The typical classroom has changed a lot over the past few decades. With all of the exciting new tech innovations that have emerged, the chalkboard no longer reigns supreme.
In most schools, we have plenty of data. It is usually assumed that more data means better outcomes for students. This very well could be true, but I believe most schools are DRIP (Data Rich, Information Poor) schools. We have the data, but what does any of it mean? Using data helps us to guide both learning and instruction, but it has to have context. Teachers must know how to reference the data and how to form context around it.
Collecting the data is the easy part. Assessments abound all around us, and we layer benchmarks on top of formatives on top of summatives on top of progress monitoring—not to mention classroom assessments. It takes a great deal of time and resources to administer all of this, but unless these numbers turn into action, it becomes a giant waste.
Topics: classroom assessment
Every year, there are dozens of educational conferences and expos in the US that bring educators together to discuss best practices, test new tools, and make connections with fellow educators. One look at a calendar of all of the year’s upcoming conferences might just seem like a jumble of strange acronyms. With so many different conferences to choose from, it can be hard to decide which conferences you should attend.
As most adults know, creating a budget is an important step to having financial stability. It can feel like a downer at times, but it is the responsible thing to do.
Topics: tips for teachers
There really isn't a secret formula for the best way to provide feedback to teachers—different kinds of teachers require different kinds of feedback. This can make the challenge of giving adequate but constructive feedback hard for those who provide it. Teaching can feel like a very personal and even private endeavor for teachers, so any critique or criticism about instruction can feel more personal than it probably should.
Topics: Administrator Resources
Being a teacher is a more complex job than ever before. The challenges and stress of the position require teachers to possess an amazing ability to manage many dynamic factors all at once. One of the best examples for this is the emergency drills that we now partake in during the school day. Years ago, there was a fire drill every month, and possibly another drill depending on where you lived—we have tornado drills in our part of the country, but I know other locations have drills for earthquakes or other natural disasters.
Providing feedback to teachers can be a tricky prospect at times. Teaching, and instruction in particular, is a very personal undertaking. Getting up in front of a room of children takes a great deal of nerve at first, so as teachers become more and more accustomed to it, they tend to become more and more fixed in their approach to it.
This is a generalization, of course—not all teachers are like this. Some of the best teachers I have worked with love feedback and work hard to reflect upon and improve their instruction.