In part one of the CTE overview, we provided a short history of career and technical education along with some examples of pros and cons for students and schools when it comes to implementing CTE courses. The real power of CTE, in my opinion, comes when career preparation and college preparation are not independent, but when they work in conjunction with one another.
For most of us, conferences can bring about a familiar pattern. We attend the amazing conference full of great speakers. We are inspired to try new things in our school. We understand the research and the significance of how we can impact our students. It is exciting and we are ready to move forward.
Then we return to school. Issues came up with the substitute, grades are due, there are a few parent emails to respond to—you get the idea. So, we take the handouts and materials from the conferences and put them on the shelf behind the desk. We tell ourselves we can get to it over the weekend and really get some things planned to implement next week, but this probably never happens either.
Learning for the sake of learning is a great idea—students are able to learn what they want and focus on anything of interest. Sounds great, right? Our schools, and in particular our public educational system, exist in part to fill the needs of the careers that our country needs. This isn’t the sole reason that we educate our students, but it is definitely part of it. And rather than just teaching students what may interest them, we attempt to prepare them for specific careers that they can easily transition into after high school or other post-secondary education.
Often—maybe too often—in schools, we carve up the day into finite sections of learning. An hour for reading, and hour for math, maybe 25 minutes for science. We know on some level that learning really doesn’t work this way, but it is the best way we have to make sure content is covered and not skipped.
This concept may be a hard one for a lot of us to wrap our heads around, but there is a good chance that whatever your first job was will not be the first job of your students. This may sound pretty straightforward, but I think the idea is somewhat profound. When we stop to think about it, the entry-level positions of yesterday probably won't exist in the future. Whether these jobs come from the service sector, food service, or manual labor, there is a good chance that our students will not have access to the same positions that we did—and if they do, probably not on the same scale.
When we incorporated 1:1 devices in our school, there was one issue that came up quickly that I wasn’t expecting: students using their device as an MP3 player. For those youngsters who don’t know what that is, it’s an old-fashioned music playing device—much like the CD players, tape decks, and 8-track players from yesteryear.
I guess I didn’t see a Chromebook as being the same as the types of devices students typically use to listen to music. I’m not sure why I had this blind spot, but I quickly realized that students would read books, work on math problems, and even talk to friends with their ear buds in. Why does it matter? There are a few reasons to me why this was both potentially positive and negative.
The Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) is recent federal legislation passed to serve as a support and guide for public schools across our country. The law is comprehensive and influential in a variety of aspects concerning early childhood, K-12, and higher education. Everything from special education and Title 1 services to English language learners and professional development is included in the scope of the law. In particular, the ESSA law has created increased flexibility to states, and therefore schools—but with this flexibility also comes challenges and considerations for all districts involved.
Topics: Administrator Resources
In any organization, as it develops, grows, changes, and evolves, the mission of the institution can alter and change. This can be a natural progression and part of what makes an agile group successful. It is also true that as change happens, the original vision for why it all began can get lost and forgotten.
This has also happened in schools. We are good at using textbooks, integrating technology, and differentiating instruction. We can find amazing Pinterest fonts and spend our salary on Teachers Pay Teachers. But in the end, do we remember why we are doing all of it?
It’s that time again—time to move on to the next activity or learning opportunity. It is time to transition! These can be stressful times in a classroom, when disruptions increase and learning decreases. Transitions are a natural part of any classroom, so how can teachers capitalize on the opportunity to smoothly move on to the next activity and maybe learn something at the same time?
Topics: tips for teachers
Trauma Responsive: Best Practices for All Students
In the first part of our trauma-informed series, we defined the term and discussed best practices for working with students in trauma. For many educators, after we read the research supporting trauma-informed practices, we are quickly convinced that we need to act. The data strongly supports intervening early for students and with a therapeutic approach (instead of a punitive one).