Great video. It is with business in mind, but I think has some educational application.
Great video. It is with business in mind, but I think has some educational application.
I’m not sure where this is at as far as usefulness, but this was 2014 and I am excited to try a Mystery Skype with a foreign country to try it out.
Some districts have two Mondays off for Lincoln’s Birthday and Presidents’ Day. We have a Friday and Monday, which makes for a long weekend.
Both are fun, because we get a 4 day workweek. The district my girls are in took the two Mondays, which meant my wife and I got the school day to our selves.
I slept in, we took the girls to school, took a nap, and then went to Ninja Sushi with my wife for a little date lunch. They have an “All you can eat special”. It’s not really all you can eat, but 7 selections from a menu. I still didn’t finish it. It was all delicious. I even tried the Salmon Roe, which is just a fancy word for fish eggs.
Spider Roll and Salmon Roe
Tiger Roll- This one may have been my favorite, though they were all good.
Basically, sleep, eat, sleep…Yay! It is nice to have extra days to just rest.
Well, I am off to take a nap now.
I don’t know about you, but every time I have seen an inspirational teacher movie…Stand and Deliver, Dead Poets Society, Dangerous Minds, Mr. Holland’s Opus or any number of others, I inevitably have a bad case of allergies. The music swells, the kids rally behind the unorthodox, caring teacher…and the tears flow. Well, the tears that others flow. Mine were from allergies.
Who am I kidding, I am often a weeping, sobbing mess…even more now that I have had children of my own and because I am a teacher. The reason I cry is twofold, now. One is I have had one or two of those teachers in my life that I owe something to.
They always gave the best worksheets, the best homework and the best lectures, they taught to the standards and helped me prepare for the state tests…said no student ever. No, it is because they cared. They showed interest in us, believed in us, and an often taboo word for teachers…They loved us. And interestingly enough, this is one of the reasons we do what we do (or it needs to be-hopefully more than not). We don’t teach just to give worksheets, just to teach standards, just to give homework and lectures.
We can only keep going because we love it. We do it because we hold out hope that one day, we will be that teacher to many kids. The one who cared about them. The one who showed interest. The one who made school a safe place to grow.
In reality, we will not likely have some momentous occasion where we are honored like those in the movies. However, if we are doing it right, we will be remembered for changing a child in some way. We may never hear from them, but for at least one, the note above is the truth.
That is what carries me through some of those difficult times. I HAVE to be making a difference. Somewhere, somehow. Even just for one. If I ever stop trying to be THAT one, I need to get out of teaching right away.
A couple years ago, I remember seeing this graphic that shows the natural progression through each school year.
Right now, we should be in the survival area heading into disillusionment. While it is not every day or week, there is still a feeling of questioning why we keep doing this. I will not name them, but I have talked to other teachers who occasionally feel this way.
I say that not to point fingers, but to point out that this is a very common feeling and nothing, generally, to be ashamed of.
For me, it is not something I can put my finger on. It is kind of just in the back of my mind and it peeks its head out every so often. It is not even associated with any particular student, incident, or demand. It is a sense of, well like the picture shows, disillusionment. A feeling that there are so many things to do and how on earth am I going to get them done mixed with a feeling that progress is being made, kids are learning, things are moving along…but…
There is always something more…more that could be done for a student, a lesson, the team, the school, the parents…but time remains time…24 hours is still just 24 hours.
The weight of that, sometimes, rears its head. And it makes you feel like crap, inadequate, and a whole host of other crummy things. (I never said I was good at expressing my feelings and stuff 🙂 )
So what now?
Embrace the chaos?
The answer is…Yeah, I don’t know. Probably those things and more.
I am thankful these feelings are usually something that passes. Sometimes sooner than others. But it passes and I refocus on why I do this job, everyday.
This is why. No, not these kids that are not mine-I’ve never seen them before in my life. But kids like them. Not just a paycheck (though it is nice). But them. Seeing the wonder in a child’s eyes is a pretty addictive thing. Much better than the glazed looks I sometimes get. Haha. If we change the life of just one (or more if we are fortunate), it makes it worth it.
When that student you struggled with for so long, who didn’t seem to be learning or paying attention or whatever…comes back and says something as simple as “you’re my favorite teacher”. For me, it is easy to be cynical and think, “yeah but you’ve not had that many, or something else dismissive.”
If I stop and recognize that, for that kid, in that moment, I am, that is a big deal. I can tuck that away for when I need a boost out of the pit.
But then, maybe it’s just me.
We are heading into the parent conference season soon. I recently ran across this post I read a while ago. I thought the picture was worth, dare I say it, a thousand words…OK, well maybe that doesn’t work, since the picture actually has words, so never mind.
What I liked about the picture of a chart, AKA a chart, was that it helps me think in a new way. It helps me reframe my thoughts with a different way to look at grades and assessing my students. And I think it could help some of our kids in seeing the purpose of grading/assessing.
Full disclosure: I am a math guy and a realist. So, thinking in a different way about grades, practically speaking, makes me 1) a little uncomfortable and 2) question its longevity. Here’s what I mean.
Uncomfortable. If I score a 90% on a test, that is an A. That makes sense. You have a percent…a grade..ta da! To change that to our 1-4 categories doesn’t jive as much. The idea of a continuum makes it seem a little less concrete. Plus, we still live in a world where we have numbers; we have grades; we have rankings…Think of sports or movies or music without charts, awards, trophies, financial bottom lines, etc. Which brings me to my next thought.
Longevity. While I can appreciate the idea of teaching kids that what they learn is on a continuum, I don’t know if we can neglect our “cold hard facts of percents and grades. Why? Because…reality. Yes, many companies and businesses are starting to change some of the expectations for a good employee (And I DO think many of these things are positive), much of life deals with awards, trophies, bottom lines.
Sure, we can give everybody an award/trophy, but life will not. Some people will still come in first and it is good to celebrate excellence. Some people will come in last and it is good to teach our students how to lose/fail well (sounds weird, I know) and how to grow from that. I think this is where the chart’s value comes in, BTW.
What next? I think we can’t just follow the pendulum from traditional grades to a continuum because the pendulum keeps moving and life is not always and either/or but a both/and.
We would serve our children well to consider and help kids know about the positives of both. Basically…keep the discussion going. Here is the link to the blog post I got the chart from.
What are your thoughts?
A little Pep Talk for Teachers and Students
So, I know it has been a while. I did NOT realize that it had been nearly a month. I am sorry for the three of you, waiting for the wisdom to drop from heaven like manna. Nourishing your soul like nothing else.
Alright, so my self importance is a bit overwhelming, even for me.
Seriously, though, life gets busy and goes through many seasons. I did not write because report cards were due, then because of Spring Break, then because I’m a little lazy. Well, maybe a lot, but I like to blame other stuff for my shortcomings, so it had to be Spring Break. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
I find that I go through seasons, often, that lend themselves to creativity, innovation and trying new things. There are other times where I am just surviving, or being a little cranky or just going through the motions, with life.
Thankfully, I have more on days than off. I hate “just surviving”, but I have learned that sometimes that is all there is room for. And sometimes, for a season, that has to be enough, otherwise the weight of life just pulls us down and other problems can creep in.
So, what do you do to stay moving forward?
What do you do to stay mindful, to stay productive, to rest, in the midst of craziness?
What do you to stay get out of the rut? I would love to hear from you.