It’s Not All About the Money

NPR gives great insight on why teachers quit. It isn’t all about the money.

Teachers and Administrators, what do you wish the other knew or remembered about your job?

This question was posed to me in a conversation on another social media site, and I thought it was a valuable one. I have been an administrator at the district and school level and a classroom teacher at several levels, so I know what I wanted the other side to know when I was in different jobs. Here is what I shared in my response, but I am sure there are more.

Teachers would like Administrators to Know/Remember-
1. Remember that teachers have no flexibility during the day because they are with KIDS.
2. Teachers tend to like knowing schedule changes, plans for different days, etc. and are uncomfortable not knowing as early as possible.
3. Teachers often like preparing over the summer when they have time, so not telling them things about their job placement before the summer is very frustrating.
4. Teachers appreciate simple acknowledgments of jobs well done.
5. The wording of things is very important. There’s now way to tell you that now vs I understand why you would like that information now; however, I am not able to tell you yet. As soon as I am, I’ll let you know.
6. Teachers appreciate administrators who are visible in the halls, at lunch, etc.

Admin would like Teachers to Know/Remember-
1. Administrators can’t make everyone happy–ever. I always felt like I could give every teacher a million dollar and there would be people mad that it wasn’t more.
2. Being an administrator is stressful as you try to balance the needs/requirements of teachers, students, school board, parents, etc. in mind.
3. Administrators are responsible for everything that happen in the building/district but are in control of very little.
4. Good administrators recognize the importance of teachers and work to communicate with them clearly.
5. Administrators don’t always have the flexibility to do what they think is best for the school/teachers/kids.
6. Principals often have mandates that they are not always at liberty to share.
7. All teachers don’t do what they are supposed to do, and when the administrators take action, it doesn’t mean that the admin is going against all teachers. Teachers tend to “close ranks” around teachers who are being disciplined or mentored even though teachers know the teacher isn’t doing what he/she should be doing.
8. The teachers who are the most inflexible with students are often the ones who are late with paperwork, fail to follow directives, etc.

Reimagining School Writing

I love this. One of my favorite things to do is to come up with writing prompts that are meaningful, creative, fun, and purposeful. I tell my students that this is the art of teaching.

Great Pencil Sharpener!

I don’t know about you all, but I have terrible luck with pencil sharpeners in my classroom.  I can get a new one, and within a few days, a student has jammed it with something or used waxy colored pencils in it.  A few weeks ago, I came across a link to a site that had a pencil sharpener that caught my eye.  I figured I had nothing to lose.  Finally, after Thanksgiving break and being busy with testing, I was able to get some students to set it up for me.  It was a huge hit.  I told the kids that I needed to write a review on it, and they told me to mention how sharp it got the pencils.  They were very impressed and kept looking for pencils to sharpen.  Check out the site!

“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

One of my favorite holiday stories is “The Gift of the Magi.”  I so enjoy introducing my students to the story each holiday season.

Here is what I did with my students this year.

Journal Prompt as a Bell-Ringer

–What is a sacrifice?

–What is a sacrifice that someone has made for you?

–What is a sacrifice that you have made for someone else?

  • Questions to Answer Using the Story The Gift of the Magi Questions
  • Work with a partner to write your own version of the story.  You may start from scratch or write a parody using well-known characters.