Sunday, August 24, 2014

Asking the right questions . . .

Lately the topic of conversation when I run into people is "how is school going?".  Which is not a good question for me, because one of my many character flaws include constant negative conversations with myself. My brain runs constantly and mostly with a tape of what hasn't gotten done, projects that need planned, students that have not been helped, IEP's that have not been read and papers that have not been graded. This dialog is backed up with thoughts of the failure students, communities and the world might have if I don't accomplish everything that runs in my head.

Unfortunately, because of the way my brain works my answers are usually NEGATIVE, to the people who ask this. I always walk away feeling terrible about my answer. My other character flaw, is my constant negative conversations with other people.  I just don't feel like the to do list gets done, if you talk constantly about everything that is going right and all the many accomplishments that have already happened.

I feel my NEGATIVE conversations are so overwhelming I am surprised anyone has ever eaten lunch with me in the teachers lounge.

We are a week and half into school after my three year hiatus.  I challenge you unless you really want to hear the projects and things I need to pull off to ask me "what is going right in your classroom/shop?".

I will now share with you the long list of things going right in the S-E-M east wing.

- I have fantastic students that are on the edge of their seats to learn. The insightful questions they ask and their want to know more is outstanding.

- We are only eight days into school and have a great start in learning about business structures, scientific method, land management, range management, and welding history and safety.

- I am teaching distance learning for the first time in my life.  I am giving several students that wouldn't have the opportunity to learn about Agriculture Education otherwise. I feel good about that.

- The distance learners are working hard to learn over a big screen television a very hands on curriculum.  I think they may be surprised about how hands on it is. That make me smile.

- I have an extremely supportive group of parents that are helping make some special projects happen, that I wouldn't have the time to do without their expertise and extra assistance.

- My 78 year old buddy Dietrich Meyer is back to assist me in making this group of students industry acceptable welders.  He came to meet the students and they already respect and appreciate his caring personality and expertise. They really like that his grip is so strong that when he turns the torch off, they can't turn it back on. That makes them smile.

- A dad has offered to get us metal to practice welding with at a reduced rate and cut to size, delivered both ways. I know fellow welding instructors be jealous.

- The first annual labor auction has been planned and will take place on Tuesday night. With everything going on I forgot to tell them I would be their auctioneer. I wonder what their reaction will be? Should I tell them before Tuesday night?

The biggest challenge I had as school started is a group of students that have done well and really enjoy range judging.  As a graduate of The Ohio State University I have not studied range judging because we have pastures not range.  The only plants I know are the ones that happened to also grow in Ohio and were in a Weeds class I took in the Spring of 2000.  I started the Range unit anyway. The students have been extremely patient.  In fact, they have also been above and beyond helpful.  They have personally collected almost 70 plants.  If they can't identify the plant, they text a picture to a man on the weed board in the county to identify it.

Every morning since school has started someone has showed up with a range plant, I think that kind of learning is admirable.  I couldn't be more proud. Not everyone gets flowers everyday at work!

Beautiful - I know metal and range plants! What else could a girl ask for?