Saturday, January 31, 2009

One Goal Met for 2009!

Back at the beginning of the year, I posted my goals for 2009.  One of them was to submit a presentation for consideration at the NASW Texas Conference to be held here in Fort Worth October 15-17, 2009.  Well, today 
I did it!  One down, more to get done!  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sources of Inspiration

I am so fortunate to be able to read the newspaper every morning.  Without fail, I read about something that adds value to my personal or professional life and often touches my heart, either in concern about an ongoing social problem (child abuse, poverty, homelessness) or in enlightenment about new opportunities (a book to read, a movie to see, a place to visit).  I do get weary of the constant bombardment of bad news about the wars in Iraq, Afganistan, and now Gaza.  News about the economy are even more frightening as friends and neighbors are losing their jobs and bearing the personal toll of hard times.  So, I skip through those stories in the paper and look for stories that enlighten my world.  

This morning, I had extra time after reading the newspaper, and to my delight, I discovered the latest edition of the National Geographic. Check out "Your Shots" - my favorite is by Meaghan Davidson, 18, taken December 2008. The amazing photographs inspire my hope to learn how to use our digital camera and perhaps one day take a photo worthy of one "fav" on Flickr.  

So, what enlightened me this morning?  Check out the photo journal in the November 2008 edition of National Geographic about how a daughter and her her husband take care of her father, Herbie, who suffered from dementia and a Parkinson's-type movement disorder.  The story of the "sandwich generation" and caring for loved ones who have dementia is powerful and beautiful, and the photographs are simply endearing.  This story caught my attention because I didn't expect National Geographic to tell this type of story (not your typical story about elephants in Africa).  I am grateful that the editors put this story in and are helping to raise awareness about the challenges facing the "Sandwhich Generation."  

A second moment of enlightenment happened when I discovered the web site Talking Eyes Media.  Here is a quote from their vision statement:  
Talking Eyes Media is a multi-media public interest organization that creates and distributes compelling visual materials that advocate for positive social change.  We concentrate on issues that are currently underrepresented in the mainstream media, and we use our books, exhibitions, websites and films to raise awareness and broaden public debate. 
Wow!  Talking Eyes Media is a fantastic new resource for my teaching tool kit.  I will be following it closely and using it in my social work courses at TCU.  

Staying informed without getting overwhelmed is a challenge for me.  Finding avenues for inspiration and enlightenment is an important part of my mental 
health and ongoing professional development.  What are your sources of inspiration and enlightenment?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I just discovered several new websites about elearning, social bookmarking, and social networking and am very excited to learn more about these tools for teaching and learning.  The Learning Circuits Blog caught my attention today and the biq question for January 2009 "What are your challenges, plans, and predictions for 2009?  

My plans and goals for 2009 are to 
  • improve my teaching evaluation scores and gather feedback from several different sources to improve my teaching effectiveness (build my teaching portfolio)
  • integrate ideas about eLearning and use digital tools in assignments to engage my Millennial students in meaningful learning (dump old ways of teaching and old assignments!)
  • submit a literature review for publication on compassion fatigue and self-care in social work
  • submit a presentation at the NASW Texas Conference on compassion fatigue and self-care in social work
  • help a colleague publish results of her work with child sexual abuse treatment and pet-assisted therapy
  • work on a research project with my colleague at TCU on peer-supervision and elearning in field education
  • implement an online data collection process in field education that will be used for program evaluation as well as individual student evaluation
What are your goals and challenges for 2009?  

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Reflective Practitioner - Another Self-Care Strategy

Today I discovered Michele Martin's Bamboo Project and am hooked!  What an "Ah HA!" moment in my personal and professional life!  When I read her posting about Becoming a More Reflective Individual Practitioner, I recognized that this is another important strategy that anyone in the helping professions like Social Work can employ to stay healthy.  Preventing or mitigating the problem of burn out and compassion fatigue in social work is a huge professional challenge and becoming a "Reflective Practitioner" is a valuable practice to maintain professional mental health.  Michele credits an article What is Reflective Practice?  (pdf) by Joy Amulya of the Center for Reflective Community Practice at MIT for the main principles in her posting and was extremely helpful for me as I think about what I hope this blog is all about and my ongoing quest to be a compassionate and effective social work educator.  

Check out Michele's blog and let me know how you have been inspired to be a reflective practitioner!  

P.S.  I copied this cool t-shirt image from Michele's website