1098 Hours of Instruction

The state of Michigan requires that schools offer students 1098 hours of instruction each school year. These hours equate to around 180 days of school. I am sure most states have a mandated minimum amount of time for instruction. WHY? How are these hours calculated? Why are we concerned with how many hours are offered? NOT what was learned or how many hours the students was actually in class? Do all students learn at the same rate?

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NCAA Playoffs, The Super Bowl and Education…

I love sports, just as big a sports fan as the next guy. Is the glorification of sports, hurting us as educators? NCAA and Professional leagues need to take a leadership role and help our society set educational priories over pure entertainment priorities. Just think about Super Bowl Sunday and all of the LOST productivity on the Monday after! Needs to be fixed. Especially when we are talking about the NCAA and “Student” athletes. Might just change how some athletes think about school!

Sports

Classes should be the focus for ALL college students athlete or not. Would love to hear other educators thoughts on this, after you watch my video below.

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Rushing to Disney..

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Over this holiday break, our family traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida. Being a budget minded teacher, having a family of five the most efficient mode of transportation was in a car, driving 1,200+ miles from Michigan. We loaded into the car filled with excitement, ready to enjoy our vacation in the sunshine state on our first trip to Disney World. We departed Christmas afternoon heading south on I-75 with great excitement. As I piloted our Chevrolet Traverse  down the interstate, I noticed numerous brown signs flying by the window. Signs for historic sites and national and state parks. The famed horse parks of Kentucky, Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and Civil War battle fields of Georgia. Were we missing something?

Disney World is a wonderful place, Walt Disney created it to educate and entertain. Should it be the sole focus of the millions that flock there every year? I began to question my planning of the trip. Should I have planned stops along the way to help my children understand all the wonderful places in the United States? To help them understand our country and its history? Maybe I need to schedule another trip to visit the marvelous sites we missed.

I began to notice a parallel in education. Teachers seem to focus on the end destination of standardized test scores instead of the journey of education. Tests like Disney World will always be there and are constantly changing. I see to many teachers abandoning great teaching activities to focus on test scores. It is sad to hear about students who are being rushed to tests, having fun engaging learning experiences lost to test preparation.  How we travel to Disney or the Standardized test is our choice. Teachers need to make the trip a journey that students will remember, full of adventure and excitement, because unlike Disney World students don’t want to return to the standardized tests. A Teachers  job is to make them to want to return to YOUR Classroom.

 

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Christmas Wish for Education

All I want for Christmas is that education be valued in our society! Sure most people will say they value education when asked, but what does that look like? Scan our media and see where educators our held up in high esteem? Can you find many places?
When new outlets talk to “educational” experts they rarely if ever talk to TEACHERS, the ones in education. News likes to talk to the think tank experts who have spent little time if any in a classroom. Funny isn’t it? When they want medical opinions they talk to doctors, legal opinions they talk to lawyers, cooking advice they even talk to master chefs. BUT when it comes to talking about education, no lets talk to people who have strong opinions but haven’t spent time in a classroom! When it comes to depicting teachers in TV and Film are they held in high regard like: Doctors, Lawyers, Police or Fire personal? NO the educators come off as stereotypical characters who could not “do” so they had to teach. It is hard to find a teacher represented as a positive character anywhere. Schools are a reflection of our society we need to hold them up and show that they are valuable to us.
What is your Christmas wish for Education?

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Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mother’s birthday. Sadly, she has not been physically in my life since April 1, 1988. She was a teacher, her memories still teach me today. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on a few teachers who help me through the loss of my mother, lessons learned. Hopefully it will help someone else recover from a loss. Thank you William H. Armstrong and Mr Rand for pushing me to be who I am today. Who knows where I would have ended up without your words of encouragement.

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Class Celebrations!

In schools we constantly hear about making every day count and teaching bell to bell. This morning I stumbled upon The Nerdy Cast Week #15 Importance of Partying. I love Nick’s reflection. Schools are a reflection of the society that they exist with in! Does this society celebrate things? Have a need to throw a party? Of course!! Can our students see the proper way to party by doing it in school! Of course they can. Better yet can having a party at school help relationships between teacher and student? Or how about between fellow students? Learn happens every minute students are in school. Lets value the learning that can happen in a party!!

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Let’s Take Learning Off The Clock!

Our current education system focuses on clock time to measure learning. The current buzz around teacher evaluations is that students should have a years worth of growth during a school year. These leaves two critical questions:

  1. Who defines the growth?
  2. Are all students going to grow equally in the same time frame?

Looking at my children, I struggle with this concept. They have all grown but in so many different ways and at very different rates. My three children have all been completely different when it comes to hitting “growth milestones”. My two boys Griffin (10) and Gavin (6) we late walkers and talkers. On the other hand Grace (6) was early. Then again my boys are way ahead on the height and weight milestones where Grace is “just” average. Having watched Griffin grow academically over 6 years of school, I have noticed he excels in Math, Science and Social Studies but struggles as a reader and writer.

Don’t we all have different strengths and weaknesses? Shouldn’t school honor this, allowing us to move faster in areas where we can, while helping us continue moving forward in areas of need?

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