Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My first post!!


I am a former middle school teacher. I liked middle schoolers a lot. Elementary and high school teachers always seem to think that is unusual.

My parents were teachers (and my aunts and uncles, my grandad was dean of education at East Central and almost all of my cousins are teachers). I started going to work week before I could walk. I was a bulletin board master by 8 and sick of professional development meetings by 3rd grade. (Just the amount of them...every Wed for an hour... and I rode to school with mom...) When I started to drive, I had to do chores in mom's class. So frankly, by the time I was out of college I felt like a retired teacher!!

When I got tenure, I was 25. I quit at the end of that year. My mom's school fed into mine, it felt so small... I moved to San Francisco to go to law school and then I started my first company - Think Interactive. It did online professional development (go figure)...

At Think Interactive I started thinking about the state learning standards so mom and I made a database where we entered all of them in by hand and assigned Bloom's levels to each standard. The reports I was running were really interesting... so when NCLB came along, I was one of a couple of people that had a standards database and that is how I started my company, sixThings. We do standards based curriculum alignment. I really like it.

Knowledge Essentials came along for two reasons... first I had a lot that I wanted to say to parents in plain words.. and second, I was really poor while I started my company and needed to eat.

Seven books later I am still not out of things to say. I have very clear opinions about teaching and I want parents to hear me. A few of my mantras are:

1. If you haven't been in the classroom, don't tell me about the classroom (this applies to specific CEOs of education publishing/software companies).

2. Education toys are not my thing. I don't see any greater value in an educational toy than I do in a regular toy. The difference between them is in your mindset when you play with them with your child. Buy them toys they like and use your good brain to incorporate the toys into your child's learning.

3. Every parent can teach their child something.

4. I like public education and state colleges/universities.

5. I think teachers should be certified, even if they work in a private school.

6. I don't think learning standards are the worst thing. I sort of like them. I have seen publishers work hard to streamline their curriculum to meet them and I think it has made their products better.

OK, so now you know a little about me... tell me something about you!

Let's learn!

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