Everyday Every Day – Chapter 6 Book Study on “Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth” by Aaron Hogan.

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I chose three relevant questions from the choice of 5 that I could most connect with from the study guide.

  1. “How can you tell when teachers have meaningful relationships with their students?”

The teachers that put the time and effort into creating authentic lesson plans and experiences, which are based on getting to know their student’s backgrounds and interests and incorporating these experiences in with their planning. On my Practicum last year, I noticed what impacts good relationships with students have, including the most important great classroom management, which allows the teacher to focus more on teaching, less on the behavior. Combining the two is just important, it really is all about the relationships you foster with your students that make all the difference.

The students were also happy to be coming to school each day because of the relationships that had been built, and the learning experiences that would take place each day. They seemed to enjoy the classroom interactions, and this was reflected in the work that was being produced.

  1. “What are your favorite ways to connect with students that don’t cost anything but time and effort?”

I decided on how I would I approach this on my first practicum last year. I decided to ensure I greeted every student at the door as the entered the classroom, I used high fives, asked how their morning was or discussed their weekends to find any common ground. This also helped me learn the names of the students. Prior to starting the day, I also noticed the mentor teacher would dedicate 2 mins in having a chat about the day ahead, raise and discuss any classroom concerns or issues, or even just discuss how everyone is feeling.

The end of the day would usually close with an activity, such as silent ball or even an outdoor game of dodgeball which allowed students to de-brief and discuss their day. The use of exit tickets I found a positive strategy to use as well, finding out, for example, one thing they learned today, or in one instance “How did my teaching go today.” High fiving them on the way out also was a good end of day activity!

  1. “We like to look like we have it together, so many of us do our best to hide our imperfections. Admitting our failures feels risky and vulnerable. Share a failure you had & what you’ve learned from it?”

I learned very quickly in one of my lessons on how things can go wrong so quickly. I can remember teaching a math lesson on measurement, I think it was to convert Kilometres to meters. I mistakenly made assumptions about what they should already know based on previous lessons on conversion. Well, needless to say, the whole thing went pear-shaped starting at the direct instruction, with so many confused students! I was so focused on the lesson plan, that I really didn’t take notice of the disengagement that was occurring throughout the classroom, I did notice the chatter and behavior of some change, which I dealt with but just carried on.

To make matters worse, one of the students who is known for being a perfectionist and great at maths started to cry as they were struggling in the understanding of the concept. It wasn’t until they began to work independently that I become aware of this as the Education Assistant bought it to my attention. At the end of the lesson, they were dismissed for recess, I debriefed with the mentor teacher and reflected on the lesson, what I thought had gone so horribly wrong, I didn’t get any argument from my mentor teacher apart from a well prepared engaging lesson plan and that’s all it had going for it!

The students came back from recess, once they were all settled I made the decision I needed to restore the confidence. Prior to the next lesson I took the floor and said “I am so sorry about the lesson on measurement I taught this morning went so wrong, and that making assumptions on what you all knew was a bad call, I promise the lesson will be re-taught the next day.

I thought some feedback might be good here, so I opened the discussion for 2 minutes on how I could improve my teaching. It worked! The most powerful, impactful feedback I got was “Why don’t you ask us what we want to learn and need to know, and just be yourself, not trying to be Mr. X.”  A year 6 student with this wisdom! Amazed me. This changed my approach for the rest of my practicum, I would always then start the lessons with “What do you know about, what would you like to know about?”

On another note, the student who cried, I took him aside and had a private chat outside, I apologised to him personally, we had a great chat and the relationship and trust were restored!

RELATIONSHIPS! RELATIONSHIPS! RELATIONSHIPS!

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Pre-Service Teacher’s on Twitter, Why you should join the conversation.

A Pre-Service Teacher on Twitter

I am a Pre-Service Teacher in the third year of my degree, I’ve been using Twitter actively since February of this year. This was one of the best decisions I made as a new educator.

There is a lot of trepidation, concern, and worry for Pre-Service Teachers entering the profession, particularly in classroom management. Like many, throughout my degree I have felt very overwhelmed, particularly on my first practicum experience last year, trust me I wish I had been more active on Twitter last year, it would have made my life so much easier in the classroom.

In January of this year, I attended a social media conference/seminar for Pre-Service Teachers, there was a great session on “How to incorporate social media, particularly Twitter into your professional development. By the end of the session I was convinced by the ideas presented and since then have been very active on Twitter, find it very useful in my professional development.

Since becoming more active on Twitter, I have learned so much, not only about classroom teaching but also about wider educational debates. Therefore, I think Twitter and joining the conversation is so important for Pre-Service Teachers.

Find and Share Resources

Resources for a Pre-Service Teacher can be overwhelmingly expensive, and often we will make something ourselves, since having a Twitter account though I have found there is a willingness to share resources and ideas, chances are what you are looking for has already been created.

The most inspiring part about being active on Twitter is the generosity of teachers, who are very happy to share resources, encourage and provide you with ideas. Collaborating with other teaching professionals from all over the globe online is an enlightening experience, and as Pre-Service Teachers, we desire that all our future students want to learn and grow.

Be informed

On Twitter I have found some incredible blogs and been able to link with many authors within the education sector, they have taught me for more about the profession, provided practical ideas which align with what I am being taught at University, plus a whole range of new innovative ideas. On Twitter, you can connect with the most incredible researchers in education today. There are plenty groups you can follow that match your interests and year level.

 

Get a fresh perspective

There are many perceptions out there that give teachers a bad rap. The media portray teachers has lazy, out of touch or join the blame game in falling educational standards. Even to me, the word “teacher” conjures a negative perception of an exhausted, underpaid and overworked drone, counting down the years till retirement, I heard a lot of this out on practicum in the staff room.

Since joining Twitter, I have found new inspiration. Teachers from all over the world come together who are excited about the profession, the subjects and every day are inspired by the children they teach. In my experience from other sectors I have worked in, if you choose to associate with these types of people, you might well become one yourself!

Embrace new ideas

Looking at teachers’ Twitter accounts will show you that teachers are a diverse group who have great perspectives about teacher training and how to be an outstanding teacher. I know during my practicum last year, I tried very hard to emulate my mentor teacher, this clearly was a bad idea. I felt that a lot of advice I was getting from the University was just preventing me from being a bad teacher, rather than encouraging me to be the unique teacher I desire to be.

I am learning you need to adapt your own approach, there are so many incredible teachers out there who are happy to share their ideas and help new and Pre-Service Teachers grow to be the best they can be for themselves and future students we will teach. Linking with other professionals on Twitter has helped me find many pedagogical strategies which will help me with my next professional experience. Embracing new and exciting ideas can only improve your professional experience during your practicum.

Change the conversation

With all the pressures of University life, study, practicums, professional development sessions, it is refreshing to get an outside view on Twitter about what is current in education trends and to see what is really going on out there.

Twitter is a great platform for professional development for both Pre-Service and In-Service teachers. So, join Twitter and find some inspiration in the profession to reignite the spark!

“Shattering The Perfect Teacher Myth” by Aaron Hogan “Value Vulnerability” Chapter 5 Questions.

1. “Sodownloadmetimes it can feel like we are the only ones making a mistake. What are the mistakes that you think many people make that aren’t actually talked about enough?”

I had this discussion with my mentor teacher during my practicum last year. One of the biggest mistakes he thought was out there were teachers who admit to not having all the answers. I heard a story from a teacher, who did not have the answer to a student question, rather than say to the student “Let me research it, and I will get back to you” the teacher just blew the student off, providing some half-hearted answer to the question. I believe taking this approach puts the student at risk of not getting the right answer, makes you the teacher not expose yourself to vulnerability.

This is another area, many teachers (including myself as a PST) do not want to let our guards down, this was a challenge for me on my practicum, when I first started I was afraid to ask questions at the risk of sounding unprofessional, or weak, or vulnerable, I was more concerned about what would go on my practicum report then asking or discussing any concerns. I think we need to show our vulnerability to students, it models behavior as well. After a couple of days, I realized the mentor teacher wasn’t out to get me or fail me, but there to help and guide my professional practice so I could become the best teacher I could be. After this moment, I began to show my vulnerability by asking questions, even involving the students if I didn’t know something, maybe they did, whilst thinking they could teach me something here!

  1. “Sometimes we don’t take a chance because it is risky and were intimidated by the vulnerability required to setup out and do something different. What is something you would try if you knew you would not fail?”

I would like to write a book, I am currently undertaking a creative writing course online, however I find myself very intimidated by some of the writing by other students on the discussion board, I feel that sense of ‘I’m not good enough, my writing is not perfect, they must be all experts doing a refresher course.’ This same can be said for teaching, I would love to teach like a 20-year veteran on my first day if I knew I couldn’t fail. The reality is, however, failure is a part of life, through failure we grow stronger and learn from those experiences, not being afraid of failure and being vulnerable helps build strength and character, whilst providing confidence.

  1. “When you give everything you have at school, what (or who) suffers most outside of school?”

In our busy lives, I am a fulltime student, juggling 4 units plus volunteering at a school each week. My partner works full time and we only see each other in the evenings when we finally get to sit down. What I noticed on my practicum, however, as I felt there was no time, I would come home, eat my meal, have a coffee, then spend the next 4 to 5 hours planning the next day’s lessons I needed to teach. Relationships can suffer from being a teacher.

  1. “Our work is exhausting, and we cannot be our best when we are emptied out. What refuels you? During the school year, how do you make sure this isn’t lost when things get busy?”

I am currently a PST, so I have had a lot of classroom exposure, apart from my practicum and weekly volunteering. I found exercise and eating well were two key factors that helped me remain refueled and healthy whilst on practicum. Reading was also a source of wind down, providing an opportunity to read fiction, such as Harry Potter where you didn’t have to think too much.

  1. “Vulnerability is really scary. What is one simple step you can take as you strive to be more vulnerable?”

I would like to share a story, in my practicum last year, I was given an opportunity to teach a math class with the lesson being on measurement. I prepared the lesson plan at home, felt super organized the next day ready to teach the lesson. However, I made a fatal mistake which making assumptions. I assumed the students would have already know the formula’s and how to convert, boy was I wrong. The students started to become dis-engaged and restless, after the direct instruction many were struggling to do their activities,

Some students excelled, many didn’t, with some even giving up, I know this wasn’t right, I then noticed a student crying because they didn’t understand it, (I found out later he is a perfectionist and likes to get everything right and understand the concept immediately). Once the class had finished, I was able to speak to my mentor teacher who discussed with me the fact I had made assumptions and should have assumed this was the first time they would be learning this concept.

After the students came back from recess, I waited until they were seated, then apologized for making the assumptions, explained why I made this error in judgment and stating the lesson would be re-taught the next day. VULNERABILITY AT WORK! I found by making this apology, it helped me grow. One student raised his hand and said, “I have an idea Mr. V, why don’t you just ask us what we need to want to learn, then just be yourself in teaching it.” The next day I re-taught the lesson, firstly asking what they already knew! It turned out to be one of my best lessons over my practicum

Chapter 4 – Imagine It Better. “Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth.” A book by Aaron Hogan. (Book Study Questions).

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  1. “Let’s dream big together: What would you change if you were asked to reimagine school for you and your students?”

Change, there a lot of teachers out there who resist change and will say to themselves ‘it’s always been done this way, so why change now.’ I think with this mindset in place education in general will not change, although there are many teachers around the world who are pushing the envelope and forging ahead with changes, whilst they listen and respect their colleague’s opinions, they know to change outcomes for students there needs to be changed.

One of the problems I see with education today is the neoliberalism approach we take, with standardized testing, websites like MY-School which provide parents/guardians where they could send their children to school. In Australia now, there is much talk about standardized testing and whether it is an effective tool to assist teachers and students lift the standards, NAPLAN I think has been a dismal failure, particularly in relation to the effect it has on both students and teachers. I know of many teachers who teach to the standardized test to help increase pass rates, is this an effective approach though in student engagement and learning?

I believe what should happen is we should get rid of NAPLAN, as standardised testing does not fit all learning types or student, so how can their results possibly be accurate, they are also don’t assess the student’s other development areas, they don’t see a child’s growth, learn about a child’s interest, or there emotional and physical well-being. I will ask the question, if there is such a push for deafferented learning in the classroom, then why do we have standardised testing?

There also needs to be more autonomy in the classroom, with standardized testing and the pressures this brings to both students and teachers, I feel teacher autonomy has begun to erode, trust in the profession from outside has also eroded with the Government seemingly taking more control on what occurs in a classroom. Teachers build up positive engaging relationships with their students and know the student backgrounds, why not put teachers back in charge of assessment in these areas, allow teachers to get on with teaching instead of more administration each year, along with an even more crowded curriculum.

  1. “Press into that vulnerability: Where are you trying to get better right now as an educator?”

Classroom management is an area that I need to focus on as a PST. On my practicum last year, I was fortunate enough to have a well-behaved class, with minimal behavioral issues that were easily managed. I believe this put me at a disadvantage as I really didn’t get the opportunity to build these skills. One of my student colleagues had a really difficult class, what they referred to as a baptism of fire, they felt they were at such an advantage in their journey, in applying the theory they had learned at University, along with the Mentor teacher’s advice.

In my situation, it was the opposite although there were some behavioural issues and incidents, they were minor and easily dealt with, so over the past few months I have been learning a lot about classroom management and strategies that I could apply to my next practicum, in some ways I hope I get a class with some behavioural problems to be able to see the contrast, along with learning and developing  isthis important area of a teacher’s daily life. Improved classroom management, can only lead to more engaged students.

  1. “How have you reimagined the way your own professional learning looks? What’s the same as it was 5 years ago? What’s Different? What are you interested in trying out to further your professional learning this year?”

Although I am still only at University, I can see how the education system has changed not only the last 5 years but since I was at school. Areas of professional learning such as coding were not as prevalent 5 years ago, as they are now for example. To become a teacher for not only today but tomorrow, you need to future proof yourself.

The area I will be focusing on will be the STEM subjects, as this is not that much of a focus at University the exposure has been minimal. So, I intend to speak to my Science Tutor who has some classroom connections, and see if I can volunteer in a STEM environment once a week to get an idea of what is being taught, how it is being taught, whilst hopefully obtaining some valuable resources on the way. I will also continue to collaborate and network with my Twitter PLN.

  1. “Sometimes our own habits are our biggest obstacle to change. Think about what you tell yourself when an opportunity to change something in your work comes along. What do you need to keep telling yourself throughout the year? What should you stop telling yourself?”

I need to begin to accept that even in a profession like teaching failing is a part of the daily life. As a teacher you experiment, you try new strategies, new lesson concepts, some which are successful are some that are not. I need to tell myself to be more confident in my own abilities, and that I don’t need to be as good as an experienced teacher, but strive to be. This is an area I struggled with, I thought to be effective, I needed to be like my mentor teacher, follow the same strategies, teaching style, after all, that was the way its always been done in their classroom. On my next practicum, I think I feel a lot more confident in approaching my mentor teacher with ideas through  in engaging the students so they can also have an enhanced learning experience.

I will try and bring out my own personality and teaching style, the way I envisage my teaching style should be, which is very much a constructivist approach, I will re-read books like Teach LIKE A PIRATE, by Dave Burgess to inspire my creativity and ideas. I will look at failure as a chance to grow, rather than take the defeatist approach as I have done in the past.

I believe going to a regional area for my next practicum, will challenge me, allow me to grow, whilst continuing to learn, in an environment which will take me right out of my comfort zone, I am excited and can’t wait to see what happens on that adventure!

“Shattering The Perfect Teacher Myth” – Chapter 3 – Reject Isolation Study Guide Questions.

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Thank you to Aaron Hogan, for this study guide to help read the above book.

  1. “How do you reject the isolation that often creeps in on us as educators?”

On my 2nd day of Practicum, I was scheduled to teach my first ever lesson. It was a math lesson and having met with the mentor teacher the week previous and the students I felt quite confident. There was one student with a learning disability, making connections with him during the orientation day was great, he seemed very keen to continue learning.

Did I think wrong, I began teaching the math class, and all seemed to be going well, the Education Assistant was in the room, the mentor teacher was observing from the back of the classroom. Prior to this, the Education Assistant said, “If X becomes too much, then please let me know and I will take him out of the classroom.” If only I had considered this advice. The lesson was progression we were midway through the direct instruction phase when it happened, shall I say all hell broke loose. One of the other students had said something to X, who then decided to become disruptive!

The student began to interrupt, I kept trying different classroom management strategies, including ignoring the behavior, I felt like many PST do that if you ask for help you may not look confident, you worry this will affect your practicum outcome. I persisted I found using proximity helpful, however, only briefly. The students were now working on their own or in pairs, the disruption continued, each time I said something to try to correct his behavior it got worse. The Education Assistant stated to me, “Shall I take him out.” My response was “no, it will be fine, I really want to see if I can change his behavior.’ My thought process had other ideas ‘I should have listened to my inner voice and taken the advice I was given earlier on.’

                I felt tears welling up, with my stress levels and anxiety increasing it was close to recess, with the siren due to sound any second. In my mind it could not come quick enough, I was frustrated, completely drained and ready to just leave! The siren for recess went, all the students left, the mentor teacher said, “Let’s go for a coffee.” I stated, “I would be there shortly.” What happened then even surprised me, I completely broke down, at this point I wondered if teaching was for me, I finally decided to leave the classroom, I saw the other Year 6 teacher on duty, I decided to approach him and chat about the experience. This turned out to be a great decision. I could get a lot out of my system, learn from what occurred and head back into the classroom after recess with my confidence restored.

Reaching out to your colleagues, particularly as a PST or beginning teacher is critical for your survival, if I had listened to the Education Assistant in the first place, the situation may have been different. I found from the day onwards, I would interact and collaborate with other teachers as much as I could.

I am glad this experience happened to me, it taught me, no matter where you are in your teaching career, never be afraid to reach to colleagues, friends or family for advice or just someone to talk to. I think you need to reject isolation by not being afraid to ask questions, networking, and not thinking if I ask they will think less of me.

  1. “What would you miss out on if you did your work as an educator in isolation?”

As an educator, you would miss out on so much if you isolated yourself from others. The collaboration alone in areas like lesson planning, classroom management, sharing of resources are all critical areas for teachers. As a PST isolating yourself also may impact longevity within the profession. I also think you would miss out on hearing the great success stories in your classroom, along with the failures, which is where a piece of advice you may have could help a colleague or vice versa.

The teaching profession is a community, within a school, the community and now even on social media through apps like Twitter, where you can connect and grow with teachers from all over the world. By isolating yourself you would impact your mental health, you would not grow as an effective educator, and you may end up wanting to leave the profession altogether.

  1. When do you notice that you feel isolated in your professional work? Is there a certain time of year? Is there something routinely going on? Share the times when you see isolation coming and how you can push back that feeling.”

I think I really noticed the isolation when I first walked into the staff room on my first day of practicum in June last year. I felt very much out of my comfort zone, listening to the conversation even more so. I decided to break the ice, the mentor teacher had introduced me to some of the staff, though I was still reluctant to join in on the chat.

I decided to get a coffee, so whilst waiting at the urn, I got chatting to some other teachers, I instigated the discussion, I thought let’s be brave here, after all, what is the worst that could happen? The welcome I got from that group around the coffee urn was great, imagine if I had not taken the initiative, this provided me with more confidence to talk with others and involve myself in the conversation, after all, I was there to learn and grow.

  1. If we really believe we are together, then we cannot wait for others to step out of their isolation. Someone in your school is more isolated than they need to be. How will YOU create a connection with a disconnected colleague?”

I think it is imperative that you take it gently, there may be some underlining factors of why they feel the need to isolate themselves. A simple conversation starts like “Are you ok?” are often a good way to start, this is all they may need to begin sharing their stories or experiences with you.

Invite them into your classroom to see what you are doing, how you are impacting your students, this may provide them with opportunities to learn and grow, even provide you with some knowledge or strategies you could use, this is what happened to me on my practicum, teachers reached out to me, I spent time in other classes where I learned so much more.

Book Study Guide – “Shattering The Perfect Teacher Myth.” Chapter 2 – “Hooking Your Students.”

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Chapter 2 – Hook YOUR STUDENTS

  1. “What do you do to get students excited about learning in your classroom?”

As a PST, I found on my practicum spending time with other teachers to see what they do was essential in helping me develop my skills for the classroom. I saw how teachers could set a course in the development of relationships which is one of the key factors in getting students interested in learning. Every classroom that I went into, you could clearly see the link between relationships to learning, intertwined with the pedagogical approaches the teachers were using. Being a storyteller is key, relating your own experiences, finding out what they would like to learn, what excites them about learning.

Engage them with dynamic learning experiences, one of the lessons I taught during my practicum was about earthquakes, rather than just stick to the material presented I decided to get creative. As an extension of the material, and using a variety of materials including plasticine, straws, pipe cleaners, paper and some balsa wood, I asked their table groups to design a building they thought would withstand an earthquake, after the direction instruction followed by a You-tube clip. I then said, “Now you have constructed your buildings we will endeavour to see which structure remains to stand, and which groups will collapse.”

I had them begin to rock their desks backwards and forwards and side to side, slowly increasing the pace, until they noticed movement, recording their findings after each minute using the school laptops. The students were so engaged, and loved the authenticity of the activity, particularly as one child had lived through some earthquakes being from Indonesia, he was able to share his story, his table group won the challenge because of his own experiences. From this student sharing his experiences, the collaboration in learning that occurred through student’s questions was truly amazing to see, there were even a few teachable moments!

  1. “We learn more from experiences than from lessons. How do you create amazing experiences for your students?”

I liked to share stories from my schooling and my background. I also enjoyed sharing many of my holiday experiences, along with being real, after all, year 6 students are at that age where perception is everything, they can see straight through you! I found also by placing the learning objectives on the board, only providing some information like “the hook” got them extremely curious.

I always tried to start with a story of my own, for instance, the students were reading “The boy in the striped pyjama’s” as a class. I could share my ancestors experience in WW 2 Germany, in how my great Auntie was an apart of the resistance that hid many Jewish people in their home, until getting caught by the Germans, this opened a lot of curiosity, thus creating teachable moments.

Setting the scene is also important, one my of my weekly plans was a lesson in teaching students about percentages, my mentor teacher challenged me to create an authentic activity to teach the concept. Over the recess break, I completely transformed the classroom into a restaurant setting, complete with table settings and menus. I even had soft music playing in the background. The hook was set! The students returned from recess, with so many questions! Each group of 4 had a $100 budget to spend on the menu, then they needed to total the cost and work out what % they had spent. Further breaking it down, they had to work out their own % spend, now even I participated and demonstrated through modelling the expectations, then joined each group as I went around! I provided them with paper money, and the monopoly credit card devices preloading $100 on each so they could use either to pay, adding with a credit card there were the usual surcharges.

  1. “Relationships might be our most powerful hook with students. Some come easily, but many won’t happen unless we are intentional about reaching each kid. How will you make sure you connect with every kid? What do you know about the quietest kids in your class?”

 I am still at University, so haven’t gotten a classroom yet, however one of the experiences I had in my practicum was a new girl who had started. She arrived very shy and little a little upset, with her mum providing both myself and my mentor teacher her background, it was quite traumatic. I could take her aside, introduce myself, talked about me a little, and explained how we would like to get her settled in. I took her to her table group and introduced her, and asked each of the group to share something about themselves. The discussion that occurred was quite amazing and throughout my practicum I watch them become the best of friends.

I think with the quietest or withdrawn students, you need first to understand their backgrounds, if there are any underlying problems, chat to them to see if they have any concerns or issues, observe in the playground or classroom there may be bullying going on for instance. I would then try to encourage them to participate, maybe ease them into it, use strategies like “think, pair, share” I found this particularly useful with some of the quieter students.

It is also essential to keep the connection going with these students, so as they don’t fall back into their shell. I would touch base daily with the new student, along with others. One thing I loved to do in my practicum was to be at the door each morning and greet them using high fives, or similar as they came in! find out about how their morning was so far, and have a quick chat with each one!

A week prior to starting my practicum I went into the classroom a couple days in advance, I got an opportunity to introduce myself, and talk one to one with each student to find out their interests, hobbies, sporting activities, favourite subjects, I took notes and this helped me design my lesson plans. At end of the day I would do the same, as they left often I would use exit cards and get them to tell me one thing they learned today either in class or about one of their friends, high fiving each one as they left.  Some days, I simply would simply just say “have a great evening, whilst high fiving them”. It was also critical to know and greet each student by their name!

  1. Everyone knows teachers are busy. What can you put on your calendar to remind you to make purposeful use of each opportunity you have to connect with a student?

 This is something I learned from my mentor teacher. 2-minute morning and 2-minute afternoon. In the 2-minute morning, there would be music playing in the background, with a general discussion about how the students were feeling, how their weekend was, did they do well at their sports or even what we’re reading. In the afternoon, like the morning session not structured, just a classroom chat, about what they learned, what was challenging, along with any concerns. We would usually end the day with a game of silent ball. Sometimes both these strategies would go longer up to 4 mins, however, I found it gets the student engaged.

Another strategy which I liked, was morning fitness, the mentor teacher had the class out each morning for 20 minutes doing some sort of physical activity, this, of course, helped in engagement, relationship building, and got rid of any negative energy, which set the tone for their first learning session.

Book Study Guide – “Shattering The Perfect Teacher Myth.”

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I recently purchased the book “Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth” by Aaron Hogan, and found a study guide that would be useful whilst reading this book. I have read Chapter today (29/06/2018), these are my thoughts on Chapter 1 Questions:

Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth

By Aaron Hogan

Study Guide

  1. “For many years, sending a student to the hallway has been a standard consequence for bad behavior. When do think this is a truly effective practice? What are the unintended consequences of sending students to the hall?”

It seems that many teachers treat behavior in academics and classroom management the same. This should not be occurring, they are both different sets of expectations and should be treated as such. Genuine teachers, will re-teach the content, repeat, then find out where the student needs assistance/what they can do to help move them along. The same should be done with unacceptable behavior, behavioral expectations should be taught as we would academics.

Sending students out of the classroom for both academic misconduct and behavioral issues I think is counterproductive. I believe it is much more beneficial to isolate the student within the classroom from their peers (children are very social) therefore, this way their learning can continue in the classroom, the behavioral issue is being addressed through peer isolation. This is of course very much dependent on the behavior being exhibited, violent outbursts, bullying or abuse which are all extremely disruptive may require further intervention from the Deputy or Principal.

We should also never fall into the trap of making assumptions, teachers get busy with often not enough time in the day to address many of the behavioral issues, however like academics it is important we teach and model the behavioral expectations to students. I think one of the biggest assumptions we make as teachers, particularly when it comes to manners, is that these should be taught at home. Sometimes a child’s “Virtual School-Bag” won’t allow this to happen, with many students having disruptive home lives, we may be the only caring and responsible adult they see throughout their day. I think another assumption we make is that “students should know better” well if they have never been taught how to behave appropriately, then it really does fall to the teachers.

It is essential they learn from early in the year, begin to build relationships with our students so we can see where they are coming from, which will help with not making assumptions as we will understand where they are coming from.

We need to teach both social and academic skills.  We must teach with repetition, patience, and model expectations.

  1. “How do we respond to academic & behavioral mistakes so differently? Why do we have such different approaches?”

The approaches should be the same, students need to understand, like teachers that behavioral management and teaching need to work together. If they can work together it would create a happy classroom environment, reducing the number of behavioral incidents as students would want to learn, be more engaging. The approaches should be the same, we should teach both explicitly to students.

I am not sure why we have different approaches, to me it seems like more work, and not consistent with classroom management, spending time on two different approaches is counter-productive.

It also comes down to the way we speak to students, using a firm but pleasant tone, is more productive, then yelling constantly at them which only makes them feel belittled and humiliated in front of classmates, will their behavior improve because of this? No, it will just create further resentment, making it that much harder to re-establish a positive relationship with that student or students.  We as teachers need to be also willing to apologize when such practices occur. Change occurs in the classroom when teachers are willing to change their approaches.

Praising students is a great way to model behavior both in their academics and classroom behavior.

  1. What are the skills we assume students should just have, the ones we think we shouldn’t teach?

On my practicum last year, we had this discussion in the staff room, we shouldn’t have to teach things like:

  • Showing respect
  • Manners
  • Social skills

These were the three main topics we discussed, sometimes they need to be taught as we need to consider a student’s background and home life circumstances, in a perfect world, students would come to school with the above skills intact. Life is not perfect for many of our students so they may not get the required support at home.

  1. “Maya Angelou reminds us to “Do the best you can until you know better. Then you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” How can teachers “do better” after comparing how we respond to academic and behavioral mistakes?”

I think it comes down to consistency. This is something that I struggled with during the first week of my practicum, was being consistent in ensuring students are performing academically and their behavior. I found it challenging in ensuring I had an eye on everyone, even more so when I was helping individual students. My classroom management certainly needed a lot of work, as at times I felt I was unfair to some students.

They both need to be treated the same.