Tag: Teachers

5 reasons teachers remain in toxic work cultures

Currently, we are experiencing an unprecedented teacher exodus, in addition to shrinking applicant pools and education program enrollment. The reasons for leaving the teaching profession are abundant, but what’s not talked about, are the reasons many remain in a toxic culture. It’s time for teachers, many of which, if not most, view their profession as a “calling”, or “passion,” to…

Teacher-Led Advocacy Isn’t a Choice, It’s Just What We Do

Historically, Teacher Appreciation Week has included cute coffee mugs stuffed with candy and treats for beloved teachers. Apple themed gift baskets, Starbucks cards and handmade gifts from students and parents abound. I’m sure in many classrooms across the country, this will continue to be the case. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never turn my nose at a thoughtful gift! However,…

Teachers Need Emotional Support Too

Increasingly, schools are returning to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in order to better understand how to support students. As anyone who has taken an introductory psychology course knows well, Maslow’s psychological theory is a five-tier model of human needs, depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs include: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. The theory is applicable to education in…

Hey Teachers, Answer These 2 Questions And We’ll See Just How High Your Expectations Are

The first question is easy. Do you agree that all teachers should set high expectations for their students? The answer seems obvious. Of course, teachers should set the bar high for the kids they work with every day. It’s the second question that seems to really trip teachers up. Do you honestly believe that all students can meet those expectations?…

Education Reform Isn’t A 4-Letter Word

If you didn’t know any better, you might think there’s a civil war brewing right now in school systems across the country. It’s called education reform. Education reformers typically support things like school choice and accountability for public schools. Reformers are passionate about closing achievement gaps and building better public schools, but don’t necessarily believe that the conventional methods of…

Student Voice Matters

This past January, Rachel Belin and representatives of the Prichard Committee’s Student Voice Team came to educate my students on student voice. In one of the activities that they did with my class, my students were all lined up in the front of the room. Rachel explained she would ask them a “yes” or “no” question and then they would…

Labels Are For Products, Not Students

I can remember sitting down with my team of teachers at the end of the school year, filling out a form that included all of the students’ names, academic abilities, behavior issues, etc. This list would be passed to the next team of teachers that taught these students the upcoming year. We included which students should be with which teachers……

‘Tough Kids’ Need Love Too

For twenty years I worked in traditional school settings — “normal” elementary and middle schools. Then it all changed. I was sent to work at our district’s alternative learning center. I had heard about the ALC. That’s where the “bad” kids were sent. The kids that bullied others. The kids that brought weapons to school. The kids that made bomb threats.…

If You Want Great Schools, Build Great School Climates

Seeds don’t grow in bad soil. It doesn’t matter how much water or sunlight you give them or how much you drown them in Miracle-Gro. If you plant a seed in rocky soil, don’t expect much to happen. School climate — characterized by high expectations, positive relationships, student engagement, and more — is the soil that can make or break student performance.…

Citing Low Performance and Student Abuse, Interim Commissioner Lewis Calls For JCPS Takeover

Jefferson County Public Schools is facing a takeover. Referencing the low performance of several Louisville schools as well as abuses in student discipline, Interim Commissioner of Education Dr. Wayne Lewis stated on Monday that he will attempt to give control over the JCPS district to the state. JCPS is one of the nation’s largest school districts, and the largest in…

An Open Letter To Kentucky’s Future Teachers

Dear Future Kentucky Educators, I have been worried about you.  The truth is we all have been worried about you.  To say that we are going through a tumultuous time in our profession is an understatement.  A great deal of consternation has been around how we are going to be able to get you to join our profession. You are…

With pension reform and disparaging comments against teachers Matt Bevin appears to be waging a war

Matt Bevin’s War

When Louisville businessman Matt Bevin ran for governor in 2015, he did so on the platform of fiscal responsibility, school choice, and conservative reform. Armed with Tea Party rhetoric and the funding to match it, Bevin did the unthinkable by knocking off establishment candidate James Comer in the GOP primary. His margin of victory was just 83 votes. Shortly after…

What Is Good Teaching, Anyway?

Earlier this year my principal informed me that our state’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Stephen Pruitt, would be making a visit to my school as part of our district’s showcase. The kicker? Since Dr. Pruitt had a pretty big role in crafting the newest science standards, he was coming to my science classroom to watch me teach. I was honored,…

We’re Kidding Ourselves If We Think 90 Percent of Teachers Are Effective

This post originally appeared with Education Post. Photo by US Dept. of Education, CC-Licensed. A while back I sat through a professional learning community (PLC) meeting where the other science teachers and I listened to a YouTube lecturer discussing strategies of “highly-effective teachers.” I was struck by that phrase, “highly effective.” What makes these teachers so effective? What does learning look like…

This Is What It Means To Be #MarshallStrong

It’s been nearly a month since the shooting at Marshall County High School, but in the wake of national conversations on gun control, mental health, and school safety, it’s not getting any easier for us Kentuckians to shake the memories. In the past weeks, we’ve witnessed a tragedy beyond comprehension. I teach just two counties over from Marshall, but I…