Take the Time to Ask

If you want to know what a student thinks, just ask him.

Last week, our students completed yearly surveys about their current courses and teachers. I believe that students’ candid feedback is the greatest resource administrators and teachers have to identify areas of concern and facilitate improvements, both in our classrooms and on our campus.

Educators must always be searching for and creating venues to capture reliable data; it helps us to understand the effectiveness of teachers, curricula, and programs. And while I am not diminishing the value of traditional academic data and analysis, I am promoting the value of insight from students. Continue reading Take the Time to Ask

Teachers Who Make It Work

“Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the presence of action in spite of that fear.” As both a high school student and athlete, this quote meant a great deal to me.  It encouraged me to press on in the face of self-doubt and adversity.

Later, as a young teacher, I focused on this quote, “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  It grounded me and kept me inspired on difficult days when students smirked, lessons imploded, and objectives completely missed the mark.

Now, as a veteran teacher and school administrator, I reflect on the following quote. I find it apropos of everything. Weekly. Daily. And yes, sometimes hourly.

“If you want to hear God laugh, make a plan.”

Continue reading Teachers Who Make It Work

Today’s Lesson Plan: Do Nothing

Have you ever wondered, “What are my students thinking today?” Recently, I have found myself considering this, and it leads me to more questions. Are they enjoying class? Do they feel like it’s meaningful? Are they even present in the moments in which I think learning is occurring? Is this class beneficial for them, both now and in the future? What distractions exist in my classroom that affect my students? How can I help them be present? Continue reading Today’s Lesson Plan: Do Nothing

“Faith It ’til You Make It”

I love to eat, but regrettably I am not a great cook. Many of my favorite childhood memories start with the smell of my aunt’s cooking at our shore house. My Aunt Eileen is one of my favorite cooks. She makes the best meals and, in particular, the best sandwiches. I often try to replicate them but always fall short. I never know exactly where I went wrong, but what I do know is that something is off. Perhaps I am rushing. Perhaps I am not using the right ingredients in the right amounts. Or perhaps something is missing. Much like my futile attempts to replicate my aunt’s sandwiches, a young man’s future success will not be fully satisfying when something is missing. Continue reading “Faith It ’til You Make It”

The Desire to Be Part of Something Greater

Boys need to belong to a group that provides a greater purpose for who they are and who they are becoming. A common offshoot of this desire is to join a sports team. Many young men identify with being an athlete; hence, cuts from sports team are difficult and can lead to an identity crisis for some. “If I did not make the team, then I am no longer an athlete. Who am I?” (More on this identity crisis in another post.)

Continue reading The Desire to Be Part of Something Greater

“Fake It ‘til You Make It”

The confidence of a young man is a powerful, yet very fragile trait, especially during his teenage years. Schools must dedicate time in their curricula to character development and, in particular, confidence-building for boys. Our freshmen take two such courses, Public Speaking and Lifetime Fitness Skills. These classes introduce and strengthen two critical life skills, self-presentation and healthy living; both build the confidence of our young men.

Continue reading “Fake It ‘til You Make It”

To Blog or Not To Blog?

After much hesitation, I am jumping into this blog world. I am thankful to @MrFlexon for being the final nudge to get me to start a blog. I am hopeful that I can learn from others and share what I learn to help other administrators and educators.

I recently participated in the “Shadow a Student Challenge”. After shadowing two students last week and preparing to shadow two students this week, I learned, again, how important it is to walk in others’ shoes. Empathy is key as we make decisions for our schools and our classrooms.