It is a quiet sound…the soft sound of a music box. The one in my hands is not mine, but it brings me back to a time when I held my own music box as a little girl. Imagine – a satin-lined, pastel pink box that could be held in the hands of a young girl. Inside is a ballerina who spins to the music when gently opened. Holding this music in my hands that is not mine brought me back to being in the middle of my yellow-accented bedroom more than 30 years ago. This instant time travel was simply from the chime of a few beats of this quiet music. My mind picked up the memory, and started telling a story within seconds.
Amazing what a memory can do – it can tell our stories. Recently this past week, author/speaker, Tracy Nelson Maurer, spoke on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State at the Southwest Minnesota Reading Council’s Fall Conference. Tracy shared three keys to writing success: inspiration, information, and imagination. She sparked our memories and helped us see our stories. We all have stories to share.
This past week was full of stories at SMSU sparked by memories as we celebrated Homecoming 2017. It was not a standard week of Homecoming festivities at SMSU this year, however. We are celebrating our 50th year as an institution, a community, a family. This week allowed us a time to share memories, tell our stories, and make new memories to share in the future.
Here are a few highlights of the memory-sharing and memory-making week…
The 50th SMSU Charter Signing
Door Decorating Contest — School of Education was awarded second place!
Guest Author/Speaker Tracy Nelson Maurer
School of Education Alumni Tent, Parade, and Football Game Festivities
We all have a memory and a story to share. Continue to share them – as we connect with the past and storytell in the future. Let us inspire, inform, and imagine together. Listen to the soft music, and let it play.
You may have heard the phrase… “Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten.” It was true… until my sabbatical. What is a sabbatical you may be asking? It is a time to reflect, a time to renew, a time to reenergize, and a time to start fresh…
Some spend time during sabbatical researching, writing books, focusing on different work, and/or relaxing on location. It provides an opportunity to try something new and to stretch professionally in ways that have been imagined during stressful days…or unimagined. My imagination originally directed me toward writing a book and relaxing. At least that was what I imagined when my sabbatical seemed far off. As my sabbatical began approaching my imagination had a new image in mind, which would require an intense amount of time, energy, and emotion. You see my sabbatical experience took on a life of its own in a PK-2 school teaching English learners full-time. Yes, that’s right – full-time. I became a teacher, a caretaker, an advocate, … full-time. There were days that I laughed so much my cheeks hurt. There were days that I cried so much my eyes hurt. I became 100% invested in my opportunity to change lives. I thank my colleagues for allowing me to step away from my position on campus to walk in the shoes of an EL teacher.
What did I learn from my experience? Well, some of you have been reading updates of my adventures throughout the past few months and want to know – so here goes:
Implementing best practices…you bet
Assessments and data mining…check
But there really is so much more…
*Life is bigger than any one person or job.
*Giving to others fills up the soul with joy and sparkles and feelings of nice.
*Learning English can be fun!
*Go on a letter hunt instead of a bear hunt!
*Be kind. Everyone has struggles. Don’t judge theirs…it’s not your job or mine.
*Work hard, play hard. Enjoy life and work.
*Be with family no matter what you are doing.
*Not to clean the house sometimes when it is important and to clean it when it is important and to know the difference. If that doesn’t make sense, it may someday.
*Rest does not necessarily happen on the couch or with a nap. Energize the soul to feel rested.
*Incremental rehearsal works.
*Take risks – appropriately of course.
*SIOP is for all teachers and learners.
*Don’t be late to the teachers’ lounge on sunshine treat days… you will never get it back.
This is a lesson learned long ago but needed to be revisited.
*Candy is still a tactful way to bribe learners to do their best – whether youth or adults.
*Keep learning, trying, and growing. Stay curious.
*Field trips are exciting at any age.
EL Family Night
Kindergarten Field Trip
EL Family Night
*Learn another language – and keep using it.
*Observations do not have to be scary when you are in it to grow and be better than you were before.
*Teaching is more than what the written curriculum is and what the lesson plans say… it is about caring and sometimes saving.
*Forget the small stuff – even though it may feel big sometimes. Learn to let go.
*If I have the necessities and the greatest gift, love, I have all things.
*Professional Development should be lifelong. Never stop learning.
*Snow days are nature’s way of giving us a break from the pressure. Still love them at my age!
*Sometimes kids need a hug. Sometimes kids need clothes. Sometimes kids need food.
*Do not be an island.
*Learn about someone else. Take a sincere interest to learn about him or her – culture, religion, language, …favorite color.
*Culturally responsive teaching makes a difference.
*Brain breaks and a little dancing can do us all some good. Just move it!
*Missing addends are important to know but learning manners trumps that. Please and thank you can make all the difference.
*Food on the table each day for each student is not always a true statement.
*Hugs and smiles can fix tons and keep the world going around.
*Be flexible…things may change and that is a constant. It doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect to be great as long as “I do my best” in the words of a certain kindergarten teacher at Park Side. 🙂
*Be humble and kind.
*Be passionate and positive, not stressed and negative. Change will happen either way.
*Just like the saying, “Students will never care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
I was truly humbled by my sabbatical experience. I taught children. They are smart. They are bright. They are kind. They want to learn and grow. They happen to be learning English as an additional language to their native tongue. They taught me just as much as I taught them – if not more.
Some of these children had food. Some of these children did not. Some of these children had a fresh change of clothing. Some of these children did not. Some of these children received hugs at home. Some of these children did not. Each day I gave what I could to these children – from the alphabet and numbers to a bag of food and clothes. I consider all of these children “my kids.” My own children at home have learned as much as I have during this sabbatical experience about giving to others and resigning from judgment of others. All of these children have a special place in my heart for the lessons they have taught me.
My goals were so grand in my sabbatical plan…
but I learned so much more than any plan I could create.
Some One must have had this plan for me…
Live – Laugh – Love – repeat… and to share this wise advice with others.
Helping children in need doesn’t have to happen across the globe.
It can happen right here, right now.
During my sabbatical experience, I was often smiling at all the possibilities there were to help others. I hope to take this – along with all the lessons learned – to campus with me as I return to teach and guide the next generation of teachers. No pressure but the world is counting on them.
A special thank you goes out to Ms. Prior for creating the video and teaching me a thing or two while I mentored her during student teaching. Good luck in your new position as an EL teacher. Take care of “our” kids.
“My cup runneth over.” Although I haven’t seen the movie in some time, I immediately recognize the line from, Hope Floats, where the grandmother in this 1998 film kindly shares, “My cup runneth over.” Although there are various ways to interpret this phrase, I have always thought she meant it in an endearing way to say that she has everything she needs with the love of her family.
You might be thinking “that is not the only place you can find that quote” – and you are correct. It may be found elsewhere…including the Bible, which is probably where it all started. 😉 Psalm 23: 1-6 reads:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
My cup runneth over. So I wasn’t quite sure what it meant at the time I first watched that film almost 20 years ago or when I read it in scripture, but I know what it means to me now.
Today standing in-line – it happened. I could feel my bucket (or cup in this case) filling up. As I helped an English learner with her fingerprints for lunch (Yes – that’s how modern day school lunch lines go for those of you wondering), we were chatting. What did we talk about? Shoes. Sparkling, silver shoes to be more precise. Although the little girl and I were not fluent in the same language, we were able to communicate about something we had in common – loving rockstar shoes! During this time, I was able to connect with one of the precious ELs who I will have the opportunity to teach and learn from this fall. My cup runneth over.
Opportunities are everywhere. The bucket can hold all kinds of energy. We just have to see the opportunities and seize them. Last week at teacher workshops, I had the pleasure to hear two fabulous speakers. (Yes – I know that might be crazy to say.) The time simply flew by and my bucket was overflowing…gushing maybe. And I might be a groupie to both Willow Sweeney and Dr. Luis Cruz now…. My cup runneth over.
Willow Sweeney, partner in creating the Top 20 Training, fired us up to connect with our students and each other. There is potential in all of us. Take ownership for the energy that we show up with each day and keep each day. Not everything will go our way but how we react to it is up to us.
Dr. Luis Cruz was the first in his family to attend college – and become a doctor! (Even if his daughter thinks he’s not a real doctor, I say kudos to him! It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to make that happen.) His message for us is to never give up on our kids, on each other, on hope. I won’t give up. Hope floats after all.
If you have the opportunity to experience either of these two speakers in action live, go for it! You won’t regret it!I absolutely LOVED the speakers! They reminded me that we can make a difference. I realize that I am optimistic person, who is an idealist almost to a fault. 🙂 I am continuing to learn to be a pragmatist and realist each day, but it seems to start over every morning with the same “let’s change the world and make it a better place” mentality. I just can’t help it. Everyone has a vice… mine include: reading, writing in run-on sentences (hard to believe since I am a language arts teacher at heart, but I have so much I want to share with you), fountain pops with lots of ice, a glass of cabernet now and then, fun pens, and of course shoes (if you weren’t paying attention earlier)…and being an idealist. As the Marshall Public Schools mission statement reads, “MPS develops the potential of each learner for success in a changing world.” Let’s do this –together!
I love my profession – teaching young students as well as my teacher candidates. That fills my bucket. Although I greatly miss my SMSU peeps, I am truly enjoying my adventure at MPS. My goal this semester is to bring great ideas back to the SMSU teacher candidates from my experience at Park Side and enhance our rapport with schools throughout our community. Taking time away from my university family has made me fully realize the impact that we have on the community and what more we could even do. People and authentic relationships make us who we are and how we can help each other. We truly can make this world a better place. My cup runneth over.
Cheers to the weekend and making this world a better place and to you… May you find something to fill your bucket that is perfect for you!
So after 18 years in education, I attended “new teacher” workshops to start off my 19th year. You see I am on sabbatical this fall to rejuvenate, relearn, and renew. I am headed back to the classroom after almost seven years away to restock my teacher toolkit and soul. I will be an EL – English Learner teacher for the Marshall Public School district. I am so pumped up for this as I join this classy group of “new” teachers pictured here.
So what is new or what is important to renew in the teacher toolkit? LOTS! You may find blog posts this fall to read somewhat like a journal entry in the life of a new teacher. 😉
First impressions are important. They can be lasting. If it bombs, however, it can be changed… but it is no longer a first impression of course. 😉 This summer I had the privilege of attending a session with Justin Patton. Incredible experience! If you ever have an opportunity to hear Justin speak or be coached by him, you will not regret it! Some takeaways to consider… We are all just people so we live and learn and sometimes change. We need to do our best to respect others and forgive them for messing up as we hope the favor is returned in kind. No matter if the first impression is stellar or not, communicate honestly and build authentic relationships with people as we are all on this adventure together. Make your presence count. One of my favorite quotes from Justin and now one of my own mantra phrases – “Take responsiblilty for the energy you show up with!” Okay – I am pretty fired up about Leading with Head & Heart so look for more on this in upcoming posts. I hope to share this with my students and fellow staff-mates. Now – back to school, folks…
The cycle of morale exists somewhat for all levels of experience in education and possibly other career fields, too. In the new teacher workshops, the Director of Teaching & Learning shared a great visual about the phases of the school year in the life of a teacher.
When searching for the image, I stumbled across this one as well. Made me laugh out loud, which is good for the soul and morale.
There are highs and lows in school and in life. Be there to support others and know that “this too shall pass” is a phrase to live by. Laughter is inexpensive medicine to cure the “common cold” in education, too.
Knowing the cycle – continue to learn and grow – and not because you are told to do so, but instead learn and grow because you know it makes you whole. Here is just one example… For any teachers out there who make it to MEA break, join this Pirate crew if you can!
It’s critical to remember that we teach kids not content. As much as I love me some good content, it’s the kids who matter and will remember. I received two fabulous reminders of who great teachers are and what they do because they care.
Thanks to Principal Darci Love for sharing “Great Teachers….” with me this week.
Thanks also goes to Director Amanda Granger, who shared about standards-based grading this week and reminded me it’s up to all of us to repair the broken…
I could really jump on the soapbox here with grades, but I will hold off for another time to “fix” that. My teacher candidates have heard some ranting and raving about this before. I am passionate about kids and not grades, I guess. (I know there are some of you out there who cringe at the word “kids” so insert your own words; I like it.) Another saying that I really like was tweeted out by our very own Dr. Wendy this week. It is so, so true.
So to recap because I lost track… kindness and communication matter, continuing to learn and grow matter, and having hope and spirit matter. So what else have I learned?
Take care… and take a nap. We should really be learning from our kids’ habits. They nap and are like the Energizer Bunny. Wherever, whenever (it is legal) – take a nap. There is no warrior badge for the teacher who goes without a nap, a message, leisure reading, … The list goes on and on. Teachers don’t keep up like the Energizer Bunny if they skip over enjoying some of that list. That list is actually called life. Teaching can consume the teacher, and what’s left isn’t a pretty picture. Love yourself so you can love others.
This could go on and on but frankly, I’m exhausted from the week and all the adrenaline in this anticipation phase. My no-longer-21-year-old self can’t keep up quite the same as when I started almost two decades ago. But that’s okay because I love what I do, I love the people I serve… and I love a rare nap much more than I ever thought I could when I was forced to take them as a toddler.
When I get ready for bed at night, I complete the same routine that I have been doing for almost 30 years. I wash my face with Cetaphil Soap® (which has been recommended by my dermatologist by the way), then rinse my face at least 10 times with the coldest tap water possible, and finally dowse my face with Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream®. And that cream goes on LIBERALLY! Lots and lots and lots and lots of cream (take that, you bad boy crow’s feet). 🙂
The other night as I was rubbing in that glob of moisturizer, I thought of how applying certain character traits liberally to the education world might help us be better educators. I thought to myself…
Hmmm, what in education do we need to apply liberally?? Lots and lots and lots of?
Well, the best way to find this out was to send out a text message to my educator friends, right? So I sent this message to my peeps:
“Fill in the blank, please. Just like we apply moisturizer liberally, we must apply ___________ liberally in education.”
Here are the first seven responses I got in the order I received them (thanks to all of you for texting me back right away…especially the male in the group ‘cause I’m positive you lather up every night with moisturizing cream HA! 🙂 ). This list is by no means complete. Please add YOUR educational moisturizers in the comments below. Can’t wait to read them.
Collaboration: This is certainly part of my leadership philosophy. When I was an elementary principal years ago, I actually had a kindergarten teacher tell me he didn’t like my collaborative style. He just wanted me to make all the decisions. All I’ve got to say about that is…WOW. Things that make you go hmm???
Passion: Dave Burgess would agree with this one. Passion is what drives us. If we do not have passion for what we do, it will seem like a chore to do it. I love teaching. My first year as an elementary teacher I made the comment “I can’t believe we get paid for this.” Oh, yes indeed, the negotiating team was a smidgen upset with me that year, but I still have that love today, 29 years later. Yes, I know why we get paid for what we do. I just keep up the passion. Our teacher candidates need to witness it. Our young people need to experience it! Through our passion we remain positive.
Caring: More than one of my educator peeps texted this word back to me. One said a caring attitude and a caring environment. Yes…the teacher candidates in my ED 423 Classroom Management Course have to write out their classroom management philosophy. One criterion they need to address is how to create a positive learning community. Caring is the main word used in their papers. Smile, greet your students at the door, and attend their activities outside of the four walls of your classroom are just a few ways to show you care. “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” ~Unknown
Common Sense: More than one educator friend texted back common sense. Sadly, I believe this is a lost art. Common sense just isn’t so common anymore. I saw one sign on Pinterest that made me giggle in a gloomy kind of way. It said “Common sense is so rare these days, it should be classified as a super power.” Actually, if you go to images.google.com, you will find many quotes there about common sense. Some are humorous, and some just make me blue and shake my head in disbelief. Impress your students with your super powers, teacher candidates. Hone in on your common sense!
Wisdom: When I think of wisdom, I think of life experiences. We certainly get wiser as we get older. I wouldn’t trade this wisdom for my youth (but I sure hope all this moisturizer I use takes care of these wrinkles 😉 )! May I add a little biblical truth here, please? The book of Proverbs states that wisdom is WAY better than gold. Wisdom is a hidden treasure. Through wisdom a house is built. Search for wisdom. And, if we lack wisdom, we are in trouble. Gain wisdom, educators!
Compassion: At my very first job interview, the elementary principal asked me “Can you put yourself in someone else’s shoes?” The answer he was looking for was empathy. For compassion. We have NO IDEA what another person is going through. Students may come to school with baggage we have no clue how to unpack. Colleagues may have issues that are unknown to us. Coaches may have experiences at practices that we are blind to. Have compassion on others! Compassion is kindness, empathy, and forgiveness all wrapped up into one beautiful gift. Educators must radiate compassion!
Optimism: Some days it feels like the educational world is a lion out to devour us. The wind and sun drying out our drive. We may feel defeated. We may throw the white flag of surrender. Standards. Budget constraints. Technology changes. Department of Education expectations. It can be grim trying to keep up. Do NOT let life get you down. Choose to be optimistic. And remember, the best is yet to come.
Slather on these seven educational moisturizers daily, and I’ll guarantee that our educational wrinkles will become a little bit smoother. They won’t disappear, but they won’t be as deep either.
Images.google.com (I couldn’t resist. My grandson LOVES super heroes). 🙂
We recently returned from Charleston, SC where we presented at the 2015 Center for Scholastic Inquiry’s International Academic Research Conference. We learned from and with some of the best of the best practitioners across the globe in the areas of education, business, and behavioral science. And, of course, we enjoyed a little pleasure and relaxation on top of it all.
Our research presentation was on Bloom’s Taxonomy mixed with Web 2.0 tools used in Higher Education. Besides the little bit of a technology glitch, our presentation went well. Better than we ever imagined. We’ll share why in a second.
We attended many sessions as well. We learned from experts – researchers and practitioners – in the areas of preparing candidates to teach English learners, Instagram use in education, bullying in the workplace, teacher candidate dispositions, and much more in fields of education, business, and behavioral sciences. Our lightbulb moment was realizing that we are not alone when it comes to dealing with some of these issues – and across various fields and workplaces.
Alone, we are smart, and we handle whatever issue may park itself in our departments. Together, with all these experts from varied disciplines and various locations across the globe, we discussed and brainstormed, and shared. Together we were brilliant and found solutions to these issues.
If you have not heard of this conference, we recommend you check it out. Hopefully next year we will get the privilege of learning with and from YOU in Scottsdale, AZ! Because as Steven Anderson noted, “Alone we are smart. Together, we are brilliant.”
Oh, yes, and about our session. We won the ‘Best Presentation’ award. Not bad for our first time being there! 🙂 It’s kind of like golf…you have that ONE good shot that keeps you coming back. We had that ONE good presentation that will keep us going back time and time again. (Thanks, Dr. Tanya Yerigan!).
This post is the final installment of a 3-part blog highlighting technology in education.
Web 2.0 tools can be valuable assets to the classroom at any level. Educators need to be purposeful with their selection of tools to implement in their classes. They need to consider the content and what tools best match the pedagogy style needed to meet the needs of the learners – regardless of their age and level. This applies to school or the workplace… be intentional.
Without further ado – here are some WEB 2.0 Tools for you to consider and intentionally select to use in your classroom or workplace:
Poll Everywhere – Find out who your audience is or what your learners know about a topic. Easy tool to survey a group and have instant, live results to share. www.polleverywhere.com
Twitter – This may be considered the #1 professional development tool out there. Follow others to find out. www.twitter.com
Instagram– Have your class post pictures from classroom activities to work samples to share out with their families to see the dinner conversation grow. www.instagram.com
Kidblog– Blog to share information and learn from one another. Learners can share what they have read and discussed to have their own PD sharing. www.kidblog.org
Glogster – Glogster can help share information with others in an engaging, interactive poster-kind-of-way. Embed videos, incorporate pictures, share text, and include graphics to share your information. www.glogster.com
Voki– Have your voki share your thoughts. This makes engagement fun for your students and challenges them to consider closely what they want to say. www.voki.com
Animoto – Who doesn’t love a good movie?! Showcase who you are… be authentic! www.animoto.com
Wordle – Mean what you say and say what you mean. Wordle will present your words in a graphic way! http://www.wordle.net
Check them out and see what they can do for you and your learners/colleagues.
This post is the second installment of a 3-part blog highlighting technology in education. Read on and stop back to learn more.
Communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity and innovation are considered the 4 Cs in education today. They are the expectations for learners for life beyond the classroom. “Using the 4 Cs to engage students is imperative. As educators prepare students for this new global society, teaching the core content subjects must be enhanced by incorporating critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity” (NEA, 2015, p. 3). Implementing the 4 Cs into the teaching and learning process is critical. It is required. According to President Obama, “I’m calling on our nation’s governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity” (NEA, 2015, p.5). National and international leaders are counting on learners, or rather, citizens to be engaged and possess the skills to aid in society’s success.
Considering the advancement of technology and the call for improved life skills, what changes are needed to meet the needs of the learners and the society? Education must support, sustain, and improve technology and likewise, technology must support, sustain, and improve education. With the tech savvy generation growing up, the dilemma is “as students are more likely to express themselves through texts and tweets, schools must find a way to keep up with this new tech-savvy generation” (Kirton, 2015, p.11). Educators must acknowledge and respond to the changes in technology in our schools.
According to John Stocks in a National Education Association publication, we need new tools to support educators in the classroom as they implement new strategies to enhance the 4 Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity (NEA, 2015). What are these new tools supporting the teaching and learning process of the 4 Cs? Web 2.0 tools are considered a possible solution. “Web 2.0 is about revolutionary new ways of creating, collaborating, editing and sharing user-generated content online. It’s also about ease of use. There’s no need to download, and teachers and students can master many of these tools in minutes. Technology has never been easier or more accessible to all” (Discovery Education, 2015, para 1).
Although some may question if Web 2.0 tools are replacing teachers and teaching, they are enhancing student learning and engagement. According to Todd Conaway, an instructional designer at Yavapai College, “None of these tools can replace the passion you have for your content or for teaching, but they can help you demonstrate that passion and carry it forward to your online students” (Bart, 2009, para 4). To improve student learning, educators need to demonstrate and live out their passion in their teaching. “Your passion will also help you become absolutely relentless in the pursuit of excellence” (Burgess, 2012, p.10). Web 2.0 tools can truly enhance teaching and learning. “When technology works well in the classroom, it does so because it doesn’t really change anything. It just allows teachers to do the things we already do, but in an easier and more streamlined way” (Kirton, 2015, p.15).
Even with active support for Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, critics continue to speculate that technology is taking over the profession of teaching. It is the responsibility of educators to integrate technology in purposeful and meaningful ways. “Educators need to strike the right balance between incorporating devices into lessons when necessary and keeping students focused on the task at hand” (Kirton, 2015, p.17). With existing criticism surrounding the use of technology in education, educators should consider the right balance and make conscious decisions about the integration of technology into their teaching. According to Killory “Technology is fantastic and embracing it is a good thing, but it shouldn’t necessarily be a juggernaut that dictates the learning process. Don’t discount seemingly ‘old school’ methods just because the latest technology is flashy and modern. Just as a teacher should ask students to develop a questioning attitude, it is paramount for teachers to question their choices, too” (Kirton, 2015, p.17).
Technology, in particular Web 2.0 tools, can benefit the teaching and learning process if integrated in mindful and intentional ways. With thoughtful implementation, technology can serve as a valuable tool in the classroom, aiding in the teaching and learning process to allow learners opportunities to grow in ways not even imaginable to the school setting of the past.
Sorry if this blog seemed like a research paper; it is an occupational hazard for us at times! Stop back for Part III to find out some practical Web 2.0 tools and ideas to implement in your classroom or workplace.
This post is the first installment of a 3-part blog highlighting technology in education. Read on and stop back to learn more.
Education as we know it from years ago has changed. It is changing. It is no longer the “sit and get” theory based on a society of the past with focus on reading, writing, and arthritic only; education instead is focusing on communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity and innovation.
One big player in the classroom today is technology. Technology is a major focus in education, and it is shaping our society and schools. The impact of technology is far reaching, encompassing lands, cultures, genders, and ages from young children holding iPads in efforts to learn their ABCs to senior citizens utilizing iPads to stay in touch with distant family members. With the increase of technology usage and advancements, people are continually growing in knowledge and comfort with technology, including learners in schools. Considering the integration of technology in life and in education, students attending schools in the 21st century are tech savvy. Now the question is – are their schools?
What implications does this have for education? How does technology impact the 4 Cs previously noted – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity?
Let us know your thoughts! Look for more in Part II of this series, but until then –
Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.
SMSU Teacher Candidates are EDU Rock Stars. We get to know our students from the time they arrive on campus in the fall of their freshman year until that final year they make their way across the stage to accept their diploma. Wow!! What a difference in maturity level as these young teacher candidates travel through their teacher prep program. It is inspiring to see their growth—both personally and professionally.
During their freshman year, our education majors are required to take an Introduction to Education course. At the beginning of this course, they are asked to list the top ten teacher traits they believe are the most significant traits to own as a teacher. These freshmen base their answers on those teachers they just left behind in high school or from their elementary days.
Now that these same students are currently teacher candidates and juniors here at SMSU, and have hopefully gleaned a thing or two from us wise ol’ profs, we posed this same question to some of them. Their answers demonstrate to us that they have indeed grown both personally and professionally since that day way back in Intro to Ed. This makes our hearts burst with joy!
Like David Letterman shares his top ten on the Late Show, below we share with you our top ten teacher traits by our top teacher candidates:
10. Prepared – Our teacher candidates are taught over and over and over again that if they fail to plan they plan to fail! In his book, Teach Like A Champion, Doug Lemov wrote “champion teachers excel at planning.”
9. Compassionate – Dictionary.com defines compassion as “a feeling of sympathy to alleviate suffering.” This verifies what we tell our teacher candidates—“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” ~Anonymous
8. Creative – Being creative is one of the four C’s in the 21st Century Learning Skills. Not only is it imperative for our teacher candidates to be creative but the ability to teach their students to be creative is also a big deal.
7. Flexible – Snow days, field placement changes, and even an unexpected broken leg are all reasons our future teachers are learning to be flexible. Curve balls are thrown at them all the time so as they learn to be flexible, they learn to bend without breaking. No pun intended!
6. Patient – Patience is a choice, and because we are professionals, we are expected to make smart choices at all times. When issues cause us frustration, irritation, or pain, we must remind ourselves that we have the choice to stay calm and be patient. The top teacher candidates are perfecting their skill of being patient with students and each other.
5. Respectful – If we give respect, we get respect. Respecting others is a key ingredient when building rapport with students. We have respected our top teacher candidates thoughts and opinions and in return they have respected ours.
4. Leadership – Future teachers must be leaders in their classrooms. Becoming reflective practitioners to self-assess their teaching, influencing their students by the instructional techniques they choose, and completing action research projects are just a few ways our top teacher candidates learn to lead.
3. Organized – “Organization is the key to effectiveness” states Harry Wong in his book First Days of School. Organization is important whether teachers are novice teachers or seasoned teachers. Our teacher candidates learn the importance of organization during the many hours of field experiences they are required to finish along with their rigorous junior methods year.
2. Passionate – We can all agree that passion is contagious. Passion will make lessons more engaging which will elevate student achievement. In his book, Teach Like a PIRATE, Dave Burgess writes that ‘passion is like an intoxicating drug but without the dangers and side effects. Once you get the taste of it, you’ll always want to come back for more.”
Drum roll please—The number one teacher trait that our teacher candidates believe to be the most significant is…
1. Communication – In this era of emailing, texting, Instagram, and Snapchat, we were delighted to read that our teacher candidates still believe in communication and its importance. Communication is one of the substantial 21st Century Learning Skills so we are pleased that they chose this as their number one trait.
Hang on for the time of your life, future teachers. Teaching is THE best profession on Earth! Commit each school day to your students. After all, those children are the reason you are there. Without them, you wouldn’t have a job. Apply your top ten teacher traits in a positive manner and you will become a top-notch teacher! We wish you all the best!!