If that title doesn’t draw people in, I don’t know what will! 🙂
Through the educational podcast called Techlandia (highly recommended @), I downloaded the app called Voxer a while ago. This app turns your device into a walkie-talkie of sorts, but with the ability to add several people into your conversation. It’s free, easy to use, and has suddenly become the rage in education. There’s a Google Doc (http://goo.gl/tKPsHv) that is dedicated to #Eduvoxers, those educators on Voxer. My name is there as is my Voxer ID (djohns29994) along with almost 600 other educators. Our family uses it to communicate and annoy each other (my wife sent my daughter 20+ short Voxer messages) but to communicate if plans or schedules change. It’s quick, easy, and requires less time than it might to send a text.
Teachers love this app! There are Voxer chats going on with book studies, after Twitter chats, and just about general topics. I’m not immune to this as I’ve started getting over my shyness and Voxered with a couple of people in my PLN. One of the teachers I’ve Voxered with is having an interesting year so far, so we’ve had a really good discussion about education through this. After listening to one of her messages, I sent her this picture. I was in the middle of a project yesterday, cleaning out our cow pens and rebuilding a fence enclosure that had been pushed down.
I told her that as I listened to her Voxer, this was my view: green trees, rolling hills, but what she couldn’t see, I was surrounded by poo! Beautiful view, but we don’t can’t always see the nonsense that’s around us.
Her reply: “Life is about rebuilding fences and moving poop!”
She talked about how that idea of fences, boundaries keeping us penned in, or hold us out. The journey is knowing what to do and when, working around those boundaries. Then, there’s “flying poop and knowing when to duck!” Oh my goodness! Finally, serenity. In my message, here was this cricket in the background and she talked about how finding that serenity among the fences and the poop. Then she started laughing. 🙂
10 years ago, heck, 5 years ago, I’d not have the technology, nor the friendship to be able to make statements like this. The technology that we have made our world so much smaller. I’d not know this friend either. That power makes us as teachers stronger. As I get over this fear that I have of opening up (I’m the quiet guy in back), and continue to make those baby steps forward, I look forward to continued conversations with this friend and others I’ve connected with.
And as I watch fences being built walking into this school year and as I see the poop around me, I know that I will have my co-workers to talk to, but I’ll have other educators who can offer an objective opinion and help me talk through things. We talk a lot about creating those bonds with our students, but we as teachers need those bonds as well. If we have those connections, both in real life and online, it helps to make the successes more sweet and to dampen the blows of our failures.
Besides, I need someone to help me shovel! 🙂