Response to an Article

I’ve been slacking, but I want to finish this challenge.  I read a lot.  I watch webnairs on Edweb.  I look at the blog Bloglovin, and FeedBlitz.  I have a Flipboard and get emails from that.  I’m just not great at twittering.  I just learned about Twitterchat which I hope to test out soon.

Lately, I’ve felt like I do too much reading and not enough doing.  I’ve unsubscribed to several listings just because I get sucked into reading them, but they add no value to my life.  Does anyone have a good way to manage their readings?

One of my favorite blogs is Reading while White.  I love the insights I get because I have a diverse group and I want to honor all my students.  I have had a lot of students read Ghost by Raina Telgemeier.  After reading this post, I am perplexed at what to do.

New Teacher Advice

My first year of teaching was rough.   I was hired two weeks after school started because of an increase in enrollment.  Building a class list was awful because the two teachers they pulled students from were totally different and what they had assigned didn’t match at all.  One did brain and personality activities while the other did geography.  My first parent teacher conference went badly because a parent was upset with the grades but the assignments that brought his grades down, I didn’t give.  Then my principal died and the man they hired was totally different…very strict with teachers.

So my advice would be that your first year will be your toughest for you personally.  All that you expected will be challenged, but you will make it because you care about kids.

Student Privacy

I go back and forth on this.  If a student has lice, I’d like to know.  If a student’s loved one died, I’d like to know.  If a student just got called a slut in the lunchroom and is now in my class trying to read about immigration, not much learning is going to happen.

But on the other hand, students have the right to keep things private.  We as educators have to protect a student’s right to fail, learn, quit, cry, and struggle.   It’s hard.  Because everyone wants to know.

The challenging situation

I think one of the most challenging situation I encounter as a teacher is balancing life.  I’m sitting here working on my husband’s Valentine’s gift, post a blog entry, and trying to figure out my hook for my lesson tomorrow.

I love to learn.  I love to try new things.  I love being with my family and I love to teach.  Trying to get that all in is really tough.

Balance is a struggle.  I know if my house is clean and my laundry is done, chances are that my school desk is cluttered and I’m behind on grading.  Or if my lesson plans are done and my webpage is up-to-date, my house is a mess.  Challenging principal come and go. There will always be challenging parents and students.  Balance is the real challenge.


Leadership is tricky.  Good leaders know when to empower the people they lead, but also know when a decision must be made and make it.  Larry Roth was excellent at this.  He was the first principal at Russell Middle School in Omaha, Nebraska.  He was great at using the word “parameters” when making decisions.  He would throw out a problem that needed to be solved but let you know what he was willing or needed do.  If teams needed to be changed, he would explain his reasons and then give parameters.  This allowed teachers a voice while knowing the restrictions.

Leadership is also about having a vision – moving the group forward even when a group has dug in its heels.  I worked in a school that was living in their past performances.  But population changes and economic changes was taking a tool on their success because they won’t change their teaching.  Within five years, the school went through four principals.  Finally a principal came in and shared the vision and the steps it would take be successful.  It took a lot of meetings and discussions.  And getting rid of some dead weight.

Finally, leadership is about positive communication.  Even when things are bad, leaders must let everyone know that everything is going to be ok.

My room

This year I moved in to a new room.  I should really call it a suite.  The room was converted from the old district offices.  I have two small rooms, and office, and the classroom.  This was a huge change from the half size room I had in the back of the library.  So needless to say, it has become my happy place.  My students really like it as well.  I made one of the small rooms a reading room and the other a writing room.  The reading room has comfy chairs for the students to lounge in while reading.  The writing room has individual desk with small desk lights I’ve purchase at estate and garage sales.

My biggest change, however, was making tables high so kids could stand instead of sitting.  I checked into buying the types of tables that can adjust, but they were about $400 a piece.  Thank goodness for pinterest because I was able to change the tables for only $14.  I used a set of bed raisers I found at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  The students love them and I can adjust them back to normal tables when needed.   It has really helped my students who like to move.




My Blog Story

I have had to blog set up for a while.  One for writing and one for photos.  Neither really went any where.  I think it is because I don’t know if I have anything amazing to say.  I want to add some amazing insight to the world or education, but sometimes all I have say is, “I’ve got to get to bed.”

I haven’t really read a lot of other blogs. I’m hoping by doing this I’ll find some reasons to write and more to read.


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