TwitterI wanted to let everyone know that I will be hosting a discussion about integrating technology into the English curriculum on #engchat this Monday, August 30, from 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EDT. For those of you who are unfamiliar with #engchat, it’s a regular forum on Twitter for English teachers to talk about various issues related to the teaching of English. For example, one past discussion centered around vocabulary instruction. Jim Burke has hosted a discussion on how we create community in the English classroom.

Honestly, I had to try Twitter myself before I could be convinced of its usefulness because it appears to be a giant, narcissistic time-suck from the outside; however, if you follow smart people talking about interesting things, it’s a great way to learn. If you haven’t tried Twitter before, following the discussion on #engchat might be a good introduction. Also, if you are interested in how we go about integrating technology in the English curriculum, I invite you to join us. English teachers sometimes get a bad rap as the dinosaurs who miss ditto machines and chalkboards. A commenter on a blog I used to contribute to once noted that English teachers are usually the most resistant to technology (actually, the problem was that my buddy Joe Scotese and I didn’t agree with what he said about it). Is that true? Is it fair? Why do people feel that way about us? English teachers are doing exciting things! I am so tired of hearing we teach like we just stepped out a time machine from the 1850’s.

In other news, I am more frustrated than I can express over the lack of time I seem to have to blog. Reflection here has become essential to my growth and well-being as an English teacher, and with school starting up, I’m exhausted every day. Between school and home duties yesterday, my day was 14 hours long. You know you’re tired when you can stop after the first chapter of The Hunger Games not because you’re not dying to see what happens next, but because even though you’re dying to see what happens, you’re too exhausted to read.

It’s about balance, and if I ever figure out how to do it, I will let you know my secret. Or else I will not let you know my secret unless you pay me. I’d make a mint.

Creative Commons License photo credit:  Mark Pannell

11 thoughts on “#EngChat”

  1. I'm looking foward to #engchat next week! English teachers do get a bad rap when it comes to change, but I know so many digital pioneers that are English teachers. Thank you for saying that you are exhausted too. It's our first week with students and I can't seem to keep my eyes open in the evenings either. I too have had long, long days. I have Mockingjay to read. I'm dying to continue the series but I've been mired in writing letters to students until my eyes need toothpicks each night. I've vowed to aim for more balance after next week.

    1. I think all of us are exhausted when we first go back. I have one subject I've not taught in a while (American lit.) and a new one I haven't taught in years (Newspaper). At least the other courses are familiar!

  2. So, I signed up for Twitter today! I have not ever paid that much attention to it, but I am intrigued by what you're proposing to do on Monday. I, too, am exhausted. This year most of the teachers at my school are teaching 6 classes out of 7 when before we only had to teach five. I have about 145 students, and I feel fortunate to only have that many simply because I have two pre-AP classes whose numbers are naturally a little smaller than most. My two morning senior Brit lit classes are HUGE, but at least I have a co-teacher with me in those. We've been in school almost three weeks now, so I finally feel like I'm getting into the swing of things. I've just ordered Mockingjay, and by George, I WILL make time for it. See you on Monday!

    1. Oh, I hate the way public school teachers are being overloaded. It's terrible for teachers and students. I won't say how many students I have. No one will think I have any right to be exhausted! Six classes is a lot. I have five, but they are all different preps. Newspaper for the first time. I did sponsor the newspaper in my previous job, but that was a while ago. What number do they cap the pre-AP classes at? I seem to recall that gifted classes had to be 22 or fewer, or did when I taught them nearly 10 years ago. Do you have a SMARTBoard? I just made a cool intro. to Anglo-Saxons/Medieval period for Brit. lit. I am so excited about your joining Twitter. The only thing is that following #engchat can be a little crazy sometimes. It was really crowded the night Jim Burke hosted. Also, I don't know how I missed your blog! Adding to my blogroll and Google Reader.

  3. Since the state has allowed all classes to be a little bigger, one of my pre-AP tenth classes has 24, but the other one has 20. I have 26 in 1st p, 29 in 2nd p, 25 in 5th p, and 22 in 6th p Brit lit. My other two classes are 3rd and 4th period. What really makes my day long is that I have lunch duty my entire lunch and the duty lasts all of first 9 weeks. So essentially, my first break comes at 2:14 when my last class leaves and my planning period begins. THAT has taken getting used to. Yes, I do have a SMARTBoard and would LOVE anything you have. I am constantly looking to see what you've so generously shared here, and I brag on your site all the time. As you can see, my blog is new and weak in comparison, but I am committed to sharing as you and others have shared with me. I thought I'd do more of it this summer, but I haven't. I WILL do better! Thank you for adding me. I LOVE my Google Reader. It's the only way I keep up with everyone.

    1. I am never whining again. 2:14 is a long time to wait for any sort of break. I sent the wrong file to you just now; the one I am thinking of must be on my school computer, as it wasn't on my flash drive either, but I'll send it tomorrow.

      1. It's quite ok! We all have the right to whine once in a while. I meant to say earlier that I used to be the school newspaper sponsor, but I haven't done that in probably at least 8 years. I might have some newspaper class files to share, and some of them might even be useful. I will check tomorrow, and if I see something that looks good, I will send it along to you.

  4. I hope you don't get tired of my posting on your site, but you really have great ideas and your site is inviting. I had the same thoughts about Twitter. I see more and more how it can be useful, even (especially?!) as a teaching tool. I can't join tonight's chat (although I'd like to — it's my anniversary!).

    Thank you for this site and your insights.

  5. Dana,

    Thanks for such interesting reading. I have really enjoyed your notes on UbD and I feel I now have a better grasp as I head into the new year. Also, I have been finding some great info on Twitter over the summer.



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