Tuesday, February 5, 2013

4 Things You Should Do by Valentines

I am all about teachers coming alive. Call me a dreamer, an idealist, or even a Republi-crat reformist. In my heart I know that all the changes we want to see happen in education will not come down the pipe from the government. Even if budgets and adoption of policy were unbridled, we would still face difficulties in the world of education. A possible solution I keep bringing my readers back to is a change in the heart of teachers. I believe we need to rethink our time, energy, focus, and goals. (Look at the 30 Goals Challenge by Shelly Terrell)
Here are my tips... (and get yourself following #BetterTeaching)

1. Give 30 Minutes to Your Future Students: Can you afford to give up 30 minutes a week during a planning period to work with a grade or two below you? Often the higher performing students get the shaft in terms of getting challenged. Can you design something to challenge and inspire them? Do we really want our top students being burned out of school by 8th or 9th grade? Get them engaged. Their current teacher is probably swamped with low performing students and will be so thankful that you can help.

2. Arrive 15 Minutes Early Twice a Week: Do you really need to catch that morning news story? Get to your quiet room and get the day rolling. I am much more alert and productive in the morning. I also avoid a lot of distractions by getting to work early. There are less staff here that need to talk help with tech issues. This is also a great time to pre-plan for bigger projects. I often do some research during this time into my PLN for resources they are sharing. Give it a shot, if you are convinced the afternoon is better for you... do what works for you.

3. Avoid Complaining at the Hubs: I am blown away at how contagious negativity is. It spreads at the copy machine, and near the stairways. (Getting to work early kills some of this... See #2) Do you realize we create the atmosphere that we work in? The pettiness and cutting down of others is like a cancer to the staff you work with. It is funny how you can establish yourself but what you don't say...

4. Stretch Yourself: How many teachers do we know that are teaching the same thing in the same way for the 10th year (or more) in a row? I am not talking about scrapping what is quality teaching and highly effective for learning. I am talking about practices we adopt because we are accustom to them. They are the things we fall back on because the contrary would require a little more work from us. Kids thrive on boosts and slight changes to the norms. Do you eat the same thing every day for 180 days? Why do we expect our students to gobble the same?

What are your tips? I know some of these things can help us fall back in love with teaching. Try some of them by the time Valentine's Day rolls around. Share some your tips in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. Love your To Do list. I never thought about giving up time to work with a future student. Love this idea - what a great way to get to know some new students as well as having the chance to challenge those that need it!

    Thanks for sharing.