Just a quick conversation

If those who can’t do, teach, then those who don’t teach, blog. How else do they have the time?

As my Bloglines unread numbers all climb into the double digits, I not looking at anyone else’s blog much less adding to my own.

With two maternity leaves, a military leave and a retirement, I’m reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates to replace almost half of the social studies department next year. Add to that the continuing implementation of an entirely new assessment model, the race against less than fifty days till the AP Euro test, and trying to catch up with the school’s web site that went live before it was ready. There’s no time to catch a breath, much less reflect on it.

Nonetheless a time saver idea came to me the other day as I was helping a student with an essay. Writing conferences may be the most productive teaching we do, they focus on the most transferable skill we teach, it’s one on one, and it’s work centered. The trouble is, when you are trying to untie a Gordian knot of ninth grade writing it takes a lot of explanation. There’s no way marginalia is going to help the student. Unless they walk away from the meeting and write the second draft immediately, much of your counseling it going to be gone.

Unless, you have a digital voice recorder.

Record the conference and then attach the file to an e-mail to the student. Late that night, when they are re-writing the essay, they can revisit the meeting as if they were just there.

Amidst a million things to do, good ideas still stand out.