Who are you?
In this very mysterious universe, who is anyone of us really?
Cut the philosophical crap and make with the facts!
My name is Tim Stahmer and currently I’m an Instructional Technology Specialist working in the Office of Instructional Technology Integration for an overly-large school district on the Virginia side of Washington DC. What else do you want to know?
What is this blog all about?
Mostly it’s my observations on the state of public education in the United States and the perpetual efforts to reform it. That, plus comments on instructional technology, blogging and the read-write web (aka Web 2.0), various forms of media, digital rights and fair use, a very small dab of politics, and the everyday oddities of life that pop up. Which is why the site is called Assorted Stuff. I probably could have called it Constantly Distracted but I didn’t.
What makes you qualified to comment on anything, much less any of that stuff?
I’m alive, observing, have a brain, and run a web site of my very own.
Anything beyond that?
How about if I give you a thumbnail of my background and you can decide for yourself if you want to continue reading my rants? For 17 years I taught math to middle and high school students, plus computer literacy and computer science (and a couple of American History sections one year so that part of the degree wouldn’t go to waste). For the last 11 years or so I’ve been helping teachers, administrators, and others at all levels make sense of technology in their instructional practice and, of course, repairing a few computers and printers (hate printers!) along the way. These days I work mostly with the technology trainers in our elementary schools. And, according to my contract, “Other duties as assigned”.
My wife was also a teacher in the public schools for just about the same length of time (minus five years working at a museum in the “real world”). She taught mostly mostly high school choral music including five years in a charter school in the District of Columbia. My interest in charter schools as a tool of educational reform comes from her experiences and those of a friend who is the director of a charter school in another part of the country. My sister homeschools her four kids, lending me a little knowledge and a lot of interest in that aspect of the business as well.
So what school district do you work for?
I already said it’s overly large and in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. Beyond that, you’ll have to figure it out for yourself. Shouldn’t be hard.
Are you a liberal or conservative?
Sorry, but I refuse to accept any simplistic labels for myself other than “independent”, “professional cynic”, and, probably, “geek”. I work very hard at being one of those strange people who actually tries to understand the multiple sides of an issue before deciding which one I’m on. I’ve also been known to vote for both Republicans and Democrats on the same ballot!
Web publishing. I got addicted very early but never developed the discipline to learn the craft well enough to get paid for it. I used to teach basic and intermediate classes on web development but now primarily use WordPress to help friends and relations set up and maintain their sites. I also do workshops for schools on web design and speak at conferences. From all that I get enough money to feed my tech habit (or at least a small part of it) so maybe it’s not so much a hobby.
Anything else you’d like to add without boring everyone to death?
When you put it that way, probably not. Other than to say thank you to everyone who takes their valuable time to read my stuff. And even more thanks to the people who take additional time to comment on and link to these pages. I probably should also specifically thank Jay Mathews, education writer at the Post for putting this blog on his list of favorites, in spite of the fact that I regularly write negative posts about his “challenge” index and some of his other views on American education.