Friday, 9 November 2012


I had a meeting this morning via videoconferencing.  First, I couldn't log in because there was a new way to access the VC that had not been explained.  Then I could not get through to tech support. When I did get into the session, no one could hear me. And then my screen froze and went black.

I'm used to talking.  A lot.  And ranting.  So to sit in a meeting and not be able to talk was more than frustrating.  In fact it verged on enraging.  It's like how you feel when your party loses an election. Year after year after year.  And after awhile you just stop caring.

I used to feel that my voice was listened to in my workplace and by my professional association.  Now, not so much.  So this year I took a vow of silence.  I don't speak at staff meetings.  I don't send bulk emails containing my views on things.  I don't write to the ATA.  It feels weird. I'm a Social Studies teacher, and I tell my students they should speak out.  But now, I don't. And even though my vow of silence is self imposed, it's no less enraging.

I wonder if my students feel like that.  Out there in cyberspace, at their kitchen tables, and in their distance ed learning labs, in the back rooms of their places of employment- do they feel alone?  Do they feel like anyone listens to them?  Or have they just stopped caring?

Monday, 5 November 2012

Cancer, Capitalism and the Classroom

Here it is Movember, I think I have convinced two guys to grow a monkeytail and next week my sister is shaving her head as a cancer fundraiser.

But I keep thinking of the session I attended at a teachers convention a couple of years ago.  Wendy Mesley about chasing the answer to cancer.  The gist of her message was that our research dollars go into cures for cancer, when what we really should be doing is looking at prevention.

 How much of our fundraised cancer dollars go into looking at what causes cancer?  Because, seriously, wouldn't any human rather not get cancer, rather than find a cure? As the old "Demotivators" poster says, "If you're not part of the solution, there's money to be made prolonging the problem."  Am I cynical about big pharma and --I admit it-- capitalism in general?

Today I came across this video on, of all place, aljazeera (where I was looking for an XML code to put in my D2L News Widget (which I still haven't figured out, btw)

And I wonder, what am I allowed to say on this subject?  Teachers are supposed to be impartial and present fair and balanced views. But if it's true that the chemicals we use in farming and industry cause cancer, should I remain quiet?