Before You Enter...

This is a personal blog and any statements found here; whether educational, political, controversial, or otherwise stated, should not be taken as officially representing my employer, members of my family, or my friends. These are only the thoughts and opinions of Patrick Johner.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Well it has been almost three years since I have begun my blog. I openly admit that I have struggled with a purpose to write a regular blog. Let me be clear, I have opinion, thoughts and experiences to share; but, I have struggled with the idea of WHY I should write a blog.

Clearly there are many people out on the internet who are blogging, and another one is not needed! It was over a holiday break that I realized that this is more about me, and less about the blogging universe.

 Over the Christmas Break, away from teaching, I began to reflect upon how I as a professional could improve upon my practice. I have been very fortunate to work with a great number of people over the past 20 years in the education field that have been truly dedicated, passionate, and resourceful in their own craft and science of teaching. Yet this collaboration has been limited in scope by the reality of everyday life demands.

 As part of my own Professional Growth, I have committed this year (think of it as a New Year’s Resolution!) to blogging. Let me be clear, this will be an effort, as I make time to reflect on various topics of personal or professional interest. I am looking at this as my personal/professional journal. Only difference is that it is public, and others may comment and hopefully challenge and help me in my learning and thinking. I will actively reflecting on my instruction, challenge assumptions, question practice, offer advice, provide solutions, and learn collaboratively together with those who comment.

 Professional learning is often pushed aside in schools as educators work through the day, consumed with teaching our students and meeting the curriculum expectations of the education department or other ministries. The few moments that we can steal for professional development are usually spent in sessions with experts pitching their wares.

Teachers rarely get to self-select learning opportunities, pursue professional passions, or engage in meaningful and ongoing conversations about our profession. I am no different in this regard. I struggle with balancing life to meet my family expectations, professional responsibilities, and personal passions.

Today I believe technology has made it easier for educators to embrace continual professional development that honours self-selected learning, professional passions, and meaningful ongoing conversations about practice, students, thinking, research, etc.

Digital tools such Twitter and blogging provide gateways where new knowledge about teaching and learning can be accessed as never before. At the same time pushing ones thinking—and having it pushed by others - refining and revising one’s own thinking about teaching and learning.

Writing a journal for a public viewing is a risk of sorts. Yet with the risk, I anticipate there will be tremendous rewards of personal and professional growth. By no means am I an experienced blogger or writer. I am simply on a journey of learning and sharing
 I hope to have some fun along the journey as well!

 "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Top Five List of things any Dad can do to engage in their child’s school

"Because, ever since my children were born, the moment I looked at them, I was crazy about them. Once I held them, I was hooked. I'm addicted to my children." Daniel, Mrs. Doubtfire

I think this quote typifies my feelings as a father, and I can say during parent-teacher interviews last week, it typifies my dads too.

Last week during Parent-Teacher Interviews, I was asked by one of the dads of a student I teach, what are some kinds of activities he could do to help his child in school. After we discussed my “off the top of my head list” of possible activities, he was genuinely pleased with my information. His positive and honest reaction to me, made me think about finding the time to write in my blog.

Now I should point out that these suggestions are not rocket science material; but, I hope there are some suggestions below you might find useful. Further, I am a teacher…not a researcher. So these are ideas that I have gathered over the years as a teacher, and recently as a dad myself.
So here goes….

My Top Five List of things any Dad can do to engage in their child’s schooling.

1. Walk or take your child to school
This is a great time for dad to LISTEN to what your son/daughter is thinking about on the way to school. For men, the big danger is the desire to want to fix things, or give advice. You want to be careful about doing this. Remember the goal here is to listen, and get your son or daughter to trust you over time to share and open up his/her feelings about school.

2. Attend class events
Children love to have their dad attend class events. Talk your son’s/daughter for a list of future events. If you really want to help out in school, consider talking the principal. Many schools offer hands-on projects; such as, "dads only" events, school carnivals, sports activities, father-daughter and father-son activities, and back-to-school activities are great for dads to get involved with.

3. Attend your child's school conferences
A fathers' participation at meetings can change the dynamics of the discussion significantly and influence the outcome for the positive. Remember to be positive and supportive when solving problems. In fact, listen, and then listen some more. Wait for the teacher to ask for suggestions. We dads tend to jump in too soon. Acknowledge your child's difficulty, but model resilient behavior. It's possible to learn to manage issues as difficult as reading, writing, or math. Emphasize the things your son/daughter can do, rather than what he/she can't do. Every child needs to feel like an expert in something. Help your child identify her talents and support her interests.

4. Time, Time, Time!
The three T’s of a successful dad. Spend TIME with your child. For instance, Read regularly with your child. With young children, read together four or five times a week. For older kids, buy your own copy of what they’re reading and discuss it at least weekly. You can even come to the school and read once a week for 30 minutes to your child, or other children in the school. You don’t need to be an expert. Just be willing to read! Why not commit yourself to have lunch with your child once a month. I see the joy in a child’s face when dad shows up to take out his son/daughter!

5. Connect with your son or daughter
Use open ended questions to get your children talking about school. These types of questions will get them to interact with you, help you to understand the way your child thinks, and help you get to know your child better. Open-ended questions allow your child to imagine, elaborate, tell stories, and solve problems creatively.

Well there you have it dads! I hope you enjoy the list, and if you have any ideas to add, or wish to share your experiences; please leave a message or email me.

I leave you with this quote from William Shakespeare – “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” Trust me, he is right, and it is so rewarding this journey of knowing...!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back In The Saddle Again...

Well, as Gene Autry sang so passionately, I'm back in the Saddle Again. be more precise, I am back in the classroom again after almost four years of absence.

Feeling my creative juices flow, I decided to add my own lyrics. Please forgive me Gene!

So here it is folks. Not great...and I am sure the one or two of you reading this blog will see how to improve upon it! Try and imagine the tune with the original song!

Back In The Classroom Again – by Patrick Johner

I`m back in the classroom again
Out where a teacher is a teacher
Where the children like to read
A story book indeed
Back in the classroom again

Supervising the hallways today
Totin` my old Whistle again
Where you teach with passion
Seeing the Hope in Action
Back in the classroom again

Inspiring` to and fro
Back in the classroom again
I love to teach the 21st century way
Back in the classroom again

I`m back in the classroom again
Out where a teacher is a teacher
Where the children like to read
A story book indeed
Back in the classroom again

Well, if you are still another old cowboy Roy Rogers used to say....

“Until we meet again, may the good Lord take a liking to you.”

Monday, April 5, 2010

To Boldly Go Where I Have Never Gone Before...

Ok! I have done it. I have started a Blog. what? Who is out there listening? What do people look to read? I have so many questions, and few answers. What will my journey bring me. Who will be with me as I make this journey of thoughts and opinions? Is anybody out there?

Cavett Roberts was quoted many times saying, "Since 95 percent of people are imitators and only five percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer."

As I was pondering the potential value and also the possible risks to starting my own Blog, this quote from Roberts came to mind. Will I bring anything new to the world of Blogging, or will I simply be imitating what is already out there? I really do not know where this will all end up for me.

This initial Blog experience is more about me exploring how my own thoughts and opinions are on various topics as opposed to me trying to convince anyone else about my "opinion, knowledge, or expertise" as being "right, correct, or definitive" on anything.

I do not know who reads Blogs, or why, or when. Maybe I should have done some research (usually I do before I make a decision); but alas, here I am today!

And look at me...I just finished my first post! Ok, I know I have said nothing profound or truly enlightening, but it is something.

Thank you for coming by...