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Growing Pains: Adjusting to the new year

3 Aug

Growing Pains Pic

After being an educator for many years we can sometimes get in a cynical space. We think we know everything there is to know about our professions, then we get a new administrator or a new group of students and suddenly we’re discombobulated, not because those folks are completely out of whack, but because they are different and do things in a way to which we are not accustomed. We feel uncomfortable and trapped in our own classrooms or buildings. These are the “Growing Pains.” At first it seems like a hindrance, what we’re doing is no longer working, it’s no longer changing student behavior, it’s no longer moving the needle on your scores, it’s no longer part of the changing culture of your campus. In actuality these situations are opportunities to learn innovative ways of doing things and to better ourselves. Similar to the feelings in childhood when your body is pained from its growth and change, we tolerate the pain because we know that on the other side is a stronger, better person. Here are some tips to reduce your “Growing Pains”:

  1. Seek clarity – If you don’t understand a change, ask targeted questions about it, not to poke holes in its perceived necessity, but to truly try and gain an understanding of the purpose.
  2. Adjust softly – Take a step back and allow the change to happen, you may grow to love the new ways. Pick your battles.
  3. Focus on building relationships– When we take a deeper interest in our co-workers and students we can get a deeper understanding of not just what they are doing but why, we can better understand their perspective and as a result communicate more successfully to make sure that the transition and growth benefits everyone involved.

If you are experiencing “Growing Pains,” stay confident that once you reach the other side of that obstacle you will find that you have grown, professionally and emotionally. Seek to understand the purpose of certain changes, find a piece of it that you believe in, grab it and run with it. You got this!

Toshila Darjean

@5starstudents

5starstudents.com

Communication is Key

20 Oct

 

Communication is Key

 

For any relationship to work there must be communication. In education, the relationship that parents have with their child’s teachers and administrators can make or break the connection with the student. Because parents trust schools with their children, 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. It is imperative that schools have an open line of communication with their parents and stakeholders.

Here are five ways to create continuous communication with your parents:

  1. Introduce yourself at the beginning of the year– I know that this can be  long and tedious for teachers at the upper levels, but the first impression is the lasting one. Call or email your parents to enlighten them about what they and their child should expect throughout the year.
  2. Create a Class Website– This will keep your parents in the loop about everything taking place in your class. No parent wants find out on Tuesday that “Math Night” is on Wednesday. The more you keep your parents informed, the more likely they are to participate and communicate.
  3. Make Positive Phone Calls– Parents have become accustomed to receiving phone calls from their child’s school with dread because it seems the call always brings bad news. Make it a point to call and give good and positive news. This will not only boost students’ self-esteem, but the parent will feel a sense of pride in the job they are doing with their children.
  4. Spotlight Nights– Have each department display their students work for parents to come to the school to review. Parents are always amazed at their student’s creativity and accomplishments. This also lets parents know that you want them on your campus to help support the vision of the school.
  5. Remind101– Have all of your parents subscribe to Remind101, to ensure they are receiving day-to-day information on school happenings.

With the parents, teachers, administrators, and students working together, anything is possible.  Keep your parents in the loop and make them feel welcome on your campus, the community spirit will spill over into your halls and success will be inevitable! Parents want to know how their students are doing and what they can do to help, open that line of communication and become a team.

Toshila M. Darjean

@5starstudents

 

5 Things Every 1st Year Teacher Should Know

24 Sep
5 Star Student Logo

5 Star Student Logo

My first year of teaching was one of adventurous, wondrous, learning filled, unforgettable experiences. My students were an AMAZING group that not only worked hard, but demonstrated a true passion for learning. I got to know each and every one of these students, not only their classroom identities, but also what their interests were and who they wanted to become.

Each year droves of eager, first-year teachers pile into classrooms ready to change the world one student at a time. Be bold and be enthusiastic young teachers, but also take these tips so that the flame of your passion stays lit for years to come:

  1. Learn your territory:            Get to know as much as you can about your school without forming opinions from others. Make it a point not to listen to everything your peers have to say about your school, students, administrators and parents.
  2. Teach for knowledge:           Focus on teaching the content, rather than teaching to the test. Have fun in your subject and find ways to enrich your students daily.
  3. Know your kids:                    Get to know your students and show them that you are a human that laughs, plays, cries, and makes their success your number one priority. When children know you genuinely care, they will climb mountains for you.
  4. Stay ahead of the game.        Get to know your curriculum through and through and begin planning engaging activities immediately. Never wait until the last minute to create your lesson plans.
  5. Encourage yourself.              Being a teacher and molding young minds into instruments for greatness is an incredibly inspirational and rewarding job, but it’s not easy. If teaching were an easy job, everyone else would do it. At the end of every day, pat yourself on the back, especially on the challenging ones. The challenging days are the days when you have helped someone the most.

I love being and educator and while it can be difficult some days the results are worth each drop of blood, sweat and tears.

Veteran educators: What advice do you have for 1st year teachers?

Toshila Darjean

@5starstudents