A question then.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TeachOn, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    What, I increasingly wonder, is the purpose of this site?

    Are we perhaps just marking time between discussions of optimal skirt length?
     
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  3. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    I can only speak for myself.

    What I get from this site:

    I have found this site very resourceful when it comes to getting help regarding my profession (ranging from tips on how to handle certain behaviors to advice on where I could find certain resources for instruction). Sometimes, I just come here as a break to hang out with fellow teachers and offer them support in their personal lives, or have a laugh with them.

    Yes, I run across the occasional person who feels the need to insult others, or talk "down" to the rest of us, but that is bound to happen in any large community. In that instance, I would attempt to draw that person into the community, making him/her feel welcome and hope they would want to reduce (or even eliminate) their tendency to demean others. Sometimes I'm successful; too often I'm not.

    Then again, I don't have nearly the number of posts you have, TeachOn, so this is just my perspective... as a "Rookie", if you will. :)
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I'm here for many reasons that range from advice about my website (most recent question I posted) to just chit chat. I love this forum but I get enough politics in real life so I avoid it here.
     
  5. Global Teacher

    Global Teacher Companion

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    I'd say enough time has been marked.

    When I taught in Egypt, it was actually in the contract that skirts had to fall below the knees. I imagine in Saudi Arabia, below the ankles is what flies.
     
  6. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Ooooooooooo! Flying skirts! I'd love to see video of that!
     
  7. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    :lol:
     
  8. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I imagine that most members come here for teaching advice and support. Speaking for myself, I don't mind engaging in political threads as long as they are polite and respectful. Though, I recognize that some things are off limits here. I will, however, try to avoid those that are wildly condescending in nature or those that deliberately try to provoke negativity.
     
  9. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    I've been off and on with this forum for several years. I come and go. Ditto for another popular teacher forum.

    I find this forum to be highly professional and friendly.
    There are a couple of regular posters I find tedious with almost constant complaints, but because this is a registered and well-monitored forum, they are easy to ignore.

    In the past couple of weeks I found multiple interesting, engaging threads on topics that interest me. Mostly education related, some tangentially so, one or two not really.

    However, since boards are clearly titled and threads are labeled, it's no problem to skim them and find topics that interest me and pass over those that don't.

    I think that's the purpose of the forum.

    I think this is the best gathering place for teachers on the 'net. And I've been to most of them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  10. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I have been a member of this site since 2007 and this is by far my favorite forum (the only one I frequent). The best thing about this site is all the real-life experience its members have. When I have questions about organizing my class library, people here have ideas. When I am clueless as how to help a student, someone here has had a student like that and can offer suggestions. There is a wealth of knowledge from the members here as a collective whole and that is why I come here.
     
  11. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I have met some of my best online friends through this site. I have come here for job advice, teaching ideas, good discussions, and fun for years.

    What it has never been, to me, is a negative place. It's never been a place that makes members want to quit because others can't censor their comments. It has never been a grumpy, condescending dumping ground full of jaded, burnt out teachers hell bent on making everyone else on the internets as miserable as they are.

    Alas, times they are a changin'.

    But, as I reenter this small corner of the internets that I love so much, I see it still full of hopeful, interested, positive, teachers doing their part to shape the next round of this nation's educators. Because that's what we do-always learning, always inspiring, always guiding.

    And occasionally drinking tequila and eating brownies.
     
  12. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I suppose we'd have to ask Amanda for a "purpose" of the site, but I view it as a community for teachers.

    And what a varied lot we all are. Teachers from all around the globe come here, with different ideas, experiences, levels of experience, mind sets, and expectations. I expect that's why there are so many subforums... to give everyone a place to discuss what they choose to discuss.

    Of course, threads wander off topic, may not get any replies, or may seem trivial. But hey, that's the beauty of communication among so many individuals.
     
  13. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I appreciate more of the professional threads - but it is a shame when someone tries to start a thread and it's either ignored or ruined by off topic posts. Or a person's idea is mocked because a group of people clearly think it's the WRONG idea... such things annoy me, but thankfully we can control where we post in :)
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    TeachOn, what was your purpose in returning to A to Z?
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    The reason I have been a member for several years is because I enjoy having a place to ask questions related to teaching—usually related to the daily operations of teaching—and getting fast and varied responses, especially when after being here for a while you get to know members and value their opinions. I also like to provide advice when I can, recognizing, of course that my take on any given situation is just...it's just my opinion. (Note, that's where things have been going wrong lately. Too many people are here to debate, and by debate I mean indicate repeatedly in a rude manner they are right and others are wrong and by wrong I mean stupid.)

    And I certainly enjoy the Time Out forum...especially for someone who doesn't like to be social, it gives me just enough. :p
     
  16. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    A place where teachers come to share their experiences, positive or negative, and receive support from the community.

    What is it not. A place where educators are having in depth discussions about teaching methodologies and practices.
     
  17. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I agree with the first part of your statement.

    I disagree with the second part.

    Those of us who have been a part of this forum for many years recognize the value of give and take in discussions. We strive to create an atmosphere that encourages polite repartee about "teaching methodologies and practices", and respects the opinions of all of our valued members.

    What we don't agree with are the posters h*ll bent on demanding that their opinions are the only "true" opinions, and that anyone who disagrees is not even worth acknowledging.

    Now, back to the road trip...
     
  18. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    On the front page of the general discussion forums(from any month over the last year), how many and which posts are discussing teaching methodologies and practices in depth?
     
  19. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    That would be because it's summer. When I was teaching, the last thing I wanted to do a month into summer vacation was discuss teaching methodologies and practices in depth.

    Count the number in another month. It'll be different.
     
  20. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    And to add to that, if you want to discuss something in depth, start a thread on it. Ask for others' opinions and thoughts, and when they give them to you, refrain from telling them they are wrong or stupid or inept or worthless. Engage in discourse, and learn from others while adding ideas of your own. Avoid caps lock. It's just not necessary.

    Oh, and the "you" in that statement is not directed towards you, Pashtun. Just "you" in general.
     
  21. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Oh,and if you would like examples of things we have discussed in previous years, just go to the search box and look for a topic you are interested in. You will find that we don't always turn things into fun and games...but we are respectful.
     
  22. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    This. Exactly.
     
  23. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Quoted from Forum Rules & Policies:

    The purpose of this forum is to provide encouragement, advice, support, enjoyment, and [insert positive word here]! It is a safe and friendly environment in which to share. The expectation is that visitors to the forums will be both professional and respectful. We won't always agree on everything, but it is expected that any disagreements stick to the issue and not attack anyone personally. Personal attacks may be removed from the forum and repeat offenders may be banned. If you don't have something nice to say, don't say it!
     
  24. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    poof
     
  25. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    And in my experience this forum is perfect for those "trivial" questions because they are trivial, but they're questions we have to ask someone. When I was a first-year teacher, I was especially grateful for this forum because I could ask questions here that I felt stupid asking my new colleagues.

    And I knew I would get kind, understanding, non-judgmental answers.
     
  26. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    That's exactly what it's about, marie! Glad you're here :)
     
  27. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    And repeat posts happen all the time. Many times, a long-time member will post a link to a previous conversation, not because they don't want to answer or to stop the conversation, but to make sure to include any responses others had given. No worries!
     
  28. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Here's my cold, clinical assessment of this forum, both positive and negative.

    + Lots of bright, well-informed teachers sharing techniques, tips, and experiences.

    - A "hivemind" that often leads to pages upon pages of the exact same response phrased slightly differently. The first deviant gets stung repeatedly.

    + A great support network for thorny issues related to the teaching profession.

    - A tendency to "over-empathize" with other teachers, often ignoring other points of view.

    + Excellent advice as it relates to finding a teaching job, including resume critiques and interview strategies.

    - A very apparent and (for some of us) stifling liberal bias that is cultivated and encouraged by the one moderator that I ever see post anything (TeacherGroupie).
     
  29. Cicero

    Cicero Companion

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    I think the purpose is for teachers to find support from one another in all of the different aspects of being a teacher. I am always impressed by how many posters give up their free time to help people in the "job seekers" forums; they help posters transform their cover letters and resumes while playing cheerleader for those people who are starting to give up.

    What I don't think the purpose of this forum is: proving that you are the smartest person in the "room." I think that a lot of the argumentative political threads lately are created for that purpose. The author is posting thinking he/she is helping these poor, misguided, naive teachers understand what is really going on in education. Thanks, but I follow news and do my own research about matters regarding my profession. I do not need someone preaching to me about the end of educational times.
     
  30. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    I'm not sure I understand the point of the question of the OP. These forums mean different things to different people. Just browse the sub-forums and it's easy to see what is discussed.

    If you don't find what you want here initiate it or look elsewhere.

    I drift to and from these boards depending on what else is going on in my life. I enjoy the company of other teachers because we have so much in common and I find this place typically much friendlier than many other message boards. My internet surfing time is usually more for fun/relaxation than for discussing pedagogy. It doesn't mean I'm not an intelligent, thoughtful, dedicated teacher. I do lots of reflection, research, reading, and discussing - just usually not here.
     
  31. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    So, using the biggest words you can think of doesn't mean you're the smartest? Darn, I guess I'll put my thesaurus away :rolleyes:
     
  32. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    :agreed:
     
  33. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    "Personal attacks may be removed from the forum and repeat offenders may be banned. If you don't have something nice to say, don't say it!"
     
  34. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    :thumb:
     
  35. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This is absolutely ridiculous. His post was in no way a personal attack on anyone or anything.

    It was his opinions, observations, and he has a right to them.

    Edit: except for the naming another poster part:)
     
  36. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This site has been "home" for me since the summer of 2005. For me, it serves many purposes:
    - a place to learn about educational systems and practices in places other than my own little corner of the world
    - a place to ask questions and seek advice about my teaching practice
    - a place to offer support and encouragement to others
    - a place to be an unofficial mentor to new teachers
    - a place to vent anonymously
    - a place to find new ideas

    It has also become, over time, a place to connect with some of the dear friends I have made here.

    School finished for me this past Friday. At this point, the connecting with friends is far more important to me than any of the educational purposes. After a few weeks, when I'm ready to think about the new school year, my focus will be different.
     
  37. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I've counted this forum as a profession organization, a support group, and a source I had to cite (in APA format) for one of my papers last spring. It's been one that helped me land a job, pilot through my first year with some painful co-teaching issues, and now take on my first leadership role.

    That being said, it is not liberal or conservative, and takes tremendous pains to maintain that stance. It is not strictly professional, or we'd never have Teacher's Lounge or the Prayer Forum. The relaxed decorum does, on occasion, leak into the Education threads, sometimes in a way that leads the original thread off a cliff. When that happens, it's sometimes best to start another thread with a more focused scope, possibly with a modified take on the original topic. Heaven knows, it's happened to many of us.

    To paraphrase a piece of advice given to me the summer I prepared for my first classroom, lie back, point your toes, and enjoy the ride downstream.
     
  38. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Maybe I should have edited the post down to the one sentence that I was talking about!
     
  39. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I disagree with this as well. There have been several discussions recently about what people are reading professionally, things like how to measure prosody, common core standards, etc.

    But to answer the question, I echo what many others have said and I will add that AtoZ allows me be knowledgeable enough to discuss what is currently happening in education across the country. I find it very interesting to learn about the differences in policies and practices. I also come here for advice--I have learned a lot from the other members of this site and yes, even to find out what movies people have seen recently-I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
     
  40. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    AtoZ kept me sane during my first year of teaching (in a school at which the inmates were in charge of the asylum, so to speak). I have been a member now for about 6 years. This forum has been many things to me:

    • During student teaching, it was a source of ideas and encouragement
    • During my job search, I received valid advice, had my resume critiqued, and oh, yeah! received more encouragement
    • I've already mentioned my first year
    • Since I've been at a "sane" (though still urban) school, I have read (and sometimes even contributed to) many interesting pedagogical discussions
    • I have been the recipient of many, many wonderful ideas
    • AtoZ is a fabulous sounding board - that way, I know if my ideas are crazy or realistic
    • I can vent without repercussions
    • I derive huge benefits from the experience(s) of others
    • I hope to "pay it forward" by offering suggestions to other teachers in need

    Do I always agree with the posts? Absolutely not! What keeps me coming back here, as opposed to some other sites, is the mutual respect and tolerance I have found here.
     
  41. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    This site has provided me with more help than I would have found anywhere else!

    Job searching: advice on cover letter, resume, and interviews
    Teaching: help with curriculum, behavior problems, decorating ideas, how to handle parents/principals/coworkers/etc.
    Personal: I have made numerous friends on this site that some I have had the pleasure of meeting in real life and some that I can't wait to meet in real life. And some threads have provided much needed laughs when I've needed it.
     

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