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Keeping Up (But Not Necessarily With the Joneses)

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How are you keeping up with what is going on in your job search - and in the world? Record-keeping in your job search is important, but it is also vital, in my opinion as an educator, to keep up with what's going on in education and in the world.

This may seem an odd topic for an education job seeker blog, but I think it goes directly to a higher purpose and to your excellence as an educator. I work with college students every day, and it is a question I ask or want to ask on a regular basis.

In your education courses, you likely studied about current trends and techniques to help you be a better instructor. But are you following what people are saying about those trends and techniques today and next week? Will you be stuck with your 2011 trends and techniques in 2021?

This probably seems a shameless plug for the sponsors of TopSchoolJobs, but Education Week and Teacher Magazine provide excellent coverage of what is happening in the education world. Professional journals in your disciplines provide coverage of research, new materials, and trends as they develop in your field.

On a larger scale, though, I think it is our calling as educators, no matter the discipline, to facilitate the development of knowledgeable citizens who contribute to the community and to the world - and to be those knowledgeable citizens. There are plenty of reputable sources of world, national, and local happenings online, on the airwaves, and in print. Can you tell the difference between those that report the news and those that are commentary?

I admit that I'm old fashioned, and I like the sensation of holding the newspaper and turning the pages. I read both opinion items (columns, editorials, letters to the editor) and news articles in my local daily and a large regional paper. I watch the local and network news on television. I don't watch or listen to the incessant commentary from all colors of the political spectrum one finds on cable or radio.

I find that many of my fellow world citizens cannot draw the boundaries between opinion and factual reporting. Commentators repeat opinions over and over until their followers repeat the opinions as facts, "because [my favorite commentator] reported it." Being able to tell the difference between reporting fact and delivering commentary is important to the higher purpose to which I alluded earlier: being, and developing, good citizens of the community and the world.

So what are your sources of current information? The Daily Show or the daily news? Commentary or reportage? Newspaper or blog? And the big question: Are you helping develop knowledgeable world citizens by encouraging your own students to be cognizant of local, national, and world events and to sort out opinion from fact? Ladies and gentlemen, this is a task for more than the social studies specialists among us. It is a job for every educator.

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