“Am I Allowed to Have a Life?” with Dave Stuart Jr.

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Dear Teacher,

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You have a roster full of students who are at differing levels of ability. And it’s your job to get ALL of them to an acceptable level of proficiency. As the year unfolds, to do this, you realize that you need to stay at work a little later, take home a few more assignments to grade, get up just a little earlier in the morning to be in the classroom for a few more minutes to get it all done. Tired, and leaving your classroom after the sun has set for the third day in a row, in a flash of sudden anger, you say, “Am I allowed to have a life!?”

DSJ Headshot-smallIn this episode, you will hear from teacher, content creator, and professional developer, Dave Stuart Jr. Several years ago, Dave started a blog that turned into a website, which has been turned into a couple of books, and eventually leading to the development of a couple of online courses.

Believe it or not, a few years into the job, Dave actually quit teaching! For many of us, this is hard to believe. But after you hear his story, you will get a clearer picture of the why behind Dave’s writing, speaking, and professional development workshops. You will hear about how Dave figured out how to set limits on himself, two teacher archetypes to avoid, and why you should write an Everest Statement right now. And, as mentioned in the podcast, here’s the first chapter of Dave’s book, These 6 Things: How to Focus Your Teaching on What Matters Most.

If you want to connect with Dave, and get more details about his story, CLICK HERE.


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First Podcast Episode Is Up!

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Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up Episode #001

Welcome to the first episode of Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! We don’t fully understand what we’re doing around here yet, but we have to start somewhere. And that’s right here.

 

Continue reading “First Podcast Episode Is Up!”

More Encouragement, Less Judgment

One thing that always seems to surprise young teachers when they are starting out is just how much time they give to the work. It’s tough. Being a teacher requires grit, the capability to hang in there and stick to it. And the less experience one has on the job, the more time, thought, and energy must go into the effort of preparing and delivering quality instruction.

When I entered the profession, the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act was in full swing. That meant there were student proficiency targets, and if schools, departments, and teachers weren’t achieving those targets, something was wrong and some aspect(s) of what you were doing in the classroom was going to go through an uncomfortable change. Teaching without these extra layers of accountability is already dynamic and complex enough as it is, so you can imagine that those early years for me involved long nights of reflecting, assessing student work, and planning instruction. Continue reading “More Encouragement, Less Judgment”

Blending Versus Balancing

“How can I get everything done that I want to get done? I just need to find balance.”

Have you ever thought that before? I do all the time. I used to stress out about it. I would look at all the things that I had to do, I look at all the time I had available, then try to block out time on a calendar to get it all done. It was a dance of scheduling all kinds of activities.

Certain activities got priority over others, especially the ones that involved work and family. As my kids have gotten older, they have been participating in more activities, and that has added a layer of complexity to each week. When I have tried to take it all in, thinking through my schedule, there were times when it was quite dizzying. Continue reading “Blending Versus Balancing”

Think-Pair-Share Is Overrated!

I have only been teaching at the high school level for 13 years, But when I entered the profession, pretty much every classroom had students sitting in rows while the teacher stood up front and lectured, gave direct instruction, read from PowerPoint slides, whatever you want to call it.

The picture is unmistakable: up front the teacher is active and talking while students passively sit and listen in their desks. Almost all classrooms looked like this, and mine was no exception. To get students more engaged, in the 1990s and 2000s, teachers were trained in different strategies, and Think-Pair-Share (TPS) was ubiquitous.

Before I go on, let me just say this: if a teacher only uses direct instruction, and the next instructional strategy he learns how to use TPS, then that teacher should absolutely use it. But if a teacher has several strategies and some skill for engagement, then it’s time to evolve to the next level. Continue reading “Think-Pair-Share Is Overrated!”