What’s In A Name?

A few weeks ago I overheard a conversation that has stuck with me.

I was sitting at a soccer game, and the parents next to me were with the opposing team. From the conversation I could tell they were also teachers, and they were talking about kids’ names. The conversation started with how hard it is to remember kids from past years, to keep their names straight when you’ve taught for so long, but then it moved in to talking about unique names of current students.

And I was bothered by what I heard.

Both of them talked about how some of the names were difficult to pronounce, so they just gave the kids nicknames.

At first it made me think of this:

But then, I thought about all the times people misspell names and don’t make corrections, the times names are shortened without asking if that’s okay, and even calling someone by a siblings’ name.

I’m kind of funny about all of these things.

My poor daughter goes through life having to tell people there is no H at the end of her name, and that our last name has an E not an I.  People still get it wrong, which is okay if they fix it when she (or I) point it out, but we’ve had a teacher tell her it’s no big deal and not to worry about it.

And I hate to be called Jenny (goes back to a moment in 7th grade when a friend who shared my name but spelled it differently informed me that a Jenny was the female counterpart to a Jackass).

But people call me that all the time….shorten my name without asking my preference.

In high school, one of my few rebellions came when my history teacher insisted on calling me Jenny even though I had asked her not to – I ignored her when she said Jenny. I wrote JENNIFER in huge letters at the top of every assignment. She never got it, and it frustrated me.

And sibling names? I’m the youngest of five. I don’t think my mother has ever gotten my name out on the first try. :)

As a teacher, if I use a siblings’ name by mistake, I quickly correct myself and apologize.

I’m not afraid to ask how to pronounce a name – better to ask than to slaughter it with my Ohio/Texas/Wisconsin accent. I’ve found that I earn a little trust with students when I do that.

And I always ask before I shorten a name. I totally get the Michael who isn’t a Mike or the Elizabeth who’s okay with Beth but hates Liz.

It may sound like I’m making a big deal out of a little thing, but I think names are very personal.

They represent who you are.

So when someone changes your name without your permission?

It makes you a little less you.

Un-Becoming

Saturday morning I pulled my favorite old sweatshirt out to wear to S’s soccer game, and I was flooded with memories of the friend who gave it to me.

I’ve worn that sweatshirt hundreds of times.  She sent it to me when I was pregnant with S (she wanted me to have something big and warm to wear when I walked the dog – never had the heart to tell her I didn’t venture out in the cold Wisconsin weather unless I had to), so I’m not sure what triggered the memories.

Maybe it’s the fact that her 50th birthday is coming up in a few weeks, and she’s not here to celebrate it.

Maybe it’s that I came across this quote right before I pulled out the sweatshirt.

Maybe-the-journey-isnt

Ro was one of my college friends, and I can’t think of her without smiling and shaking my head at all the things she did AND the things she convinced the rest of us to do.

We all have our favorite stories – from asking to be rescued from the balcony to putting Alka Seltzer in her beer (best lesson in chemical reactions EVER!!); from Ranger games to Beach Boys concerts and Whataburger stops; from being chased by ducks to cutting down our own Christmas trees; whether it involved her love of sports (Cowboys and Mavericks) or her musical taste (Boy George and Bruce Springsteen), Ro lived life to the fullest.

When Ro was younger, a doctor told her that the life expectancy for someone with her medical condition was 40…she passed away three months before her 41st birthday.

It was almost like that statement…that number…became her destiny.

I always just thought she had more nerve than the rest of us, but now I think she was trying to cram 80 years of living into the 40 she could count on.

And as I thought about her Saturday morning, I wondered if maybe she was trying to un-become what everyone expected when they saw her.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

The who we become based on the expectations of others.

The things we do because we’re supposed to not because we really want to.

The things we don’t do because we’re worried what others will think.

The things we try to justify rather than just owning them.

Realizing my own mortality?

Maybe.

But, more than anything, I think I’ve started thinking about it as I watch S and C, and I want them to not ever have to worry about un-becoming because they were allowed to become themselves in the first place.

So, when S wanted to quit 4-H and C said, “Maybe I should stay in. It will look good on my college applications,” I found myself telling him that lots of things look good on a college application, but that shouldn’t be the reason you do something. Do it because you love it.

And last spring, at Solo Ensemble, I told a friend with older children that S didn’t want to be in band in high school. I got a lecture of sorts about how I should make her. Nah, I think that’s a choice she should make herself. There are too many other things she loves more than playing her flute.

I’ll admit it; it’s hard. I caught myself telling C the other day that he really needed to stick with basketball one more year, and when he asked why, I said, “Because you’re going to be really tall.”

Yep, that’s what I said. Total mom failure.

He doesn’t love the game, and another growth spurt isn’t going to change that.

So, I’m working on it.

Working on finding the balance between supporting without smothering; encouraging without pushing; helping them become who they are meant to be.

And I’m learning.

From the serious thoughts of great writers;

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

From a movie monologue:

“…even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are only here for a fraction of a fraction of a second.” ~ Christopher Welch (as the minister in Synecdoche, New York)

From the wisdom of the dying;

“Accept who you are; and revel in it.” ~ Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)

And from the twangy honesty of a country song:

“Say what you think. Love who you love. ‘Cause you just get so many trips ’round the sun. Yeah, you only, only live once.” ~ Kacey Musgraves

Un-becoming? I sure hope so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Kryptonite?

I always smile when I see some post or picture with a “What’s your superpower?” thought. This is one of my favorites because I do think teaching requires superpowers.

 

Created by Krissy Venosdale (http://venspired.com)

Created by Krissy Venosdale (http://venspired.com)

But the realist (pessimist?) in me always thinks, “But if you have superpowers, what’s your kryptonite?”

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately…kryptonite…the things that trip us up, zap our powers, make us stumble…our ultimate natural weaknesses.

It’s never the big things that get us. We always seem to be prepared for those. It’s the little things – the pebble in the shoe not the boulder in the road.

Not sure I’m ready to name my kryptonite…but acknowledging it is the first step, right?

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Balance

Neither S nor C showed animals at the county fair this year. In fact, neither of them even entered any 4-H projects.

There was a little piece of me that missed walking through the 4-H building to find their things, and I did, for a split second, miss the hustle and bustle of show days.

But honestly, most of me did a happy dance when they decided not to show calves this year.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think they both learned a lot from taking animals to the fair, but what a time commitment for them (and for Tim and me)! Last year we had several days when we were in the barn for 15+ hours, and if you know me, you know I’m really not a fan of barn duty. (Tim and I worked this out years ago: I don’t milk his cows and he doesn’t grade my papers.) Throw in the fact that our fair runs from the last Thursday in August through Labor Day, and that school starts the day after, and it really becomes a time issue.

It was totally their decision not to show.

For C it was easy – it was a lot of work for very little return. He showed because S did, and because his dad did as a kid. He felt obligated to keep the family tradition going even though it was obvious he was not really having fun doing it.

But for S? It was much harder. She has placed first each time she has shown, and there is something about the prepping and organizing that excites her. However, she had a list of things she wanted to do this summer (basketball, Apostle Islands, volunteer counselor) that she knew would take away from time needed to work with the animals.

As the fair drew closer she started talking about wanting to show again next year, but in the same breath, she talked about how small the 4-H club had gotten; how she worried that not everyone would pull their weight, and that, as the oldest, she would be the one to do most of the work; about how she didn’t get to just hang out with her friends when she had so much barn duty.

So, we had a long talk. I told her I was fine with her showing next year, but what was she going to give up?

Did she want to skip playing AAU basketball?

Did she want to just go to day camp instead of resident camp so she could be home every night to walk her calf and heifer?

And that week in Pictured Rocks she has her heart set on next summer? There’s no way she can be gone that week. Animals need to be washed and clipped, hooves need to be trimmed, and the decorations for the barn displays have to be finished.

I didn’t tell her she couldn’t.  I just told her she needed to think about what would go if we added that back.

There are only so many hours in the day and so many days in the summer.

As much as she would love to do it all, I’m trying really hard to help her find a sense of balance.

I want her to find what she really loves.

I want her to her to take advantage of the opportunities that come her way.

But…

I want her to realize

The-price-of-anything-is

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Those Summers

On the way to football practice tonight, C said, “Hey, Mom, you know that commercial that talks about having a summer to remember?” I nodded, and he continued, “This has definitely been one of those summers…just like last year.”

I looked at him and laughed, thinking, last year we spent 13 days in Europe. This year we haven’t ventured more than 500 miles from home, how could this possibly compare? So I asked, “Really? As good as Europe?”

He gave me that grin and said, “Just as good but different,” and then he started listing things.

We have enjoyed

  • A weekend in the Dells (waterpark heaven even though he had to watch S’s basketball tournament)
  • Two extended visits with Honey and Papa (my parents – S started calling my mom Honey when she was little, and it stuck)
  • Two trips to Kings Island (where I rode every single roller coaster with them)
  • A day at the State Fair of Wisconsin (Tim even managed to get away and go with us)
  • Visits to the aquatic center
  • A couple of trips to the lake
  • Kayaking (bonus – a t-shirt that reads, “Paddle Faster! I hear banjo music.”)
  • Nightly bike rides (not every night but a couple of times a week)
  • Lots of backyard bonfires
  • Great seats at a Cincinnati Reds game (even though they lost)
  • Hiking the Kettle Moraine North Trails and trails at The Cincinnati Nature Center
  • Staying up past bedtime
  • Sleeping in
  • Getting up in the middle of the night to watch a meteor shower, and
  • Reading books from cover to cover without having to stop.

Throw in

  • an awesome baseball season (he consistently got on base; even batted in the winning run a couple of games)
  • his first full week of sleep away camp which included a day at Six Flags Great America
  • a second week of camp filled with swimming, biking, fishing, archery, and kayaking
  • three days of football camp
  • Bowling birthday parties
  • Nerf battles
  • Boy and dog moments (Brownie hears him say, “C’mon boy!” and he heads to the door), and
  • Football practice starting (first day in full pads was better than Christmas).

And we can’t forget S. She filled the calendar with

  • Basketball tournaments (AAU and 3-on-3)
  • Shopping trips to the outlet malls near several of those tournaments
  • Basketball camp
  • Summer basketball league
  • A week of camp in the Apostle Islands
  • A week of Leaders in Training camp
  • Three weeks as a volunteer junior counselor (princess camp, fishing camp, junior kayak camp), and
  • Dirt track racing (watching not driving – lol).

And while I go back to work (officially) tomorrow, C reminded me that summer doesn’t technically end for a few more weeks, so we have time to squeeze in

  • The County Fair this weekend
  • Another kayak trip or two
  • More hikes in Kettle Moraine North Trails
  • At least three or four more bonfires, and
  • Maybe a Brewers game.

As he walked across the field toward his practice, I had to smile. My summer to-do list has very little checked off (I REALLY did plan on organizing the office!), but that’s okay.  In between working on my dissertation proposal and summer curriculum work, we had one of those summers.

When they were little, I had a sign hanging in my kitchen that read, “Cooking and cleaning can wait til tomorrow for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow. So settle down cobwebs, and dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my babies, and babies don’t keep.”

I figure I only have five summers left when they are both at home, and even fewer where they think it’s cool to hang out with their mom. They’ve already started planning next summer.

  • C thinks Kings Island should be an annual event
  • S thinks we need to take an alternate route to Honey and Papa’s house and spend a day in Cedar Point.
  • They both think kayaks would make great Christmas gifts
  • S wants us to go to Pictured Rocks, and
  • I think we need to use those passports again and cross Lake Superior into Canada.

When it’s all said and done, what do I really want them to remember? A perfectly clean house? A place for everything and everything in its place?

No, I want them to have memories that bring smiles to their faces.

I want them to have summers to remember.

 

 

 

The View From Up Here

I’m always in awe of the view at 30,000 feet. No matter how often I fly, there is just something amazing about looking down and feeling like Gulliver.

As I’ve gotten older, I find myself mesmerized by the changing landscape, the presence (or absence) of vegetation, the size of lakes and rivers, the concentration of city lights. It’s crazy when you realize that ‘small’ clump of trees is probably hundreds of acres wide.

Maybe getting older is making me wiser, but as I fly across the country today, I can’t help but think about how perspective changes everything.

From this altitude, I see the big picture, but I have no idea about the details. And this makes me think about teaching and parenting and life in general. Too often we forget there are other perspectives.

Monday afternoon S ripped a favorite pair of shorts. She was bringing groceries in and caught the side of them on the porch railing. She was mad, and my, “don’t worry about it, I can sew them up,” did nothing to calm the teenage moment. For the next fifteen minutes or so, she ranted about how they would never be the same, how she didn’t have ANY other shorts, and pretty much demanding I stop everything else and fix them NOW.

Needless to say, I didn’t drop everything to fix them. In fact, the whole time she’s ranting, I’m thinking about if I have time to fix them before leaving for San Diego or if it would be easier to go online and order another pair from American Eagle.

She settled down.

The rip was worse than I thought. I can fix them but you’ll be able to tell. They’re on clearance at American Eagle. I ordered another pair. When I explained all of that to her Tuesday morning, she was fine; even offered to pay for the new ones herself.

I shook my head at the changed attitude.

But I was reminded of it as I look out my window and see the landscape below.

It was all about perspective.

It’s hard to find shorts for her that are long enough, and this pair was perfect. She knew that. To her, it was tragic. To me, just a blip on the parenthood radar.

Our perspectives were different.

If I had to do that moment over I probably would’ve looked at them right away. I wouldn’t have fixed them, but I would’ve acknowledged that it was a big deal to her. I would have recognized her perspective.

I think, sometimes that’s all we really need; someone to recognize our perspective.

A Bittersweet Moment – Our Last Day of Elementary School

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Today is C’s last day of elementary school. It seems like just yesterday S was waiting to get on the bus for her first day of kindergarten.

It’s a bittersweet moment. He’s ready to move on just like S was three years ago. But this is different. He’s our youngest.

We’ve spent the last eight school years with at least one child in elementary school.

Now, I’m not one to get sentimental about my kids growing up.

I have enjoyed every age and stage, and like them, I was ready for the next.

But it’s weird knowing we won’t be part of the elementary family next year. And yes, it is a family.

I sent this email to the staff this morning, but I wanted to share it here as well.

It’s one thing to thank them, and another to sing their praises to others. :)

We have been blessed. They have known and loved S and C on good days and bad. They are a family.

 

Dear Northview Staff,

It is hard to believe that today is the last day of the school year. Harder still to believe is that it is our last day at Northview! Where have the last eight years gone?

I don’t even know where to begin to thank all of you for the wonderful foundation you have given both S and C.

For those of you who have been our classroom teachers: Mrs. Sheahan, Mrs. Vogel, Mrs. Quade, Mrs. Jeanty, Mrs. Mulder, Mrs. Johnson, and Mr. Bartz, thank you for taking them where they were and pushing them further than they thought they could go.

For those of you that taught both S and C (Mrs. Sheahan, Mrs. Vogel, and Mrs. Mulder), thank you for recognizing them as two completely different people even though they are siblings. As the youngest of five, that is something I really appreciated. :)

Mrs. Sheahan, I “watched” you teach as S played school at home. :) Thank you for saying she would be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company rather than calling her bossy (although C thinks she’s bossy!). Thank you for being patient with my energetic little boy who really has never been little. He came home every day of kindergarten with something new to tell us, walking circles around the kitchen table while I made dinner. We still have the handprint t-shirts from kindergarten graduation and the class phone books (they still get used). You were the perfect beginning for their educational journey.

Mrs. Vogel, thank you for building incredible vocabulary with them. I will never forget sitting at McDonald’s after dance class one night when a flock of geese flew over. S said, “Those are migratory birds….migratory is a high school word,” or later that year when she said to C, “I hope when you get to school you have Mrs. Sheahan and Mrs. Vogel. They are phenomenal teachers.” Phenomenal was a Mrs. Vogel word. :) Thank you for describing C as a restless learner and recognizing that his mind was racing with questions about so many things.

Mrs. Quade and Mrs. Jeanty, your Amelia’s Notebook project made writers of both S and C. The idea of writing down events and happenings was the inspiration behind their vacation blogs last summer.  Mrs. Quade, you introduced S to the Babysitters Club books (she read them all), and we can’t see a flamingo without mentioning your name. Mrs. Jeanty, your “I wonder” boxes were right up C’s alley as it gave him time to explore those burning questions he always asks.

Mrs. Mulder, I remember hearing lots of stories about your family infused in the learning. You made both of them laugh with some of your family’s escapades. Your business card magnet still hangs on our fridge, a reminder that you had shared a part of yourself with us from the first day.

Mrs. Johnson, S’s year was filled with lots of collaborative projects. From Laura Ingalls Wilder day to adding electricity to a dollhouse, you stretched her knowledge base. I loved that you put it all together in a slideshow at the end of the year to remind us all of what had been accomplished.

Mr. Bartz, C tells your stories all the time, too. :) Thanks for sharing your own experiences with the kids.  I appreciate that you have pushed him to be clearer in his writing. We know he has voice down, but you have encouraged him to work on details and organization so that his writing tells the story he wants to tell.

Mrs. Barrett, Mrs. Kirschbaum, and Mr. Cowdy – your songs have filled our house, your artwork covers our walls, and stories of Sneak Up are forever cemented in our memories. Thank you.

Memories of duct taping Mrs. Wieland to the cafeteria wall, the 12 Days of Christmas song at the annual sing along, winter carnival, field trips, and field days have filled the last years.

For those of you who did not teach S or C directly, please know that you, too, made a difference in their lives.   From the smiles and kind words of Shelly and Mary in the office, to small interactions in the halls and on the playground, you have all made Northview a wonderful place for us as a family.

Before S started school I was asked if I would bring her to Plymouth with me. Tim and I made the decision then to keep the kids in their neighborhood school, a decision we have never regretted. We could not have asked for a better place for our kids to grow and learn.

You are an amazing group, and our children are blessed to have had you in their lives.

Have a great summer,

Jennifer

 

 

Every Moment Matters

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“The best part of teaching is that it matters. The hardest part of teaching is that every moment matters, every day.”

Todd Whitaker

I love this quote. It reminds me why I teach. More importantly, it reminds me that the best things in life require hard work.

At first I thought of it purely from an instructional standpoint – every minute of every class period matters.

But on second thought, I looked at it from a relationship standpoint – every interaction with every student matters, every day.

Oh, I learned early on that being unprepared creates chaos that throws off the whole day, but I also learned that the relationships you build with students carry a lot more weight than most people realize. As Rita Pierson puts it, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”

I don’t want to downplay the academics of teaching. You have to be prepared. We’ve all had that teacher who flies by the seat of his/her pants. My best (worst?) memory is the college English professor who walked in the first day of class 14 minutes late, looked around at us and said, “Oh, my, I forgot my syllabi,” and then turned and left to get them.

But I firmly believe that no matter how well you know your content, if you don’t build relationships with students, you miss a lot of those moments that matter.

I think of conversations I have had with kids as we walk down the hall; conversations that were not content related but life related. I think about the times kids have eaten lunch in the classroom, and I learned about their families.

I think of my Texas teaching years when I played football (badly) or four-square or whatever else on Fridays because we could wear jeans, and I could be a little more casual. I remember the day one of my boys challenged the 4th grade teacher to a foot race because she said she was faster than him (she wasn’t).

I think about writing ‘Come see me,” on the top of a paper instead of a failing grade because I knew the student didn’t understand the material and needed me to reteach it.

I think about asking “What’s wrong?” or “What’s up?” instead of “Why isn’t your homework done?” and finding out about a mother having to wear a heart monitor because she kept passing out and the doctors didn’t know why.

And to take it one step further, those moments matter even when students leave your classroom. I am reminded of this often.

It’s the former student who messages me to ask a grammar question. She knew I’d take the time to explain about apostrophes on singular nouns that end in s.

It’s talking basketball with a former student who posted an awesome video of himself winning a slam dunk contest, and telling him how impressed my kids were, and then the conversation progressing into him offering my daughter advice on getting better at jump shots.

It’s the student who emails to ask me to proofread a paper…even though I was her teacher 20 years ago.

It’s running into a parent in the produce section of the grocery store and getting invited to a graduation party because “you made a difference.”

It’s dropping donations off at St. Vincent De Paul and having a former student say, “Do you remember me?” and his face lighting up when I call him by name and say; “Of course I do. You’ll always be one of my kids.”

Every moment matters. What you do. What you say. How you react. Every moment matters.

A Message to My Daughter: Be Fearless

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Last Monday I found a beautiful note from S on top of my jewelry box.  She had put there Sunday night while I was off writing my last paper for my last doctoral class before dissertation.  It was a sweet note, telling me how much she loves me even though we fight sometimes. It made me smile to read that she thought I had “achieved matriarchal perfection”.

I am so proud of the young woman she is becoming – bright, articulate, funny, athletic. She exudes more confidence at 13 than I did at 23!

I love that she reads for the pure joy of reading.

I love that she doesn’t give up when things get hard (well, except for those occasional moments when we have math meltdowns, but even then she comes back to it the next day).

I love that she can laugh at herself (if you know her ask her about the moon or taking minutes).

I love that when we go shopping she prefers Nike and Under Armour over short skirts and platform shoes.

So, as I read her letter again this morning, I thought I should write back to let her know how amazing she is and to share a little mom wisdom.

Dear S,

Thank you for the beautiful letter. Did you know I stuck it in my purse so I always have it with me? You’re right, being mom isn’t always fun. Not because you’re tough to raise but because there are so many things I want to tell you and time moves fast. So, here are a few things I hope you’ve picked up on over the years, but just in case you weren’t listening… :-)

Believe in yourself. You are an amazingly talented young woman. You have already accomplished so much because you are not afraid of hard work. Don’t ever let anyone take that away from you.

Love something passionately. We’ve always encouraged you to try new things – dance, soccer, softball, basketball, piano, flute, photography. I love that as you get older you are sorting through all the options and focusing on the ones you love. Those long car rides to basketball tournaments? I wouldn’t trade that time for anything because I love to watch you play, and I love to listen to your passion for the game.  Maybe this won’t always be what you love, but for now, enjoy it.  I’ll be there for you, whatever passion you follow.

Say what you think. From little on you have been stubborn and opinionated – not at all like your mother. :) Don’t lose that. It’s okay to not agree with your friends, not to want to do what they do. Speak up, speak out,  and stand by what you believe.

Stop and listen. Listen to the words of a song, the sounds of nature, the ideas and opinions of others. Listen to the still, small voice in your head.

Be brave. Face your fears head on. Remember the first time you did the high ropes course or rode those rides at Noah’s Ark? You were afraid, but you didn’t let that stop you. Lots of things in life will scare you, but there is nothing you can’t handle (although you might need to ask for help now and then, and it is perfectly okay to need help!).

Be kind. You don’t have to like everyone, but there is never a good reason to be mean. I have been so proud of how you handle yourself when it comes to girl drama. Keep it up.

Set goals. Remember when you wanted an American Girl doll, and we wouldn’t buy it for you? Instead I cut out the picture from the catalog and you hung it up to remind you why you were saving your money. I remember your face when we went to Chicago to buy Jess. You were so proud of what you had accomplished. It feels much better when you earn things than when they are handed to you.

Be a citizen of the world. One of my favorite moments was after our bike tour in Paris last summer. We were heading back to the train station and you said, “I want to go to college where you went to college because I want to spend a semester in Europe.”  You don’t have to go where I went, but go somewhere that has a study abroad program.

Enjoy your own company. Find the value of alone time whether it’s curling up with a good book or going for a long walk or some other thing you can do on your own. Just know that you make your own happiness.

You are loved unconditionally. You’ll make mistakes. You won’t always say or do what you need to, but no matter what I will always love you.

So, be fearless. That doesn’t mean to throw caution to the wind, but rather realize anything worth doing involves risk.

You owe it to yourself to be you.

Love,

Mom

 

 

I Passed Notes In School

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I have a confession to make. I passed notes in school; lots of them. In class, in the halls, at lunch, you name a place in the school, I passed notes there.They looked like this.

picture credit to  www.heyjenrenee.com

Bigger confession: I wrote them in class. All the time.

And I got caught with those notes. Some teachers threw them away, some read them out loud (side note – that NEVER made me stop writing them, it just taught me to write more cryptically), but never did a teacher take away my paper and pencil.

So, what’s my point?  I keep hearing and reading things about how our kids are addicted to technology and how their devices make them anti-social.

I can’t even count the number of times this Look Up video has crossed my Facebook or Twitter feed (and I won’t even begin to address the issue that we are using social media to tell each other how social media is anti-social!).

The medium has changed but the kids have not.

I’m not convinced it’s the devices.

I’m not convinced kids are being disrespectful.

I think they are just being kids.

Frustrating some times? Absolutely!

But rather than writing off a whole generation as being disengaged and anti-social, maybe we need to step back and think about where we were and what we were doing at that age.

  • Did you study in study hall or goof off with your friends?
  • Did you keep conversations from your parents?
  • Did you test your wings?
  • Did you read every assignment and pay attention in every class?
  • Did you have a class that you absolutely hated but HAD to take as a requirement?

My guess is, if you’re honest, you weren’t  much different than kids today. You just didn’t have the technology they do.

And let’s face it, haven’t we all checked our phones, sent a text, or answered an email in a meeting we found boring or unproductive? Rather than writing them off, let’s figure out ways to incorporate technology into our classrooms and teach and model tech etiquette (and I don’t mean collecting devices, blocking social media, or telling them they are anti-social or addicted).

I just downloaded It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. I can’t wait to read Danah Boyd’s insights.

But I’m pretty sure the kids are alright.

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