Lunch was over. My stomach was full. My eyes were straining to stay open, and I was going to need a cup (or an IV drip) of coffee to make it through the looming afternoon session of professional development. You know exactly what I mean— you’ve been there. My mind wandered from the PD session. The presenter then asked something that we all, educators or not, have likely been asked more than once in our adult lives. Who are your teaching heroes? Quick Kevin, think of an eloquent and engaging answer about the people in your life who cared for you, who made a difference, who pushed you to be your best…
Wow, it’s a long list.
I began to identify those who impacted me, but this time, for whatever reason, I focused on the why. In this moment, I suddenly realized how this question could help me to be the teacher that I needed when I was younger and how it could help me now to be that teacher for my students. Continue reading An IV Drip, A Brick Wall, and a Dead Man Walking
Continued from Is Consistently Crazy Good Enough? post.
Part III, of III: I am eager to know what personal milestones and struggles await me next year, whatever they may be. In the midst of them, I always want to be the educator that our students desire, and I feel certain I can accomplish this by being a consistent personality who can relate both myself and my instruction to our students.
Two weeks ago, the President of our school, an Augustinian priest, asked me if I had listened to Drake’s new songs. Wait. What? Did I mishear that? Drake? Continue reading Yes, Drake. This Drake.
Continued from Reflections on a Sleepless Year and Being the Educator Our Students Need post.
Consistency is the first of the two essential components of student engagement. Seems simple enough, and for some teachers, it is. The classroom is a haven where all of their outside problems wait at the door. Their moods are unaffected by parking tickets or root canal work. For others however, it is very difficult, sometimes impossible, not to bring their personal struggles into the classroom, and these difficulties manifest as unpredictable moods. Happy on Monday, inflexible on Tuesday, bitingly sarcastic on Wednesday. . . I get it. It is hard. I wrestle with this, and I assume many educators and administrators do too. Sometimes I wonder if consistently crazy is good enough. The inability to not bring personal challenges into the classroom however, creates a disconcerting inconsistency for students. Continue reading Is Consistently Crazy Good Enough?
The end of the academic year is quickly approaching, and with that comes the desire to reflect on the past year. Cliché, perhaps, but where did the time go? This past year was full of important moments, stressful situations, and unexpected events— and that was just in my personal life. The birth of a second child, the maturation of a toddler, major home renovations, and career shifts for my spouse filled this year with excitement and, honestly, a lot of stress. Add to that, sleepless nights courtesy of a newborn or a sick toddler, and well, you know. Dragging. Continue reading Reflections on a Sleepless Year and Being the Educator Our Students Need
“Innovation is the change that unlocks new value.” – Jamie Notter
The classroom is a sacred space. Like most educators and administrators, I believe this wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, this mentality can lead to the classroom being a closed sacred space. Just as one might feel like an outsider in a church of a different denomination, or like an alien landing in a strange, new world, classroom observations often have had a similar feel for me. I am the administrator, the interloper, in someone else’s sacred space. I have done many observations and too often, it’s the same dynamic: I am in the back of the room, the teacher is on display, the teacher is curious and/or worried about what I am thinking, and we close the cycle with a perfunctory follow-up meeting.
No one won in this experience, and I was certain there was a better way. Continue reading Unlocking New Value In Classroom Observations
Our English Department talks often about how to get our students to read— not read more, just read. Read. Something. Anything. I can easily empathize . . . with the students. As a teenager who struggled to find any joy in reading, I understand. Yet, as anyone who loves reading knows, it only takes one book to get you hooked.
Find a book written on a subject you love. Hooked.
Find a genre you love. Hooked.
Find an author who speaks to you. Hooked. Continue reading Hooked
We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience. – John Dewey, Educational Theorist
As an extrovert, I rely on others, especially in the midst of struggle. My reflections and thoughts become most constructive when I share them. For me, this is never more evident than at work, and this latest challenge proved to me the importance, not just of relying on others, but the importance of relying on the right others. As I wrote yesterday, I believe that having a steadfast circle to count on is essential to successful school leadership. Continue reading The Productive Struggle (post 3 of 3)
What if every element surrounding the problem was off-base? What then?
At first this question seemed daunting, too daunting. I was spiraling, but I let this thought sink into my mind. Naturally, that led to other ideas and worries, but I forced myself to return to this thought again and again. What if this issue existed because every element surrounding the problem was wrong? A shaky foundation yields shaky results. Continue reading The Productive Struggle (post 2 of 3)
I recently found myself in the midst of a major struggle. I will share the phases of this struggle in my next three posts over the next three days, starting with this one.
As a problem-solving, advice-giving, “It’s all in your perspective. Just reframe!” guy, this is hard for me to admit to myself and harder still to admit in a blog post. Continue reading The Productive Struggle (post 1 of 3)
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