I am That teacher!

I am that teacher who cares if you come in tired.

I will let you lay your head down for a bit.

I am that teacher who cares if you come in hungry.

I will help you find food and allow you to eat in my classroom

I am that teacher who care that you learn.

I will ask you about your work, extend deadline, while offering help.

I am that teacher who wants you to feel safe.

I try to make my classroom to excepting to all my deverse students

I am that teacher that is concerned when I see you in the hallway when you should be in class.

I will ask if you need help and why you are there.

I am that teacher that recognizes your need to go to the bathroom

I have an open bathroom policy that gives you permission to go as needed.

I am that teacher that wants to best out of you,

I spend time to talk to you about what I see instead of handing out discipline.

I am that teacher who worries about your choices

I encourage you to think them out carefully and reflect on them after.

I am that teacher that wants you to have a life outside of school

I don’t give homework and try to attend extra curricular activities at the school.

I am that teacher that wants to reward the awesome my students achieve

I buy rewards to hand out in the classroom.

Because I am this teacher,

I add extra duties to my day, working beyond the contract

my hair is slowly graying. My wallet is lighter

I am a teacher who loves the profession and my students

I seek support from our community, our society, our world.

All I see is blame, accountablity and ridicule.

I am that teacher that is tired,

the one who asks is it sustainable?

Importance of student sports

Students need sports to compliment their learning. Sports add to the learning experience and so much can be learned by participating in sports. Watch this episode of Sweat to Inspire to hear my main talking points. I also reccommend the book ” The Fourteenth Gold Fish” by Jennifer Holm an excellent read aloud for any science classroom.

Model Manners – The kids are watching

Episode 2 of Sweat to Inpire Vlog. This week’s focus in for adults to remember the kids are watching everthing we do. Students are always observing our behaviors, we are their role models whether we like it our not. We have to make sure we are intentional in our actions modeling the best of what humans can be. This week’s book reccomendation is Elephant in the Classroom by Andrew Maxey which discusses the 13 complexities of teaching.

Here we go 2021

The school year is about to begin here in Michigan. Yes, we start after Labor Day. Tensions are high for many as masks are debated while the COVID Delta Variant is causing cases to rise around the country. As an educator I am nervous. I know last school year was draining. We taught in person from Sept 28 and online. We practiced social distancing. We put in extra cleaning measures. Even with all the precautions we had quarintines and absenses. It was the hardest year I have ever had in my 20 in the classroom. Summer flew by. I don’t know if I (or many of my collegues) can take another year like last year.

As summer started it looked like COVID was waning. Vaccines were available to anyoe 12 and up. It looked like school for 2021-2022 school year would look better. I have been planning for hands on activites and group work. Returning my seating structure to small groups rather that sterile rows that COVID dictated. I have supplies ordered for labs that were abondoned or modified differently. Our students deserve better instruction than we were forced to deliever last year.

I know our students will perserve through what ever our school year brings. As a teacher I am going to be a positive leader in the classroom. Making the most of the time we have together. Learning isn’t lost it is just different as we deal with the interuptions that COVID brings. As we navigate the unknown that every school year brings, focus on our purpose: to grow. Grow as learners and citizens. Over the past 18 months it seems the focus has been on the loss. Loss of normal. Many have shown rage and how ugly humans can be towards each other during this time. Blame has been thrown about and hate to those that don’t act in similar ways to your actions. It is time for civil discourse when people disagree. It is time to listen and try to understand others why. Time to agree to disagree.

Let’s make the most of this school year. 2021-2022 has lots of promise. Time to help our students see it clearly!

Been Awhile reflections on pandemic learning

Wow! Its been awhile since I blogged about my thoughts, since the pandemic hit in fact. Last March I was getting energized at the MACUL annual conference in Grand Rapids when the education world was up ended by COVID. This pandemic has changed all of us. At first I tought it would be good to document the pandemic. I struggled to put it down in writing so I captured my thoughts on my Instagram account. From March to June I put out a daily message to my students to encourage them to continue the learning process. Summer brought homes of a return to normal that faded quickly in August.

The 2020-2021 school year was the most difficult in my 21 year career. My district made difficult decisions that were best for students. Teachers returned to school in August to teach all students virtually as the team planned for a return to in person learning. By September 28, 2020 we allowed all students back who desired to return to the building with masks and social distancing. This account for about 50% of our student population. To make this work our teachers were streached thin. Teaching seperate in-person and virtual schedules, our normal middle school schedules were up ended making way to a modified schedule to focus on esentials. As the year went on state reguliations required us to switch all students back to virtual at times. As the year progressed more students were welcomed back to school when they felt it would be comfortable.

The year was taxing on all of us. Teachers were forced to teach in new ways. Designing lessons that for virtual students and put an emphasis on social distancing. Normally classrooms instruction has been designed to engage students in conversations and hands on activities. This year was different, it focused on self exploration and individual discovery. I observed so much learning by students that engaged in the process. Learning the new technology. Learning how to self engage and stay motived. I also observed students struggles. Some online students struggled to engage and complete tasks to show learning. In person students stuggled in similar ways since they were enjoying socialization that hadn’t happened since the pandemic started.

As an educator this year wore me down. Working on lesson delievery for two different type of classrooms (online and in person) was time consuming and stressful. I felt responsible for ALL of my students’ learning. When they struggled, I looked for new ways to engage and motivate. My online students were sending messages at all hours of the day, while also not responding to my messages or replys. Contacts with parents and at home students was at an all time high. I felt that I needed to do everything possible to ensure my students could learn.

At first I welcomed all the “free” resources and PD. As the pandemic progressed, I became overhelmed with a focus on my students and my survival. PD was not what I needed. I needed time. I needed feedback, I needed more support. PD seemed to be education thought leaders could provide. Constant emails about PD, much of it was about tech tools and self care. NO thank you. I was worn down. My students feedback was to keep learning in a systematic way with tools they knew. Changing to new tech tools or in class tools whould have hampered our learning. Me missing classes or spending afternoon and evenings completing PD would have further burned me out.

Now that it is summer, I know that schools and learning has changed for ever. Students learned so much over the past 18 months, most of which will never be reflected in grades or test scores. This learning will be valuable and important as we move forward as a K-12 education system. Hopefully I will have time to reflect more this summer so I will be ready for school and new learning opportunities in fall.