A Blessing in Disguise

Once again, I’ve had the pleasure of exchanging barbs with Dan Meyers over at Doug Belshaw’s blog, I ran into Dan spreading joy and love again on the subject of the Edublog Awards. [My thoughts will follow in a future post]

Dan commented that

Kelly wishes his blog had a larger readership but doesn’t want to deal with Miguel’s criticism that his posts (which comprise long typo-ridden paragraphs) are difficult to read so he says, aw, screw blogs, blogs are out, Ning’s the place to be.

You wouldn’t mind an award for your efforts but won’t admit that your lousy ‘netiquette the last few weeks makes any nomination a tough sell so you say, aw, screw awards, awards are for celebrity cultists. [Note – I have no idea what he’s talking about except the exchange that took place regarding tv which was months ago!]

I get too much of this from my students to invite it into my feedreader.

Now the entry that Dan refers to is one I did during the summer after having taken some time off from blogging and other web2.0 projects. I usually stick to discussing how technology affects my teaching and administrating in this blog but, just to clear things up a bit and maybe put some perspective on things, I’ll do some elaboration of my comments from this earlier blog.

You see, besides being the principal at the school, I do a vast number of other things. It was from this perspective that I commented

Of course, I wanted to be one of those who was at the forefront but, somewhere along the line, it didn’t happen. I didn’t become one of those “name droppers” that were mentioned and joined. In hindsight, that’s probably good.

Now, Dan must of missed the rest or didn’t read carefully. So, ….

This summer I was helping the local lumberyard owner begin his Ready to Move housing business. Now, I’m a journeyman painter so although I helped with building, my role in recent months has changed as I begin to paint the houses that are going to be moved. There are approximately 15 houses will need to be done so I’ll be busy at various times during the winter. I am also a referee for football, volleyball and basketball which means that I am busy many times during the week. I’m not sure how many games I did this year but it sure seemed like a lot. I also coach and have my  level 1 & 2 coaches in volleyball and basketball. I will be working on getting more training in different track and field sports in the upcoming year. This year I am coaching our Sr. Boys v’ball team and will be coaching the Sr. Boys b’ball team when it begins in the next few weeks. Now volleyball isn’t as intense as basketball. During the b’ball season I can expect to be away 5 to 8 weekends plus games during the week. I also do my own workout 6 days a week although I don’t do as much cardio during the basketball season.

My own educational pursuits have continued since my Master’s degree a few years back. I am a certified online coach for Harvard Education and continue to take classes. I also read as much as possible – some of you will remember my attempt at starting an online book club:( I edit several wikis – one for administrators and 3 that are school/class related and one that is used by the staff to organize various events for the school.) I continue to explore a variety of different web tools to see what might be useful for my teaching/administrating.

Professionally I am involved in different committees at the school, division and provincial level. This past year I served on three of our divisions reading initiative committees. I am also an administrator rep for the division technology committee. Up until a few months ago, I was vice-president of the Teacher’s Association but had to resign because of a change in my wife’s work – she obtained a job at the Regional College and has to drive 35 minutes a few days a week which means that I needto be home more in the evening. I administer a Ning group for the 40 odd administrators in the division plus belong to several other groups to which I occasionally add comments and discussions. I also write a monthly blog article for Leadertalk –  dedicated to educational administrators. My association with Scott McLeod has given me the opportunity to work with individuals from around the world and, on November 17, I will be part of a panel discussion organized by Scott.  I am the AP coordinator for our school and sit on the division committee that reviews AP courses for schools and I have had the pleasure of being an adviser to the Horizon Project.

As an administrator, I also have the responsibility of working with 200 odd students plus the 24 staff at our school. To this end, we have been consistently reviewing our vision, mission and goals and refining what we do as a school. This past year, our school division went through a massive restructuring where 6 small divisions were amalgamated into 1. One of the major changes was a restructuring of our local school board into a School Community Council. These SCCs have required some learning on everyone’s part and one of my roles was to help facilitate this change. During this transition we have put in $20,000 worth of playground equipment and playground upgrades to become completely wheelchair accessible. The SCC is also worked on various other projects that will aide students at the school. One program the group is exploring is a morning snack program for all students. As a K – 12 school, we have noticed that our high school students are hungry at about 10:00 and we are working at devising a program to fill this need. The group has also been working to reseed and upgrade our football field. I have been working with several different individuals through this process and, as of this weekend, we have had the field seeded and harrowed. All that remains is the installation of watering stations and then watering. Finally, over the past summer, we had many upgrades done to our school facility. Part of my responsibilities has been to make sure that various things are finished and completed as specified in the work orders.

The staff at the school is also being asked to implement new programs, especially focused at reading. With this focus, teachers are being asked to develop Professional Learning Teams which will address needs they identify. This has meant a great deal of study on my part. I also  help teachers meet in their PLT’s, usually by covering a number of classes at the same time. (Definitely has tested my teaching !) With the introduction of PLT’s at the school level, the administrative group has also been working with them to focus administrator growth. The PLT which I was part of last year was focused on teacher supervision and growth. One of the main tools we, as administrators, are using is the 3-Minute Walk-Through. In order to help facilitate discussion, I began an administrator’s wiki where I gather information about various types of supervision. This wiki has visits from all over the world besides a few from the administrators in the division.

As a member of the community, I hold 2 civic positions. The first is as a member of the Economic Development Council. Our role is to access information regarding economic development, focus or target particular areas where we believe there is a need and then try to fill that need through soliciting companies or individuals who might be interested. Thus far we have bee able to draw a fair number of people to the community which can be seen in a rise of 21 new students in our school this year. I am also the secretary of our local Care Team. This team was set up 2 years ago after the suicide of one of the students in the school. By working with the mayor, the two of us were able to draw together members of various organizations within the community and the surrounding health district. We began looking at a number of issues besides mental health and suicide with our focus on youth. Last year we successfully organized a day of speakers and local business people who talked to our youth about life after highschool. This year we are focusing our energy on coordinating a youth night with the idea that this will eventually lead to a youth program and center in our community.

Finally, I have seven children between the ages of 2 and 15. I try to spend as much time as possible with them, playing games, going to events or just hanging out and reading the paper.

So, when I said earlier that not being a big name was a blessing in disguise, I meant it. I have enough to do here with my family,  school and community without any additional distractions. As for the rest of what is said, I believe that Dan is confusing his months and weeks since I haven’t had time to do too much commenting or discussing since the summer.

If you read through the rest of the comments from that summer post, you will notice that they are not negative and Miguel’s suggestion, that my posts be shorter or I blog for myself, was taken to heart. I blog mostly as a reflection, looking at my role as an educational leader within the school and division.
I’m more concerned about the one-to-one discussions I have with the few who visit my blog. I try to read the people in my RSS two or three times a week. It depends on what is going on! As I state at the end

After nearly 2 weeks of no technology, I’ve realized that, like tv, which I don’t watch, I can still do my job and completely function without being locked into the various “tools” that are being used. I’ve been able to spend time doing other things, knowing that life is full of choices and it’s not the talents or gifts we are given but the choices we make in using them.

My reason for doing this? For one, I’m tired of Dan and his moral smugness, sarcasm and lack of tact. Secondly, he just grinds me the wrong way.

Dan, your tone and comments are similar to what I get in my office when I deal with a sarcastic know-it-all teenager. You’re right about not needing it in my RSS – that’s why I don’t read you. Unfortunately, in my administrative career, I’ve had to save the ass of  a few teachers like you but you won’t understand that since you don’t seem to get what this is all about.


  1. Reply

    I have always figured that people who turn ugly in blog comments just have nothing else to do. Shame they cannot be more productive in a positive manner. Like you, it reminds me of my middle school students’ games. I don’t play them. Keep on keepin’ on. If it is too long for me to read, I will get back to it later.

  2. Reply

    Thanks for clearing that up Dan.

    Scott, it’s a common thing that I’ve seen played out in such places as MySpace and Facebook where comments often get ugly and uglier. As I’ve tried to demonstrate, there is reason for the things that I do and, regardless of how people agree or disagree, my goal is to stay focused on why I am in this profession – to make the lives of kids better. Period. As for the long blogs – I usually just star them in Google Reader and get back to them later. Amazing technology!

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  5. Reply

    Wow, I had no idea my comment was taken to heart, or cited in so many different places! Apparently, I stepped into something.
    (wink). I offer my sincerest apologies if I have given offense in any way.

    Please know that my intent was to share what’s worked for me…I can certainly lay claim to my share of long-winded, poorly punctuated with typos masquerading as spelling errors (keyboard can’t keep up with my fingers) blog entries (or run-on sentences with too many parenthetical remarks).

    Again, if anyone cares for my perspective, my focus is on learning and letting blog writing be a reflection of that learning, however shallow or deep that may be.

    Please, keep writing. If you win an award, just be grateful you were singled out of the 70 million plus blogs Technorati tracks.

    Wishing you–and my colleagues online–well,

    Miguel Guhlin
    Around the Corner-MGuhlin.net

    P.S. I finally catch up on my blog reading and this is what I discover!

  6. Reply

    Miguel, don’t worry, no offense was taken. I think that we need to decide for ourselves why we write and for whom we write. Some people are writing to share their idea and knowledge about various new technologies, others are writing to comment on the state of education while others write as a way of finding their way through this new, and often rocky, terrain. I find that your comments and ideas are very professional and look to you and others to be on the leading edge of where it is things are going. Relax.
    Spending time away has that affect sometimes. We usually find ourselves in the middle of things wondering how it is we got there.

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