I've had department chair on the brain lately because it was recently announced that my current department chair has stepped down for next year. He is smart and he will be missed in that role, but I think there are multiple good options in my current English department to fill his shoes. In my career so far, I've had the opportunity to be a department chair and to work with department chairs that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Some inspired me, some frightened me, and some gave me all the rope I needed either to soar or hang myself. Although it sometimes works out despite the process, in my experience, department chairs are chosen for silly reasons like seniority, admin favorites, or by default because no one else wants it. If done well, department chairs can positively impact fellow teachers, which in turn raises the bar for students, parents, and administrators, so here are some thoughts about what teachers really want in order to be supported in the classroom.
Recently, Fusion Yearbooks reached out to us with some awesome tips for creating a classroom culture of laughter. We loved them so much that we wanted to share some of those tips with you today! By the way, if you haven't heard of Fusion Yearbooks, check them out and pass on the info to that lovely person on faculty that is looking a little exhausted and frazzled about this time of year trying to meet the yearbook deadline!
As the school calendar grows short, the weather turns warm, and the testing bubbles are completely filled in, teachers all over the country embark on the epic task of keeping students engaged. To help you in this battle, we have rounded up tips and tricks for the end of the school year from some of our favorite veteran teachers:
At the end of the school year, most teachers are focusing on keeping students engaged, writing report cards, communicating with parents, figuring out new placements, and packing up the classroom. With all the hustle and bustle of the final months of school, it is hard to even wrap our brains around preparing for for next year. That is what the last week of July is for right?!? Today we have rounded up fellow teachers who know the spring struggle, but also have some easy and effective tips for creating a smooth back to school season by doing a little preparation now. We think you will thank them come August!
I'm not convinced that we should even give spring break homework because by this time in the year, we all need a little breathing room. However, some teachers are required to give break work, and others see that their students need a little something to keep their heads in the game and finish out fourth quarter instead of starting summer vacation in the spring. If you are in that boat, let us share a couple of fun ideas with you! If you have questions or additions to this list, we would love to hear from you in the comment section below!
Somewhere along the line, a lot of teachers, students, parents, and administrators got the idea that good teachers don't allow their students to struggle. For many, the ideal classroom looks like a teacher giving perfectly clear instructions followed by students dutifully practicing skills with confidence and some level of uniformity. While there is benefit to this methodology in some circumstances, overall I believe that:
Plickers is such a fun tool with a myriad of uses in the classroom! If you haven't heard of plickers, they are definitely worth a look!
One of my personal resolutions for 2016 is to cultivate my gratitude. Generally, I am a doer. I power through to do lists like my life depends on them (because it basically does! You understand, you are a teacher too). I appreciate this about myself, but the downfall is that I often find myself caught up in the stress of tasks, resenting anything that obstructs my flow instead of focusing on being grateful for all the things that aid me on my teaching journey. So here is my plan for becoming a more grateful person in general and teacher in specific: