The Impersonality of Text


?We have our 6 senses involved when we have verbal dialog with parents. If we use a colloquial phrase or say something we regret, we are more likely to be understood and forgiven because of non-verbal cues. Unfortunately, we can’t have impromptu face to face conversations with our parents every day or all the time. It’s important to be aware of the limitation of text. When you write a letter to a parent or to the whole class it is always risky. So much can be misunderstood. It always helps to do something called a “love sandwich.” This is where you give a compliment and then state the purpose of the corrective letter and then close with another compliment. Ie; “I am so pleased with Johnny’s progress in reading, he is far ahead all the students on his team in AR points. I wanted to let you know he is lining up a little late however after the whistle blows. I’m sure this is just a hiccup and Johnny is performing excellently in his math and other subjects.” It’s hard to have a way with words on these things but keeping the love sandwich theme in mind goes a long way.

Parents also seem to appreciate specifics. For example: send a notehome that says “the whole class was noisy, please talk to your child” will not be received as wellas one that lists 5 tips on how to stay quiet during the teaching part of the lesson. Then the parent can review the list with their child. Teaching is not their profession and they may not be able tocome up with this totalk abouton the spot upon getting the note. The last tip I’ll give about letters home is brevity. Parents work in the day and some in the night and they may be tired and not ready to process a long letter. Notes home work the best and come back the quickest when they’re brief in scope and concept. It’s a commenly used aphorism in teaching when we say, “Rome wasn’t buiilt in a day.” This is very true witth students. You might say, “Rome wasn’t built with one note.” I hope these observations will help you have more success in your textual correspondence with the home.

The Sub Aftermath and How to Deal With It

hes-just-mr-danza-to-the-students-of-philadelphias-northeast-high-schoolEvery teacher has to be out sometimes and for me that was true recently. While out, I understand the sub had one of the toughest times a sub could have. His nte he left, the mess on the floor and my desk showed me that sometime in the day things went terribly wrong . As a teacher of 16 years I’ve experience this sort of “sub aftermath” quite a few times but this one was particularly bad. I could barely walk a foot across campus without someone stopping me to tell me how bad my kids were. It was most certainly a bummer start to my day. Still, I was determined to deliver consequences that would assure me and the school this would not happen again.

After hearing about various wrong things the sub did, I began to assign a little blame. Nonetheless, these are my students who know better. I did what I thought was best and first of all have them clean up the class to a normal standard. There was paper all over the room. Second, I listed when the expectations of them are when the sub was here and got their agreement they had broken those rules. Because it was an intense day, I wrote a short note home explaining to parents the students had made poor choices and listed the correct actions and behaviors when there is a sub. The students stayed in at recess and lunch, which I must say is also hard on me but worth it for next time. If your consequences and threats have no teeth, there is no power when you say them. If you hold strong, your students will respect you for it. Now my hope is that I won’t have to be out again this calendar year to test the theory!

A Starting Place for New Essay Writers

pencilsI’ve run across a help for new high school and University writers. is a simple, yet helpful resource that can take a student who is a struggling writer and turn her/him into a scholar on the path to prolific. Here’s how it works: You visit the website and read the different lessons in the menu. One of them is “How to Write a Research Paper.” Another is “What is a Research Paper?” These are simple and well-written introductions to the world of higher education writing. I think for many students starting college this would help immensely by modeling. I wish I had these when I was in junior college back in 1988.

I’ve learned through my years of teachers that count up to 16 as I’m here writing that kids need things shown to them. This website models what essays should look like in many differents topics and disciplines. Leaarning abstract concepts is always easier when you have an example to follow. This site has those examples and can help kids see what a paragraph in an essay looks like. There are no annoying style ads popping out and sliding across the screen. Instead you have a foundation to start from as you begin your adventure of essay writing. I recommend this website for new essay writers.

I was compensated for my review but the opinions are 100% mine.

When Extra Work Means Less Headache

20130111-144253.jpgSometimes with certain classes, you have to do extra work in order to avoid headaches. One example of a headache is another teacher coming to you complaining about your class’ running or misbehaving at recess or dismissal. You can say it’s not your duty time but it will always come back to affect your reputation as a teacher, unavoidably. Define your target. Sometimes a little extra work takes care of it. My students get rowdy at dismissal. I have tried warning them to walk and be respectful but even after teaching rules and holding the whole class in all day as punishment, I still got two teacher complaints. It’s time to become more of a hawk eye with this class.

At that point, one has to decide, do I work a little outside my duty and walk them like smaller kids to the gate every day or risk letting them continue without my intense guidance and get more complaints further affecting my reputation as a teacher. It is an extra few minutes I agree and I am not required by contract to do it. At the same time, with some classes, one must accept they are too immature to do it alone and lead them out. I’ve given my current class every chance to improve and yet they are still, running and screaming and running into other kids. In the big picture they are my responsibility and I really don’t expect this class to ever be autonomous 4th graders in these activities, even though I’ve had much more mature kids who could handle it in the past. Sometimes a little extra work makes for less headache.

Effective Time Management To Balance School, Family And Work

When a person decides to go back to school to further their education and career opportunities, creating a good, effective balance between school, family and work can seem overwhelming. Being able to manage time wisely is the key to success in these areas. Earning a Master of Arts in Teaching degree like the online degree offered by Nova Southeastern University can be done with some simple, but effective time management tips.

One of the most important things to realize is that not everything will be done to perfection. Many students try too hard to do everything perfectly, which can cause feelings of frustration. It helps to relax one’s standards when it comes to smaller, less significant things like housework. The benefits received by earning a Master’s degree far outweigh any temporary inconveniences.

Creating A Balance

With family, it’s best to talk to everyone in the family and explain to them that time will be needed to take classes and to study. Let them know that there will be times when you’ll be temporarily unavailable. Set clear and precise reasons for acceptable interruptions. Also be sure to let them know that you’ll set aside time dedicated just for them. This will help to ease any fears of not being able to get attention on demand. If you also let them know how much earning an advanced degree will make a difference to the well-being of the family and that these inconveniences are only temporary, that also helps.

When it comes to work obligations, it’s good to let the employer know that you are in the process of furthering your education. This lets them know that you are focused on improving your skills, with the goal of becoming a more valuable employee. There may be times when you’ll need to be absent from work for school reasons, like for school registration dates and special meetings. But, with most course work being available online, these times will probably be rare.

Earning Your Advanced Degree Is Worthwhile

Keeping an eye on the worthwhile goal of earning a Master of Arts degree will help any student successfully complete their education. When one is able to get family, supervisors and co-workers on board with the decision to further advance education, everything goes more smoothly. When everyone is on the same page, it becomes easier to achieve goals.

Give Some Kids the Gift of Time

Telling Time - It's not Just for Kinder AnymoreThis isn’t a post about quality time. Rathet it’s a reminder that some kids need space to calm down when they’re upset. While it may seem obvious, we as teachers forget it a lot. I myself do and many of my colleagues through the years have shared the same pickle with me. People outside the classroom seem to forget, I know this from talking to them for years, that we are with the kids often more than their own parents. We see a side of them that is what you might call their “true color” side. Now, this isn’t true of every child. Some have an amazing ability to behave and adapt to new and challenging situations from the first day of school. Others struggle and it’s those we should consider giving the gift of time to let their emotions calm down.

While some kids are more of a challenge to teach than others, as a teacher I really do hold a strong affinity for all my children entrusted to me. It is in fact, a love for them. When I have one or more failing to adapt with the mainstream, I become serious about finding a solution. Sometimes kids pass through their struggle as a phase, other times you can trace it all the back to kindergarten and even at the end of the year there is no coping ability in sight. When these kids have an upsetting situation and begin to act out in actions and words, teachers are alarmed. We are charged to protect all kids in our classroom and so our mother hen mentality kicks in. There is a natural tendency to give the child a corretive consequence like taking away recess or going to a time out.

Sometimes, depending on the child, simply putting them in a safe place and telling them you are giving them time to feel better or calm down eliminates the issue. This may not always be the right approach for for several of my behavior problems through the years it has worked quite well.

How Fast Do You Learn a New Skill?

imageHow long does it take you to learn a new skill? I recently got a little folding my iphone and when I started using it, despite my excitement, I made horrendous mistakes and it wasn’t a bit comfortable. I kept at it, typing on it a few days and now, it’s very natural and I see what a great device it is! Note that it took a lot of time for me to see that. Now imagine your students. All the skills they are required to learn in a year can feel overwhelming, especially if they don’t have the pre-requisite foundation. Remember that it will take time and repetition for them to get the feel for new skills, just like it takes adults time to learn their new gadgets and skills. Why would you expect it to be any different? Continue reading How Fast Do You Learn a New Skill?

Teach How to Play

In teaching, it’s easy to get caught up in the demands of the day and the district, and your principal, and the pacing guide … it can feel like too much sometimes. If you feel like that, as an educated adult, imaging how it must feel for your students. I think it’s important for a teacher to know how to have fun. I know teachers who do it through giving out MnMs. I know others who show a science video once in a while and have their kids write about it. I know a few games I like to play with my students to help them learn their multiplication, and then of course, there’s kickball. The point is, these little guys don’t know how to have proper fun. They look to you to not only educated them but expand their thinking through play. Continue reading Teach How to Play

How to Confront a Colleague

Seriously-face-meme-all-funny A colleague confronted me today about something I’d written in a closed teacher forum. I had been venting about how teachers at my school should use their “educated brain” to figure certain relevant issues out between our union and the district. It wasn’t worded the best way and I sort of forgot about the non-intended audience: my colleagues. I was writing shoulder to shoulder with other union reps who have shared with me similar frustrations. In a way I made a boo boo as a leader, but in another way her confrontation was a worse mistake. What I have learned in education and probably dealing with all people is that you shouldn’t confront someone unless you respect and support them. Letting them know that at the onset is a huge help to both you and them. If you don’t, then don’t confront. Forget it or report it. Continue reading How to Confront a Colleague