There are few things that annoyed me more as a teacher than picking up my students from P.E. or lunch, or having a small group return from a resource room pull-out class only to discover that some students had been completely out of control while they were gone. With some classes I taught, it seemed like the moment I was out of sight, there was almost guaranteed to be an incident of disrespect to another teacher, a physical altercation between students, or something even worse.
The good news is that while you can’t control what happens when you’re not around, there’s quite a bit you can do pro-actively to prevent the problem from reoccurring and to open the lines of communication between you and other teachers. Listen in as I share 6 strategies to help you do just that.
One of the big principles that we’re always coming back to in The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club is that implementing small changes right away is more effective than hoping you’ll feel like implementing big changes later on. We often make the mistake of assuming that our future selves will somehow be less stressed and busy and more disciplined and productive, and therefore we’ll able to handle making positive changes LATER.
The problem with that logic is that those qualities of being less busy and more productive later don’t just happen on their own. This summer or next year only seem like they will be slightly less crazy than right now because all the unexpected interruptions, emergencies, and new obligations haven’t cropped up yet. Unless we’re actively taking steps now to set our future selves up for success, things really aren’t going to change very much.
In this episode, I'll share how to break that cycle, and embrace the fact that your willingness to adapt what you’re doing NOW has the ability to save you countless hours and immeasurable stress in the new school year.
There’s no question that being a new teacher is tremendously stressful. But when I reflect on my teaching practice and how it evolved over the years, I realize that I created a lot of my own stress simply through the way I chose to perceive my work.
The mindset that I held toward my students and their parents, as well as how I viewed my role in the classroom, often made an annoying incident feel maddening, and a challenging situation feel impossible to overcome.
Today, I’ll share four specific ways I sabotaged my own success as a teacher, as well as how and why my thinking changed over time.
Every teacher needs more class time. And every year, it seems like there’s more and more content that needs to be covered and less time to teach it in. Fortunately, there are some easy ways you can create more time for teaching. There are lots of things happening in our classrooms that either waste time or just make lessons take longer than they need to. If you struggle with lesson planning because you just don’t have time to teach everything you’re supposed to, these easy tips and productivity hacks will help you maximize every moment with students.
In last week’s episode, I explained why ‘reward’ isn’t a bad word and argued my case for why rewards can be an integral part of your classroom. If you have a problem with rewards or just want to know why I think rewarding students is appropriate, check out EP9 for the the WHY. In this episode, I’m going to share the HOW. I’ve found that the most effective way to use rewards with students is by creating a culture of appreciation in the classroom and using unexpected now-that rewards. Listen in to learn more.
I wanted to do an episode about how to reward students responsibly--in a way that considers the long term results and the type of character and work ethic we’re building in kids, not just how to get compliance here in the moment. And I realized that before I could do something like that, I needed to first address the question of whether teachers should be rewarding kids at all. “Reward” has become a bad word in many education circles. In this episode, I'll tell the story of when I was called out by a district administrator for giving what she felt was an inappropriate reward, and explain why I’m advocating for the return of the reward, anyway.
Listen in as I answer the following question from a Truth for Teachers listener: "We teach students and prepare them for exams--of course we have some expectations around their performance, and begin to feel frustrated when they keep making the same mistakes over and over again. We may start questioning the purpose and the quality of our work. So my question is, how can I let go of expectations--those 'shoulds' and 'supposed tos' around testing and results?"
Lesson planning is too important (and too challenging / time-consuming) for you to try to do all of it on your own. It’s wonderful to utilize the experience of other teachers and time-tested instructional strategies so you don’t have to spend as long planning out your lessons. However, many teachers plan with their grade level or subject area teams and find it’s not working particularly well: either the meetings consume massive amounts of time or personality conflicts keep the endeavor from being productive. In this episode, I'll share 6 strategies to help you efficiently co-plan your lessons.
Listen in as I answer the following question submitted from an exhausted teacher:
“How much is enough time to give to each student? There are students who have behavior problems, academic challenges, IEPS, family problems, those whose parents you need to catch after school or speak with the principal about...it never ends! Student issues, dealing with emails, and talking with parents is so time consuming. When is it ok to say 'enough, I've done all I can and need to move on'?
Some of you are barely making it through the school year, and the idea of going into school each morning just makes you sick with stress and anxiety. You want to quit more than anything but have no idea what the alternative would be. I get it. I have been in your shoes.
Others of you still love teaching, but you’re feeling an itch to do something different. You want to make a greater impact for kids, or you want a flexible schedule, or just feel like there’s something more out there for you. I’ve been in that position, too.
You see, I’ve quit teaching twice: once because the school environment was so toxic that I hated my job, and once because I wanted to shift into a different role in education. I’ll share both of those stories with you in this episode, along with 5 things I learned that might be helpful if you’re thinking about quitting for either reason.
How do we get kids to go from saying “Just tell me what to do!” to truly taking ownership of their work? In this episode, you'll learn 6 strategies to help get kids on board with the sometimes daunting task of student-directed learning.
In last week’s episode, I shared 10 growth mindset shifts you can take to enjoy teaching more, and gave examples of negative, fixed mindset thoughts that can reframed into something that helps you perceive your job as less stressful and more meaningful.
This week, I want to go deeper with that, and talk to you about how the story you tell yourself about teaching is probably not true, and ways you can choose to see things differently. You can reframe your work to recognize and appreciate what a tremendously important job you are doing every single minute of the day.
As much as we’d like to believe that we’re growth mindset oriented, most of us (myself included!) will likely discover upon reflection that there are old fixed mindset thought patterns that we haven’t quite let go of. Fortunately, we can examine these self-defeating thoughts and replace them with growth mindset thoughts that are empowering and energizing. See if you can recognize yourself in any of these 10 fixed mindset traps, and practice exercising a growth mindset instead.