Tag Archives: #teachercandidates

This is NOT a Cat Lesson

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You can’t always be certain.  Sometimes what it appears to be just isn’t so.  Sometimes it is something entirely different.  Sometimes it is what it is.  Most times this is the truth.
It either is or isn’t – a cat.  Right?


Recently, Minnesota author/illustrator Mike Wohnoutka addressed the Southwest Minnesota Reading Council hosted on the Martin Luther College campus in New Ulm, Minnesota.  I was privileged to attend with a former student-teacher gone teacher and two teacher candidates.  It was an evening filled with learning, laughter, reading, reflecting, doodling, and discussion.  What does a cat got to do with it, you ask?  Let me tell you….

Growing up with three older brothers, Mike Wohnoutka loved to draw, and he was determined to do well. From early on he would go to his room to read to get away from a little of the noise. He displayed talent early on, and his Headstart teacher noticed right away.  She wrote a note on his report card indicating that he was an artist and that he should continue to draw. Later on in life his high school teacher suggested that he go to the library to learn about and study others’ works.  He then went on to enter a contest in high school with a portrait of his dad, which drew him on the path to an art school in Savannah, Georgia with a 4-year scholarship.

Fast forward to today, and you will find that Mike had multiple opportunities to try out his talents – sometimes noticed and sometimes unnoticed.  His talent is obvious and telling. He drew a cartoon masterpiece within seconds right before our eyes. It was incredible.


Throughout his time as a write and illustrator, Wohnoutka has had opportunities to work with a plethora of talented folks.  He shared about his life as an author/illustrator and how each day starts with sitting in his study and thinking. It usually involves some coffee; sometimes there is music, sometimes there isn’t.  “Think about who. Think about what.”  That is telling lesson right there, and one we agree with as a principle.  Dr. Wendy & I tell our teacher candidates that we teach learners, not subjects. We teach who, not what.  When writing This is Not a Cat, Wohnoutka started with character development. That makes sense and is where we all should start – with the who, with us.

He talked about one particular work that we loved to hear about, to read about, and now to share with our students.  This is Not a Cat. It reminded us that what we see is not always what we should believe.  It also made me think about not being too overly confident with a decision; there is room for error in that suit.  The mice in this picture book are pretty scared when they see a cat, which turns out to be a rat in a cat suit.  Later, a real cat hunts that rat.  This made me think of the phrase “what goes around, comes around.” Karma.

So many lessons in that simple but awesome book.  Maybe I am grasping at straws but so be it. I saw the talent first hand. I am no literary award granter, but I like a book that can hook a reader and share a lesson or two.  If it can cause a little suspense and some laughter, even better.

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Southwest MN Reading Council Executive Board Members with Author/Illustrator Mike Wohnoutka

In closing… recently our SMSU colleague family has experienced deaths that have caused us to reflect on what is important.  What is important to you? Find out and stay the course… Life is too important and too short not to know.  Know what is a cat and what is not.

Stay Calm & Draw or Write On!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

 

 

 

Everything I Need to Know I Learned on Sabbatical

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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:

Teaching strategies…sure
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!

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*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.

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*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.

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*Field trips are exciting at any age.

*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.

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*Snow days are nature’s way of giving us a break from the pressure. Still love them at my age!

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*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.

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*Culturally responsive teaching makes a difference.

*Brain breaks and a little dancing can do us all some good. Just move it!

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*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.

Stay Calm & Live Life, Laugh Often, Love Much!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

 

 

Adventures in Student Teaching … with Dr. V

A wise teacher once said at parent-teacher conferences, “I will only believe half the stories I hear at school if you do the same at home.”  Was that me? I may have used that line a time or two. 🙂  There is usually some truth to each story, however.  With that in mind…

This week we have a guest blogger, Ms. Alyssa Prior, teacher candidate from Southwest Minnesota State University.  She happens to be student teaching with me while I am on sabbatical assignment teaching English learners, and Alyssa is collecting many stories to share… Without further ado and in her own words (mostly) uncensored, Ms. Alyssa Prior:

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Student Teaching at Park Side Elementary School only has one rule – What happens at Park Side Elementary with Dr. V, stays at Park Side Elementary. Luckily, I will disclose just a few exciting excerpts from this week’s adventures! Unfortunately I do not yet know all of Dr. V’s deep dark secrets, but I will share two small secrets of teaching.

Secret #1- Teaching ESL is NEVER just teaching.

Unlike most teachers, we do not have a classroom inside the building. We are located in the mobile learning lab, just out front of the school. Since we are not located inside the school, we normally find a corner to work with our small groups of 3-6 students.
On our way back to the mobile learning lab from one of our classes inside the school, we came across a student standing in the hallway. This student was dripping wet. He was just standing there, dripping from the waist down. As many of you can guess, this student was not just wet from the rain and snow. This was pee, running down his legs all over the floor in front of his locker. Of course, being the super teacher she is, Dr. V took this student directly to the bathroom as I tried to find some extra clothes. This was just our first adventure Tuesday, our next adventure was magic.

On top of teaching, we had our EL Family night this week. On Tuesday, we invited all ESL families in the Marshall School District as well as a few surrounding schools. We had Jett Skrien, a Marshall High School student perform a magic show for the families. This event was the talk of the week with our students, and it had a great turn out! One of our second grade students even went on stage with Jett! Dr. V so kindly volunteered us to ride the bus to and from the show, to ensure that all families got on and off at the correct stops. During this time, I was directing traffic as the bus waited for families, and I  visited with families on the bus! I felt like a superhero as I told the cars sitting in line waiting for the bus to move that they could simply drive around the bus.

FUN FACT- If a bus does not have their stop sign out and does not have the red flashing lights on, you may pass it!

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On Wednesday our kindergarten students had a Thanksgiving feast. This was a very exciting event for staff and students! We saw some turkeys trotting down the hall- to their feast. Dr. V and I agreed that these were some lucky turkeys! They were attending the feast and not part of the feast. During this time we walked around visiting with our students. After the feast was over, Dr. V also became a custodian! Being a teacher is not just teaching, you become well diverse in many jobs!

Secret #2- Hosting a student teacher involves more than being just his or her mentor, you also become a chauffeur.

This week I have had some unfortunate car troubles. After our wonderful snow day on the previous Friday, I was cleaning the snow and ice off of my vehicle, and I smelled something funny! I opened the car door with a giant cloud of smoke streaming out of the vehicle. Since I was unable to drive a flaming vehicle to and from school, Dr. V kindly drove me home from school a few days and offered to pick me up if I ever needed a ride! Luckily, my roommates were able to drive me to school every day, but Dr. V took on the job of bringing me home after school! Since EL family night was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, my roommates were out-of-town and unable to bring me there. Dr. V so kindly offered to pick me up, knowing my car was still not in tip-top shape. At 5:05pm, Dr. V pulled up at my house. We were scheduled to meet the bus that we would be riding at 5:20pm. We were riding peacefully to Southwest coaches when all the sudden Dr. V hears a weird sound.

“Is that my tire? Do I have a flat tire?!” Dr. V anxiously said as she pulled over. “Alyssa, get out and see if that’s my tire”.

As it is still raining, I jumped out and see it’s a flat tire. JUST OUR LUCK!

As I was ready to change a tire, Dr. V calls for backup.

Needless to say, I do not have good luck with cars. However, we did make it to our EL family night and had a great turn out! Multiple test drives later, shopping for the perfect fit, and five days after a small car fire, I have a new car. Hopefully one that won’t start on fire or get a flat tire anytime soon.

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My adventures with Dr. V have been crazy and fun, but they have also been very eye-opening. I have known Dr. V for three years now as my advisor and professor, but I have never in these three years seen her smile or laugh as much as I have at Park Side Elementary School. If I have learned one thing from this experience so far, it has been to always do what you love and laugh a little along the way, even if you have a flat tire. ~A.P.


Well said, Ms. Prior, well said.

Stay Calm & Enjoy the Adventure!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

Fairy “tail” Fall

“Today was a fairytale. …Time slows down whenever you’re around… can you feel the magic in the air…”  ~Taylor Swift

This fall is like a fairytail.  Warm temps and sunshine.  It can’t possibly be November in Minnesota, you say?!  Well, it is indeed!  Usually the most overcast month of the year, this November has been sunshine with little rain.  It is hard to believe that the magic of the holiday season is approaching with these unseasonable temps!  Winter is right around the corner – er, maybe the corner after that, but still, you get the idea.  It’s no tall tale.  Old Man Winter is on his way!  With it, we say good-bye to fall and hello to winter …and soon a new year.

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This has been an autumn of firsts and celebrations and living life…even as the leaves fall and flowers die; there is so much living to be done.

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We are thankful that the harvest season has drawn to a close for most – or almost finished for some.  That means it must be hunting seasons for others.  This is a time when they tell a tale of a tail or two.  My husband and sons have discovered that they enjoy the hunting experience together.  I secretly know it is because they enjoy napping in the wilderness (the fairy”tail” part of the story) and sporting blaze orange fashion.  Actually some of it isn’t even that bad… 😉

 

Quarter one has wrapped up and quarter two is underway.  Conferences have taken place, and new goals have been set.  We are ready for more learning and discovery…hooray!  With the start of this second term, a teacher candidate began her student teaching experience with me.  It has been a joy to see her grow in the profession as I had the privilege of teaching her during her time on campus and mentor her now in the classroom while I am on sabbatical.

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Discovery can be magical!  My middle son discovered his fondness for goats as he played the biggest billy goat gruff in the school play of Rapunzel.  What a fun experience!

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It’s not always just fun and games, however!  My youngest son earned five stitches from a serious game of lightning at recess.  His knee is still quite tender, but he will be just fine – and now has another story to tell about the “good ol’ days” in the future.

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After several successful football seasons thinking about the glory days, the Marshall Tiger Football team is advancing to the semi-finals at the state football tournament for the first time in school history.  Go Tigers!

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Sounds like a busy fall right?  Absolutely! There is so much life out there to be living.

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Oh – and how about those Cubs?  … And the supermoon?!  😉

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Great excuses all around us to live life…and wait until spring to wash the house windows.

Stay Calm & Live Life!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

Teaching 101

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

New Beginnings Never Get Old

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It happens each spring and shouldn’t be a surprise. Kids grow up and spread their wings for the next adventure, leaving the nest and mama birdie. Graduation marks the closing of a chapter and the start of the next. It is a familiar storyline, and one we just wrote about last week. So why did it creep up on this mama birdie?

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This BLOG JV graduation S16week my oldest son, Jackson, graduated from the 8th grade. Maybe this isn’t a huge ordeal, but to this mama, it was an emotional one. It seems like just yesterday, I was on bed rest for 8 weeks patiently awaiting (while trying to postpone) his arrival. We have been on a rollercoaster called “life” since before he was born, and continue to be – or get back in line for another turn at the amusement park.
JV – as his cousin, Carter, nicknamed him – has been in the same school and part of the school family since preschool. He is now preparing for his next adventure – high school.

Don’t get me wrong – he is ready. He is growing up to be a fine, respectable, young man. He has taught me much about being a mama birdie along the way. He is ready. I may not be, but that is how life goes. We sometimes aren’t ready for the big leap. We just have to have a little faith and jump.

Two takeaways from this post –

Do what you can to prepare – but know they will make some good and bad decisions along the way. Guide them to make better decisions in the future and commend them for the good decisions made. Good or bad experiences – learn and grow from them and love them.

This last one goes out to the teacher candidates – do your very best – give your very best each day because the students are courting on you – the birdies are leaving the nest in some way at every grade and every day of every year…and need you. No pressure! 🙂

Congrats on closing this chapter and looking ahead to the next!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

Teacher Candidate Job Interview Prep

Blog Teacher Prep

At the @smsuemsp (Education Minnesota Student Program) meeting yesterday, the EMSP officers decided to share a little teacher candidate interview preparation with the members. HILARIOUS beginning. 😉

Several of the officers and officer-elects modeled a variety of teaching outfits, and the audience had to decide if the outfit was professional and appropriate for wearing in the classroom. Well, take a look at the picture above…what do YOU think??? 🙂

Professional Dress! Yoga pants, flip flops, blue jeans, drink t-shirts, gum chewing, cell phones, open skirts, sleeveless shirts, tattoos, khakis, suit jackets, department name tags, and lovely accessories were modeled for the audience. Right or wrong???

Once the fashion show was over, each model stepped forward and the audience was asked to share their thoughts on WHY they believed the outfit was okay or not okay to wear while teaching in their future classrooms. GREAT conversations arose from this activity!

The main message…if you want to be treated like a professional then you ought to dress like a professional. What do YOU think??? Please enlighten us with your thoughts to this in the comments below.

One Page verses Two Page Resume! Every principal is different on his/her opinion for a one page verses two page resume. Some personally want to see what the teacher candidate has accomplished. Each resume page will be carefully combed through. Others won’t read beyond page one. Yet others say one page, front and back, unless the teacher candidate has a wealth of knowledge or experiences to add.

Teacher candidates, we say do what you believe will showcase you in the best way possible. If the principal chooses not to look at the completed resume, you have no control over that. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Interview Questions! Preparing for interview questions is a tough job. Teacher candidates have no idea what will be asked. What one principal believes is important; another may have a different opinion on, and that is okay.

Wendy sent out a Tweet asking principals what they believe are important interview questions for teacher candidates to be aware of. Below are the responses she received back:

Interview Questions via Twitter Principals:

Describe an example of adversity in life that you’ve overcome.

How do you create an atmosphere of relevant and real world learning?

Most important be genuine, passionate & enthusiastic.

Technology as part of learning…integration.

Collaboration, differentiate, discipline, experience.

Be able to talk first week about culture (climate) building

What is collaboration to you? What do teams need to be successful?

What do you see as the greatest challenge facing teachers today?

Define professionalism and what it means to you.

What book are you currently reading to show you are growing as a professional?

What is something you would not compromise on?

What distinguishes you from others?

Tell me about a lesson you taught that you could sell tickets to! My favorite question for sure!

If you show up to school and your lesson plans are gone and you have a Banana, Apple, and kiwi…what do teach?

The power of story! Whenever you can answer a question with a story, do it! Don’t just give facts or buzz words.

How will you help to make us a better school?

How would you allow students to solve a real problem?

How do you incorporate student voice and choice in the classroom?

Student data and how it drives instruction.

Guided reading, differentiation, student engagement, and behavior management questions.

How will you meet the needs of diverse learners in your classroom?

Thanks to all the principals who responded. Appreciate your input!!!!!  And our teacher candidates REALLY appreciate your input.

One principal, @moritzwendy, sent us the following link to many great interview questions. Thanks to @blankenship_s for sharing all these great interview questions! Check out his blog, teacher candidates! Practice up… http://linkis.com/connectedprincipals.com/UOXJ4

Teacher candidates…we wish you all the best as you pursue that future teaching position. Minnesota has a teacher shortage going on right now so do great things and be guaranteed a job. Work hard. Go above and beyond. Be fabulous in your student teaching. We believe in you. Get that job! Make us prouder of you than we already are! Good luck to all of you!!

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Stay Calm & Teach On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

The End Is Near This Makes Us Jolly … Fa la la la la

“Deck our halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, la la la la. The end is near this makes us JOLLY, fa la la la la, la la la la.” The end is here! Well – not quite… we do have a week of classes and finals yet, but the end is almost here.

As the semester-end is drawing near, some helpful hints for us to review so we are sure to pass that final project or test and enjoy the season:

  • Do something nice for someone. It is amazing how a little act of kindness can positively impact you, make your heart grow three sizes, and have an incredible domino effect on others.BLOG semester end 1
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  • Stretch your limbs and soul. This might involve a yoga session or walking or … (you insert the verb). Don’t sit at your desk all day and all night. Your brain and body need movement to stay sharp!

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  • While you are up out of that chair, do something different. Bake, paint, draw, color, build… find an activity out of your norm to nourish your normal craft. Creativity sparks creativity!

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  • Turn on the tunes. Dr. V. and her sister were just talking about the holiday season with lists to-do galore and how it can be overwhelming, but turn on some tunes and it can all seem – well, just better somehow.

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  • Once you have exhausted your creativity on projects, find some friends and have fun. All work and no play will leave us with an empty passion tank. Find time to refuel with friends and fun.

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  • No doubt the eventful days will leave us hungry so be sure to stock up on the good stuff. Goodies are good, but fruit and veggies are even better. Easier said than done so do enjoy some of it all in moderation. (We’re hoping to take our own advice…moderation!) Oh – and don’t forget to hydrate with water. That is so important maybe it deserves its own paragraph?!

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  • At the end of the day, say goodnight and get your Zzzzzzzz. Sleep is a key-player in the wellness game so don’t forget it. It is so easy to skimp on sleep – believe us, we know! It isn’t going to help the project get completed any better with an all-nighter. Move sleep up on the list, and watch the efficiency and effectiveness of tasks grow.

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With that last one, it seems appropriate that we sign off and take a little rest. You too!

Stay Calm & Lead On!

Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

 

 

Let It Go!

 

“Aaagggghhhhhh!” I screamed when I finally found my voice as a gentleman kindly “pushed” me over the edge of the cliff. It was most certainly my own threshold of possibilities. After zip-lining several times down various slopes from “way high up,” I was “forced” by teacher candidates to take the final jump to our final destination – the ground on a global studies trip to Los Cabos San Lucas. As I became somewhat frantic in a minor kind of way – or maybe it was in a major way – the repelling worker smiled at me and said these 5 words… “Why so much drama, lady?”

What?! was all I could think of at the moment. Actually, I think what actually flew through my mind was “I will tell you why so much drama, guy – I am about to jump – no wait, you just pushed me over the edge, and I need to remember not to burn my hands on the way down or hit the cliff wall or the group of teacher candidates below chanting “Dr.V, Dr.V, Dr.V…” And now that I actually think about it (post-zip-lining so perhaps a bit delayed) I have three kids at home who call me mom, and I don’t think I actually signed on for this when I went to “teacher school” back in the day and…Wait, I am on the ground and the teacher candidates are cheering… I knew I could do it! I am so cool! I am like snoopy-joe-cool-cool. Yup – that’s me.” Okay –so maybe I lost you in all the drama, but that actually leads me to our point…you were wondering if there was a point at this point, right? Well, there is.

A little bit of drama can help us get that final push out of our comfort zones and try something we might not normally do. A little too much drama, however, can wreak havoc on our plans and lives. If I would have become completely flustered, I may have started crying, which would have caused the gentleman worker to jump off the cliff himself, or it could have caused me to go too quickly and forget the instructions, causing me to burn my hands something horrible. Or I could have fallen to the ground screaming and scarred my students irrevocably – wait, does that happen anyway? Hopefully not….

Sometimes we find ourselves surrounded by drama queens. Maybe at times we find that we are the drama queens. What is important here to remember is to acknowledge the drama for what it is, know that some can be healthy, too much can be damaging, and sometimes we just have to leap.

Do what is right and follow our hearts – no over-the-top drama needed but a little is okay. Our own advice, don’t let the drama get the best of you and ruin your story. Passion is great, but too much drama can damage the outcome. Hope for the best, scream a little if necessary, and give it a try. Sometimes you just have to let it go – and enjoy the ride.

CAZ_6953

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

 

Coming Home

BLOG Coming Home 1
                  Ms. Chelsey Herrig

It has been one of those weeks. You know the kind?! The kind with a schedule so jam-packed full that you wonder on Monday at dawn how you might make it to Friday at sunset?

This week was filled with responsibilities, activities, and life. To be clear and frank (although we never know who Frank actually is) – it was an incredible week on campus. It is Homecoming week! If you are part of the festivities, you know what we are talking about! If you remember the festivities from years gone by, you know what we are talking about! Homecoming is coming home. It is time to celebrate the past, present, and maybe even the future. Homecoming is about celebrating successes and reflecting on challenges…and having some fun!

Our homecoming week was especially fantastic because we had a special teacher candidate return to campus after being away for a year. Who is she and where has she been? She is Chelsey Herrig, and she is located in Washington D.C. serving as the National Education Association (NEA) Student Program Chair of NEA.

Ms. Herrig is entering her second year of the two-year limit in Washington, D.C. She is making us proud with her leadership endeavors. She is taking up the “Degrees Not Debt” campaign and bringing a level of awareness to the nation to improve the state for teacher candidates – future teachers – future NEA. The student program serves approximately 60,000 teacher candidates and the NEA serves approximately 3 million teachers.

When sharing about her adventures over the past year, Chelsey shared with our teacher candidates who attended her speech that attending one local EMSP meeting changed her life. She became a member, became engaged, became the local chapter President, and is now the Student Program Chair for NEA. She is quick to note that she is more than the face of NEA; she is the voice and action; she is active and engaged and ready to take on a good cause in the name of learners and teachers.

The Southwest Minnesota State University Education Minnesota Student Program (SMSU EMSP) chapter is still active on campus, and under new leadership, Wilson Ebner, chapter president, who helped organize Chelsey’s coming home event. The SMSU EMSP is involved in community events, including: Relay for Life, Scholastic Books Fair that raises funds and books for others, and reading to students in schools during special reading weeks such as Read across America. The student-driven programming provides teacher candidates with opportunities to focus on professional development, including resume building, networking, developing the teacher’s toolbox of strategies, and assessment frameworks.

Ok – so where are we going with this you may find your inner monologue questioning. What is the moral of the story?

Get involved and make “home” proud! It is up to you to make the world the place it needs to be. Oh – and have a blast at homecoming! “…and make good choices” as Dr. V. and Dr. C. suggest at the end of the week to the teacher candidates.

BLOG Coming Home 2

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.