“Hey, I learned something new today!”

“If you want to change, you have to be willing to be uncomfortable.” EDLA 548

Like many teachers, I’ve been pondering the blogging process for a long time….for me, the pondering has been happening for about two years.  But always the problem: what do I have to write about. Finally, an epiphany.

Earlier in this week, I realized that I had been frequently saying to my various grade 10 classes, “Hey, you learned something new today!” One of those times was when I was confounded about the spelling of the word “license”, as in ‘poetic/artistic license’.  It’s not unusual for me to admit to my students that spelling is not my extreme forte, but that I’ve worked on learning strategies for the words that stump me.  Besides, they get a kick out of telling their English teacher how to spell a word!

After we can’t agree on the spelling of ‘license’ as a class, a couple of kids ask for and receive the go-ahead to check out the word on their phones via dictionary.com.  In the mean time, one fine young lad who couldn’t be bothered with his phone whips out his Alberta (Learners) Driver’s Permit….. it turns out that in Alberta we spell it “Licence”.  I had to see it to believe it, and most students agreed with me that it ‘just didn’t look right’ when we wrote it; nevertheless, we wrote the word down, as a couple million Alberta Driver’s Licences probably couldn’t be wrong.  We went on to discuss that if one were writing a casual, free verse type poem, one could take ‘poetic licence’ to spell ‘license’ however he or she chose to.  Even though at that point I said to the class, “Hey, you learned something new today!”, what I really should have said was “Hey, WE learned something new today.”  As I was standing at my SMART board, I knew that after a year and a half of pondering, I finally had something that I felt I could reasonable focus a blog around!

Later on in Social Studies, some of those poor grade 10 souls who get stuck with me twice a day recalled the earlier ‘licence’ conversation. We were discussing globalization forces which affect cultures such as accommodation, assimilation, homogenization, universalization, and hybridization.  It was pointed out that most websites and software are American based, so when we want to spell words in a Canadian fashion such as colour, favour, neighbour, and, as it turns out, licence,  the document programs scream at us with that wiggly red line, prompting us to assimilate, to Americanize.  I hadn’t thought of that example previously…. “I learned something else new today!”

So earlier tonight, in my Masters Course when the instructor suggested that we submit some “reflective” course work assignments via blog or email, I knew that I could finally go straight to WordPress  and this time, complete the sign up process.  This time, I knew that I wouldn’t turn back  on the blog sign up process  because I’d finally found my jumping off point.  I learn new things at school all the time… from my students, from my colleagues, and in my own ‘back to school’ Masters endeavor.  And so it begins…….

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