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Virtual Teacher Series: A More Sustainable Workflow

*Welcome to the Virtual Teacher Series.  Be sure to check out week one and week two's posts**

Think back to your first year of teaching (for our first or second year teachers, just hang with me through this visualization).  Remember how incredibly energized and gung-ho you were for all things teaching (not that you aren’t that now, but let’s just say you’ve got a dash more wisdom to go with your energy levels).  If you were anything like me, you were a yes-man or woman.  And I don’t just mean that you said yes to every request to join all the committees or teams.  I mean that you said yes to every idea and resource you found.  Of course we all did this, we were fresh without a stocked bag of tips and tricks, we had to say yes to everything.

But, for many of us, we also said yes to everything we did with our students.  Yes to using that resource during our lecture, yes to the homework assignment that shouldn’t take that...

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Virtual Teacher Series: Testing

In various live Q&A sessions I do with groups of teachers in my programs, whether that’s the weekly Q&A in Flipped Classroom Formula or either of the monthly Q&A sessions I do for Sustainable Psych Teacher or my Insider’s Group, one of the most asked questions and top concerns teachers have had in preparing for and implementing their blended or virtual classrooms this year has been…

Testing.

Welcome to week two of the 5-part Virtual Teacher Series where we at Teach On A Mission™ hope to shine a light of positivity on all the hard work being done by teachers to prepare the virtual aspects of their classrooms, as well as offer some encouragement and strategies for those teachers.

This week we are focusing on, you guessed it, testing in the virtual classroom.  (If you haven't yet, now would be a good time to go check out week one's post here).

Testing in the traditional classroom is a pain in and of itself.  It’s one that teachers...

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Virtual Teacher Series: Your Influence

After a two month hiatus, I'm so glad to get back to blogging each week with the goal of providing a place of encouragement, and maybe a few tips, for teachers.  My hope is that this tiny spot on the internet can be one that  you routinely, albeit quickly, visit to fill up your cup as you take on each  week as a virtual teacher.  But, you know what I blame for a two month interlude from consistently blogging each week????  Three words...

Back to school.

The months of August and September this year were incredibly unique and I think it took most of us, or at least it did me, by surprise.  As a child, I was one of those kids who secretly geeked out about the back to school season.  School shopping, picking out my own supplies that were color coordinated for my classes (#extra), setting out my outfit for the first days of school, and getting back into the fresh start that is the beginning of the school year, year after year, was something I always...

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How Education Will Come Out of the COVID-19 Pandemic BETTER

It is all too easy to go down the rabbit hole that is talking about the dumpster fire that is year 2020.  Am I right?

Seriously it's hard to connect with your friends or be in a social gathering (wait, are we allowed to do that yet?) without the conversation being almost solely about what is pandemic living.

And then it gets even worse if the topic of going back to school comes up.  I don't know about you, but I almost try to avoid that topic when I am amongst non-teacher friends.  It's hard to hear some comments made about teachers.

Then you open social media or turn on the news and things are even worse when the topic of teachers comes up.  Let's face it, no matter what your stance may be on going back to school or not, some of the things that "teachers" are doing and saying right now, meaning groups of teachers or teacher unions, are really hurting the perception of all teachers.

There.

I said it.

Some of the stipulations that are being made by teachers about...

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A Teacher's Influence during Distance Learning

What a challenging time we find ourselves in as teachers, and we aren't even in school right now!  Seriously, maybe it's just me, but it seems like a new limelight has been shown on teachers recently.  It's like we have been working all summer to prepare our classrooms for an unpredictable year, then numbers of those contracting the virus started rising and a whole new pressure was added.  Like we've got society's nasty pointer finger in our face saying "You'd better go back to school in the fall come hell or high water" with no regard for our (or our students') safety or HOW in the world we'll financially or physically meet social distancing requirements while maintaining our status as institutions of education (not free daycare).

Even through all of that, I still believe we'll come out of this better.  Call me crazy, but I can literally see the field of education becoming better because our hand is being forced in a few areas.

Today's post is about one of the...

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Blended Classroom Best Practices

We are all keenly aware that no matter what decision our schools have made about starting the school year, it could change in a split second, more than once.  But, as the resilient teachers that we are, we want to be ready for anything.

Many of us are preparing for what we're calling a blended or hybrid format, where we'll have half of our students one half of the week, and the other half of our students the other half of the week, or some variation thereof.

Something I've been saying for a few months now, and that was a rude awakening for many teachers in the spring is that the basic flipping techniques that I teach about on this blog and inside of programs like my online course, Flipped Classroom Formula, are ones that not only allow you the flexibility to make. it. happen. in a blended format, but allow the work you're doing now to count after all this distance learning stuff is over.

But, here's the thing.  Will it ever be over?  Lord help us, I hope so.  The...

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A Teacher's Dilemma

Not gonna lie, I've been a little down lately thinking of prospects for next year.  It seems like in the last two weeks things have really taken a turn away from the general conversation of "things are looking much better, maybe we can just be smart as individuals and all go back to school," to more of "holy crap numbers are trending up and is school really going to be safe?"

Seriously, it's such a bummer.

Although I don't want this post to be a super drain or a pity party for teachers, I would like it to be one that brings a bit more awareness to what teachers are uniquely facing as we enter this school year compared to other industries.  I'd also like it to be a post that empowers teachers within the influence they still have, even given the unprecedented circumstances.

A Teacher's Unique Situation

The process of state's pulling back on what were their stay-at-home orders back in May were very much fueled by the desire to get the economy back open for the summer (and...

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Grading in an Online Classroom

Whether your building will be in a completely virtual setting or a mixed bag with the blended model, grading is going to shift in some way in your classroom this coming school year.

And, just like in our Flipped Teacher Facebook group last week, I have a challenge for you...

Let it.

Let the pandemic and the reality of remote learning thrust upon us make a shift in your grading structures.  I don't necessarily know what it should look like, or what the paradigm of grading will ultimately be, but I'd like to contribute some thought-provoking points on this whole grading thing, especially in the context of distance learning.

The Change we've been asking for

Could this pandemic and the necessity of remote learning be the catalyst we've needed to make some large, and necessary paradigm shifts in education?  Particularly with grades?

I don't necessarily have the answer to that question, but it seems to me that if we teachers have been begging for less testing, more authentic,...

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3 Tips for a Teacher's Video Background at Home

Let's get back to the step-by-step, practical, take-action tips that we teachers so LOVE... is that alright?

Super.

This week, I'd like to focus on a very sure reality that is shifting for teachers, and that is making video for our classrooms.

Here's the thing, no matter if we go back to a traditional setting, a hybrid model, or fully online next year, we teachers need to be ready for any of those setups to change one a DIME!  As a mother, I am predicting that although my sons' school will start normal next year, entire buildings will be shut down WHEN one student or staff member tests positive.  I just don't see how to avoid it.

Please know that I'm not saying that to invoke panic amongst teachers (or mothers for that matter).  I offer up my prediction as a way to get ourselves prepared (both as teachers and parents, by the way).   Prepared for what, you might ask... prepared to be flexible in an every changing educational setting so that it's not over...

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What's So Different About the Blended and Online Classrooms?

As we get closer to the 2020-2021 school year, we're feeling more and more uncertain.  Let me give you a friendly reminder... we still have time.  And I hope you can think on that, take a deep breath, and slow your mind down in order to enjoy a bit of your summer, but at the same time know that those deep breaths only last so long.

At least they don't last very long for me either.

I hope that this blog can serve as a platform for thoughtful consideration of your classroom should it need to remain online, become blended, or even want to flip in a normally scheduled setting.

Either way, all teachers, more than ever, want that safe, welcoming classroom atmosphere, and I hope to help you build that no matter the setting for next year.

The Big Shift to Online or Blended Classrooms

I am a firm believer in the power of mindset.  When I use that term I feel super trendy, but don't want the trendiness to be the focus.  Instead the focus should be on the simplicity of the...

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