Feedback Time

I just had a huge week in terms of blogging. I wrote two lengthy articles: A Dover Dilemma, and US News and World Report, Media Literacy and Social Media. On both posts, I got some awesome feedback in the comments; although I usually address feedback like this with followup comments, many of these thoughts deserved to stand out.

Read on to see the comments and my responses.

A Dover Dilemma

Christopher S. Penn wrote:

Who needs motivational speakers? Yeah, they’re nice, but chances are students probably miss the message anyway. Take the money, some money, and throw out a challenge to your student body – make a 3 minute motivational video on the topic of your choice – college is in your reach, live outside your comfort zone, etc. – and upload it to YouTube. The video that gets the most views wins a small scholarship or something.

Motivation only works if someone WANTS to be motivated. It’s like sales. If someone wants to buy, selling is easy. Convincing them that they want to buy if they in fact do not? Difficult. One of the sales tricks is to get someone to sell an item to themselves.

Get your students to sell themselves on motivation.

I completely agree. Then again, I get all the motivation I need from TED talks and great blogs!

I’d love to throw something like the YouTube contest you mentioned, but that would create havoc in a high school that doesn’t offer a basic computer class to students.

Unfortunately, I don’t think people around here want to be motivated. I’ll keep trying, though. Going to have to innovate on this one.

Kim wrote:

I’m proud of you for being so forward-thinking and standing up for yourself and the Student Council. It’s a really intelligent and mature decision. I’m very disappointed in DHS. I agree that not having a speaker is not the biggest tragedy; I couldn’t tell you who came to the school the past two years, let alone what they said.

But hm…I wonder, do you think you could find someone local to make a speech? Like a community member, who would maybe do it for free or at least a lot less than a professional speaker?

Or just do it yourself. I’m sure there are a lot of kids at that school who could do with following your example. :)

Thanks, Kim! Although I’ve made the call to not purchase the services of a speaker, the entire Student Council has a say in what we do with the assembly. I’m thinking about taking your advice about finding some local talent to speak in place of a hired hand. I can think of a few teachers and members of the community who may be able to pull us through. I’ll keep thinking of ideas in hopes of finding something innovative.

In terms of doing it myself – the Student Council President gives opening remarks at assemblies such as this. I’m considering expanding my opening remarks into a speech on the subject of the degradation of Dover High School. I have little to lose.

Chris wrote:

I’m really sorry to hear that your highschool is falling apart, too. Not only has Carmel Highschool had greater numbers of more severe fights this year than others, but crime in my town is ridiculous as well. Thieves smashing car windows to steal iPods and anything else that isn’t attached to the frame, psychopathic genitalia mutilating murderous wives, drug addicts sticking up Rite-Aid with shotguns, and two bank robberies in the past 30 days or so. What’s going on?

Holy crap! That’s crazy. Dover hasn’t quite gotten that bad. Our problems relate to an inability to punish people who cause serious trouble while simultaneously clamping down on more benign students.

Anonymous wrote:

Listen Rick… Everyone knows why our school is out of control… The reason starts with the new Administration/Dictatorship… As much as everyone hated Mr. Tierney for his “lack” of discipline look at the difference in our school from last year to this year… The way I see it is that a certain administrator feels the need to increase discipline which is just making the students rebel… I’m a senior and for the past 3 years, for the most part, I looked forward to going to school monday to friday… It was a very comfortable place to learn and hang out… This year however one can feel the sense of change in the school… Someone’s on a BIGGGGG power trip and it needs to stop… Last year I could walk the hallway without being badgered about every little thing but today I walk the hallway and I wonder what exactly am I doing wrong now?… Will I get suspended for walking on the wrong side of the hallway? Or God forbid a student goes to the bathroom… the teachers have to inform the office a student has left the classroom? And most recently students are no longer allowed into the attendance office… How about we just let Jackie into the office in the morning lock the door and not let her out until schools over? Because it’s obvious too many kids enjoy her personality and want to stop IN and say hello… DOVER DAY CARE IS BACK IN SERIVICE… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?… The school needs to start treating students like high schoolers and less like kindergarteners… Last year, with a few exceptions, the highschoolers were treated, and acted like, high schoolers… Now this year rolls around and all of a sudden I feel like I’m back in daycare and these “high schoolers” are behaving like theyre preschoolers… Please tell me that its not on the “Administration” and its ALL on the students as many were originally so quick to say… Now it seems more people seem to be leaning in my direction… I feel sorry for the teachers who I have talked to me and have said in-directly whos fault it is… My heart especially goes out to our schools beloved hall monitors who obviously cannot stand they way things are being run in our school… Ricky I know youre smart.. How do you feel about this?… Here’s my final statement.. Our new principal is not fit to be a principal.. School is supposed to be a learning caring learning evniornment… I feel like I’m stuck in a Maximum Security prison… Dover High School is on lockdown… Changes start from the top… Lead by example… Something our school is lacking this year

I hear ya, bro/sis.

I’d rather not call out any individuals and place blame. I’m hoping that the situation is still salvageable.

US News and World Report, Media Literacy and Social Media

Edvisors Online Education wrote:

Very thoughtful and intelligent response. It would be fun to turn the table on Kimberly Palmer (the author of the USNews article) and ask her to justify the fact that her article is sponsored by several student loan companies (via Google Adwords).

I work with Chris Penn and we are all very proud of the work we do. We have a clear mission of “providing a richer, more fulfilling education experience to students, educators and parents worldwide”. We do this by providing a wide range of educational resources, including the Financial Aid Podcast. Believe me, it is not inexpensive to do this as the article implies – it is a lot of work. However, it is worth it as it build good will, helps students further their education, and yes, generates customers who appreciate the added value we can offer.

Good luck in school. We don’t need you to take a loan out with us – there are millions of student who we can serve. But definitely – keep talking about us!!!

Keep putting out compelling content and I’ll keep talking about you. It’s how Internet Karma works.

Chris wrote:

I don’t like how the article associated the Student Loan Network with deceptive marketing. As I don’t find the tactics of th SLN to be deceptive, the article’s insinuation is in itself a little sneaky. But I’m also not sure if we should be bashing the article that hard. Ignorance, especially in the context of loans, is extremely dangerous and terribly volatile. Look at the housing crisis. The clusterfuch of the loan market led to quite a lot of action on the part of the Federal Reserve to fix it, and the market’s collapse led to a dive in the dollar. The article is right about one thing. If you’re taking out a loan, you need to know everything about anything you’re agreeing to. I think it’s perfectly justifiable to call attention to this fact in the manner they did, although I would have chosen different examples.

The association of the Student Loan Network with deceptive marketing obviously angered me, too. The article took my happy story and spun it into an attempt to pray on a desperate student.

You’re absolutely right about ignorance concerning loans. In fact, that’s one of the things I spoke about in my interview. I criticized those television ads that go, “Get $40,000 right now!” for their lack of disclosure and tendency to lead student to over-borrow.

Your stance is more neutral and unbiased, and thus, less passionate. I’m too personally involved to take a stance that composed. I still maintain, though, that the root of the problem is basic media literacy and that deceptive marketing is only a secondary concern.

Thanks for all of the feedback, everyone! Although I can’t change anything about the US News and World Report article, I think I can still effect some change in Dover before I leave for college. At least, I’ll give it a shot.

By the way, let me know if you think a larger feedback-addressing post like this is a good thing every once in a while.

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