There’s a Polish proverb that translates to, “Not my circus, not my monkeys”, in other words, it’s not my problem. Why do I start my recap post with this saying? Well, for one, I’ve come to find it a comforting reminder as I sit working reference, and am confronted with a situation that is beyond my capabilities, or even outside of my legal jurisdiction, that people still want me to fix their problems. I often walk away, feeling a mixed set of emotions. Upset that the person couldn’t get exactly what they needed, but also upset that they would put their problems onto me, as if I am the one who ultimately must fix it. I breathe, and think, “Not my circus, not my monkeys”, breathe again, calmed. Our line of work can be emotionally taxing some days. At least for me.
This mentality was one that reminded me of our parents’ vs. schools’ responsibility in a child’s upbringing. Where is the line, and when do schools say, “Hey, this is not our problem.” I was actually surprised at first to see how our conversation quickly turned into a discussion on American parenting. When it comes to intellectual freedom, and teaching online skills, I see myself as responsible for helping. As a teacher-librarian, I have had a large amount of learning about the Internet, privacy, intellectual freedom issues, etc. More so then your average person. So, I think it makes sense that as part of my job, it would be to help students make sense of their online presence. But where is the line to that? When there are issues of cyberbullying occurring outside of school, on iphones given to them by their parents, is that a school problem that should involve a teacher? Or is that a parent problem?
What I think is even more interesting about these questions, is when we begin to talk about school reform. There is a lot of talk about how the community needs to be included, and teachers and administrators should visit families outside of school. It seems this way would not only be a paradigm shift in how we do school, but maybe even how people do parenting. Is this a good thing? I’m still working through how I feel about all of this, so I apologize if my thoughts are little less eloquently put.
Outside of that, I enjoyed being able to brainstorm what a class on online life management would look like! I really hope one day I can not only propose such a class, but also carryout. I also like our conversations about new tech. What’s the point of buying something if it does not solve a problem (and maybe even creates some new issues) or enhance learning? Wow! What a great question to ask. I also liked this idea of getting good at a couple different tools, rather than always trying to teach a new tool. It makes sense. How can we expect our students to keep up and create meaningful work, when we’re always changing their tools on them? What if we let students choose their tools to become experts in? What would that look like?