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Posted by on in General

Teaching should not be "Survival of the Fittest"

As a teacher, it can be hard to escape the political aspects of the job. As a mentor of mine once cleverly stated: "Choosing a career in education is choosing a career in politics."

These politics are not making our profession any easier, and they tend to increase pressure on teachers to produce positive results.

Right now, though, I want you to take a moment and STOP.

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Posted by on in General

Is your classroom evaluation the "Greatest Show on Earth?"

While working with many schools and districts I often discuss the evaluation process with both principals and their administration, as well as their teachers.  It's always a somewhat touchy subject, but I've never been able to figure out why.

Why the current system is lacking

While I fully understand that you have a lot riding on evaluations in your classroom, and administrators need a way to measure the progress of their staff, I don't think the current system of evaluations really does either of these things effectively.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Sometimes things aren't what they seem...

As a teacher I very rarely thought of things from the perspective of my administrator. I still tend to develop training, development, and the services I provide to schools and districts from a teacher-centered perspective. It has always been and always will be my belief that initiatives and instructionalmethods will work better when built this way.

While I continue to primarily work with teachers, my interactions with administrators are much more frequent than ever before. From these interactions I have realized that some of the misconceptions I harbored from the classroom were not only incorrect, but actually very far from the truth.

Here are 3 things I've learned that your administrators wish you knew.

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Posted by on in General

Quit Complaining About "These Kids."

Seriously, stop it.

We spend a lot of our days visiting districts, observing classrooms, and talking with teachers, and I'm starting to hear something more often than I should. I keep hearing teachers say things a long the lines of: "This would work, but 'these kids' can't do it...next year will be better."

I've had my share of "bad classes" and I admit,I've succumb to this statement earlier in my career. But as I grew as a professional I realized one simple fact: It's not the students job to change...It's my job to adapt. So I did.

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Posted by on in General

In case you don't know what the term means (you probably do) teaching in a fishbowl is when your classroom is being observed by other professionals, administrators, colleagues, and stakeholders constantly. Essentially it means that your teaching is always on display. Now, I know you are thinking, "I would hate that!" but I assure you it has its benefits.

When I first started teaching I was part of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, which was an intensive master's program that included 3 years of follow up mentoring and support. As a new teacher Ialso had to deal with Ohio's Resident Educator program as well as standard teacher evaluations.

All of this added up to being observed, coached, and supported by 3 different systems. My room became a revolving door of evaluations and observations, and most of my lunch periods became feedback and reflection discussions. I really was teaching in a fishbowl. I know this sounds a little torturous and at the time (especially in the beginning) it was definitely stressful, but it also made me the best possible version of myself as a teacher.

Here are three things I learned from this experience:

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