My daughter calls them “the Before Times.”
As in . . . the days before COVID-19. Before stay at home orders. Before you were teaching via Zoom and Google Classroom and Meet.
In the Before Times, I wouldn’t feel at all uncomfortable suggesting that you read more. Whether you prefer the feel of paper, use a Kindle, or do long reads online, reading for both fun and personal professional growth is always a good thing. Learning more content. Expanding perspectives. Exploring teaching strategies. All make us better at what we do.
I feel just a little bit uncomfortable. Because the normal normal of spring 2020 is not like the Before Times. You’ve been asked to do a ton of things differently. Your last few months of the school year (and your life) are not what you expected them to be. But here’s the cool thing. As I talk with teachers around the country, the new normal really is becoming a normal normal. Teachers, kids, and families are adapting and doing some really cool stuff.
Is it easy? No. But I get the sense that you’ve been taking deep breaths, figuring some things out, that you’re adjusting and getting your head above water a bit. So I’m suggesting (with a little uncomfortableness) that you begin to think about some personal professional growth. And I’ve got a few suggestions of things to put on your to read list.
I’m a hard copy kind of guy. But feel free to grab these suggestions via a Kindle app. Or even better, grab the Overdrive Libby or Hoopla app and check them out digitally via your local or state libraries.
Let’s start with Read more
For a while now, I’ve hung around over at RealClearPolitics. For a poly sci junkie, it’s a great place to spend a few minutes or a hundred, digging into polls, commentary, and election gossip. But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that realized that the RealClear network of sites also has a History version.
At RealClearHistory, you get Read more
We all ask our kids to be active and continuous learners. To ask good questions. To solve problems. To share solutions.
And we need to model the same. Learning is a good thing, especially if it’s about history / social studies content and pedagogy. I spent a few minutes several weeks ago talking with an elementary teacher about how and why the Republican and Democratic parties have changed political positions over the last 160 years. She was working to plan a series of MLK Day activities and had questions about why Lincoln’s party had shifted so much.
A perfect example of a teacher working to hone her craft and improve both content / skills.
But it’s not an easy thing. Time is always a problem. Finding resources is a problem. So today I’m sharing a few online sites and blogs that can help. Read more
Teacher evaluation is one of the hot topics this spring here in the Sunflower state. How do we best measure whether a teacher is good or not? What questions do we ask? What data do we look at?
Teacher quality is important. But I personally have issues with politicians and others not directly involved on the front lines claiming to know best when it comes to measuring teacher quality. Common sense and research suggests that kids are successful or not for lots of reasons.
And while the political mess of teacher evaluation by schools and districts will continue, I still believe that as professionals we have an obligation to reflect on a personal level about our own best practice. Constant improvement is a good thing. And I also believe that there is a lot of value in asking our kids, our customers, to be a part of that evaluation process.
We’re not talking here about formal teacher evaluations here – this is personal professional development. Asking questions about what we do and how it impacts our students.
I never really thought much about having my students complete evaluations during my first couple of years teaching. It was obvious, even to a rookie teacher, what needed to change, right? Plus, it just wasn’t done. I mean, who asks for the opinions of school children?
I would always try to spend time reflecting at the end of the year: Read more