On my way to work each morning, my phone’s various alerts signify that I have a mention on Twitter, a message on Voxer, a like on Facebook, a text, etc. The conversation loops in which I engage are constant and delightfully flowing. So are the funny pics, gifs, and sounds that are shared. The majority of these conversation flows are focused on enhancing my craft and my work as an educator. Within the digital walls of these chats, we continue to discuss grading practices, the problem of homework, reasons why principals should have their doors open to the hallway, mobile principal stations (how awesome is that idea from Dennis Schug), bottle flipping, the power of the mannequin challenge, and a recent tweet from Dennis Dill that really has me thinking. He tweeted, “If you’re a teacher and you won’t do 30 minutes of PD every night, why would you assign homework to your kids.” Hmm. Wow. His analysis of PD and homework is very interesting. If we see homework as a way in which students can enhance their skills so they can better perform in class, shouldn’t we as educators do the same? If we see homework as a way in which we can flip instruction so instructional time is maximized, shouldn’t we collaborate with others at home to maximize our workflow? If we see homework as a way to add a grade to the gradebook, shouldn’t we…shouldn’t we…shouldn’t we…shouldn’t we. And it is through this comparison where we see why graded homework is flawed. We don’t learn on our own for a grade. We don’t practice our skills on our own time for a grade.
Life is busy. It sure is. In fact, my nights are saturated with so many tasks that usually surround having two children under the age of four. I always aim to join a Twitter chat at night, especially #nyedchat and #hacklearning, but recently with the busy holiday season, I haven’t logged on. But, I still graze. By grazing the chats when I have time, listening to the Voxer messages while on the go, clicking the Twitter notification as I walk, I am able to stay connected and remain committed to growing because I know this commitment will eventually make its way to our students. I know we all have time to graze.
As educators make their New Year’s resolutions a week from tomorrow, I hope they add connectedness to that long list of things they know they should do. Unlike the gym (I plan on joining the tenth gym of my life this coming week with probably fewer than 100 visits), this resolution is realistic and one that we all can and should sustain. #KidsDeserveIt.