Have you ever Googled or looked up on YouTube the words “Why I Quit Teaching”? Well, for research purposes for this podcast and my recently revamped YouTube channel, I have. And let me tell you, it is astounding the number of videos and posts out there that expound on this topic.
Begging for someone to listen - at social events, teachers find and talk to each other because they can relate. Everyone has had a teacher and been in school, therefore everyone can have an opinion on best teaching practices, yet no one wants to do the job. Just look up the rates at which college students are getting degrees and certifications in education… it’s jaw dropping.
Keep fighting. Gone are the days of the old condescending adage, those who can, do, those who can’t teach. Guess what… it looks like almost no one can teach. But you can teacher-friend. You show up, and that’s better than most nowadays. Take pride in...
Quick question for you… when you were in college as a pre-service teacher, making your preparations to become a teacher, taking all your education classes, did you ever take a class on how to lecture?
Another question, when you were assigned to make plans for an entire unit, like a curriculum map for a unit in one of those college classes, did you plan to lecture in class 80%+ of the time and say that out loud to your class?
Yeah, me neither.
That’s because as a pre-service teacher you were being trained on how to best help your students through the learning process, you spent thousands of dollars on your education to become the expert on the learning process, and now that you are actively in the classroom, let’s face it… you’re an overpaid lecturer if that’s all you do.
Oh man. I may have just ticked off a lot of people, but let me explain real fast.
I don’t believe lecturing is bad. Seriously, I don’t. ...
The most common question I get from teachers about making a more sustainable classroom or flipping their classroom is “Where do I start?”
You may be asking yourself this question before even considering if flipping your classroom is something you want to do, and I think you are absolutely justified in doing so because you want to know if it will be worth your time.
Well, when I answer this question, and what I’ll lay out for you in this episode is the fact that how you start your classroom is not just the answer to how you get started with step one, it’s also the exact thing you should be focusing on for each and every step you take and decision you make in your flipped classroom.
What that means is that when you take this first step toward flipping your classroom, you’re also helping your future self by making each and every other step in the flipping process that much easier to take - saving you time and headache in the process.
One year I got a wild hair and reduced my teacher desk to the size of a cafe table. You know, like the ones you stand next to at a wedding reception or have a coffee over at the local coffee shop. Yes, about a two-foot space. I sure was up on my high horse that year thinking, “I don’t need a big space because my classroom is student-centered”, mmmmhmm.
It was cute and all, but I didn’t have any space to relax, which is what my teacher-desk was used for briefly during my planning period or other break times during the day, yes, even during class when I had a minute.
In fact, that was my space’s main purpose. To be a small, but mighty space for me to be able to just sit and take care of a few things when I had a moment. But I didn't know that until the space was gone. So I quickly switched back to a regular table sized desk, but made sure that the space served it’s main purpose - allowed me to get work done and...
You know the age old tale of what it’s like to be a first, second or even third year teacher and all the hustle and grind that it is. You get to work before 6 AM and you leave sometime after five or 6 PM and probably still have more papers to grade or lessons to plan once you get home and a lot to do on the weekends. And that’s just to keep your head above water.
As if those first years of teaching aren’t bad enough it’s as if the universe looked at me and said just wait. At the start of my fourth year of teaching I became a mother and everything changed.
Suddenly what had been my absolute top priority, which was teaching even above my marriage, sad to say it but true because I’m such a workhorse and so professionally focused, but motherhood shook the bedrock, if you will, of my priorities. And I had no clue how to deal with that when my identity had been so wrapped up in who I was as a teacher.
And that is where this episode comes into...
Here at Teach On A Mission and the Sustainable Teacher, we believe that building a sustainable classroom includes a very important player… which is, your students. Empowering your students as learners is one of the most sustaining strategies you can implement in your classroom.
And that is what today’s episode is all about, empowering students in the reflection process, showing you exactly what student reflection can look like, giving you practical strategies to get your students doing some meaningful reflection tomorrow.
Because you know the value of hard work in the learning process, you understand the connection between effortful processing and performance on assessments, you understand the value in engaging in your classroom.
Students don’t always see that, you know this. You also know that telling them the value in all of these things isn’t going to do it for many of them.
Enter stage left, reflection that helps students make the...
When asking a group of teachers what has the most impact on their students’ performance in their classroom, the resounding answer I’ve heard in my career is without a doubt relationships - building relationships with our students that lets them know we are rooting for them, guiding them, and that allows them to trust us and invest in the course and what we’re asking them to do.
As much as we recognize that relationships have the most powerful impact on moving the needle with our students, all the other aspects of teaching that pile up in a day take precedence over taking the time to build relationships.
Today, I have a proposal on what it could look like to actually make relationship building a top priority. And if there were a calendar of how you spent time in your classroom, this proposal I have for you would allow you to spend more time working one-on-one with your students, and ultimately building relationships than any other item on your docket.
You’ve heard the saying out-of-sight-out-of-mind, which in most contexts refers to distraction tactics of an infant or toddler. But I’m here to burst everyone’s bubble and say that out-of-sight-out-of-mind is a very real occurrence for adults, especially when it comes to our goals, but not in a good way like it is for toddlers.
Instead of being able to use it to our advantage, though, the out-of-sight-out-of-mind concept robs us of accomplishing our goals each year if they aren’t something that has to do with our daily lives or we’re otherwise trying to get outside our comfort zone.
For instance, it’s easier for someone to accomplish a goal of working out everyday if they work at a gym. They have the constant reminder and opportunity. But for a teacher, especially when it comes to their personal goals, we are so focused on what we do as educators everyday and then don’t have much mental space leftover to focus on...
As I’m sitting to write this episode, I’m in an approximately six square feet space in the cab of our pick up truck pulling our camper on our way home from our Christmas vacation with three boys and our dog. I’m reflecting on what was by far our best camper-trip yet as it was at the beginning of winter and was full of sunshine which we Midwesterners aren’t used to in December.
It was a great refresh.
But you know what I thought about quite a bit? Work.
Not in a way that was stifling to my or our enjoying the trip. Not at all. We just had a lot of relaxation time. And that meant my mind was able to wonder and think and plan.
And it reminded me of how I was with my classroom when on a break or vacation.
When I was able to step back from it, I was able to think about it in a clearer way. I was able to work on my classroom rather than in my classroom.
Today I’m asking you the question, in a very non-rhetorical way,...
Last semester I had the privilege of working with mostly freshman students at a local university in an Introduction to Educational Technology course. This was one of the very first education courses many of my students were taking, and I appreciated the perspective of a college student with next to no experience in education, but the drive to know as much as they could about strategies and best practices to implement in their future classrooms.
What I discovered in conversations with many of my students is that although they hadn’t much experience yet, they all had stories and the first stages of what will become their why as teachers.
Now you may be someone who knows your why, is grounded in it, and acts from that space more days than not. But you also could be someone who hasn’t had the time to consider what your why might be because, seriously, who’s got time for that right?!?
Whether you are a teacher who’s known your why for a decade or...