Friday, June 24, 2016

The Braden Bin - 6/24/16

What I'm Reading:  Teaching the Teachers

Some things that stuck out to me...

I, in no way, was really prepared to be a teacher my first year.  Thankfully I had a great and supportive group around me at Isle of Hope elementary school in Savannah, GA!  
I loved the part about how good teaching can erase some of the negative effects of poverty on children.  I couldn't agree more with that.  Unfortunately, recruiting and retaining "great" teachers at high poverty schools is very hard.  You have to have a desire to work with our kids and not all people have that.  

That's ok.  

I want to hire people who want to work with our students. Our students deserve that. 

Traditional forms of Professional Development sucks.  Teachers, for the most part, HATE it.  Ok, when I was a teacher, for the most part, I HATED it.  But, then again, I wasn't the best student when I was in school.  I think it's just the way it is delivered.  

I think this guy explains it all better than I ever could....

We can sit in a professional development about bringing movement and activity into the classroom and never leave our seat for 8 hours.

Practice what you preach + information/practices that will make teachers teach better + something they can use the very next day in their classroom to improve the learning outcomes of their students = a happy teacher who has bought in.  

It's AMAZING how life works.  Literally just sat down with a couple of higher ups from the district to see how we can reach a group of our students who, up to this point, have been pretty darn hard to reach.  I am looking forward to reading this book as soon as break starts.  

The book in the article:  

The author of the book is a great follow on Twitter - @chrisemdin

What I'm Watching:  The Switch 

Not a soccer fan and I'm not sure I totally understand the celebrity/popularity of Cristiano Ronaldo but this is an AWESOME commercial.  Long, but I suggest watching it all!  It is VERY inspirational! 

Quote I've Been Thinking About:

From Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea (my favorite book of all time).  

"She is kind and very beautiful.  But she can be so cruel and it comes so suddenly and such birds that fly, dipping and hunting, with their small sad voices are made too delicately for the sea."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

She Doesn't Hold it Against Us

We had an appointment with the doc today to discuss options moving forward regarding Avery's fight against cancer.  Despite her 14th round of chemo, her cancer doesn't seem to be affected much by it.  Perhaps I can update you in a later post about all of that but before I do, I want to talk about love.

Avery has a port and she HATES getting it accessed.  I hate having to hold her legs so she doesn't kick the nurses and I hate the fact that my wife has to hold her arms so she also doesn't hit the nurses while they are attempting to access her.  She screams until she can hardly breathe.  She cries until she can hardly cry.  Sometimes another nurse has to assist us in holding her down because she is doing everything in the power of her little body to stop us from "poking" her.  Anytime I've had to witness this, which isn't as often as my wife has, part of my soul is ripped from my body.  It's really hard being a father whose job it is to protect his baby and not be able to do anything to stop her from going through that.  It's really hard being a father whose job it is to protect his baby and actually have to participate in that.  I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.

This week, she's getting chemo every day but only had to be accessed on Monday as one of the drugs she is receiving is not available orally.  However, the one she has to get every other day can be given orally.  As you can probably imagine as it is chemo, it tastes absolutely horrible.  She also hates that, and if anybody reading this has ever had to give a 3 year old medicine who doesn't want to take said medicine, it can be a nightmare for all involved.

Well, here were her options today....take the medicine or get accessed.  She didn't want to do either.  She fought, she hit, she screamed, she tried to bite.  I had to hold her.  Her mom had to hold her.  We had to act like we were going to access her just so she knew it was either that, or "simply" take the medicine and we can go home.

She was angry.

She was sad.

She cried.

She tried to convince us that she would "take it Saturday".  I had to beg her.  I had to tell her I'm sorry.  Still she demanded "take it Saturday"!  Finally, while I was holding her and she thought the nurse was about to access her, she took the medicine.  Her tears dried up and all was forgiven.


She began to twirl around the room.  She asked for a starburst.  She ran down the hallway as if nothing  happened just minutes earlier.  I was doing my best to not  break down in tears right there in the middle of the doctors office.

She simply doesn't hold it against us and I don't know why.

We have been conditioned to hold grudges against those who have harmed us.  As far as I'm concerned, and maybe you have to be in the room and experience what we experience to understand, we harmed her today.  We've "harmed" her many times before.  While everybody reading this will get that what we have to do is for her own good, she's 3 and can't comprehend that.   She's never held it against us.  As an adult, if we are hurt by another, we may never forgive that person for doing that to us.  We may never speak to that person again.

I got a kiss goodbye as I left her to go back to work.

I got an "I love you daddy" as I walked away.

I HAVE to find the silver lining in all of this otherwise I'm not sure I could continue.  What lesson can I learn from her in all of this?  I'm not sure but it will certainly be something I will contemplate for as long as it takes to figure it out.  Maybe I never will.  But, I do know this.  She doesn't hold it against us and I can at least be thankful for that.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Braden Bin - 6/9/16

Quote that's got me thinking:  "When teachers talk to teachers, good things happen."
  • I'm not sure who to give credit to for this quote but I first heard it from Plano ISD's superintendent Dr. Binggeli during his first "speech" to the administrators in the district.  That was at the beginning of the year, and here I am, in the first week since teachers and students have left for the summer, still pondering it.  
  • I think for too long the teaching profession went like this - This is my classroom, these are my students.  I'll do my thing and you'll do yours.  Good luck and good riddance!  Now, the teaching profession is moving in the direction of collaboration, sharing of resources and ideas, etc.  Educators are realizing that much can be learned from their comrades.  
  • #AmIrightTOTY?  
  • This is a pretty fascinating study and while the concept is abstract, as a school administrator I get it.  I'm sorry to say, while this study looked at high school suspensions, this is something that starts as early as elementary.  
  • Sometimes situations that arise in school take those decisions out of administrators hands and it's all up to policy as to whether or not a student is suspended from school but I think with the wave of educators interested in restorative discipline, the number of students being suspended will decrease substantially.  

What I'm Reading (Bonus):  Economists show that boys who grow up around books earn significantly more money as adults

  • THIS IS IT!  It's the study that every young boy needs to see.  Ask a young man what they want to be when they grow up and 99.99% of the time the answer is going to be something that makes a significant amount of money.  Show them this article and just tell them to read at least 10 books, keep them on your shelves (because they have to be "around" them) and they can earn 21% more than their peers! 
What I'm Watching :  Oh just a crazy video of a couple in a Jeep offroading down Black Bear Pass in Colorado.  There might be a choice word or two but once you watch the video, can you blame them?  How about the wife?  The husband, who is driving, seems to not be too concerned about anything at all - listen to his jams!  

Website I'm Frequenting:
  • Ok, so I have a confession to make.  I like to listen to live air traffic control in my free time.  I have taught myself, with the help of a friend whom I believe I've mentioned on this blog before, what they are saying with all that code mombo jombo.  I'm not going to lie, several times when I listen to it, I have a copy of the airport map in front of me so I know what runways they are using to land and take off from.  

Website I'm Frequenting (Bonus):  Live Air Traffic Radar 
  • That's right, gone are the days of you sitting out in your backyard with a pair of cheap binoculars pointed to the sky wondering where that airplane is going, where it's coming from.  Ok, so maybe you don't do that, but I do!  NOW, you can simultaneously spot planes with those cheap nocs, listen to said planes communicate with ATC and see where they are going and where they are coming from.  
This is pretty much me...

Except those nocs are way more $$ than my pair.  

  • I'm a sarcastic guy.  It's my personality, but I can promise you this... I can't get enough of those two websites.