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Posted by on in Classroom Management

“Don’t write in the margins.”

“Don’t sharpen your pencil while I am talking.”

“Don’t distract your neighbors.”

Don't. Don't. Don't.

It is all too easy for an educator’s day to become filled with well-intentioned negatives. Instead of a constant barrage of negative directives, though, consider the positive environment you could create if you could 1. Help students learn to be considerate of others, 2. Build community in your classroom, and 3. Encourage self-discipline.

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Posted by on in Professional Development

"Teaching is a Creative Art: Call It Human Rocket Science" --Jeffrey Pflaum

I'm not their mother, father, guidance counselor, social worker, or therapist. I'm a teacher. I teach: that's what I do. You hear that from educators, now even more so with CCSS, multiple standardized tests, and all sorts of assessments looming over their heads. You can't blame teachers for wanting to avoid nurturing students because they have enough on their hands.

But then I read an article in The Washington Post (5/19/15), "Poverty, family stress are thwarting student success, top teachers say," by Lyndsey Layton. The title says it all: obstacles to doing well in school are not always about classroom life. It's anxiety related to home, economics, which, in turn, can create learning issues and psychological problems. Surprise! Surprise!

There are missing pieces in teacher training programs. I believe schools of education are getting the message. Just as we talk about educating the "whole child," we need to do the same for our future teachers, neophytes first entering the profession, and veterans alike: educate the "whole teacher."

I had little education background in 1968 when I began teaching in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY, except for the Intensive Teacher Training program. I walked into the classroom knowing nothing about how and what to teach, but was rescued by talented teachers who taught school workshops in reading, math, social studies, and language arts, while also depending greatly on teacher guides.

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Posted by on in School Culture

The first full week of May is set aside for Teacher Appreciation Week. I love this week because this usually means that I will be fed multiple times during the week by the PTSO, and I love to eat. While I am touched by the efforts that parents take to make sure teachers feel appreciated this week, I want to tell you the best way to show your appreciation to a teacher.

Raise your child to be respectful of authority and not make a sound like a tire leaking air when asked to do something.

Raise your child to know what hard work is.

Raise your child to know that education is not only a right but a privilege.

Quit making excuses for your child. Children make mistakes creating valuable opportunities to learn life lessons. Parents who rush in too quickly to excuse behavior generally end up raising brats. And brats are brats.

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