Random Thoughts

Just doing my job

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One aspect of my job that I enjoy very much is that most people do not have a clear idea of just what I do. Which is both good and bad I suppose. But today was one of those days that when people say “Thank you” I respond, “Just doing my job.”

I started the day having three hours with the middle school PE department helping them to set up their blog. Two of the PE teachers came to a PD session I did on blogging. They then went to their administration and asked for a half day release to sit with me and put their plan into action (It’s great when we get time to really do this type of learning).

So for three hours I sat with 5 middle school PE teachers today. We started by talking about the layout, the difference between pages and posts and what information they wanted where and how/who they wanted to access it.

It’s a group blog so all of the PE teachers can post about their classes or information about activities. We brainstormed and created categories to help them organize their thoughts. The theme they picked isn’t showing the categories in hierarchy form like they are suppose to (if anyone knows how to code this in I’d appreciate it!) but we’re working on that.

We then set to work to start creating the site. It worked really well and in three hours everyone learned the basics and I helped different people learn specific skills. Taught one how to resize pictures, taught another how to add/edit a table and yet another how to run the sidebar widgets. They then showed each other how to do their new special skill. A great day of learning and the start of a great PE blog.

At one o’clock I then transitioned into a presentation for 8th graders around their global issues presentations. Basically the 8th grade ran their own conference all day. Listening to each other and then inviting some teachers who were passionate about change to come and present as well. After today the 8th grade teachers will choose four presentation that they feel were particularly well done and nominate them for the Global Issues Network Conference sponsored by EARCOS this spring in Beijing. The top two groups will then fly to Beijing to present their Global Issue to other students from around the region. I’ve been helping EARCOS to set up a ning site for the conference as Apple has donated a laptop for each participant while they are at the conference. The hope is to have students from around the region connect on different global issues and create opportunities for really world change.

 EARCOS Global Issues Network

My presentation talked about the digital divide and education focusing on the work being down by the One Laptop Per Child organization. I also asked the students to pay close attention to the presentation style and used the opportunity to demonstrate a good presentation and good use of PowerPoint.

  • Less is more
  • Tell your story
  • Know your content
  • Allow pictures to speak for you
  • Be passionate

We had a good debrief about the presentation, the XO laptop, and how the little green machine works. The kids were fascinated by the computer and that this computer was made for education, to educate some of the poorest kids in the world and give them the opportunity to connect with others and with knowledge. International students, I think, get this more then most. They travel to places were poverty is present…I mean real poverty, and I think it excites them when they are given the opportunity to create ideas on how to solve some of the problems facing our world today.

That’s what we’re here to do, create opportunities for learning and reflection. That is our job!


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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. You know what? Please don’t say that. “Just doing my job,” that is. I used to say it, too, until one of my learners pulled me up on it.

    It’s a bit like when you tell your wife she looks nice and she says “But you’ve seen in me in this loads of times.” I’m sure if/when she answer does that, you feel like saying, “So what? You still look nice.”

    It doesn’t matter that it’s your job – they’re still grateful to you. The thing is, though, when you say that, it makes them feel as if it was a duty rather than a pleasure to you, and may cause them to feel as if they’ve been a burden.

    So just tell them it’s your pleasure. If you want to make the point for future reference that it’s part of your role, then add something like “…and it’s what I’m here for.”

    Just my 2p worth.

  2. Thank you so much for doing this sort of thing. Considering that I was one of your students last year and I see you around a lot, I can really appreciated when you do things like this. I think it’s great you do this kind of thing for us here at SAS.

    While it may be your job, you clearly enjoy it and you seem to have fun with it. Your upbeat attitude really gets us in a similar if not identical attitude.

    Although it is your job, you don’t make it seem like that. It’s like hanging out with one of your friends-you can just be yourself and say almost anything. Almost. I say almost because, after all, you are still a teacher and so it would hardly be appropriate to say “Oh, yeah, I bet this teacher is gay.”

    But, to summarize this rant: thank you for everything.

  3. Hey Jeff…

    I’m sitting here completely jealous of the 8th Grade Global Issues stuff that your school is doing. Talk about an amazing opportunity for your kids to become aware of their place in the world.

    I just finished a book called High Noon: 20 Global Problems and 20 Years to Solve Them. The thinking behind it is if we focus on the issues that cross borders: Poverty, lack of water etc…..that we can affect meaningful and long lasting change.

    My personal goal has been to use the book—and some of the ideas in it—as a framework to hang a middle school course off of. Or as a conversation point for a global partnership with a sister school in another country (We’re working with one in Denmark and possibly Kuwait).

    The wild part is you’re already doing it! Here I was thinking that I was on to something.

    I did track down a collection of resources that the National Association of Independent Schools is using to work on a similar project. Thought the link might help you guys out somehow:


    Rock on,
    Bill Ferriter

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