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Michael Schultz

Michael Schultz

Michael Schultz is a teacher and vice-principal at a Catholic Independent School in Delta, British Columbia, Canada. He has sixteen years of teaching experience at his current school and three others. He currently teaches fifth grade, but has also been a technology and physical education specialist. He earned his Masters Degree in Leadership and Administration through Gonzaga University. He is passionate about student learning and about helping students to not only be consumers of content, but also creators.

Posted by on in ShiftParadigm

Moonshot

Last week I had the privilege of joining over 5000 of my Independent School colleagues at the FISA Conference in downtown Vancouver. I found it to be an uplifting two days, but there was also an underlying call to action to all of the teachers in attendance. (I will get to that later)

On my way home I was on the Skytrain and couldn't help but overhear three younger teachers talking about how they enjoyed the conference, but that they all still had a sense of being overwhelmed with all of the things that teaching entails and feelings of guilt that they just can't do enough to feel like they are being successful both as teachers and as people. What I really wanted to do at that point was to interrupt them and add my two cents to their conversation. I don't profess to be any sort of expert, but I have worked at four schools and have learned from many excellent teachers and principals over the seventeen years that I have been a teacher. I think I have picked up a few tidbits over the years that might be common sense, but that I think some people might need to hear.

So, in place of interrupting random strangers on the Skytrain, I thought I would offer my advice here. First, an affirmation:

  • Teachers, you are doing good things for kids. I have been in a lot of different teacher's classrooms and what I can say is that, without exception, the teachers I know are influencing kids in a positive way. What that means is that you can let go of the guilt that comes with not being able to get to everything on your to-do list. As teachers, we could work twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and would still find things to do. It is okay to let some things go. You are doing good for kids.

With that said, my one big takeaway from the FISA Conference was this: The world is changing. We are preparing our kids for a world that is changing rapidly and we have a moral imperative to change. I think many teachers find this overwhelming, so I would like to offer just a little bit of advice that I hope someone might find helpful.

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Posted by on in Professional Development

As a teacher, one of my main goals in my classroom and in my school is to foster a culture of learning. I hope that by the time that students leave my classroom at the end of the year, that beyond any of the “stuff” that they learn, that they leave with a sense of curiosity and have developed skills that will help them to use that sense of curiosity to learn new and wonderful things.

I have learned an amazing number of things in my years as a teacher, and one of them is that kids are smart. I am not talking about book smart. I am talking about smart in the sense that they can sense from a mile away when an adult is being phony. They can tell when we are not practicing what we preach. Below are a few ideas that will help us to ensure that we not only talk the talk but walk the walk when it comes to being a lifelong learner. Don’t think for an instant that these are not things that I have perfected. I still need to grow as much, if not more, than others that I know. I am merely writing on some of the things that I am focussing on in my quest to promote learning in my students and to promote lifelong learning.

1. Ensure That You are Diligent In Your Administrative Tasks

As teachers, we constantly get after kids to ensure that their homework is completed on time, that they put care into the presentation of their work, and to be organized in their physical space. If we, as teachers, do the same, we are sending the message to our students that we value in ourselves the same qualities that we expect from our students.

2. Learn Something New

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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens

 

As a teacher, I try my best to grow and to learn. I read books about different areas of education, I attend school and district professional development, and try to collaborate with my colleagues to grow my practice. I have a confession to make, however. I don’t learn nearly as much about teaching and learning than I do from the young people sitting in the desks in my classroom. The students I have this year, in particular, have been great teachers and I learn something new every day.

The other day I asked them, “What do you think teachers need to know? What advice do you think that I could give other teachers about how to improve?” It was an interesting discussion, and I may write about some of those things another time, but eventually, we finished up and moved on with our day. When school finished, one of the girls in my class, approached me once everyone had left and said, “You know, Mr. Schultz, I have been thinking about what you asked us earlier. I think the most important thing teachers need to know is how important it is to get to know their students.”

Well now here was a topic I really wanted to sink my teeth into, so a couple of days later I asked the kids in my class two questions. The first was why it was important for teachers to get to know their students and the second was how teachers could go about getting to know their students better. I found their responses really insightful and wanted to share them.

Why is it important for teachers to get to know their students?

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