Monday, August 20, 2012

It Takes a Village...To Raise A Teacher!

This week, we welcome twelve new teachers to our building. Some are new to the school system, some are new to the school, and some are completely new to teaching. Every year, I get sentimental about my first year of teaching for about thirty seconds. That was probably the toughest year of my life. I did learn some valuable lessons that made the years to come successful ones. I will have the opportunity to pass on some words of wisdom to these new teachers so that they will have a successful first year. Knowing that people aren't likely to recall anything more than three key points  when they hear someone speak, I am going to pass on the following three things:

  1. Know What You Stand For - Kids need to know what your expectations and procedures are from day one. Pick a few simple procedures and stick to them. You may need to practice them with the kids. This is encouraged! Don't go changing up the rules from week to week and from child to child. Inconsistent teachers end up with more discipline issues, and a lower academic success rate.
  2. Stay Organized - Keep your work area neat and organized. The last thing you want to do is have to speak to the parent of a student who's work got lost after it was turned in. Also, be sure to plan ahead. Materials should be all ready to go at least a day before a lesson is taught. You may have a student who needs special accomodations to complete an assignment. Make sure you have that ready, too. Most schools work in PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) and teachers will plan in advance and as a group. When you plan as a team, the whole team is counting on you to perform a task; such as creating warm-ups or perhaps an activity related to the concept being taught. Don't let your team or your students down by not being prepared.
  3. Be Professional - As a teacher, you are a role model. Dress the part. Khakis, a collared shirt, and shoes are usually a safe bet, but check your school's dress code to be sure. Sloppy is never an option, even on "dress down" days. The jeans I used to wear on dress down days when I was teaching were not the same ones I wore to work in the yard or hang out at home on a rainy afternoon. Also, be careful of what you post on social networks. You never know who your "friends" may be "friends" with. By the way, you need to be careful at parties and in restaurants, too. Having a parent seeing you passed out drunk somewhere isn't something you want to have to explain. Though any of the above may or may not cost you your job, they will definitely affect your reputation! Remember, parents talk.
Knowing what your new teachers are going to be up against, be sure to celebrate them, too. Encourage them to ask questions, utilize and observe their fellow co-workers, and research best practices on websites. Teaching is no longer a solitary profession, and those who are now entering the field wouldn't have it any other way. They expect to work as a team, and want to be coached so that they may improve. A short note or a word of encouragement can go a long way. Not sure how to help? Begin by imagining yourself in their shoes and go from there.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Brain Rot Can Be A Good Thing!

I try not to post twice in a week, but after spending some time on vacation, I feel the need to make up for lost time. Don't worry, next week will be back to normal.

As a lifelong learner, I really enjoy reading and researching about things to improve on myself. Sometimes, I go a little overboard and end up overlooking the simpler things in life.

This may seem kind of silly, but there was a point when I was scoffing Pinterest, until I spent some time on it one day and became hooked! I'm just as much of a fan of brain rot as the next person, though my brain rot may look a little that a word?

Just like other Pinterest followers, I set up some boards and began pinning other peoples' ideas onto my boards. I became excited when someone out in cyber space thought something I liked was cool and "pinned" it onto their own board. I found cool recipes, tips on fashion, wonderful quotes, and great pictures.

Once I got over the excitement of pinning my interests and sharing with others, I let my account sit idle for awhile until I attended my school system's blended learning workshop. Sitting there, I went on Pinterest and started searching for boards on topics like blended learning, education, and teaching. Lo and behold, they exist!!! I came across stuff I could actually use with teachers, and stuff teachers could use to implement blended learning. Pinterest could actually be a form of blended learning for educators! time you are looking for a little brain rot, try to channel that brain rot into something constructive and search for something you may be able to use later on. Just because I did a search on blended learning doesn't mean I also did a search on funny cat pictures...or whatever floats your boat!

Happy pinning!!!

Check out Pinterest at - You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to work, back to posting!!!

I'm such a professional development nerd.

Seriously, I go to training any chance I get. I actually loved going to school and getting my degrees. I've been officially back to work for a couple of weeks now (administrators never really have a summer off, but I'm supposed to get July off) and am now going through PD week in my school system. It's that time of year when we get together as administrators in the school system I work in to meet new colleagues, catch up with old ones, and learn about the big ideas and best practices for the upcoming school year.

This year, we are staying on course, continuing our focus on student engagement, fostering relationships, and pursuing the most innovative ways to reach our students. The only component that has changed involved the delivery method, which is blended learning. I have written about blended learning a lot this summer because that is one of the ways I learn best. If I have to write about it, I better do my research so I don't sound like an idiot. It also helps that I have appropriate answers for my teachers, who I know will have LOTS of questions.

I've said this before: It is an exciting time in field of education. How exciting it is for the students we work with depend on how well prepared we are to help them be successful in school, and in their lives.