My Reminder List by Jen Wagner

As I was getting ready to write my first T & L blog post, I had placed on myself certain unrealistic expectations for what I should write.

I have followed the T&L blog for a while now and have great admiration and respect for those whose posts go before mine. And I became filled with both apprehension and fear that I would NOT come even close to the benchmark of excellence so many had achieved.

I decided to be academic – and began reading books and websites and highlighting references. I decided to be articulate – and pulled out a thesaurus and started looking at different word of the day sites. I decided to not repeat what had already been said – and ran through old posts here. (Actually, that was not that bad of an idea and I encourage you to do the same.)

I was trying to recreate Jen………and then my very wise friend, Paul R. Wood, told me quite simply and bluntly in a skype conversation to be “Jen.”

So smiles – here we go.

Looking back at the last few years, since I jumped into all these opportunities that we so lovingly call TECH, I have started a “Reminder List” to help keep me grounded, to keep me informed, and to keep me authentic. I would like to share some of them with you:

1. Tools might change but kids really don’t change.
They want a good teacher, they want to be engaged, they want to not waste their day, and they want their teacher to know their name. They want fairness, they hope that you do not carry your bad mood into their existence, and they want to know you truly read their homework.
Remember to concentrate on the student NOT the tool to teach the student.

2. It does not matter WHO you know or WHAT you know
it does matter how you TREAT who you know and how you SHARE what you know.

3. Writing emails at 4:00am usually will get you in trouble. (grins, learned this the hard way)
Take time to step back, rewrite, review, and possible wait to hit that SEND button sometimes.

4. Everything you hear needs to be sifted through YOUR sifter.
If you think Interactive White Boards work – go for it. If you like Comic Sans—use it. PowerPoint might still work in your classroom and at your school. Sometimes worksheets do work. Pencils too!!
There are a lot of people talking – just remember to remember they are talking from their vantage point – now you need to take it into yours.

5. You need to laugh everyday –
with someone and at yourself.

6. Whatever your grand idea is – someone is going to love it, someone is going to hate it………..
Both have points you need to consider.

7. Don’t spend more time talking on twitter than you do talking with people you live with. And don’t fill the time you have with the people you live with talking about what you did on twitter.

8. E-mail, blog posts, farkle, and twitter can wait – that sunset/sunrise/etc will only happen NOW – spend time outside, away from the computer.

9. Learn from those who know it all – and learn from those who are just learning.
Take the time to attend sessions of the newbie first time presenters. Someday, they might be a keynote speaker and you can say “Hey, I heard you way back when.”

10. No matter , no matter, no matter, what anyone says – TECH is NOT the most important thing you will use in your classroom this year.

11. Don’t let the regulations and rules scare you from doing what you know is right.
If that kid looks like they need a hug – go ahead and give them a hug.

12. If you are going to moan and groan about school policies, lawmakers, and rules and regulations ONLY on twitter………then it is time to be quiet. If you go to board meetings, write your council people, or storm the capital building – we want to know.

13. The only thing stopping you from taking that first step is YOU.

14. Fill your day with words like “thank you”, “please”, “that was great”, “good job”, and “I could not have done this without you.”

15. You only have 1 today – will you waste it or will you make it memorable? That should be your first decision of each day.