Professional Development: Are You Waiting on Your District?

When I first entered the teaching, I was awash in professional development. It seemed like there was no shortage of money to request training either. Then the housing market crashed, the cash flow slowed to a trickle, and professional development was scaled far, far back. My state’s governor at the time lifted the professional development hours requirement in order to maintain keep one’s credential cleared. And poof, it was pretty much gone.

If I was going to sit and wait for my district to bring the learning to me, then I was going to do quite a bit of waiting. That wasn’t going to be good for me. It definitely wouldn’t be good for my students. What’s a teacher to do?  Continue reading “Professional Development: Are You Waiting on Your District?”

Whatever It Takes – Give Me A Break!

If you have been reading through the week, we have been exploring a quote I read in a book for educators. It goes, “Whatever it takes–that’s the job of the teacher.” At the start of the week, we accepted that challenge. But now that we’re at the end of the week, I have to say that these kind of statements just make me mad.

I challenged the students with this on Thursday. Now I have a challenge for those educators who have moved on from the classroom because in my experience, they are the ones delivering these calls to action.

I know your intentions are good, and you are there for student success. I just want you to know that it has the potential to come across as critical and sometimes undeserved. All I really want to say is that it is very difficult to sit in a seminar, or a faculty meeting, and hear a former classroom teacher challenge all those who are still in the classroom with, “Are you doing whatever it takes?”  Continue reading “Whatever It Takes – Give Me A Break!”

The End of Entrance Exams?

Last night, I posted an article I read about the alleged end of the California State University’s Entrance Exam. It started some interesting discussion on my Facebook wall. I thought I would leave it here and ask you to join in!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FMakeThemMasterIt%2Fposts%2F358593714543353&width=500

Responsibility of the Learner

We need to make them take ownership of their learning

This week our conversation has centered on the phrase, “Whatever it takes–that’s the job of the teacher.” Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we read “with the grain,” accepting the text for what it said, challenging ourselves with how we can add one more thing in our pursuit to do “whatever it takes.”

Today, we read “against the grain” and challenge the idea. And I will bring into the conversation a book I have picked up for summer readingVisible Learning for Literacy.

When I first read that phrase, “Whatever it takes,” I’ll admit, I was angry. Here’s why. When I step back and look at all my commitments–full-time teaching, marriage, three kids, involvement at church, active in the community where I live–I do a lot of juggling, blending, and balancing to do get it all done. And when someone comes along and says “whatever it takes” to me, in the midst of all I do, it comes across as holier-than-thou moralizing while wagging your finger at me.

If you read the earlier posts, clearly, I got over that initial anger. But, even then, I noticed something else was bothering me. And here it is:

What about the student? Are the students doing “whatever it takes?”

I have been part of meetings where student results come back below what we were expecting, and questions were asked about what interventions we can add to help the students succeed. What else could be done? That’s a good question to ask, but how many interventions are too many? Where is the line where we can look at what the teacher did, what the student did, and say, “Yep, that teacher did everything she could and the student did not respond.”  Continue reading “Responsibility of the Learner”

Grading – Whatever It Takes

Let’s turn to the topic that every English teacher loves to hate

If you’re joining us for the first time this week, on Monday and Tuesday we were exploring the statement “Whatever it takes–that’s the job of the teacher.”

Let’s turn to the topic every English teacher loves to hate: grading. Years ago a friend of mine said, “I teach for free; grading is what I get paid for.” That’s how I try to see it. Now doing “whatever it takes” when it comes to grading is really a matter of deadlines. That’s the only time I am ever going to say that I need to do “whatever it takes.”  Continue reading “Grading – Whatever It Takes”

Collaboration – Whatever It Takes?

The challenge is you have to work with people

If you joined us for yesterday’s post, we challenged ourselves with a line from a book I was reading, “Whatever it takes–that’s the job of a teacher.” And just like yesterday, we are going to keep reading with the grain, accepting what the text says at face value.

Before we jump in, I have a confession to make: I have opinions, and I like talking about them! I have noticed that this makes collaboration more complex, and sometimes downright difficult. And I’m not talking about difficult for me, I’m talking about some of the poor souls that have had to work with me!  Continue reading “Collaboration – Whatever It Takes?”