Tuesday, May 26, 2015

If You Borrow It, Tell Someone

Those are words of advice given to me by my Father. Actually it was more like, "Hey, I don't mind if you want to use my tools but put them back - in the same spot - when you are finished."

Isn't that really the point of attribution? You are borrowing someone else's words or pictures. You may not be able to "put them back in the same spot," but you can send others back to the spot where they were found.

Too often on Twitter and Facebook I will see something that I know I have seen before. Almost invariably I do some digging and I find the original news article, blog post, or image that it came from.  Sometimes it is in a re-tweet (RT) and the person who originally tweeted it is the guilty party of not giving credit where it is due.

So, what should you do before you re-post something? My immediate answer may surprise you after my intro here. I say it depends. If you are in the middle of a twitter chat where 50 to 100 tweets are flying by every minute, then you may miss  hundreds of tweets with great nuggets by researching that one tweet. Just favorite the tweet prior to RT'ng it and then you can go back and give the original item the proper attribution after the chat.

If, on the other hand, you are seeing a tweet outside of a chat or in a slow moving chat then take the time to check it out and if the original person wasn't mentioned in the tweet take the time to include "via @originalperson" in your RT. If you need to modify the original tweet prior to RT'ng it to fit the "via," then remember you are now tweeting a Modified Tweet (MT) not a re-tweet.  Just use MT instead of RT and everyone will know what you did.

Finally, if you are going to be the original person putting something up on Twitter or Facebook, then take the time to craft your tweet or post so the attribution is included. If you can't find the person's Twitter handle through the twitter search do a web search using the person's name and the word twitter - "chris fancher twitter" for example.

If that doesn't immediately give you what you need, then research where this person works. Is he or she with a business, at a school or university, or in a school district? If nothing else find a twitter handle for the specific place of employment and include that.

Take the time to do the simple task of giving recognition to the originator of whatever "tool" you are using. You owe it to them and to your followers to do it right.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Feeling Radioactive


[Originally written mid-April, 2015 ]

Yesterday I went for a run/walk as I try to regain my body - my body that is currently almost 70 pounds overweight and tired.  While I was out plodding along and listening to my running playlist, the song Radioactive by Imagine Dragons started playing and I realized that this song has a different meaning to me than most others.

It was about 15 months ago when I was out in similar fashion (except I was only about 50 pounds overweight then). As I was running I heard Radioactive and a huge vision of my brother undergoing chemo-therapy popped into my head and tears filled my eyes. I replayed that song countless times that morning while moving forward at a snails pace.

Now when I hear that song I feel a connection to my brother who lost his fight with cancer almost exactly a year ago. But, in a weird way, there is a deeper connection than just the title and cancer. In a way I have become very radioactive this past 12 months. I have become much less sociable and withdrawn - not wanting to spread my radioactivity to others.

I once was very active on Twitter - to the point that over 3000 people now follow me. I was also very active on Facebook - friends could guarantee a quick response to postings. And I used to write blog posts with regularity. Now I'd rather stay home and "work" although I am often just going through the motions. At school I am getting much less accomplished and I'm less and less able to keep our teachers smiling.

My school and district are a huge source of my radioactivity. Trying to "do right and fear not" is getting to be a real challenge when there are people around me who are doing wrong and fearing not. I am surrounded by too many people who are unhappy and want change. That negativity fuels my radioactive juices.

By the end of the calendar year I hope to eliminate (or drastically reduce) the radioactive levels flowing through my soul. The first order of business will be to find a new job. If that can't happen then I worry that this past year may pale in comparison with the amount of radiation I might have to absorb in the coming months.

[Updated 16 May 2015]

I will need help to do this. I need to be among people who are strong, positive, and smart. There are some incredible people in my current school district who fit that bill but more and more those people are leaving like the proverbial rat leaving the sinking ship. Just last night I learned of another person who is leaving. I was hoping to be able to work with this person at some point in my career but that will now not happen. My radiation levels creeped back up last night.

The possibility of being too old and, therefore, not hirable is also starting to enter my brain. There are tons of things I would love to do but I worry that people are going to start choosing younger minds with better physiques over me. Up go the radiation levels. Thank god I have my work with the Buck Institute for Education (BIE). It allows me to be around adults who are learning about a way of teaching that I firmly believe in. It allows me to be encouraging. It allows me to be cheerful and positive. It allows me to lower my radiation levels quickly.

I don't know what my life will look like 12 months from now. I could be doing something completely different from what I am currently doing. I could be doing instructional coaching in another school district. I could be doing the exact same job I'm doing now.  Except that very little will look the same at Decker Middle School.

The 2015-2016 school year will have a totally new administration - a new Principal AND new Assistant Principals. What will this new regime bring to DMS and what will this disturbance in the force do to the nearly 1000 students coming through the doors? Our poor 8th graders will have had a new principal every year they were in middle school. But our leaders don't think about such silliness. If our test scores go down it will be the teachers' faults for not doing their jobs.

Radiation levels could go critical!

Anyone have a dosimeter I can borrow?