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Virtual Teacher Series: Parent Communication

“Hours!” she said.  “I spent HOURS on my Sunday afternoon grading just late work alone, and then you want to know what I had to do the rest of the week?”  I could almost guess what it was, “call parents” she said, exacerbated.  My teacher friend went on to explain how as it’s the end of the quarter and grades are due soon, it’s that time of the year that comes around four times per year to communicate to parents whose child is near or actually failing a course.

I squinted and turned my head to the side to lessen the blow of her answer as I asked, “how long did it take to contact parents?”

Three days after school until well past 5pm.

We’ve all been there.  We’ve all been in a place where something in our teaching lives is taking up way more hours than we want it to, or than is healthy.  Whether that’s because we’re new at it and haven’t developed the processes to make it...

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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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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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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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