Megan’s Blog











{April 24, 2007}   Dress Codes

I realize that this post is a while after the fact, but I have been reflecting on what we discussed about dress codes.  I know some people commented on letting a person’s “personality” show through tattoos, piercings, and hairstyle.
I would just like to say that first of all, I work in a Hallmark store, and most of the clientele is older women, and the parental generation.  Our parents may have lived through the sixties and seventies, but I talk to my parents now, and they often comment on people wearing all black, with tattoos and piercings, and how they are “bad kids.”  It doesn’t matter is they are the best salesperson ever, I will still be intimidated and not want to approach a person who looked like that unless I knew them personally.
Everyone makes judgments, which is something that no one can deny.  If a manager is looking for something to represent a company, he or she will not be willing to hire someone who looks like they just spent the last 24 hours in the tattoo parlor.  I am not being rude, or judgmental, I am speaking the truth.  I have worked in two different small businesses, and in both, all of the employees were asked to dress in a certain way, and look professional.
A company’s policy is their policy, and a majority of company’s require that their employees dress appropriately.  All I am trying to say is that a company who does not care what their employees wear or look like, seemingly show little regard if any concern for the people who represent the business.
Furthermore, a person does not have to work at a certain place.  If they are so concerned with letting their personality shine through, then find a job where the people do not care what their employees wear.  It is not the company’s job to please you; the employee is lucky to be given the chance to work for a business.  If you don’t like it, there are two choices: comply or good luck finding another job.



{April 17, 2007}   Three Blogs…One Idea

Teaching….

I had some problems finding teachers blogs, maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places, I am not sure though. The blogs I did find were interesting. Most of the blogs were written by teachers, however, not a lot of them had to do with actual teaching, and reflections on teaching. The taglines usually comment on teaching, for instance the one linked above has the tagline of “Making Learning Irresistible for Over 25 Years.” This blog is like our class blog; it has the assignments on it, along with other school related events. Nothing really happens in the blog, and she doesn’t talk about what is really going on within the classroom. I think the classroom blog would actually work really well because it’s a way that everyone in the class can reach. If students miss a class, they can check what happened on the class blog and get the assignments in an easier fashion.
However, the downfall of this would probably be the fact that it kind of increases skipping classes, especially for high school students. I personally would have attendance be worth points, so that students would be encourages to come to class, but missing a couple classes wouldn’t affect a score. Also, with assignments posted if someone is confused about something, and explanation is there to double check on what’s going on. I am a fan of the blog, I think it accomplishes a lot. Papers get lost, or thrown away due to confusion, or distraction of what is going on.

The NYC Educator

I actually did enjoy this blog, and I wanted to keep reading. When I think of blogs, I have always thought of them as personal ranting and thoughts. That is kind of what this blog is…but its really interesting. Best of all, he talks about teacher related things, for instance, he took this quote, “My 6th grade teacher liked to start off his lesson by publicly humiliating the students who’d made mistake on their homework assignments. He’d then give us an activity to do for the lesson and rather than teach us or even explain the activity to us, he’d sit in the back of the room and read comics.” The NYC educator questioned why people like that become teachers, and I myself have often wondered that. Why is it that teachers take joy in humiliating students, and then not bothering to teach them? I think maybe some teachers become teachers because it is the easy way out. Others become teachers because they want to make a difference, but once they feel useless and burnt out on teaching, they give up…and become hateful.
The reason I want to be an English teacher is because want people to read the book I enjoy reading. I would love to hear other people’s opinions on the books that I myself find interesting. Other people’s points of views are incredibly interesting, especially when they are talking about things that interest me. Teacher who are engaging and have a class interaction usually are the favorite teachers…especially in comparison to the boring teachers who just lecture.

http://budtheteacher.typepad.com/bud_the_teacher/

This blog is interesting in the sense that while it has a teacher-esque feeling to it, it also deals with other ideas of types. What I found most interesting is that he talked about wikis, which is something the class had just talked about. I think that wikis are a really good idea, especially for a classroom. It is kind of like the class blog, but I think in a class, maybe even a history class, it could be used as a project of sorts. Students can be in groups, and post information on the blog, and then at the end, other students will have to look at another group’s blog and write a paper based on what was learned. This is not what the teacher in the blog thought up, it just sort of came to me and I thought it was a really good idea, at least for a high school classroom.
However, in this teacher blog, Bud the Teacher talks about things going on in the cyber world, along with other ideas. For instance, in his latest entries, he talks about cyber bullying and a new yahoo tool that is about to launched to help teachers. He has subfolders about the blogging community, teacher-related material, storytelling…and these are just a few I noticed as I glanced through the entries. This is a teachers blog that I did enjoy because not only did it cover teacher-related materials, but also interesting entries about other things that would not only interest teachers, but other people.

Out of the three blogs, I most enjoyed the second one, the NYC educator. His blog contained really interesting stories about teachers and what is going on, or happening in different parts of the US.



{April 10, 2007}   My Report and Part 3

For my report, I would like to interview my old high school teachers, Mr. Hayes and Mr. C. Mr. Hayes would be an excellent candidate to interview simply because he is the type of man who will open up and give me the answers I know I am looking for. I am interested in interviewing Mr. C because not only did I interview him for my profile, but he is also the teacher that I aspire to be. I hope that when I do interview him, I will receive answers that will help me become the teacher I want to be. With Mr. Hayes, I know he will give me advice and information that will help me know what kind of teacher to become. With the information I receive I know that I will hopefully become as knowledgeable and helpful as they are.

In Part three of the book, I found the questions interesting, but once again I am confronted with a problem. I am not sure what to ask my teachers, especially in consideration that I am not sure how writing is involved in the education world. I read through the questions offered in the book, and I noticed they were all excellent questions…for business associates. Yet still I am here, wondering whether or not my questions are going to be acceptable. In part three the questions ask mainly they type of writing done during the job the interviewee does and how it affects his/her career, the business part of the job, the writing that is done, all of the above. The problem is that they are not really involved in a business, so…their responses I believe will be very interesting and educational involving my future career.



{April 5, 2007}   Part 2

As I was reading part 2 of Write Up the Corporate Ladder, I was thinking about how I am going to interview my high school teacher, and I know he has certainly never written a book., and I am pretty sure he doesn’t really write. I suppose he writes emails to parents and such, and he is always writing notes about the class, and notes on papers, and last time I checked he was writing his masters project, but, writing a book? Having a writing process? That does not seem like my teacher, but who knows, maybe I was wrong about him. I believe this will be a learning opportunity however, I will get a peek inside of the world that I hope to one day be apart of. I enjoyed how each person had something unique to day about their writings, and their flashbacks on writings were all eye opening. I liked the reflections on Stephen King, and how he could just pick up and start writing. I also had always assumed there had to be a mood, or a right place for writing but I suppose there isn’t. As I was flipping through the pages, I was trying to find questions I would be able to ask my teacher, but I was unable to…which concerns me when it will come time for the portfolio…but I am hoping that I will be able to find my way and now have to worry about it right or wrong.



{April 5, 2007}   Mr. C

I have two main ideas for the portfolio; my main one is my high school teacher Sean Colcleasure. He is an amazing teacher who has inspired me to become a teacher, and get a major in English. I have never seen him write that often except for the comments he left on the ten page papers he would assign, so I am intrigued to know what he has to say about his profession. However, being the busy man he is, my second choice is my other high school English teacher, Brian Hayes. Mr. Hayes is a man who would be perfect for this, simply because he encourages the class to write as often as we could, and he made us write often. I would love to know now what he does that involves writing not only in his career, but also on the outside of the job. I feel as though I could Mr. C about his writing, I know he is trying to finish his dissertation, or masters, but I suppose I would start with asking him about the writing he does for class. I realize that as English teachers, the two men would more often be writing, but strangely, the students were always the ones who were writing, and they were the ones reading. I may be mistaken, but I still want to know what they write. What would they write about? I don’t know what I will ask, or how they will respond, simply because as teachers they are always reading the students work. The most writing I ever got from them was on the rare notes we would take, and the comments on the papers that I slaved over encouraging me to do better. Do they ever write? If so, what would they write? How, as an English teacher, can they constantly be writing if they are always reading. I know Mr. C is constantly reading I am pretty sure he is Barnes and Nobles favorite customer, but if he is doing all this reading and suggesting these books, then what in the world is he is doing. The reason why I want to interview Mr. C is because he is the man who has influenced me the most. He is reason why I read what I read, and why I write the way I write. He is who I want to be when I graduate, a high school English teacher who inspires students to be their best.



{March 22, 2007}   Blogging: Yay or Nay?

As Naked Conversations came to an end, the book did not seem as long as it initially did. My opinion of the book, I regret to say is not a high one. The authors had a valid point, but they seemed disorganized, and I really did not enjoy the structure of the book. The stories they shared were incredibly interesting, but they dwelled on certain ideas too long and seemed to be redundant in all they said. I particularly enjoyed the part about Microsoft, and the little unknown stories that they wrote about, for instance the beginning of AIM. Who knew?!
I see how blogging is revolutionizing the business world, but I feel as though what they said is a bit hyped up. I have personally never heard of most of the “big problems” that they wrote about, and I watched the news regularly. I know that NASA’s reputation has not been stunning as of late, but I doubt that blogging could have prevented that reputation. The time of release of data might have affected their reputation a little bit, but in my opinion, not by much. I am also disappointed that they did not talk about Macintosh. Microsoft seemed to take a lot of hits in the book, and strangely enough, I haven’t heard as much negative attention about Microsoft as I have about Macintosh. The authors seem to be biased towards companies with blogs. Just because a company has a blog, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a better company, or are going to be able to prevent a
downfall.
Naked Conversations is a good book, with good ideas. I believe blogging is important, and that businesses should keep an eye on what people are saying about them on blogs. It is important that people know what is being said about them, but I believe that a majority of product buyers (for now), do not have blogs or are paying attention to what is going on in the blogging network. The only people I know who have blogs use them for diaries, of a sort, and I doubt they know what it going on in the intense blogging world. As of right now, I believe that blogging is more hyped up then it truly is, however, I also know that blogs are becoming more and more prevalent, and will someday be one of the main forms of communication between all people.



{March 20, 2007}   Blogging ~ What To Do???

Blogging is very tricky to do. When blogging for a company, a person should watch out for dissing on the company they are writing about. For instance, if I wrote about working for Microsoft, I would avoid writing about how I saw Macintosh products on the loading zone. That seems to me like common sense. Writing about something that will make a company look idiotic or “bad” so to speak, it is not something a person should write about. Blogs are supposed to be open, I definitely agree with that. However, people should use their brains. Especially if your company doesn’t know that you are writing about them, having them stumble upon some hateful thing you wrote about them will not bode well for a future in the company.
In some terms, I think bloggers need to take a step back. I know blogging is important, but the way everything seems to be happening on blogs does not seem fair to the people who do not keep an eye on blogging as faithfully as others. The book seems to demand that blogs are necessary for a company to both succeed and market its product. I suppose the people realize that the marketing value is very small, but the writers act as though the marketing value of blogs is out of this world.
When it comes to blogging, I think people should add comments to other peoples writing, because by doing that, you are basically net working. By commenting, people will either agree or disagree and therefore check out your blog because they want to see whether or not you make sense in your writing. For instance, if I commented on someone’s blog, I am sure some people could check back to my blog and see what exactly I am talking about, who I am, and what I am thinking about as I comment, or what I am writing. If you do not show passion as you write, then people will not take you seriously, or think that you really care about anything.



{March 13, 2007}   Blogging Opens New Doors

Naked Conversations is a book that jumps from idea to idea. The construction is enough to cause a major headache, it is not definite in who is being talked about, or thorough in explanations of certain people and how they affect the book. However, when the book is understandable, the stories and ideas are very educational. Learning how blogs are affecting the business world, and how they help (or hinder) a company offers a view into an up and coming technological age that most people aren’t prepared for. Most people are wary of how blogs are going to be helpful when it comes to business, but this book shows how it will increase customer assistance. I viewed the blogs that were mentioned in the book, and most of them were in fact very interesting. They all represent something different and share different point of views. Some are simply for blogging, others are for careers and marketing. Blogging is important for companies; it advertises their product without having to seem pushy. Customers can see what is going on in the minds of the companies they are buying from, which is in most cases encouraging. All of the small companies who went the extra step and started blogging had a great success. This is an awesome plan. I was especially intrigued by the website englishcut.com. (I didn’t link to it because I wasn’t sure if they would be able to track me down and comment on my writing.) Their success is amazing, having clients such as Prince Charles and Ralph Lauren. The idea that these men acquired the success they have, simply because of blogging is awe-worthy. I personally always viewed blogging as people telling stories of their day, sort of an online diary of sorts. However, this is true to a fact, but it is a whole new world for people to expand their connections and business. Something very important that was stated is that when blogging, selling oneself is not always the best way to go. Instead, one should “blog” around the idea of the company, while still giving it the idea of honesty and trust, because in the end, that is what most customers are looking for.



{March 8, 2007}   Putting On A Show

I found the Creating Passionate Users web article extremely helpful.  Presentations are difficult to create.  I have found it hard to create compelling presentations that are interesting to my audience.  I realize that a person is supposed to take a long time to prepare, but I found it interesting that one of the best people giving presentations spends over 100 hours practicing talking.  It is all in the voice.  Teachers can be really interesting, or really boring, and I believe it is all in the voice.  I think it is important to vary voice, pace, colors on the slides…everything is really important when it comes to variation in a presentation.  An audience will recognize that a presentation is boring when it is monotonous, the same thing over and over, however the presentation giver most likely does not realize that they are being boring or dull.  All they see is the information they are giving out is interesting and exciting, but they are displaying it in a boring way. 
Reading directly from notes is a very bad idea.  Watching someone read from slides or having someone read to their audience is not exciting; it does not spark an interest, or a desire to learn more about the subject being discussed.  By having short, engaging key words displayed creatively on a slide, an audience is more apt to pay attention to the presentation so they can find out what the words mean and how it applies to the presentation.  Everything rests in the way the presentation flows, and how it is presented.  If a person is excited and passionate and cares about what they are talking about, the audience will be excited and passionate too.  While giving a presentation, a presenter should ask the question that will spark thought in an audience, and proceed to answer them.  By sparking interest, people will pay attention to your presentation and actually care about what you are talking about instead of spacing out and not paying attention at all. 



Kathy Sierra wrote a truly interesting piece on user manuals.  Random, yes, but what she had to say and what she brought up struck a point.  She said people will pay the extra money to learn how to use a product.  For example, when buying a computer or video game, companies will include a very brief overview sheet that is two pages that will tell you how to briefly use the product and then leave its customer on his or her own.  However, there are books a person can buy to help him/her navigate their way through their new product.  There are over 100-200 pages of information on the product, and people will pay for that information.  Guides through issues that come up while using the product, or little tidbits of advice that will make the object that much more useful.  Sierra points out that high-quality training materials are extremely useful, and most people are willing to pay.  Additional materials, like charts, graphs, and encouraging words also help people learn how to do something.  Sierra used the example of learning to ride a horse.  She bought materials to help her master riding a horse, and she had to go through “levels” to learn new experiences.  What she says is true, people will pay to learn, and if they enjoy the quality of what was learned, they will come back again and again to learn new things, all the while paying for the materials to use it.




et cetera