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General

Voices from the BAM Radio Community sharing their thoughts, insights and teaching strategies.

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Sometimes it doesn’t take much.

Hours of heavy lifting can be negated by a letter (eval rating), a look or an unmet expectation.

A sculptor sees hourly progress. A writer, daily. But a teacher?

Weeks may pass without even the hint of a step forward.

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One afternoon, a week before the end of the past school year, I was washing my hands at the classroom sink.  When I was finished, I turned to walk to my desk.  Instead, I slipped on a pile of student backpacks left sprawled about on the floor and soon found myself sprawled out next to them.  

I tried to play off the pain that was shooting from my right hand to my elbow and all the way up to my shoulder.  It was bad enough that my ego was bruised and on display for thirty seventh graders to see.  I really didn’t want to admit any other bruising that may be emerging as well. 

Workman’s compensation papers completed, I headed to the assigned clinic where I was quickly examined and then prescribed several sessions of physical therapy.

A few days later, I arrived for my first session.  The therapist walked into the lobby and called my name.  He asked, “Do you remember me?”

I am embarrassed to admit: I remembered his face, but my brain could not quickly supply his name.  It turns out that my physical therapist, Dr. Brandon Olson, was once a student in my fifth-grade class – twenty-four years ago!  Ten-year-olds grow up!  They change!

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Summer Learning Slide! What's Up? or Down?

What Do You Think? Is summer learning loss real? Yes, no, maybe so, depending. 

Is summer learning loss like walking up the slide?     

For a couple of years now, always the same. I'm on the preschool play area and I spot one or two kiddos walking up the slide. I gently remind to slide down the slide, not walk up. Also, not to slide down backwards or push another kid down. Other weird things seem to pop up, like licking the slide, going up and down the stairs, then not sliding, watching a toy go down the slide, etc. Even though we are in summer, our preschool still serves kids. The slide gets a lot of action. So there is no summer learning loss, or slide for these lucky littles.

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Moving Day, Saturday June 8, 2019. Boxes and Teachers wearing Jeans, what a combo. 

Let me say this, about that.

Should Teachers wear jeans every day? Hmmm. Hot topic. Never thought much about it.

I never knew this is such a big topic for teachers. I read a great We Are Teachers article by Kristy Louden on June 6, 2019, posted by 'We Are Teachers' on Twitter. "Teachers Should Be Allowed to Wear Jeans Every Day & Here's Why". I thought it was an interesting read, so I shared it. That tweet now, as I conclude my thoughts, has nearly 65,000 impressions (hits), (update, Sunday morning, 84,000 impressions) so I am honored and grateful to have the opportunity to write for us.

The common thread for me, my takeaway goes right back to school culture, and likely, Maslow, basic needs, personal self-care needs being met. Perhaps we can go no further than to recognize a whole lot of teachers want to self-determine what they wear to school every day to perform at their best. Perhaps this whole discussion is really all about teacher autonomy and need for trust in our professionalism and decision making, I'm really not sure.

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The final day of another school year has quickly come and gone, and summer vacation is but a few hours old.  The desks have been cleaned and stacked.  The books have been packed away in cupboards.  Student work has been taken down and handed back to kids to either take home or add to the recycling bin already bulging outside our classroom door.

And the kids have all left the building in search of many exciting adventures far removed from school.

This final day of school lasted just four hours.  Some of the kids did not even attend.  I anticipated a morning filled with noise and unruly, reckless behavior.  But, for the most part, there was no commotion.  Our students sat on the floor and played Uno and Connect Four.  Others listened to music on their phones.  Some signed yearbooks.  Some simply talked and laughed.

I have learned to sit back and observe, to listen, to learn.

All of my check-out items had been completed earlier in the week.  There really was not much else for me to do.  So I listened. 

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