Education · Life

The Daily Riff and more

Quite by accident, I stumbled across an education site unlike all the other education sites. The Daily Riff (motto: Be Smarter, About Education), launched a couple of years ago (yes, I AM behind the curve!) and was founded by education geek C.J. Westerberg. From their Welcome page is an accurate description of how they operate:

As provocateur, muse, catalyst and game changer, The Daily Riff will “sniff and sift” through our edu-culture, “curating” news and opinion in quick, digest-sized take-aways for you to use and share.  We’re doing the grunt work for you – eliminating the long, dry and irrelevant to present the “best stuff” every day.

What I like about the site, besides its pretty cool design, is that the writers question some of the most widely held beliefs about education by producing/providing news stories that show the other side. For instance, this piece about why we may not want to be like China when it comes to our educational system. Or, this post about why testing fails to reveal what we think it does.

I could spend a few hours reading the Riff, but sadly, I don’t have a few hours because I’m doing homework on lesson planning for my fall student teaching assignment. I will be meeting multiple times with my mentor teacher this summer to learn the school’s lesson-planning method and “knocking out” (my mentor’s words) things like a two-week, 10-lesson integrated unit. The estimation is that I will work about 20 hours per week this summer getting ready for the internship – just like a real teacher spends about 20 hours per week each summer getting ready for his/her year. Before I started working on my teacher certification, I, like most people, thought teachers got the summers off – and figured that was part of the reason their pay was so low.

Now that I’m in the thick of it, I’m learning teachers really don’t get much time off at all and, when you do the math, their pay is really way worse than commonly thought. So, file the fact that I can’t dive as fully into the Riff as I want under the heading: Why Teachers Really Don’t Get Summers Off – and you go dive into it. And feel free to send the link to Legislators who think they know everything about education.

Other Friday thoughts: Here’s a good piece (also against the grain) from Education Week about how teacher layoff numbers may be less black and white than media reports make them, and includes this:

“… between the 1999-2000 and the 2007-08 school years, the teacher force has increased at more than double the rate of K-12 student enrollments.”

And if you were one of the thousands of parents who attended a college graduation this past week, you might want to read this from the New Yorker. It’s a humorous look about how to care and feed for the perhaps not-so-adult person who just got a degree and moved back into your house. It is probably good reading for parents in this recession, since more grads will have to move home due to lack of employment.

And on the God side we have, a Twitter-like “social community” begun by the Jesuits (who else?) From the site’s “how to use” page:

Other6 is an online community of people answering two simple yet profound questions: Where have you found God today? and Where do you need to find God today? At different times in our lives – and even at different times in a given day – each of us feels tugged toward one of these questions. Other6 is your home for sharing with others – in 140-character messages – where God has been revealed to you and where you hope that God will be revealed to you.

Folks familiar with Twitter will recognize the 140 character message limit. Folks familiar with the Jebbies will recognize that this is sort of the 21st century, Internet savvy version of the Examen, an ancient daily practice Jesuits use to look back on their day. Seems like a cool idea, especially for people who are interested in God but not religion or formal practice, but I don’t know how folks are finding out about it. I saw the ad for it in America, but if that is the only place Other6 is getting press, they are preaching to the choir.

Also from the God side, we have this thought for your weekend, from a little girl named Jane, quoted in the book Children’s Letters to God:

In Sunday School they told us what you do. Who does it when you are on vacation?


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