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In today's episode, we grapple with the accuracy of the following Shakespeare quote: What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet. You sure about that, Juliet? You sure about that? My guest Drew and I sit down and talk about the ways that names, language, and cultural norms can sometimes take a while for new teachers to navigate.
As schools across the country approach the end of the year, teachers can start to lose steam. Many are even questioning whether they will be staying in the profession. I like to call this the “Grass is Greener Syndrome”. We think that things will be better at another school, or in a different industry, but the reality is we love education. We love our jobs. We just need to be reminded.
The good news is there are scientifically proven methods that allow us to stop day dreaming about a far-off, non-existent land where nothing goes wrong, and moves us toward being mindful and focused on the good that is happening right under our noses.
Here are three tangible, simple, daily habits that will help you do this. All you need is 5 minutes and a notebook.
As teachers, we can sometimes get so caught up in the day-to-day tasks of our job that we forget to lift ourselves up from the weeds and look at our classroom from a distance. Of course, specific, measurable, and short-term goals are what amount to overall incredible results at the end of the year, but we can’t forget what our big goal is - our North Star.
If you find yourself going through the motions and asking yourself, “Why am I doing this again?”, it may be time to revisit your classroom vision (or create one if you don’t have one yet). I love writing my classroom vision and revisiting it in January to remind myself of the all the important goals I set out to accomplish during the school year.
Just today, I decided to revisit my vision before returning to school after winter break. It took me less than 30 minutes to complete (22:36 to be exact) and I feel so re-energized to tackle quarter three. Here is how I did it:
In my first year teaching, I had one class that was proving to be very difficult to keep on task. It felt like a perpetual game of “Whack-A-Mole.” As soon as I addressed one student’s off-task behavior, I turned around and had to address a new student. It was exhausting and I found myself filled with dread when I heard that bell ring after lunch and the students started filing in. I was convinced that there was something different about this class or the particular students that I was having the most difficult time connecting with.
I am so grateful to the many coaches within my building and outside my school who were able to give me some incredible feedback that I share with teachers to this day. If you are struggling with behavior management, ask yourself the following three questions.
Data collection and analysis can be overwhelming for teachers, but it doesn't have to be. The first step in easing data anxiety for teachers can be as simple as changing the definition of what data is and how it can be collected. Data is not just the fancy graphs that are provided by the companies that administer benchmark tests. In fact, it can actually measure anything you want it to measure.
I have heard many teachers state that standards-mastery, of course, is important, but it shouldn't be the entire focus of teaching. They tell me that they also want to see their students grow on an interpersonal level, become better humans, treat their peers with respect, and become independent learners who know how to advocate for their needs. I agree!
Where teachers can sometimes struggle is knowing how to use data to show objective growth in those areas. Below are some tips for data collection in 3 areas that I have seen successful teachers use in order to measure what matters in their classrooms.
Carla Rivera-Cruz (CRC) is an educator and entrepreneur committed to helping like-minded educators reach their fullest potentials.