3 Pathways To An Effective Lesson Delivery!

Many teachers struggle with how to teach. We all know how to go online, download a few handouts, and “plan” around the worksheets or assign the textbook. I did this my first year. In fact, my first year I felt like I was “playing” teacher. The unfortunate part is not only is this a common daily occurrence for many new teachers, but I have observed many seasoned teachers do the same. This is not teaching. This is okay for “one of those days,” but not everyday. When student progress is not where we would like it (aside from the factors out of our control), we need to look at instruction.

Here are three pathways for a delivering an effective lesson and watching your students grow!

1. Write a lesson plan.

Yes, I have witnessed a few teachers not plan. I have also heard stories of teachers who do not write lesson plans. I can’t believe it.They “wing” it. Newsflash–the student progress will also grow wings and fly off in an undesired direction. Students can only progress to the level of your commitment. Remember that.

Many teachers now plan with colleagues. Some schools do this on a daily basis. There are pros to this and surprisingly a few cons. We’ll save that for another blog. Find a good lesson plan format that works for you and your students. Your school may also have a format they use as well.

2. Pace almost everything.
Yes, especially if you teach students who struggle. Pacing a lesson means timing each activity and literally setting a timer. At first, it may feel awkward but eventually, it will become second nature. Include the times on your lesson plan as well because this serves as a reminder to you. This worked well from my SPED students all the way to my honors classes. Middle schoolers need structure. They are still developing. High schoolers can make it with longer, more individualized projects. Hidden secret: This is also ready, convenient  classroom management! It gives focus and purpose to your lesson and classroom. More details to come in an upcoming free download!

3. Keep it student-centered!
Oh wait! There are kids in the room! Just kidding, they are the focus of our entire professional drive. 🙂

When you plan, don’t plan to stand in the front of the room and lecture to 7th graders for 45 minutes. No wonder Jacob is silently shooting spit balls through a straw, Lisa is rolling her eyes, and Kevin is sound asleep, passing loud gas, and now the entire class is screaming with laughter. No wonder, they don’t get anything you say, no wonder they play in class, no wonder they don’t turn in work/homework, no wonder the quiz scores are awful. Now you want to quit, and take that corporate job after all. Not so fast.

What is student-centered teaching? It’s simply putting your kids first when planning and delivering lessons by incorporating engaging activities and resources that will enhance their learning.

Ex: If you were using the “old textbook,” don’t assign 3 pages of vocabulary daily for the next 2 weeks. That’s asking for disruptive behavior. I’d act up in your class and I’m grown.

Instead, use the textbook–effectively. Most textbooks aren’t bad at all. Take the vocabulary and introduce the words by playing a vocabulary game such as charades with the kids. Put the kids in teams. Play the game for about 10 minutes. Then move into the teaching notes for about 10 minutes. The kids will already be more receptive to the note taking because they feel more confident using the vocabulary. Next, after the notes. Have the kids do an activity in groups or pairs to solidify what you just taught. They can do this for 10-15 minutes.

Not only will this cut down on misbehavior, but you are not exhausting yourself talking for 45-90 minutes. Help us (smile).

This is a condensed version of the upcoming free download I will be offering!

Teaching is rewarding, wise, and honorable, but it does NOT have to be overwhelming.

So, what was a great lesson YOU delivered that nailed effective lesson delivery? Comment and share below!

Stay in the light–
The Educator, M.Ed.
© 2018

4 Important Points Every First Year Teacher Should Know

I survived 15 years of education…and you will too. I have proudly worked in Title I schools the majority of my career as well with extraordinary students ranging in ages from 4 to 17. Along the way, I learned so many things. I can’t even begin to tell you. Listen, as I share 4 things that you should understand as you undertake this year.

 

1. Honey, this too shall pass.

As a first year teacher, you will make MANY mistakes. In fact, you will feel like you are “playing” teacher–like an 6 year old playing school with her stuffed animals…except this time, you have real kids sitting in front of you…and your scared…you feel incompetent…you feel chaotic…you feel fake. Bravo! Welcome to being a new teacher. The good news? This feeling will pass. Will you at times feel like you are winging it? Absolutely. There will be days that you will feel on top of the world and your kids are soaring to heights you couldn’t imagine. Other days, you will say to yourself “time to update my resume. My lesson was awful.” You will also say these things…10 years later.

Like a mentor teacher told me my first year “Don’t worry, your good days will begin to outweigh your bad days.” I never forgot her and her words. She was right. Some years, I was surprised to even have a bad day. Honey, this too shall pass.

 

2. Don’t get caught in the drama and negativity.

I don’t need a long explanation for this. For me personally, I was advised by a former teacher not to eat in the teacher’s lounge before I started teaching. Now, I know. This is not every campus. But, the teacher’s lounge or “huddle area,” as with any job, can be a place of gossip.  I’m not saying the teachers lounge is wrong at all. Yes, you will need to vent–but you do not need to vent to everybody or just anyone.

Find someone trustworthy you can talk to and always vent after school, with a closed door when the kids are gone. Never talk about students in the hallway. If it is an emergency, quietly share details but never say the name. Sometimes, you may have to politely put a colleague in check and say “I’ve got to get back, meet me after school in my room.”

Teaching can be extremely stressful. From talk of teachers carrying weapons, to breaking up literal fights, being cussed out by a student or parent, to surviving the data demands of the state and campus–it is unrealistic yet we get it done. Don’t let that deter you. Stay focused and away from the negativity and bad morale which sometimes may even be understandable. You do not want to be associated with whining, bad-mouthing, rumors and “mess.”

3. Stay as organized as possible and keep your notes all together.

You may be thinking, are you kidding me. All this training etc.! Most teachers are not organizational gurus. We educate and that in itself can be complex. I have a resource I will be sharing very soon that can help with planning and personal organization. In the meantime, keep all of your training notes in one place along with staff meeting notes etc. Don’t be the teacher that misses every deadline.  Stay as organized as possible by keeping it all together in a safe place–even passwords/logins etc. Thank me later.

4. Take care of you.

A burnt-out, stressed teacher cannot help anyone. Always put your family before your job. In my experience, I have seen teachers put their career before their family. The results are not favorable. This could lead to resentment down the road. It is very easy to get caught up for hours on end at night and throughout the weekend when you are a teacher. I have been guilty of this so many times. You care about your kids. I even advocate taking a “mental” day once a semester (not too often as with any job).The school will not advocate this, but I will unashamedly will. I do not see school districts/entities with teachers lined up around the block to get in. Let’s use common sense.

We need teachers, well rested, well adjusted, and treated with the dignity and respect this profession deserves. We face the future everyday in our classrooms. The last thing we need is a shortage of teachers not available to nurture and teach the most vulnerable in our population. Take care of YOU and your family.

Stay in the light-

The Educator, M.Ed.

©2018

 

Create A Beautiful New Care Packet…For You.

Create a Care Pack

You may be thinking, “Awesome, create a Care Pack for my students. I like that.” No darling, this pack is for you.

Why? Because you’re worth it and you need it. Unbeknown to the general public and even others in education, teachers have lives…outside of school. Gasp! Seriously, we do. You will find that some teachers will keep snacks in their cabinet for themselves and a sweater or jacket if it gets cold.
Nothing more.

A care pack is necessary because life happens. A number of years ago, a coworker had a power outage at her home. This normally well put together lady came to school with wet, disheveled hair. She was in the staff bathroom before school frantically getting ready. I never forgot that. A care pack is a teacher emergency bag. You can go to your nearest dollar or discount store to get what you personally need. Teaching is intense enough. The last the thing you need to forget is your deodorant and then reach over students all day passing out papers etc. They deserve better (insert laugh here). You deserve to know you are covered (no pun intended). Here is an emergency list:

–toothpaste
–travel toothbrush
–lotion
–hand sanitizer
–baby wipes or stain wipes
–female products (if applicable)
–small perfume or cologne
–deodorant
–protein or snack bars
–2 mini waters
–other materials you may need.

**This is for emergencies only. If you have to get ready at work frequently except for emergencies, time is not being prioritized unless there is a personal situation.

Make sure you keep your bag locked in your cabinet away from students at all times.

Take care of yourself the entire year. A broken, stressed teacher can’t help anyone. This beautiful or studly bag is for YOU.

Stay in the light–
The Educator, M.Ed.

©2018

We Are OPEN!

It’s that time! Schools, public and private are shiny and clean, homeschool environments are being reorganized. Everyone is stretching after hopefully a rich summer’s rest. This is one of the most exciting times of the school year. Everyone is beginning to think about and plan for the year (“Power” teachers start in the summer…more about that on another post:). Hopes for new plans, new programs, new students, and simply new beginnings.

The Educator’s Light wishes you and yours a wonderful school year. If you are a new teacher, a year of excitement, lessons learned, loving humility, and perseverance. If you have taught 5, 10, 15 or 30 years…may your commitment be renewed, may you forge new friendships with colleagues, may you inspire your students daily and may you know you are not alone and also know you. are. valued …each and everyday.

Stay in the light–
The Educator, ME.d.
Copyright 2018

Don’t Throw The Baby Out With The Bath Water!

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” If you are a new teacher, you may have already heard veteran teachers or others in general conversation talk about how much of “what worked” has been thrown out with new initiatives, programs, curriculum, or possibly even laws. Also, as a new teacher, you will become quite adjusted to this manner of dialogue…in staff meetings, in PLC’s, in other department and team meetings, in the lounge, on social media, before school, after school and even when you run into colleagues in public. Believe me, you will. All of the time.

Here’s the inside secret…get your pen and paper ready…write this down:

Your colleagues are right…about almost all of it.

I will go deeper into this topic soon, but I read an article yesterday on CNN’s website about “parenting.” I am not a literary critic. I am a professional with 16 years experience…15 years of surviving and thriving in a public school classroom. I would not take back one day I had with my wonderful kids–not. one. day. With that said, I will briefly share my opinion of the article and why it connects to education and even your classroom.

This article spoke of how the authoritative way of parenting is no longer good for our kids. No disrespect to the well-meaning author, but I froze with a scowl after reading the title and introductory paragraph. I paused and calmly told myself to read with an open mind. After the reading the article, I read it from an educator’s perspective. Here are my thoughts–the reason why our children are struggling with discipline is a lack of authoritative reasoning and care. Today, not all, but many adults want to be the child’s friend.

In my experience as a teacher, most of my students did not want an friend or a “contract’…they craved an authority figure they could depend on. On the first day of school, one the first things I tell my students is “I am your teacher, I am not your friend.” Yes, I said it and I will say it again, ” I am your teacher, I am not your friend.” They love it…and they respect it…even middle school. You know what else? It creates a safe place for them. They feel free to be a child. When they receive consequences for misbehaving, they understand. Natural consequences have their place of course…that is life…but they need authoritative consequences because well, that is life too. If they rob a bank, the authoritative consequence–they will be arrested, tried for a felony, and imprisoned. Hang out with the wrong crowd, drink heavily then drive down the highway and kill several people? Natural consequence of the night? A horrendous hangover, guilt, soreness from the crash and no recollection of the evening. Authoritative consequence–arrest, interrogation, trial, conviction for manslaughter of innocent people, then prison with a daily dose of sober, extreme remorse.

I am all for allowing students to find their voice. Vote, speak up, and speak out. In fact, I encourage/ed it in my classroom. However, they need to know as an authority in that classroom, I don’t desire power– I desire for them to reach their potential in my class, in this year. However, if they violate the grounds I have presented to them and given them ownership of, there isn’t a “go to self-timeout” and hope you begin to understand after 7 times. The reality is, your behavior is affecting 25 other students– and myself along with the “authority” in the building, have no choice but to have you removed and sent to another faction of the building that can help you make better choices. As they show maturity, they will earn more responsibility. The root of TRUE authority is LOVE and servitude, not power. It is our job to teach them the difference so they become strong, caring, thinking, productive members of society.

When we see television shows where young, troubled students are taken to prisons and camps to be “scared straight,” it’s not usually because there was an authority figure that stayed on them and guided them (some situations vary). Somewhere, a parent or guardian let the child have too much say so, too much “wiggle” room. At some point, the child thought they were the authority. Children and teens are developing. They are not ready to call all of the shots and become democratic in all of their choices. Yes, it is a democracy…but they are children. They do have a voice, yes! They are critical members of our society. In my opinion, the most critical. Look here–we adults are still figuring this all out our ages! They will learn many consequences on their own, believe it ,but understand there are heavy consequences, and some are even life-threatening. It’s real in these streets, honey.

Lastly, as I will address in yet another blog ( I am so excited), as society has floated from community to the cloud of individualism, this doesn’t mean we need to float to that cloud too. Community is vital for us humans. Even the beloved animal kingdom thrives in packs and flocks. We need to prepare our students for where society is headed, definitely. That is part of our jobs, but create a community. Perpetual individualism has isolated so many and has left so many feeling so alone, confused, and misunderstood. Your classroom may be the closest thing to a stable family many of your students will have.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! In education, you will see many articles about parenting, child development, teaching, education laws, research (which I love but can be biased too) strategies, etc. Some say the “old” way is not effective or is not conducive. I’m Not saying we should continue giving out worksheet packets from 2011 for then next 20 years. That’s bad teaching, but hold your common sense. You will know what is best for your students. Try new strategies and approaches, but make sure you have a strong foundation to put them into.

Keep the “baby”– nurture it, feed it, and guard it. Without it, there is no hope for the educational future.

–The Educator, M.Ed.

©2018

P.S.–

Some of the most compassionate and respectful students I ever had, had authoritative parents who “ruled” with discipline, common sense and love.

Here is the link for the CNN article (there are a few good points):

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/13/health/consequence-contract-parenting-strauss/index.html