Reading, Viewing & Making Sense of the World
The Fight to Catch-Up
The fight to catch up lately has been very real for me. Last week I thought I was finally on top of things, had a good roadmap of what I needed to get done and how I planned to get there, and then life, asthma, and allergies came into play and what I thought would be done, just isn’t. So here I am, a little later than usual trying to put together a well-planned outpost that has all the meat and potatoes, starter salad, and dessert to ensure I have a full meal deal post here. So all Y’all out there hoping that I too have these days can be fully assured that more than not I feel a little scrambly lately, and trying to do the best that I can. At least I feel like I have moved from being burnt out to having spring fever (snow mold and all), and I’m not sure which one is harder to deal with.
A Day in the Life of Moi
To be completely honest, the stage that I am at in life right now is not one where I am using a ton of my critical thinking, reflecting, and reviewing skills as I once did. I attribute that to many things, but I think that the majority of it falls on my parenting plate. What does that mean you ask? Well, before work I get myself ready for work and my 2-year-old ready for daycare. I hustle around the house getting things organized, making sure the dog has food, water, and a treat (yes, spoiled dog), and then race to drop off my kiddo and get to school all in time to fulfill my morning bus supervision. The busy mornings don’t leave a lot of time to watch or read what’s going on in the world, and the kiddos on the bus are zombie-like, and I’m mostly managing to answer the question “what time is it” on repeat until the kiddos go outside. After work, if it’s not my evening to go to university or work on it, I tend to do chores, cook and play with my kiddo. Before bed, we read, but early reader books. Most times it engages us in conversations about being kind, why a character was upset, frustrated, etc. So, I guess I am reading the world a bit in that sense, but more playing the role of an educator helping my kiddo read the world. After reflecting on the writing above, I guess I am playing more of a facilitator’s role in helping my son learn to read the world around him. Like yesterday, for example, we went to the alley to shovel some snow and it surprised me how much he remembered about safety: looking both ways, watching for cars, avoiding sharp things, and more. Did that prevent him from climbing the step ladder? Nope. But what do you expect with a very active kiddo and fun things he doesn’t normally get to play with? Gosh, that’s a big role I am playing without even thinking about it. I guess that means that I need to be more reflective of my parenting practices, and how can I use my role as a teacher (rather tired teacher) to build my kiddo’s asset toolbox?
I’m probably boring my readers to shreds (yes, I am making an assumption that people are reading my post), so I apologize for that but for the first time, I realized that I too can have an active role in something I used to be so passionate about and try to engage in daily, in a different way with a different audience. That too is important. Sometimes I find it hard to balance parenting and work-life with the expectations that society plays on women especially. Maintain a home, raise children, but at the same time put equal energy into the workforce, be successful and build a future. It can all be a lot sometimes, can’t it?
Anyways, I guess how I navigate the world looks different than before I had a kiddo. I used to spend time reading a ton, of books, online, news feeds, and more, and spent a lot of time critically reviewing, reflecting, and analyzing what I was reading. I spent even more time looking further into things and using other sources to find information on something I was reading or reflecting upon. I can’t say I spend as much time doing that anymore, and I spend even less time reading for enjoyment and relaxation. That’s something that I definitely miss and need to spend more time doing for my own mental health and overall, well-being. It’s a shame though, that I have been losing perspective on now taking the turn to focus less on my ways to examine the world and more on helping set my kiddo up to be able to read the world around him. Maybe that’s the pressure of an academia-minded person that once did research, to continue to use those skills in our everyday lives. I realize now, that I am only going to fall short if I don’t put into perspective the role I need to play now, and how that factors into my ability to read and engage in the world around me.
Strategies for Analyzing & Validating Information
A lot of realizations happened while writing this post thus far, and it’s crazy to me that such an epiphany-like moment happened in such a short amount of time. Could it have been brewing for a while? Certainly. But it feels like a sudden shift in perspective. Something that I so desperately needed to move forward.
But what are some strategies that I used for analyzing and validating the information you ask? Well for starters, when using a website I check for authors, organizations they are affiliated or attached to, any reviews they have, as well as what the URL ends with (.org, .com, .ca, .net, and so on), as well as where they are located, and their ‘about us’ page. A lot can be said by looking at one’s website. The information can easily be discredited with a lack of transparent information, a lack of details, or something that just isn’t lining up. With online shopping sites that seem too good to be true, they usually are. I will look at the product on several other sites, and then read more reviews about the current site offering the best price to see in fact if it is a scam. Over the years I have always tried to find the best deal, it’s just something that gives me a rush (weird, right?). When I was younger, I purchased a lot from overseas, not worrying too much about quality, and was more focused on the price tag. When my kiddo entered the world and was sensitive to everything and anything (and I truly mean it), I was left being way more conscious of the choices I was making.
Especially in the world today with everything going on with Ukraine and Russia, being able to decipher real versus fake news is critical. (If you need a reminder about fake news, check out the suggested reading from Cymone, here. We saw a surge in fake news arise with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we could see divides in population-based on information they were receiving, repeating, and adopting as truth. Access to information, technology, and one’s ability to critically evaluate information also played a role in this, as many weren’t fact-checking credible sources, or were using the internet to only back up their opinions (confirmation bias which I talked about last week here). Chris B also shared a good article that reminds us that ‘Fake News’ is An Information Literacy Problem—Not a Technology One, which I highly recommend checking out! Anyways, whatever the cause or reason, it ended up spreading misinformation or fake news like wildfires in Northern Saskatchewan during a hot summer drought. Holly also introduced us to a few ways to combat fake news in the classroom with these two readings: Fighting ‘Fake News’ in the Classroom and one that is highly focused upon a psychology perspective.
Without going into politics (and frankly, I am not interested in engaging with any comments left on this post that are politically charged as this is not the right platform to do so), the way that Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has gone about using social media to spread some real news to break through to propaganda that Russia is spreading, is quite inspiring. Using social media platforms to spread truth instead of hatred, propaganda and fake news is something that needs to be noted.
I’d Love to Hear from YOU!
I seem to get carried away in my posts and sometimes trail off to unknown lands or ones that are definitely not connected to the country I originally was landing upon. Anyways, like always, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to answer one (or more) of the prompting questions below, share my post, or like it. Whatever you feel, it all is seen, heard, and valued. If you read the entire post, thanks for your ongoing support. If you skipped to the bottom and read a few things here and there, hey, I totally understand. We all have to do what we have to do to hang in there.
- What does an average day look like for you in terms of navigating information and media?
- What are your strategies for analyzing the world around you and what you are reading/viewing?
- Have you ever been caught up in fake news and shared it?
- How do you think schools can do a better job preparing students to critically review what they are reading, viewing and responding to?
- How are you feeling? Ready for spring? Teacher burnout? Something else?