Sunday, April 28, 2013

How educators show the world they love their profession

“If you choose a job you love you will never have to work a day in your life”.  The notion set forth by Confucius over two thousand years ago describes how many teachers feel about their chosen profession.  Within our own school communities we know for who this is true, but how?  Through everyday words and actions we project our passion for the work we do.  

  • They are eager to read anything that can improve their practice
  • They view attendance and punctuality as top priorities
  • They comport themselves in a professional manner
  • They are excited to share their successes and willing to seek support when they need it
  • They understand the value of collaboration (see post on March 17, 2013)
  • They surround themselves with others who love their work as much as they do
  • They always speak with respect about colleagues, students, administrators, and parents, even when they disagree with them
  • They don’t publicly count off the days until summer vacation
  • They don’t bemoan the fact they have to go to work every day, they look forward to being there
  • They voluntarily seek ways to improve their school community 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

10 Lessons Teachers Can Learn from Students

Like many teachers, I often call myself a lifelong learner, but what does that really mean?  Of course it can refer to learning in the academic sense, or perhaps picking up a new skill or talent.  When I am around students, however, it can mean something else.  As a teacher, I’m witness to attributes that I admire in others and am reminded to practice them myself.

  •  Laughter- Children don’t often take themselves too seriously, nor should we
  • Honesty- Sometimes it can be brutal, but there’s no denying it’s an admirable trait  
  • Technology- Have you ever heard a youngster say, “Oh no, did I lose everything?”
  • Flexibility- Schedules are constantly changed with very little dissent (Disclaimer: As a parent of two I would like to clarify that this is true of my students, not my own children)
  • Discovery- That light bulb moment we love to see in children
  • Imagination- Children like to ask, “Why not”
  • Activism- Youngsters have the will to change the world
  • Relationships- Watch a group of friends playing together and you’ll wish you were a part of it
  • Effort- When things don’t come easily they’ll keep trying until they figure it out
  • Resilience- We've all known students who have been through some trying times and marveled at how they bounce back  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Are You an Effective Educational Leader?

·         Do you allow others to take risks?
·         Do you redirect credit accept blame?
·         Do you follow plans through?
·         Do you protect the reputation of your colleagues?
·         Do you make yourself readily available?
·         Do you provide a safe and comfortable environment?
·         Do you model best practice?
·         Do you ask questions?
·         Do you continually work to stay current in the field?
·         Do you foster leadership in others?

Monday, April 8, 2013

What we are teaching when we are not actually teaching: The importance of modeling behaviors

Most teachers would agree there is so much to cover in so little time.  Here are ways to address and encourage many important skills, behaviors, and attitudes that students will need in order to achieve their goals. The best part is that they don't take any time of your regular day to do at all!

·         Every time you speak COMMUNICATION is being taught
·         When designing lessons and thinking about ways to engage students in learning, allow your CREATIVITY take over
·         Don’t just tell students that READING is an important skill, let them know discretely by leaving clues and sharing examples of how it is an important part of your daily life
·         COLLEGIALITY is on display every time you interact with other members of the staff
·         If we openly examine, analyze, and reflect on our own practice, students will have concrete example of CRITICAL THINKING
·         It is not always easy to “get up” for a lesson, but students know and appreciate EFFORT when they see it
·         If an answer is not readily available don’t just say you will get back to them on that, explain the steps you will take to RESEARCH it
·         Smiling, nodding, and showing a genuine interest in what others have to say encourages ACTIVE LISTENING
·         When we tell students know how much we value time spent working with colleagues they are learning the importance of COLLABORATION
·         When you learn something new get excited and share it with your class,  they will see you as a LIFELONG LEARNER

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ways to Make Parents Feel Like Partners in Education

·         Offer sessions for parents that explain how they can support their children with homework.  These sessions can even be held during school with the help of the students.
·         Make more positive phone calls than negative ones
·         Keep parents informed about any concerns you have immediately, don’t wait until it’s too late
·         Avoid educational jargon and acronyms.  If you are going to use any, explain them
·         Establish relationships with parents early in the year.  This helps you learn more about the students and will demonstrate your commitment to the whole child.
·         Tell parents how much you value their opinion because no one knows there child better than they do
·         When you invite families to your classroom, make it an interactive and participatory event
·         Find out about their backgrounds, areas of expertise, and interests and invite them to be guest speakers
·         If you are utilizing parents as volunteers be sure to have them do something meaningful and authentic
·         Respect their privacy.  You need to honor the trust they place in you and never betray it