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TEACHER TALK

What is the Tatler?

 

The original Tatler was a periodical essay that first appeared on the streets of Queen Anne’s England in 1709.  It had been the brainchild of two Oxford trained gentleman with convivial tastes.  These two-noted gentlemen, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, both saw in the ever-expanding economy of London a marketplace for ideas as well as commodities.  Published three times a week at a penny, the Tatler provided a didactic tool in which the crowded streets found all sorts of benefit.  Routinely in its pages one would find entertainment, poetry, learning, and domestic news.  It became a periodic primer on accepted English culture.  The Tatler’s banner read, “The courtier, the trader, the scholar, should all have an equal pretension to the denomination of a gentleman.”  The Tatler provided a literary meeting place for all.

 

So too today, with convivial tastes, we resurrect the Tatler.  Though new and unprecedented, our streets have become equally crowded.  Our schedules too often prevent and preclude us from stepping outside of our designated shops and venues.  In order to disseminate cultural milestones and other points of human interest, the Tatler is reborn.  We invite all artisans and shopkeepers to take part.  In the words of its founder, “When I consider how much I have seen, read, and heard, I begin to blame my taciturnity; and since I have neither time nor inclination to communicate the fullness of my heart in speech, I am resolved to do it in writing;...” Please join us.

 

I. Bickerstaff

J. Addison

Have U Flipped Your Mind?

 

Like you, we are teachers.  We dreamed to be teachers.  We trained to be teachers and we have taught while students learned.  Studying new material became our hobby.  Connecting with learners returned dividends greater than our friends in business.  Indeed, teachers affect eternity.

 

That is until now.

 

Our classrooms have now been put on the endangered species list.  Schools increasingly have Internet addresses but cannot be found on a street map.  Notebooks are digital.  Traditional bell schedules no longer govern the school day.  Learning happens “any time, any place, any path, any pace.”  The choice is ours.

 

Will you count yourself among the neophiliacs or the neophobes?  Are you willing to change or resist the revolution going on in our educational world?  A.J.P. Taylor wrote of another revolution by saying, “History reached its turning point, and failed to turn.”  Failure is not an option when talking about learning.  Nor should it be when creating active learning environments for the students of tomorrow.

 

We have secured our ship, checked our riggings and begun writing in our log.  You are now privy to our charts.  Together we begin an odyssey, charting classroom changes in epic proportions. 

 

We are the 2 Teachers and we will be writing about the successes and failures, the demanding challenges and certain victories when embracing the revolution that is today’s school.

 

We’ve always been told to “teach what you know” and “teach who you are.”  Upon taking our first steps into the classroom of the 21st Century – we know little.  With one more step we are bound to say, “Who are we?”

 

The terra incognita awaits us.  Ships ahoy.

Penny Lane

 

Each student received a shiny penny as they walked through my classroom door.  When seated they were asked, “What do you have?”  Few were impressed.  Penny Candy no longer impresses.  It might not exist.  An individual penny cannot buy much.  Yet pose another question and the meaningfulness of that penny is far different.  “What do we have if we pool all of our pennies together?” I ask. 

 

Change.

 

True change happens when individuals come together.  You see that is what an American classroom offers in the twenty-first century.  A classroom is not just a collection of individual students.  Rather taken together, real change can and must take place at many different levels in today’s classrooms.  That is why I often see my classroom as Penny Lane.

 

“Penny Lane” was one of the Beatles greatest singles.  It was a song written by Paul McCartney about a Liverpool bus terminus that he and John Lennon would often meet as they headed downtown.  Penny Lane is where their lives changed, literally.  The bus terminus at Penny Lane is where they left their “suburban blue skies.” Penny Lane is where Paul and John experienced the people and events they made music about.  “Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes.”  Change only occurs when and if we are willing to listen and look at what is going on around us.

 

Listen and look, so much is going on around us that make for new and dynamic classrooms.  Yet too often we treat that new student like just another penny that walked into our daily lives.  My suggestion is to see each classroom for what it really is – collective potential for real change.

 

Change the way you teach.  Change the way students learn.  Change.  Change.  Change.  One thing is for sure; that bus will leave the station whether or not you are on it.  Join me this year as we explore ways to change course.  Join me in Penny Lane.

 

Change is “in my ears and in my eyes.”  Don’t fight it.  Let it be.

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"Always it is by bridges that we live."

                                          Philip Larkin

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