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Can I Help You With Student Accountability?

The million dollar question in education right now is how in the world we get our students to do the work?  It seems we have alarming rates of failure and, week after week, a substantial amount of students just not doing the work.  In the flipped classroom, this has always been one of the top questions I’ve fielded from teachers when they come to me for help to get the flipped classroom process started, and that is “What happens when a student doesn’t do the work, meaning take the notes, at home?  Then what?”

This week we will dive into what it is to actually hold students accountable and how you  can use it to not only be a more effective educator, but one who is actually reducing your own to-do list as student accountability increases.  After listening to this episode, you will have clarity around what it means to hold your students accountable in ways that empower your students to own their learning, and ultimately reduce...

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Parent Communication Systems

 “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 was the end of the quarter and grades were due soon, it was 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, she said, until well past 5pm.  And I never got to them all.

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...

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Declaring the Student Learning Process

Although I wouldn’t wish living through a pandemic on my worst enemy and I’m sure we’d all love to get back to normal, there are major lessons I believe we all can learn from this experience within the world of education.  I could list quite a few and make separate episodes on each of them - hey, note to self, maybe I will - but one of those lessons is that our time with students, meaning a teacher’s time with his or her students IN THEIR PRESENCE is not only imperative, in many cases it’s an issue of equity.

The fluctuating schedules, whether they are all virtual or some variation of hybrid, we teachers feel the urgency of wanting to see our students more - wanting more time to master those standards, right?!?

And you may even be drowning right now in the schedule you’re living, unable to keep up with all things.  Whether you are fully remote, some form of hybrid, or even back to face-to-face 5 days a week “normal” some...

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3 Steps to Sustainable Planning

I LOVE all things planning.  In fact, I plan out our family calendar each year in January… no joke the whole year.  But even as much as I love to know what we’ve got coming up and how we can best use our finite amount of time on earth, planning as a teacher can be tough.  You can do some really great work for it all to just change on a dime without any heads up or prior notice, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  That’s just the nature of the beast, but there also has to be a better way to make this whole planning thing more effective and more intentional so that it serves us and our students. 

In today’s post I walk you through three steps that will help you do just that - streamline your planning process so that you’re better able to stay on track throughout the school year and are helping your future self when you go to plan in the years to come.  Let’s get to it.

I hope that you’ve been able...

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3 Steps to Sustainable Grading

Sustainable grading - is that even a thing?  It’s like teachers have all collectively just rolled over and accepted the fact that if we aren’t drowning in grading then we aren’t really doing our job.  Not only is that crap, but it’s unsustainable.  No one can manage that in a healthy way.  But then we’re left with the question, well what do we do instead?  If we aren’t grading everything in our classes, aren’t we saying that it’s not important???  O man, that statement couldn’t be more wrong.  There is a way to reach more sustainable grading practices and in this episode I will provide three steps to help you get there.  

Do you remember as a child how, if you’re anything like me and most children I’ve observed, you collected things and used objects to simulate real life situations as an adult?  For instance, my 5 year old son right now has this clipboard that has a...

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Sustainable Systems at Home for Teachers

I’m betting that when you’re in the middle of your week it’s not just your teaching responsibilities that have you stressed.  It is that endless teacher to-do list, but it’s that piled on top of all the things that need to be accomplished at home as well.  Whether you’re single, married, have kids or not, maintain a home or rent, there are things outside of your teacher life that are super important and can’t just be put on hold as you focus solely on maintaining your professional life.

In fact, your home-life will very much influence and even predict how your professional life is holding up. That is why we’ll focus on the home and how sustainable systems on the homefront can in fact help you be more present on the job as well.

At the time of this episode's recording, our family is in the heat of our first annual Christmas movie tournament.  We’ve got a bracket with the 16 matchups and are working our way through,...

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Reflection and Goal Planning for Teachers

With all the talk of self-care for teachers during a year where teachers have less time than they’ve ever had to even think about themselves, let alone their self-care, I’m here to remind everyone that without you there will be no classroom, there will be no lesson, there will be no impact on your students. 

But even if we do recognize that self-care is necessary, it’s such a broad, even vague and relative term.  Logistically, what really is it? And how effective will it be? 

I am here to make the claim that there is no better form of self-care than to set goals for yourself and to work toward them.  It’s taking what we know about planning in our teacher-lives, that is that planning is best when we do it backwards - starting with the end in mind - and applying it to our lives. 

Because you know what, yes you’re worth it. 

Even if taking the time to do so means you’re a day later on grading those papers, answering...

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Find Your Why as an Educator

This is the first blog of my new Sustainable Teacher series and I feel like the pressure is on, much like it is the first day of school when those first impressions with students mean EVERYTHING. Ok, that’s a bit dramatic, but I want you to know how important your time is to me. 

As a teacher I know what it is to feel like every single minute counts and that if you aren’t productive and effective in every single minute, then you simply won’t stay afloat.

Whether you thrive under that kind of pressure or not, I’m here in this first episode of my brand-new podcast to be super effective with your time so that you get key takeaways that impact your teacher-life and then you get to move on - whether that’s implementing those strategies or focusing on another aspect of life.

I’ll start with a story, one that may trigger some teacher memories for you.

I started college in Columbus, Ohio - shout out to all my Westerville peeps (I ended up...

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Teacher Health Revisited

At the time that this post will publish we are a day out from a well deserved break as we approach Thanksgiving.  Five days of no virtual or in-person school, no students to manage or lessons to plan.

And yet, many of us are looking at working at least one full day of break, if not most of the break.  We just have so much to catch up on, and, if we're honest, 5 days of a break is a good amount of time to get a head start on planning for the future so it's not so overwhelming when we're back in the classroom.

The truth is, as teachers, we can justify working until the cows come home.  We are doing important work not for the improvement of ourselves, but for that of our students.  And if we can make their education a well organized and well orchestrated experience then we are doing something right in the world.

For this reason, this week and in a few coming weeks we'll be focusing on the Teacher Health Series that we published earlier in the year, way back before...

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