Each year, the world of EdTech grows and new companies emerge ahead of the pack. Here are the movers and shakers we’re excited about at the moment:
STEM learning is at the forefront of education today—and it shows no signs of slowing down. The focus on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) is a necessity in order for Americans to be competitive in the job market in future years. Careers in these fields will continue to grow, so it's imperative that we make STEM a priority for today's students in order to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.
A wealth of research is coming out about the zones of regulation and how this idea can help students in our classrooms. The zones are a way to conceptualize and visualize the internal feelings that a student may be having at any particular moment. Ideally, our students will come to us calm and ready to learn, but if something happened that was stressful or emotional—whether at recess or before school—that may not be the case.
For most adults, it is difficult to be objective when assessing ourselves. Classroom teachers are not an exception. From my experience, it isn’t from a lack of trying. Most teachers try to improve and reflect, but it can be a challenge. It’s difficult because teaching is a very personal thing. We teach from our heart and from our personality, so it can be hard to critique something that is so “close” to us—so near and dear to who we are and what we believe.
Like most people who were alive on September 11, 2001, I remember the day very vividly. I was a 23-year-old first-year teacher at a high school in Kansas. The events of the day were indescribable, devastating, and extremely emotional. I wasn’t sure if watching the footage with my class was appropriate, but that’s what I did—along with most of the teachers in the building.
Teaching is tough—it’s incredibly hard work and can be very taxing. There is increasing stress and work on teachers today, as evidenced by the high attrition rate that we see across the country.
Part of the stress that teachers feel is from outside influences, such as parents, government, district initiatives, and mandates, just to name a few. Additional stress comes from within the school—conflict with other staff members, student issues, lack of resources, and lack of support. As a school leader, how do we help teachers to combat this stress so they can thrive in our schools and not just survive in them?
STEAM activities are an educational goldmine these days, and schools across the country are finding innovative ways to incorporate STEAM within their buildings. There are multitudes of Pinterest activities, websites, articles, and books on this very topic. My school decided that a fun way to utilize STEAM activities—and teach families about STEAM—would be through a family night. This event would let students and their parents work together, build, play, and learn.
Spring is in full bloom and signs of new life are beginning to emerge everywhere. This time of year is an exciting one for teachers as there’s a renewed commitment to continue making an impact in the classroom—but there is still a lot going on with spring breaks, end of year assessments, ensuring standards are being met, and much more. For teachers, the challenge to stay motivated to finish the year strong and keep students engaged remains a mission.
Teachers wish for their students to be good citizens. This is true in the classroom, in the community, and on social media. The foundation of our democracy is active participation in government by its citizens. It is key to our future that students understand what it means to be a good citizen and how to interact appropriately within the community and government. There are many good resources available to teach students citizenship.