First things first- the job description. This can be worded in such a way as to make it sound like your dream job. It is usually pretty vague to allow for additional responsibilities some may not have been dreamed up yet. Yes I understand that it would be impossible to outline every aspect of a job in a manageable size document. I present the concept to illustrate the point that as educators we are not prepared for what really constitutes the position of a professional educator.
What is expected of an educator? At least what they train us for.
Educators, as we progress through the official training programs, are taught to focus on content mastery, classroom management, assessment, pedagogy, and curriculum. We take courses that emphasize the concept that all children are different and learn differently so we must differentiate and scaffold. Yet we are also told that STANDARDIZED TESTING, those tests that treat all students exactly the same are a great measure of student knowledge and growth. I hope you see the irony of this. We add more tests each year. Teachers must now be experts in data analysis and interpretation. They must use this new data to differentiate lessons for each student, connect to the common core, improve test scores and not leave a single child behind. High stakes testing can keep you awake at night, but hopefully your focus is on creating experiences for your students, preparing them for the WORLD beyond and not test prep.
Teachers fill many roles beyond the purveyor of knowledge. Teachers are no longer expected to be the sage on the stage, the omniscient being in the room. Content knowledge is not the most important role of a teacher. This seems contrary to the training I received as I prepared to become an educator. Teachers in training were told don't smile until December. Classroom management is most important, and don't get too personal with your students.
The Hidden Expectations of Educators!
I have to admit I blindly followed some of the advice those older teachers had given me and laid down the law with my students early in my career. I thought if students obeyed they were learning. I fortunately saw the light, which is why I am able to write about the hidden expectations for teachers.
Parents entrust us with their children for the majority of that child's day. Parents expect us to educate their child, to teach them the subject matter, but also to assist them in learning manners and social skills. I am a parent, and I find myself expecting my children's teacher to help them learn skills beyond the curriculum. I want my children to be safe, secure, happy, engaged, challenged, cared for and appreciated.
Teachers are expected to play many roles often go beyond what was ever described in educational training or any job description
Teachers are Role Models! With being Role Models we are also at times a symbol of Morality, or a Moral Compass for our students. The fact we spend so much time with students provides us with tremendous opportunity to engage and inspire our students. We can be the catalyst for inquiry and the development of individual passions. With this comes the responsibility to model positive behavior with our students. To demonstrate to them positive interactions with others.
Teachers are expected to not only educate the students in their classes about the content outlined in the curriculum guide, but also about life. Teach young people how to share, resolve conflict, demonstrate compassion and empathy for others. Teachers are expected to teach a sense of the world around them, and understanding of world events we ourselves might not completely grasp.
Educators in all capacities are expected to do so much more than just guide instruction. This is what should be taught to pre-service teachers during their training. They will be counselors, they will hear the stories of poverty, abuse, depression as it is unfolding in the lives of those they are charged to educate and Protect! They will engage these young people on a daily basis with the potential to be the most positive human interaction that child will receive that day. There is so much more to teaching than knowing your subject area content. Teaching is about relationships and compassion for each and every child!
My Take Away!
What has impacted me the most in my teaching has been those personal connections with my students. I am so excited to share the positive connections made by those students who let me know I made a difference in their lives. It is harder to acknowledge those who made a lasting difference in mine because sometimes it is too late to show those students they matter, they are valuable, and they are loved!
The following is a must read story shared by @supt_Jordan Travis Jordan about a student he will always remember. Missed Opportunity.
This year brought about BYOD in our classrooms, and so I decided to embrace this new opportunity. I will admit that I was a little nervous, and still am about the potential risks, but I have just completed my lesson on the FISHBOWL and am excited at the results. So you should be asking, what is the FISHBOWL, well before the year began I was looking for music for my classroom, and I have blogged about that already, so to the point, I stumbled upon the song, Welcome to the Fishbowl, by Kenny Chesney. I had never heard it before, but after listening to it, I realized there was a ready made lesson to begin my year.
This week I attempted something new with the students. We collaborated on a policy to implement BYOD into the classroom. My hook that really grabbed their attention occurred on the second day of the discussion when I took away all of their devices and told them this will be a no technology zone. It was interesting to observe the varied reactions. I told them that there were too many problems associated with the use of the technology in class to be worth the few opportunities to use them in a positive manner. I did give them the final chance to change my mind. They worked on creating a list of potential uses, and the ideas were amazing. They thought about using it to set up homework or important reminders. They could use it to collaborate on projects, look up information to help them complete tasks. They thought about the potential for contact, and even suggested using skype for students who were sick or absent a day to keep caught up with the class.
As the discussion continued over the next couple of days, I did have a few instances that happened in class that were used as great examples of reasons why we need to have a policy of expectations. Some students' behaviors exemplified the potential misuse of the technology, now no serious issues of concern happened, but they were great demonstrations of behaviors that we needed to address.
The students took this process very seriously, and were engaged in earning their devices in the classroom. I am very happy to say that we created a policy for use.
The basic principles of the policy are as follows:
The use of the device is at the discretion of the instructor who should be asked for permission to use the device during class. In this, the students should explain exactly how they will use the device during class time unless directed to use it in a particular way by the instructor.
Taking pictures may be allowed if the following conditions are followed:
Ask the person(s) in the photo for their permission, explain the purpose of the image, show them the end result, and do not alter the picture from what has been agreed upon by those in the image.
Students thought using images to take notes, for their portfolio, or of activities and tasks would be appropriate use of taking pictures, and the use of sharing them for their educational portfolios would be acceptable use.
Texting is strongly discouraged as it creates a distraction to the student and potentially other students and classrooms. The exception was if contacting a parent or an absent classmate were necessary for school related purposed as decided by the instructor.
I plan on using the devices as part of the class. There are multiple ways students can utilize these devices from taking notes, looking up information sharing answers and ideas, communication, and increasing engagement that I think the benefits from using these in a sound educational manner is too great to pass up.
The final aspect of the policy is the enforcement. Students have agreed to first abide by the rules, second help support others in following the rules by encouraging those who are not following the rules to stop those practices, and they are willing to accept losing the privilege of using the device if they refuse to follow the policy they created.
I was recently asked to present at our next staff Profession Develop Day on September 27th. As part of this they have asked me to present about Twitter and building collaboration and a PLN. What I was thinking was having a few people that I have connected with this year on Twitter create and share some type of message with my staff for our inservice day. I was looking to have other educators share a welcome message, a story about their journey using Twitter, or other message to my staff to help me get them on board with online collaboration. You could cite an example where you connected to another classroom through Twitter, skype, or other method. I recently worked with my students to complete the 911 student blog project. I have seen other teachers in the elementary jump on board with creating connected classrooms through the relationships they built using Twitter. I am open to ideas and suggestions. I am hoping some of you would be willing to help me out. Please send me a message if you have ideas, questions, or can help in some way.
As part of my presentation I was going to have the staff participate in a Twitter chat at the end of the session. I was thinking that I could share your message or stories with them during that time.
I am pretty limited in my creativity, but I thought of a few examples and hope you might be willing to help me out in some way.
examples - Tweet welcoming Little Chute staff to Twitter -
Vine or other video message about collaboration
jumping into our staff Twitter chat on the day for a few minutes --
any idea you have to encourage online collaboration
(This summer I attempted my first district chat with minimal results, however the #lcpln is still alive and kicking so any posts could be directed to this #)
I am trying to show my staff the power of Twitter as a tool to connect and learn. I am hoping to have a few educational leaders help me ease the reluctant staff into the world of online collaboration and see the value of it for themselves and their students.
I understand how busy our schedules can be and how precious time is for all of us, so I truly appreciate your consideration, and would love to hear your thoughts on this endeavor.
Please take a minute to complete a short survey to help me out. I appreciate all of your help!
High School Social Studies
Little Chute, WI