For my C4T assignment, I was assigned to Mr. Joseph McCaleb and his blog, Doc Horse Tales. At first, I was quite curious about this title. What is the meaning of Doc Horse Tales? Over in his about me, he explains this meaning, and how it basically his identity. He explains that doc stands for his earning of a Ph.D., thus making him a doctor. Horse represents his love of riding horses, and tales represents his love of storytelling. As mentioned before, Mr. McCaleb has a Ph.D with an emphasis on English education and rhetorical studies, also known as literacy education. Through his posts, you can feel his love for horses and storytelling, because he incorporates those elements almost every time. I really enjoyed reading his posts, and I would recommend his blog to anyone, especially a person who loves horses and English.
In his first post, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation!” he discusses the topic of the graded, first day of class prompt of his post’s title. “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” is a topic that Mr. McCaleb and I both agree is a forced topic that gives students no room for expression. He then begins to discuss how he imagines changing this worn out class prompt through a thank you letter written by him and his horse to the Institute of Conscious Awareness. The letter was a way of expressing Mr. McCaleb’s thoughts through his horse. The horse discusses things about running fast and enjoying the company of Mr. McCaleb. At the end of the post, he discusses how seeing through the mind of a horse can get us to see the engagement of humans in different ways. I thought about an example of this as riding a horse and enjoying how wonderful riding is, and the horse thinking the exact opposite. He then asks us to imagine classrooms balanced with the external/internal collaboration of humans and horses.
In response, I agreed completely with Mr. McCaleb. Here is an excerpt from my comment:
“I agree with you on the concept that the "What I did this summer" prompt we had to write every year was forced, and the prompt leaves the student no room for true writing expression. I also would like to thank you for the idea of "imprinting a stallion's mind within my own body." At first, I did not understand this idea, but after seriously thinking about it, I interpreted this post as saying, "think as if you were in someone else's shoes." I thoroughly enjoyed the thank you letter written by your horse. I think by changing the casual "What I did this summer" prompt by using a different mindset is a powerful way to adjust the typical responses by students.”
His post made me really think about ways to transform the “norm” of writing prompts into something unique, just as he did in his thank you letter. For example, we can take the “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” prompt and add “now, think about this prompt from the point of view of your shoes.” How many different responses would a teacher get? How unique would it make this tired out prompt? This post helped me gain a more creative eye for my future teaching.
His next post I read was “Why write? Because you love to.” I also enjoyed reading this post very much. The whole topic of this post is why people write. He also says if you don’t think you love to write then keep reading.He lists five certain points. The first point is that humans write because it is a part of our character. The second point is that there are many options to writing that go past pen and paper such as technology (hint…BLOGGING!). The third point is that by writing we are releasing tension, and it makes us happier. If we can’t write because it makes us happier, how we can we expect our students to engage actively in writing? The fourth point is if we can’t do it, then we can do it for the kids. The point in this is that teachers normally teach what they love, and if you love what you do then you can easily motivate others. Fifth and final point, if we can’t find time to write, then we should maybe thing about getting someone else to do the things we have to so we can make time for writing.
In response, I, again, completely agree with Mr. McCaleb. Here is an excerpt from my comment:
”You reminded me that writing is something we love, and there is no reason for not doing. I also agree with other comments that #3 is a great point. We should be motivated as educators to be excited with our writing so we can motivate our students.”
I have not ever thought of myself loving writing, but after point number two, three, and four I thought again. I really thought about number four and how it applies to me even now in college. For example, we have all had that one teacher who did not ever seem like they enjoyed the subject they taught. I know that this kind of teaching only makes it worse on the students. We motivate others even more when we love the subject too. Overall, this post made me really think about how important writing is not only for us, but also for our students.