Friday, November 28, 2014

I'm done!!!

I've been holding off on this post for almost a week because... well, because I don't actually want to be done.  I don't want our journey to be over and I don't want to be done with the shelves.  But I wanted to hang the shelves, and since this class has now extended from 6 weeks to 10 weeks (with continuous weeks coming up), I guess it was time to pull the plug on the fireplace shelves.

Here are some photos, in all their glory, followed by just a few of the things I've learned... 

I'm sure I'll add more posts reveling in the things I've learned and reflecting on the time I've had in this "class" or "cohort" at the Soulcraft Woodshop....but...

First, I've made some great friends.  I hope their friendships will extend longer than just through this experience.  If they don't, I have learned a great deal from each of these people and I will FOREVER be grateful for a group of people that came into my life at a time when I really needed to learn and grow, but also be true to myself.

Second, communication is awesome.  Some of our best (or my favorite) conversations came after the "class" while exploring truths and beliefs.

Next, I was reinforced in my belief in being genuine. And I appreciate the people in this experience because each of them is genuine. Genuine people 24/7. How often do you find an entire group of people like this?

I've also been reminded of the need to learn something new and be open enough to make mistakes.  I love that I can use this lesson to help students.  "Oh. My student is looking at me like I am speaking a different language."  "Oh yeah, that was how I felt on the second day when Peter told us about all the "machines" in the shop."

Reflection is necessary.  For me, I need to constantly be reflecting.  How did this experience go? What did I learn? What would I do differently? What can I do next time?  And writing these thoughts down helps me to reflect. Good reminder.

Next, learning styles vary.  It has never been more clear to me than through this experience.  The experts can help the beginners and those who have experience can provide insight along the way.  Some people could help with the math while the others look at the aesthetics. Every single one of us had a different strength.

"Create more than you consume."  I first heard this from Sean and have thought of this every week. The need to create is real. 

I believe I could go on and on AND ON about the many skills and lessons I've learned along this journey...

I plan to keep writing about them as we all continue to go to the shop... even though our class is over.

See you Saturday, my friends, at the #soulco.

Coming soon: videos of the experience.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Uneven Playing Field

This topic comes up in my life regularly. This topic is discussed at least weekly in our Soulcraft Cohort, as well as at school, and on twitter. And as I continue to grow older, I see it more and more.

Our culture simply does not "allow" women to hold the same stature or status as men. 

I'm not talking about the paycheck. We all know that women make less than men for the same jobs, right? I see the headlines and I shake my head. "Not in my world," I usually mumble to myself. I would never put up with that.

But isn't that exactly what we put up with?

You speak up too much as a woman and you're labeled. Bossy. Pushy. Not flexible enough. Can't work with others. Bitch.

So, because I advocate for what I believe is right, I suddenly don't play well with others? I know a few people who would disagree. 

Because I advocate and get what my students need, I'm pushy. I'm bossy. I've overstepped. I know a few parents of kids with special needs who would disagree.

But, the boys can fix the computers. The men can do the tech job. The new man in the corner office who has never even been to my school can now block my access to the iTunes Store even though I will use my own money on my own account. 

A #soulco friend told me that she was approached by a male colleague after speaking up at a staff meeting. Isn't she worried how she'll be viewed in the district? Isn't she concerned about her reputation? What about her credibility? he implied through his callous comments. 

This past week, there was a technology conference run through WVIZ. I looked through the pictures because some of my friends and members of my PLN would be there. Sean, our soulco co-founder did the keynote and I heard he killed it. Check him out at @mrwheeler and @teachinghumans. Did he deserve to be the keynote speaker? Hell yes. 

Could his wife and her co-teacher also have rocked as presenters? Yep.

I noticed some of my other colleagues then, both as presenters and as attendees. All men. Did they deserve to be there? Are they hard working and ambitious? Hell yes.

But aren't there also some hard working and ambitious females in the field of ed tech, progressive learning and teaching, in education?!?!

The truth is, there are. But some have been silenced. Some have to jump through too many hoops. Some are so concerned about making sure that that kid in their class gets to eat breakfast when he gets there that they don't have the time or energy to be a leader in the field. Some are focused on school, work, AND their own kids. Some simply don't want to...

But shouldn't we at least have an equal opportunity? 

My work at Soulcraft these past 10 weeks has been consistently eye opening. I'm learning about myself, my perceptions, my learning style, and the Maker movement while applying all of it to what I can do better for kids.

Why is that marginalized?

Why is it not enough?

Since when is it wrong to do what's right and speak up? 

In my world, it's not.

"You appear to be more of an advocate for the parents than for the district," I heard loudly last school year. "No," I thought, "I'm an advocate for kids."

I'm not bossy. Or pushy. Or loud mouthed. Or difficult. Or a bitch.

Because if a man did the same things, he be lauded and applauded. 

In fact, he is. Daily. 

While I continue to search for those like me... 

At places like Soulcraft... 

Where it's okay to be a woman in a "traditionally male" universe.

Did you hear that Barbie can't even restart her own computer now? 

As my friend @stacyhaw said "Women aren't big in the education field... Oh wait."

Who can you name that could become a teacher leader or education leader? Go.

Here's the start of my list:
Cathy Roderick
Caryn Cody
Karen Wheeler
Julie Rhea
Stacy Hawthorne
Christy Neider
Vicki Turner
Lee McClain
Melanie Broxterman
Kim Taylor
Jacqui Berchtold