Yay Days

As many veteran teachers know, not every day is successful in the world of education. However, when those successful days arise, we feel a high that comes only with the satisfaction of knowing ~they get it! They really get it! I refer to these as my ” Yay Days.”
Today was a “Yay Day.” Building on an idea from Sara awes sling from the Teaching Channel, my students participated in what Sara called “pinwheel discussions.” My students have just completed reading three works from Ray Bradbury: “The Pedestrian”, ” There Will Come Soft Rain”, and Fahrenheit 451. The longer this discussion continued, the more excited they got. After a passage was read, in response to a comment made during the discussion, the students were actually cheering! It was enough to give this teacher of 26 years chills!
For innovative ideas and to connect with other educators, I would suggest using Teachingchannel.org. This is an awesome resource that has helped me have a few more “yay days”!

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Accepting Life in Order to Change

Acceptance of things that cannot be changed is the first step to positive change. A truth we all need to understand. Very insightful.

The Centred Teacher

acceptanceSpiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says that dissatisfaction is not a good starting point for changing your life. Our ego may tell us that it is but in fact it isn’t. Rather we need to find a place of acceptance of what is.

The basis for your life is the present moment. He says we must come to an acceptance of this moment as it is. If you are not friendly with life, life cannot support you.

I know that during the hardest and most stressful times of my life I have definitely been struggling against what was. It is this struggle that ultimately digs us in deeper – into the stress, the anxiety, the regret, the anger…

I have definitely experienced the truth of this:  Before we can begin to change we have to make peace with what is. Once I accepted the external circumstances I had created, my actions…

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Fame, shoes and discipline problems- Just another day as a high school teacher

I guess you can say I had my five minutes of fame today. Well, as famous as one can be who teaches 10th grade English… in a rural south Ga school… the last class period of the day.

What, you may say, made me so famous? My shoes! I had NO idea!

So, here is the play-by-play: I was standing in the hallway between classes as I always do. As I took a moment to glance outside, I was accosted by five large male teenagers snapping pictures with their cell phones! I felt like a movie star. I hear them begin chanting ” Oh, Mrs. Davis got on them Tims!”
I had no idea that Timberland boots were so male-teen popular. Not only were they impressed with the fact that I had them , they were also enthralled that I had pink “Tims” .

I have to tell you that this is “that” class. The one that makes me consider early retirement and cause me to doubt my career choice. In this class there is a group of boys who usually instigate and proliferate the problems, and, you guessed it…this is the same group that were snapping pictures of my boots! Needless to say, today’s class was a breeze! Who knew? All I had to do to solve my issues in this difficult class was to wear the right shoes!

Continue reading Fame, shoes and discipline problems- Just another day as a high school teacher

Semester Two

As the new calendar year begins, another semester continues the school year. This is always a good time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t with my students during the first semester. Each school year brings a new set of students and each class has its own personality. It is import to keep these nuances in mind and be prepared to adjust plans to fit the personality of the classes and students.

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What Students Remember Most About Teachers

A much needed message

Pursuit of a Joyful Life

Dear Young Teacher Down the Hall,

I saw you as you rushed past me in the lunch room. Urgent. In a hurry to catch a bite before the final bell would ring calling all the students back inside. I noticed that your eyes showed tension. There were faint creases in your forehead. And I asked you how your day was going and you sighed.

“Oh, fine,” you replied.

But I knew it was anything but fine. I noticed that the stress was getting to you. I could tell that the pressure was rising. And I looked at you and made an intentional decision to stop you right then and there. To ask you how things were really going. Was it that I saw in you a glimpse of myself that made me take the moment?

You told me how busy you were, how much there was to do

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Sometimes I do.. And sometimes I don’t

So today, oh man TODAY was one of “those days.” You know the days . The ones that no matter how hard you try all you hear are crickets echoing in the classroom. Teaching is hard! Don’t let anyone tell you any differently. If you care about students and you care whether they learn… It’s VERY hard. But there are a few things to keep in mind and a few things that keep me going:
1. Every day can’t be a banner day.
2 . No matter how much I wish I could, I cannot reach all 175 of my darlings that grace the desks in my classroom.
3. I am NOT super teacher.
4. I am not an Oscar- wining actress who can wow the stage called the classroom at all times .

With that being said , there are those things that I CAN do:
1. I can TRY!
2. I will NOT give up.
3. I can continually look for ways to improve my content and delivery.
4. I can smile and know that there are those days when the students DO get it and I am very entertaining and I may feel like Super teacher because there was learning… Not memorizing , but true , meaningful learning going on in my room.

Those moments make my “horrible , terrible , no good day” days worth the effort ! Keep pushing forward my fellow teachers ! Spring break is on its way!

Pictures are from the work my students did on F451 by Ray Bradbury . A good day 🙂

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Life of an Educator by Justin Tarte: 10 tips to avoid technology integration frustration

Indiana Jen

technology frustrationYou’ve heard it before, you’ve seen it before, and you’ve most likely experienced it yourself before: technology integration frustration. Change is not easy. When we talk about change, especially technology changes that take us into the wide world of the unknown, things can quickly become even more complicated.
Technology integration in schools is particularly important because kids are really branching out and utilizing technology at a much higher rate than ever before. Part of teaching and helping students to safely and appropriately use technology is recognizing that it’s happening all around us. 
Here are 10 tips to help you and your colleagues avoid technology integration frustration.

Life of an Educator by Justin Tarte: 10 tips to avoid technology integration frustration.

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It’s the small victories that count

In my 23+ years of teaching, this year ranks high in the “most challenging” category. I have found myself completely frustrated numerous occasions, rethinking my career choice and mapping my possible path out of the classroom. Because I have four different preps and teaching all levels of classes, I have convinced myself that I am a complete failure.

This past week, however, was an eye-opener! I had an epiphany!! As I continued my struggle, there were a few essays that were we’re better than normal, a few test grades that were passing,and a few responses during our Socratic circle that just blew me away! As Friday approached,I realized, that these small victories are what gives us “fuel” and the reason why we, as educators, do what we do. I struggle with “success with every student”, but in this battle, I will take the small victories!

How about it fellow teachers….am I alone in this war? I’d love some feedback.

Teaching: Not just a job

As my heading states, teaching is not just a job, it’s a way of life. This has been proven again and again whenever dangerous situations stare them in the face and yesterday was no exception. In the Atlanta area and in Alabama, teachers “hunkered down” for the night with students due to the situation caused by inclement weather. It amazes me just how much is always expected of us on a day to day basis, and then, when the going gets tough, teachers stand tall and do what has to be done for the safety and well- being of their students. My hat’s off to these educators who stepped up once again in the face of adversity and showed the world the compassion and class ( pun intended) that we teachers possess!