question that I will ask of every post I write here and most of the time I should have an answer.  If a post does not answer that question there is a good chance it won’t be published unless there is a specific purpose for it being posted in this blog.

This is what I have learned about myself during my move to WordPress.com and about the direction I plan to take Resource Room 220 in the future:  Focus on Teaching, Special Education, discuss educational policy/regulations, my geekiness and once in a while giving glimpses into who I am beyond school (thanks Clay B.).

I hope that you will enjoy the direction and the changes  that I made to this blog and continue subscribe and read what I write.