Wednesday, September 12, 2018

How to Learn from a Textbook

I'm thinking today about textbooks.

Probably this is because today I gave my Middle School Curriculum & Instruction students an assignment to review curriculum materials. It might also be because I have a textbook that I love that I'm using for teaching World Regional Geography. Okay, and it might also be because I was helping one of my kids take reading notes on a textbook-based reading assignment tonight.

Textbooks are a really great resource for teachers. I remember feeling as an undergraduate Education major a sense of pressure that if I ever relied on a textbook I would somehow be failing my students. But I've definitely come around: textbooks can be an extremely helpful resource to support teaching.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Getting Derailed (So Will I)

Nothing too profound to share here today. My school year is off and running--I have one class section I haven't met up with yet, but that will happen tomorrow morning. All is humming along well so far! I posted this on Instagram yesterday, truly reflecting on how well things have started off for me this year...

I was not expecting my day today--despite all the good things happening as the new school year was beginning--to get derailed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Power of Looking Silly (and Not Caring that You Do)

Today is my 21st first day of school as a teacher.

This is the first time--to my memory--that I didn't have the back-to-school nightmares. I mentioned this to my wife this morning, and she (jokingly) said that means that things will go awful today. (She was joking...but we'll see, I guess. Not that I'm superstitious or anything...)

The truth is, I do worry about my teaching practice. I want to be the best that I can be! I want my students to learn, and to even enjoy my classes. And, seriously, I want to enjoy my classes too. And I usually do, even though I recognize my tendencies toward worrying.

And it's in those worrying times that I sometimes need some encouragement, some recognition that I'm doing all right.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Your Favorite Class? Your Best Class? Both?

Saw this gem on Twitter this morning...

I love, love, love the idea of your favorite class (the one you like) and your best class (where you learn the most) being one and the same. I know that in my own experience in school this was not always the case, and I'm sure it hasn't always been the case for the students I've taught over the past 20 years.

But, what if...?

Friday, August 24, 2018

Facebook Update

About 5 months ago, I wrote this rambling post about my complicated relationship with Facebook, which included a mention that I was removing the Facebook app from my phone.

A weird thing happened right after that. As I often do, I shared the link to that post on Facebook...

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Camp Was (Great/Awful)...Thanks for Asking

Earlier this month I again had the privilege to serve at Royal Family Kids Camp for a fourth year. RFKC is a camp specifically for kids in the foster care system, and it always brings up a variety of emotions for me. I've written reflection each year upon returning home from my week at camp to work out my thoughts (you can read them here, if you like) but this year I've had a hard time writing. I actually started two other posts and abandoned them, because they seemed trite and hollow.

I'm not sure why I'm having a harder time working out my thoughts this year. I think it might be partly that I'm now on the leadership team for our camp, and so it feels a little closer to home to think out loud about how the week was--because I had a hand in helping to plan for it, in training the staff, in some of the decision-making during the week, etc. The week went quite well, I think, but that's coming from my biased perspective as one of the people who helped put things together for camp this year.

My role during the week was the same as it has been the past few years. Officially, my role is being part of the chapel team. Unofficially, I'm pretty much the camp clown...

Post Talent Show...which it's been my pleasure to emcee for the past 4 years...

Monday, July 30, 2018

Supporting New Teachers: What Can We Do?

This one came to my inbox the other day: an article from Education Week entitled "In U.S. Schools, New Teachers Are Hardly a Novelty." If you are involved in education in some way, whether as a teacher, an administrator, or even as a parent, I think it's worth reading.

One quote that jumped out and bit me:
Nationally, 12 percent of all public school teachers are in their first or second year, according to an Education Week analysis of new data from the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights. And in some states, that figure may be higher than 15 percent.