"This blog is for every teacher out there seeking to be relevant and effective for her/his students and families. These are some of my favorite stories from my journey." -Damien Riley, M.A., Classroom Teacher since 1997
As teachers we often focus on the constructive words like “change that and turn it in again.” We are often guilty of not building our students up enough. Here are just ten ways to say good job. I invite you to put your ideas in the comments. Thanks for being positive with learners!
“1. Rock on! 2. That’s awesome! 3. I can tell you’ve been practicing. 4. That’s very colorful. 5. I like how neatly you’re working. 6. You really followed directions. 7. Way to show what you can do! 8. Bravo! 9. That’s fantastic. 10. Great work”.
Studying in sustainability Masters programs is often the best way for people to take their career to the next level without changing their career focus or leaving their industry. However, other people can use these degrees to change their life path altogether and enter a new career that will be completely different from the one they left. The sustainability field is one where people are constantly being hired because every business is under pressure to become sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint.
Learning the strategies and tactics that businesses can use to ensure their sustainability is something that anyone can do with a little bit of help from an online degree program. With these programs, people can go to school and still keep their job while they decide how they want to carry on with the next phase of their life. The traditional classroom is not for everyone, and family obligations often make it difficult for people to make it class and complete their studies.
However, an online degree program provides more chances for the student to get what they need out of the program while still maintaining their regular schedule. People do not have to quit their jobs or neglect their families in order to get their education and change their career path.
Also, there are people who would prefer not to go back to a regular classroom because of the experiences they had in regular classrooms in their youth. Rather than trekking to campus everyday, these students can learn at their own pace online. This means that students only need an internet connection and a computer to get their studies in. People can earn degrees completely through the computer and add a Master’s degree to their resume without ever having to set foot on a university campus.
The choice to change career paths and learn more about the field of sustainability is a brave one that many people will take in order to increase their earning potential or go into a different industry where they will be happier. Getting these degrees online is easy, works the same as getting a traditional degree and provide the knowledge necessary for the student to improve their career prospects.
I’ve made a few significant changes to the way I run my classroom teams. I’ve added an element that is quite innovative, shared with me by teacher and Adelanto board candidate Carlos Mendoza. We had a great visit sipping Starbucks and telling teacher war stories when he suggested something unique with the help of a pencil and napkin. I started implementing it today. My classroom runs on the concept of competition. I have the kids seated at u shaped tables instead of desks. This is in hopes they will be more collaborative.
I had a rough day recently where I realized paper was not a good foundation for a week of lessons. Our copy machine is hit and miss. Some days it will work perfectly, other day it will be the primary discourager of teachers on campus, myself included. I am always looking to make my teaching “foolproof” so I sat down with a huge chart tablet and started creating what I called “Less Paper Lesson Planning.” The embarrassing truth it that I only used it one day. However, the concept is still with me and I think about it as I plan the lessons for my classroom. I was told once that a goal will always put you in a good direction, whether you achieve it or not. The greatest ideas seem to come only after many failed ones are attempted. I guess that day I set a very deep-set goal that hasn’t gone away. We have a lot of materials at our disposal every day that can be used in place of copies. Projectors, ELMOs, PPT, white boards, smart boards, pair sharing and verbal response, computers, tablets, ipads … more are coming our way all the time. I am finding that when I put my emphasis on “less paper” more innovative ideas come.
Teachers who invent solutions are my heroes! Sometimes after getting a teaching degree, one is surprised that what they learned isn’t reality. In other words, for some challenges, there is no beaten path. This can be due to legislative changes or just the needs of a particular area in education. In those situations, I have learned the value of these three words”Create. Innovate, and Integrate.” Whether you are teaching creative writing jobs or the alphabet, as a teacher your innovation will always yield a lot of value.
On Facebook this evening, I found this “teacher’s bill of rights.” This comment may sound rude but I hate blue-sky, irrational posts like this that complain on behalf of us teachers in the trenches. I would like this if it were meant as humor but I think they are being serious. I don’t need them to plead my case as a teacher. Here are my corresponding comments: #1 Is subjective. #2 Is subjective #3 Copy paper, pencils, and soap are provided (though I could use more pencils than 30 a month) #4 My school has fairly advanced technology #5 ok #6 Ridiculous. Highly subjective statement and completely impossible to grant to any teacher.#7 WTH are they talking about here? Colleagues evaluating us? Hopefully not some I know #8) Ha. Go into the business world. Teaching will always be a medium paid job, which is not bad. There is more security in teaching than most jobs of the same pay. #9) A dream, but a good one. #10) We get this already.
I agree with the direction of these rights but the way they aim to get there is bordering on absurd. “Think Big” they say out there in the world. I say, be the change you want to see. Little by little, you’ll affect big changes.
I loved the Nike slogan in the 80’s “Just Do it.” This is something we as teachers in negotiations need to remember. If you read too much of the news around education, it will leave you feeling left out to dry. For some reason the climate in political circle is bad toward teachers. It’s not warranted however. We in education have seen so much good happening in our classrooms, schools, districts, and regions. We know teachers are continuing to pass on knowledge and students are receiving it. There is an issue of economics that has center stage. The conservatives for the most part want higher test scores and they want the ability to produce them without traditionally credentialed teachers. They open chart schools, of which some are very good I must say, that employ low paid teachers that are not unionized. I assume they still must be credentialed but if they can save money I am sure they will find a way around that. We studied hard to get two degrees in college and we long to show our ability in the classroom. We work hard to see measurable growth in our students. Unfortunately, this is not being seen by some voices in our culture. Continue reading In the Mean Time, Just Teach Kids
Communication should be of the utmost importance to a teacher. She/he should consider all tools at her/his disposal to get the point across to kids. All the planning and research in the world can’t be used unless the teacher knows how to communicate it to students. Direct communication like speaking to a class or one-to-one has it’s place of course as probably the most important and effective mode of transporting knowledge from teacher to student. Still, indirect or implicit communication can have a stronger impact in select situations. For example, when teaching social rules of the classroom, a skit or puppet show may be more effective than a lecture. The stuents can see themselves and their peers in the puppet and not feel self-conscious or defensive about the content. Sometimes, even having the kids make brown bag puppets or other type and then allowing them to speak through the puppet.
Teaching can never be described as a simple endeavor. Planning lessons is a challenge that will always stupefy the greatest teaching minds. That doesn’t mean we give up though! Humility is a necessary ingredient in the dynamite teacher. If we ever reach a mental place where we feel we “have it wired” I think we will never reach our potential as educators. Through difficulty and yes, failure, we become great. Anyone who tells you failure isn’t a requisite for teaching greatness is not a great teacher in my opinion.
We talk about the methods of great teaching and we talk about our objectives. One thing we don’t talk about enough is the proximity and presentation of our lessons. Take this idea for example: say you have delivered guided practice to your class on a math topic for nearly 2 hours and you still do not see 80% accuracy in the kids. You might be tempted to blame them or even still yourself for not getting the lesson out in an effective manner. Quick, simple question:
“Where do you stand?”
Could it be possible the kids couldn’t see your numbers as you wrote them on the board? Could it be possible your glorious “steps” you created and taught were hidden from the students because the screen turns snow-blind at a given angle? Perhaps you should take the time to test and measure the proximity and presentation of your lesson before you begin. No time teaching kids is ever wasted. However, you can make the most of your time by deciding the answers to some of these questions before, during, and after your lessons:
Can every seat see me and the content I am presenting? You might go to every seat with your content on the overhead to test this. Or, you might ask a colleague to pop in and test your visibility
Where do you stand? You should know the blind spots you create with your body and/or writing hand.
Is the overhead or document camera a better tool than standing at the board for the content you are delivering?
Are your visuals big enough for the back to see.
After you have addressed question like these, you are more likely to produce a dynamite lesson. But don’t stop there. If you find yourself puzzled as to why kids aren’t getting it, you don’t have to wear yourself out asking questions like background checks for employment. Simply use proximity and presentation as a way to troubleshoot and pinpoint issues holding your teaching back. The reason you aren’t reaching all your kids may very well lay in the question: “Where do you stand?”
I have at least one more thing to say about edublogging. Please note I am wont to say that just before I write a book about something. In this post I thought I’d gush a bit about the benefits of all this backbreaking labor they call edublogging. I get 5-10 offers a year to write on educational topics or have someone write about them on my blog. I hate to be really transparent but I like that feeling. When I am addressed as an expert in education because I discipline myself to write on a blog, that’s cool. Sometimes, and far less frequently, I am asked to write a post for pay. This usually includes me placing proprietary ads in the post itself. I’ve made upwards of $300 doing this. Of course, I only accept payment when they are about education, no magic weight loss drugs of course. In short, I feel tall when people recognize me as an edublogger and purveyor of online information. It has taken work to get to this place and I hope it gets better as I hang in there continuing to edublog. Continue reading Benefits of Edublogging and Content Creation