In today’s world, writing plays a central role in our personal and professional lives. Just think about the number of written interactions you have had throughout your week so far.
Now consider: how effective are you as a writer? How well prepared are your own kids to handle those types of written interactions in their own lives?
I have been teaching public school children for a decade. From first grade to eighth grade and all the grades in between, I have seen, first hand, students soar above their perceived potential. At the same time, I have seen others struggle to reach it.
I have heard all the rationales from socio-economic disparity to learning styles, from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to a lack of interest-based learning, from ineffective schools and ill-trained educators to the lack of necessary educational resources. I will not disparage those factors as they do play a role in the social and academic growth of all children, however, I refuse to believe that they cannot be overcome.
In my career I have met with hundreds of families to discuss the successes and shortcomings of each their children’s academic efforts. By the very nature of the educational process, each child and each family presents the educator with a unique set of challenges and needs that must be accounted for. That being said, it is a flawed mentality (be it explicit or implicit) that the responsibility lies solely with the classroom educators to meet these academic needs.
Looking back over my ten years in the classroom, I can categorically say that there is, in fact, one panacea that has continually produced students that excel both academically and socially. Regardless of financial status, racial background, familial makeup, or special needs, there exists a common experience that has been present in the majority of my most successful students. It is simple and timeless, and any parent has the power to do it. Nevertheless, it stands as the four words I find myself wanting to yell from the mountaintops each year as a fresh crop of families enter into my classroom:
Read with your kids!
From the outset of my teaching career, integrating technology into my lessons has remained a constant priority. Whether it was piloting SmartBoards in a district elementary school, using iPads to digitize workflows, or making the switch to Chromebooks, technology has been at the forefront of how I prepare and deliver content to students. Lately, however, I have seen value in a switch back to a more analog-focused learning environment.
Whether you are looking to land your first teaching job or have been in the classroom for years, there is always something new to learn in the world of education.
Even if you have already talked the ear off of every teaching veteran you know, attended all the district professional development opportunities you could stand, and completed all the expensive college courses you could afford, there is still so much to learn.
Thanks to the plethora of quality, education-focused podcasts, a pair of earbuds may be the most impactful professional development tool in your arsenal. Whether you listen while cooking dinner, mowing the lawn, or driving to work, these great podcasts can help improve your teaching practice a little bit each day.
In no particular order, here are some of the best podcasts for educators to dive into!
Over the past 20 years, advancements in science, technology, and communication have transformed our world. If you trace any one of these advancements back to their roots, you are likely to uncover the story of a person or team who dared to break from traditional thinking and approach a common problem in a new way.
Whether it’s a billionaire visionary like Bill Gates who transformed the way the world uses computers, a team of innovative mathematicians like the women featured in the hit film Hidden Figures who revolutionized space travel, or a student inventor like Alexis Lewis who transformed how first-responders save lives, this is what innovation is all about.
In today’s world, the demand for innovation continues to grow. As a result, the focus of traditional learning paradigms needs to shift.
In the 21st century, simply finding creative ways to expose students to curricular content isn’t enough. Educators, whether teachers or tutors, have a responsibility to include opportunities for students to apply knowledge in innovative ways. One great way to bring this type of opportunity to your students is through participation in innovation competitions…