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Posted by on in General

(Image Source: YIES.com)

Ok, I know it's the end of the year and all you can think about is sleeping in, maybe getting your feet in the sand, and finally having a little time to relax and eat a meal without having to complete it in under 10 minutes as you grade stacks of papers or help a student in your classroom. As teachers this is one of the best feelings in the world. We hear that last bell ring and suddenly enter into a month or two of bliss and being able reset, refocus, and relax.

But before you get too comfortable, I want to make sure you don't accidentally go and waste your summer break. So here are 5 ways you can be sure to waste your summer break.


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Posted by on in General

It's almost here!

As the days grow longer, the students in your classroom get more volatile, and the smell of Summer break is in the air, I want you to STOP. Right now, as you decide not to finish that lesson plan and just play Kahoot with your students tomorrow, I want you to consider the opportunity being wasted. The opportunity to end your school year stronger than ever and set yourself up for an amazing Summer. Here are 3 things you can start doing today to make that happen.

1. Plan Ahead / Make a List

The easiest thing you can do to make the end of your year better is to plan ahead for the end of year hustle and bustle ahead of time. You are probably making a mental list of all the things you need to do, whether it's cleaning up your classroom, putting in your final grades, filling out that paperwork that's been in your mailbox for a few days, or signing up for your Summer professional development training. Don't be that teacher running around on the last day of school trying to figure all of this out at once. Make a list of everything you need to get done, prioritize it, and knock out at least 1 task every day. Start with anything that can take less than 10 minutes.

There may even be a few things that you're thinking, "I'll do that over summer, or get to it at the end of the year." This is a dangerous game and I would bet just about anything that when the time comes and you are staring down that mess of lesson materials in the back of your classroom, or getting those books organized, or handing back the student work that's been on your wall since first quarter (yeah, it's ok we all do that sometimes), you won’t have the time or energy to do all the things you put on that "Summer" list. Make sure you get ahead of these things so you can divide up the workload over the last few weeks instead of the last few hours.

2. Don't Stop Teaching

Ok...so I know this sounds simple. It's so easy at the end of the year to start "filling up time" instead of focusing on student learning. In your head it's very easy to think: "just get through these last few days." I get it, and this is normal, but here's a secret: students know when you're phoning in your lesson. If students feel like your just getting through the day, or have given up on learning for the year, they will give up too.

I know it can be difficult, but stay focused, stay committed, and continue doing what you do best: teaching kids.

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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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