Thank you for choosing to be a teacher! The best teachers have such a gift for reaching kids in just the right way, literally changing the lives of many by just believing in them. You didn’t choose to be a teacher because you thought it would be easy. You didn’t choose to be a teacher because you thought you would make a lot of money. And, most likely, you didn’t even choose to be a teacher. Instead you simply followed your calling. And, now, it’s your choice as to where you share your gift.
Over the last week, nominees for the have been submitting their applications for the Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year award . I have had the opportunity to read through many of them and I have seen a common theme running through the applications – empowered teachers.
As the shortage of talent continues to hit schools hard, both for leadership and teachers, it may be time for schools to begin thinking about how Michigan’s approved alternative routes to certification can help to overcome this obstacle.
Childhood trauma and stress resides in every classroom and in every school. We live in a complex and arduous society where adults and children alike face chronic stress and demand. Children who live in poverty are at higher risks for exposure to trauma particularly, although kids from all backgrounds can face grief or abuse in their lifetime. Understanding the impact life experiences can have on children is important and how stress and trauma impact brain development and childhood behaviors can be key to unraveling the ball of learning.
In a recent study that asked teachers, students, parents and school leaders what the biggest influences were on student achievement, each group identified student-teacher relationships as a factor. Each group, that is, except teachers.
Struggling schools have tried everything: RTI programs, school culture trainings, replacing teachers, hiring a new leader, restructuring the school day. Often times these efforts create only bumps in student achievement, and rarely are these bumps sustained over time. Teachers and leaders lament that there is only so much they can do. Some of the responsibility lies with students to manage their own learning.
Topics: Teaching and Learning
By now, we are all familiar with the siren of low test scores. Alternatively, we hear just how very hard schools are working to serve their students. They are trying new things; implementing new programs; differentiating more instruction. But still, we are seeing test scores stagnant or falling. What is happening here? Where is the disconnect between what schools are doing and the results in student achievement? Teachers and leaders will say that they are serving very difficult populations and success is more complicated than test scores. But expectations need to remain high for all students, regardless of their circumstance, right?
Our world has changed immensely over the last 100 years. So much so, some industries are lagging behind with all of the technological enhancements and economic shifts. Students need now more than ever to learn through real world scenarios to best prepare to contribute to this ever-shifting society we live in now. How can experiential learning theory be incorporated into your school to teach students the competencies they need for real-world success and make learning significantly more powerful?
If you Google “unstandardized rubric” you can nearly make the second page of results before you see a headline that doesn’t include the word “standardized” in it. So what exactly is an unstandardized rubric? It’s intentional. It’s flexible. It’s reflective of the exact focus of your building. It’s a meaningful tool that helps to create a common language for collaboration.
It is important that every observation is based on a rubric that clearly articulates expectations and depicts what it looks like when those expectations are achieved at various levels. The challenge for instructional coaches is in building a rubric that can easily be completed within a short observation window and one that can provide information for meaningful dialogue around areas for improvement. An effective rubric should guide conversation and inspire new approaches.