Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The World is Flat - Reading Insights and Mind Rants!

Being back in school and having my mind begin to go crazy with a 1000 thoughts and ideas I need to take time to put my thoughts and ideas into words.

I started to read The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman. I began reading this book when I started taking the Flat Classroom Teacher Certified class at the end of last year. Due to the end of a school year, reading for the class, and creating new projects and content this book fell far down on the To Do List and I never finished.

I started reading it where I left off this week and find myself obsessed with the ideas presented in the book. I cannot get them out of my head and need someone(s) to discuss them with.

You can see from the picture I have marked several passages in the 30 pages I have read lately.

For this post I want to start with a passage from the chapter labeled "The Untouchables".

The chapter tells the story of a concession man at the Baltimore Orioles stadium that has created a little song and dance as he shakes up the lemonade for the customers. Due to his personal touch he makes more tips than the rest. The part that really struck me was the following "by adding a personal, intangible dimension to his vanilla work." he was able to raise himself above the others. Later a page later the following was stated:

Anyone who can take an old middle service job.......and give it something personal, something special, some real passion, will have a good chance of turning it into a new middle job that cannot be outsourced, automated, or digitized.

This immediately struck a chord with me as an educator. I started to think about myself and asking the question, "What am I doing that is allowing me to not be outsourced, automated, or digitized?" What is happening in my classroom that students feel the urgency to make it to my class because they feel that they cannot find what I offer anywhere else? What am I doing to make my teaching methods rise above the rest? Am I actually doing anything to allow myself to provide adequate answers to these questions? The answer lies in my crowd - the kids. It is too early in the year to find answers, but is something that I will dig deep to find. I think these are all questions that we need to ask ourselves at the beginning of the school year to make sure we are ready to do our job.

As educators we have an obligation to be cutting edge. We have an obligation to not get stuck in our ways, but to adapt and change in the same ways we ask our students to adapt to our teaching methods and expectations. We have an obligation to make sure that our classroom is something that cannot be outsourced to an online classroom or course.

What are you doing to make kids want to come to your class? I would love to hear your strategies and ideas.
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