Tag Archives: Teaching Practice

Are we being good role models?

9 Sep

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Lots of random thoughts this week. I have been thinking after my travels this week What is the future of education?  Perhaps that is the wrong question.  To get closer to the heart of my initial question, maybe I should pose a different question. Where is the future of education? Now that not only asks the question but answers it as well.  The future of education is sitting in the seats our classrooms today, so how is the future of education doing?  Does the future of education even want to accept the challenge of becoming the future of education?

We have lots of daughter of teachers at our school. None are interested in the teaching profession. Of the thousand students that have my school in the last eight years only five percent of showed an interest in becoming a teacher?

That means that 95 percent of our students are completely turned off to education as a viable career choice. I must admit that I am one of those 95 percent. When I was at school, I had no desire to become an educator. In fact, I had a teacher that regularly told his class that the worst profession ever is the field of education, public education specifically.

What profession do students get exposed to more than any other profession? The answer is education. They see every day the stress, hard work, and frustration that teachers deal with daily. They see the way the system works, and could it be that very reason that 95% of our students do not want to even consider a career in education?

There are many reasons that students don’t choose a career in education. The first reason is money, and that is something that our government and our country must address if we want the future of education to improve. Teachers deserve to make more money than they do.

Secondly, the teaching profession is belittled on a regular basis. Think about every movie about the education profession that you’ve ever seen. The setting is a disastrous school with horrible students, and only one teacher, the main character, cared about education while the rest of the educators did not. Furthermore, the media perpetuates the false narrative that education is failing.  Nothing could be further from the truth, but the negative perception is the reality of education, and it influences our students every day not to choose the noblest profession as a career.

But I think the last reason (and more important reason) that students don’t choose education as a career, is that we, educators, fail to market the profession as a noble profession. Think about the way we speak about education.  Think about the interactions that we have with our peers about problems in education.

Our students are listening. Our students are watching. Our students are being influenced daily about the profession we have been called to.  Do our words, do our actions, and more importantly do our reactions influence our students to come to the profession or run from it as fast as they can?
The last point that I would like to make has to do with education leaders. What are we doing to our teachers that makes our students see teaching as an awesome profession? All of the work that we ask teachers to do, does it help them, or does it overwhelm them? Are we asking teachers to do the right things, or the cliché things that ultimately don’t lead to positive results or more importantly excited and empowered teachers?

Our students are watching. Our students are listening. And our students are being influenced by the way we leaders value or devalue our teachers and support staff.

What do you think?

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Communicating to tamariki

17 Oct

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The best way to find out what type of communicator you are is to record yourself on audio or video. I prefer video because you can see the response of your students to your communication. Yes I know that we all hate to listen to ourselves speak, but this topic is too big not to investigate. If you have a kid that is struggling in your class, don’t you want to know if the student is even listening to you?  That might be the first step in intervening for the student. If you have students that are being loud and disruptive, don’t you want to know if your loud communication style is setting a poor example for how students should speak in your class or if your quiet tone is being ignored each time your correct?  If students are zones out in your class, don’t you want to know if some of your students perceive you as that teacher from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”?

If you want to improve your instruction, one of the first steps to start with is evaluating your own communication style toward students. Delivery of content is completely dependent on the manner in which you verbally communicate to your students.  How you speak sets the foundation for learning, and it is critical to know if you have a solid foundation for learning.  By evaluating the tone, cadence, and passion within your communication, you can ensure that every student, especially Charlie Brown, learns in your classroom.

Messy Play

20 Aug

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Much of our professional growth comes through those ‘Aha’ moments or Messy Play in the classroom with our students. We may have heard from a colleague that “The lesson was not going so well but then I tried this and all of a sudden things changed.” By chance, and some design, the teacher changed something or seized upon a moment to engage and challenge our students. It is good design, however, that ensures that many of these ‘Aha’ moments get shared with others in the team, so that all teachers in the team can learn and grow from each other. It is a shame when these key teacher moments are not shared – I think our students would want them shared for the benefit of all concerned.

It is clear that learning by design trumps learning by chance, though those chance moments can be particularly powerful for both teachers and students, even more so when they are shared. In saying that, it is worth contemplating whether student learning is more akin to winning a prize in a raffle or whether our schools are taking every success to minimize differences in classrooms that are no conducive to optimal learning for all students.

The Future

15 Aug

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“we are preparing kids for that jobs don’t exist.”

Are we sometimes preparing kids for jobs that will no longer exist

As we seek to retain Gen Y into the teaching profession, the school as a workplace needs to think about these elements and reinvent. One of the reasons why activity-based work has taken hold in the corporate sector, is that this generation are motivated differently and command and control culture is no longer achieving results. Gen Y employees will leave if they aren’t sufficiently engaged and they will take their talent and build their own start-up.

What are the key elements of activity-based work that can, and are, relevant in school education – for staff, as well as students?

Am thinking about this in week 4 of the term.

Value Teachers

4 Dec

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To attract the highest-quality teachers, we also need to hold teachers in high esteem.

Teaching is arguably the most challenging profession of all, yet unlike Finland – where teachers accrue similar respect to doctors – we don’t recognize that teaching deserves the same respect and trust as the medical profession. Finland also demands graduate teaching qualifications.Graduate students bring real-world experience, including deep disciplinary knowledge, analytical thinking and personal maturity.

To do this we would have to look across the Tasman for guidance. This would follow in the footsteps of the South Australia government, which intends to require all teachers to have completed a graduate-level teaching degree. The state will also require government schools to preference the employment of graduates with master’s or double-degree teaching qualifications.

To attract the best candidates, prospective teachers need to see a career progression. Using the current lead teacher and accomplished teacher categories but linked with an appropriate pay level progression would be a good start.

Teachers have a crucial role in improving student outcomes. We need not only to lift course and graduate standards, but also to ensure teachers are well supported so they can contribute fully as highly developed experts in a widely respected profession.

Thoughts…

15 Jun

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No school or school system has ever become great without great teachers, but what can an excellent teacher do about a child who needs glasses, has cavities or is hungry? To say that teacher or school quality is the most important variable in education is at best naive. Education historian Ravitch writes “Reformers tell us that teachers are the most important influence within the school on student scores, and that is right. But the teacher contribution to scores is dwarfed by the influence of family and other out-of-school factors.”
 

Professional Reading

Here is a link to an NZEI site with a video that goes some way to explaining the Governments $359m initiative for school leadership.

http://primary.cmail3.com/t/ViewEmail/r/781BC58EFFF999BC2540EF23F30FEDED/5AEC3D5A7D7E838F14399806BE9B4083

My New Years Teaching Resolutions

1 Feb

I am now officially done with my summer holiday as I prepare to stand before the school and welcome them back to the new year. In my first blog of the new year  I am ready to post the goals that I have set for myself for 2014

 I will continue to be a lifelong learner by..

….completing my Level One Te Reo course.

This has been difficult but a true learning experience. It is hard to be put outside your comfort zone.

I will teach…

…to each individual student according to my learning plan.

I am a firm believer that to reach equality in the classroom everyone must be treated differently. Look at the data. What is it saying about the students in front of me.

…with  drive.

I want my students to build their own thinkers toolkit as the year progresses of knowledge, skills, learning approaches, thinking styles, reflective tools and ways of questioning. I want to help them scaffold answers and be the best they can be.

…and make connections.                                                                                  

Twitter and the VLN helped me become a better teacher in 2013. I want to build on this.

…with innovation.

Building on the above idea of connections. As technology moves along I wish to move with it, not two paces behind. I want to look into augmented reality as a way of getting students to share their learning with visitors and peers.

…and never forget the passion.

My students deserve the best and I shall give them that.

Continue to evaluate and analyse how I can do things better.

…in the 21st Century global village.

No walls here students. I am also open to listening to their ideas. Students have the best ideas.

As per usual I have my other resolutions which include reading 104 books this year, completing a half ironman and no iDevices on Wednesdays.

Wish me luck.

 

On a celebratory notethis blog is now one year old and this is the 100th post! Yay!

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