“I’ve been trying so many things to get my students quiet so I can teach!” exclaimed a Boston-area fellow teacher, Carl, yesterday. “I tried yelling for attention all last year. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.”
I nodded, having been there myself. Carl continued. “This month I’m experimenting with just stopping and staring at kids who begin side conversations. I’ll just wait, and LOOK at them. Sometimes I’ll even murmur quietly:
“Hey, I wonder how long it will take for them to notice I am trying to teach? Hmm… I see some great students starting to pay attention…. Excellent, now everyone is focused again.”
“That worked so-so, but what I loved is we all ended up less exhausted than when I was screaming.”
“You know what tactic I enjoy?” I giggled. “I just keep stopping a sentence and re-starting it over and over until students realize you need them silent. It’s deliciously annoying, and really effective!”
“I think I’ll experiment this week with snapping and clapping routines to get the kids quiet,” exclaimed Carl. “You know: “If you can hear me, clap once!””
All this experimenting is adding new tools to our Teacher Toolkit, I mused. We tinker and try different tactics in the classroom until we land upon the specific combination of Classroom Management strategies that works perfectly for us.”
Then a light bulb went off in my head. “HEY!” I exclaimed, “Experimenting with Classroom Management in teaching is exactly like what’s going on with me and my websites now as a Blogger!”
“Huh?” queried my friend, perplexed.
You see, if anyone were to have been spying on me since the March 4 Dreamhost webserver crash, they would have seen me hunched over my computer for hours upon hours each day, desperately trying to find the right combination of Plugins, Server Settings, Cloudflare Options, CDNs, W3 Total Cache buttons, and more to make my two websites race at the speed I long them to achieve.
And the quest continues. Which magical combination of settings will finally get rid of the error messages and sluggishness that have been driving me batty since March 4?
Website Speed Optimization is fascinating, infuriating, and infatuating.
I can’t stop working on it or obsessing about it, and I don’t want to. For those of you who don’t know how Site Optimization works, you have NO IDEA what an insane, deep, dark world it is… and that’s why I like it.
Each night I have been poring over dense online tutorials, changing this setting, downloading that one, running speed tests, and exchanging countless emails with tech support gurus.
Here’s an example of the instructions on just ONE of the countless settings I’ve been toying with:
“Select manual mode to use fields on the minify settings tab to specify files to be minified, otherwise files will be minified automatically, but will not use the CDN.”
So what do you think? Should I switch it on or off?
It is rare to find such a complex, engaging puzzle in life… unless you’re a Teacher!
Finding the perfect combination of “tools” and “settings” to optimize Classroom Management as a Teacher, or Website Speed as a Blogger: these are two quests to challenge the brain and the soul!
I’d love to hear in the Comments section if you have any experience and tips for either Classroom Management or Website Optimization, and if you have any feedback on the ever-evolving layout and speed of my sites!
As of 3/20/12, I’ve worked out a bunch of bugs on both of my sites, so the speed should be medium-paced, but it’s still much slower than what I’m working towards, so stay tuned.
May we use our brains to the maximum, and solve whatever we strive hard enough to puzzle out!