The metaphor usually goes something like this, and often when a teacher is frustrated with a class of students: “School is your job. You need to show up to work every day and work hard. Your grades are like your paycheck—the harder you work, the more you can earn in our classroom. Some of you aren’t working hard and need to be fired.”
Paraprofessionals are critical to a student’s success—I think any teacher, principal, or student would attest to this. A great para can make a difference in a classroom in a lot of ways, but they are often forgotten about. Even though they are important cogs in the educational wheel of a student’s life, they might not always be treated as such. They may not have the keys they need, the desk they need, or the training they need.
Mentors play a critical role in the success of teachers. Even following a quality student teaching experience, new teachers still have a lot to learn. There are so many nuances to the profession, to the grade level, and to each particular school. Plus, there is much to be learned even after the teacher has graduated.
As humans, we tend to become comfortable doing something and like to do it the same way over and over again. It’s easy for our brain to become more “automatic” so we don’t have to think as much about each specific task. But for some things, as they have become more and more automatic, we may have forgotten about the original purpose for doing them in the first place.
I would contend that giving letter grades to students is one of these “things.” It has become automatic—so automatic that most educators don’t really stop to think much about the original purpose behind giving them.
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.
Teachers Make the Worst Students!
Teachers say it themselves all the time: Teachers can make the worst students. While we know there are no bad students, we do agree that professional development needs to be truly excellent to make an impact. From the thousands of PD sessions we have delivered, we’ve learned there are five key insights that may help you develop and deliver more effective PD—especially when technology is part of the mix.
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.
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?
Can educational technology really improve learning and teach critical 21st century skills? It can, but only when it is integrated into the learning environment to make teaching and learning more efficient, effective, and engaging.
Here’s how to get started on redesigning your classroom for 21st century learning:
Topics: Administrator Resources