Skip to content

As your Mentor Teacher Specialist meets with many of you in your schools, the subject of your teaching license is a frequent topic for conversation:

“Do I have a Level 1 or a Level 2 license?”
“Yes, I did take a Praxis test, but which one was it?”
“ Have I taken the Praxis II PLT test and were can I go to find my score?”

The answers to these questions and many more can be found by accessing an electronic personnel file called C.A.C.T.U.S., which is an acronym for "Comprehensive Administration of Credentials for Teachers in Utah Schools".

It is important for every teacher to be aware of his/her C.A.C.T.U.S. file, have access to it, and to monitor it frequently. On it you will find your degree, license, a list of in-service classes taken, teacher employment/assignment history, record of Praxis test scores, and much more.

If you haven’t registered for your account on C.A.C.T.U.S, take a few minutes to register now. It is simple and easy to do.

Once you have access to your account, monitor it regularly to be sure all information is current and accurate. If you find information that is incorrect, contact our Jordan District Human Resources to resolve it.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Teaching can be a wonderfully rewarding occupation as change and growth are observed in students. However, teaching can exact a high price if teachers suffer anxiety, exhaustion, and even depression through the school year. Instead of struggling with the ability to maintain good mental health, new teachers need to incorporate strategies which help them feel the joy of the profession rather than suffer in silence.

Here a few tips to help maintain your mental health:

  • Put it in perspective. Recognize the good aspects of life and retain hope for the future.
  • Get time away. If you feel the stress building, take a break. Walk away from the situation or take some deep breaths.
  • Engage in activities such as physical exercise, sports, or hobbies that can relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Strengthen connections with family and friends who can provide emotional support.
  • Talk it out. Sometimes the best stress-reducer is simply sharing your stress with someone close to you. The act of talking it out and getting support and empathy from someone else is often an excellent way of blowing off steam and reducing stress. Have a support system of trusted people.
  • Cultivate allies at work. Just knowing you have one or more co-workers who are willing to assist you in times of stress will reduce your stress level. Just remember to reciprocate and help them when they are in need.
  • Find humor in the situation. When you or the people around you start taking things too seriously, find a way to break through with laughter. Share a joke or funny story.
  • Have realistic expectations for yourself and those around you.
  • Realize nobody is perfect. We learn from overcoming obstacles.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and learn to reward yourself for little accomplishments.

If you find yourself sinking into depression or you need help with mental health issues, JSD insurance in partnership with Blomquist Hale is your professional resource. Call them for confidential and professional help. It is free of charge for you and eligible dependents.

Bloomquist Hale Employee Assistance

Contact Information: What They Can Help With:
Salt Lake City: 801-262-9619
Provo/Orem: 801-225-9222
Ogden: 801-392-6833
Other Locations 801-926-9619
or 24/7 Crisis Services
Stress, Anxiety or Depression
Relationship & Family Problems
Grief or Loss
Work-Related Issues
Personal & Emotional Changes
Senior Care, Planning & Support
Substance Abuse & Addictions
Financial or Legal Challenges

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

One of the most challenging components of teaching a quality lesson is the ability to format and ask questions.  Below are listed some areas in the lesson when questions can be used to promote student learning and understanding.

WHEN TO ASK QUESTIONS

We use questions at the beginning of learning experiences:
 To initiate a discussion
 To pique student curiosity
 To focus students on a new concept or a different aspect of a concept
 To access prior knowledge and experience
 To consolidate previous learning
 To surface misconceptions

We use questions during and following learning experiences:
 To break down complex tasks and issues
 To promote transfer and retention
 To control shifts in discussion
 To keep discussions on track
 To invite student questions
 To elicit student opinions
 To promote student interaction
 To facilitate flexible thinking
 To challenge the obvious
 To check for student understanding
 To help students confront their misconceptions and reframe their thinking
 To focus on process
 To promote student evaluation of credibility of sources and strength of evidence
 To cause students to consider alternative viewpoints
 To help students make connections

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

PositiveIf you have attended a district training on classroom management with our amazing behavior specialists, you have most likely heard the phrase: "Where attention goes, behavior grows."

What does this mean though? The Tough Kid Book, by Rhode, Jensen, and Reavis, says: "If more teacher attention is given for inappropriate student behavior than for appropriate behavior, the inappropriate behavior will increase. With Tough Kids' teachers, this attention very often takes the form of excessive prompting, reminding, threatening, reprimanding, and verbal abuse, because these reactions seem to come naturally when teachers attempt 'pain control' of their own"  (43).

Where is your attention going in your classroom? Are you feeding the negative actions of students and reinforcing the behaviors you don't want to see? What is your attention growing?

If you are feeling that some of these natural management tendencies (excessive prompting, reminding, threatening, reprimanding, and verbal abuse) are emerging in your teaching, maybe it is time to re-evaluate how you look at the Tough Kids' behavior. The Tough Kid Book has various strategies to try. You can access The Tough Kid Book in all JSD schools by checking with your school psychologist.

Strategies from The Tough Kid Book:

  • Positive Reinforcement (45): occurs when something a student desires is presented after appropriate behavior has been exhibited. All students and adults need legitimate and appropriate reinforcement.
    • Example: Calvin can earn up to ten points for completing his reading assignment correctly. The points can be exchanged for dinosaur stickers. Because Calvin enjoys the stickers he can earn, the accuracy of his reading assignments has increased.
  • Motivation and Encouragement (48): motivating and encouraging desired performance is  much the same in the classroom as it is in the business world.
    • Step 1. Tell students what you want them to do (and make sure they understand it).
    • Step 2. Tell them what will happen if they do what you want them to do
    • Step 3. When students do what you want them to do, give them immediate positive feedback in ways that are directed and meaningful to them.
  • Natural Positive Reinforcement (50): Natural (activities or things that students already find rewarding) forms of reinforcement are found in schools if you look for them. Some tips for selecting positive reinforcement:
    • Select age-appropriate reinforcement.
    • Use natural reinforcement whenever it is effective.
    • Use reinforcement appropriate to the student's level of functioning.
    • Make certain you have parental and administrative support for the reinforcement you plan to use.
    • Avoid partial praise statements, such as "I'm glad you finished your work--finally!"
    • Always make the most of opportunities to reinforce appropriate behavior.
    • Be genuinely polite and courteous to Tough Kids at all times and demonstrate concern and interest toward them. Always stay calm.
    • Do not confuse positive reinforcement or privileges with a student's basic rights.

For more tips and ideas, see:
Rhodes, Ginger, William R. Jenson, and H. Kenton Reavis. The Tough Kid Book. Eugene: Pacific Northwest Publishing, 2010.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

As we begin a new school year, it is always interesting to hear from our veteran teachers what they wish they had known as a brand new teacher. Here is what our department wishes we had known that we want to share with new educators.

"I wish I would have had a team to support me that first year. I felt like I was on my own and learned what I was teaching from the teacher manuals." --Patty Bennett

"I missed the whole first week of school because of illness. I wish I had known how important emergency sub plans were and that I had something prepared ahead of time in a sub folder. Thank goodness for great colleagues and mentors that pitched in and helped." --Debbie Fisher

"I wish I had realized how important strategies were.  At first, I believed that students learned through listening and doing worksheets.  Now I realize a variety of strategies can make all content more meaningful and memorable."--Judy Jackman

"The first few months in any job is challenging, especially so for the first few months of teaching. The intensity lessens in time; it does get better!   Routines and procedures will help establish consistency for both the teacher and the students.  Keep the routines and procedures simple and effective, and practice them with the students with frequent reminders and smiles.  It will also help establish a positive classroom community." --Rebecca Smith

"I wish that I had known how much fun I was going to have with my students! I don’t think a day went by where my students wouldn't make me smile. Students are the what our work is all about. I think I came out of college so concerned about programs and what I was teaching, that sometimes I forgot that it was all about WHO I was teaching." --Amy Wood

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

It’s the first day of school! Our state superintendent, Syd Dickson, has invited teachers in our state to participate in the #FirstDayofSchool Twitter and Facebook movement. She would like to see how many Utah teachers we can involve in this campaign. You can participate by posting a selfie with the downloadable sign from Concordia University’s website:

https://education.cu-portland.edu/firstday/

We hope to see your beautiful selfies with your sign to honor your years as a teacher! Have a great first day and a wonderful year!

The JSD Mentor Team! Our first day was August 1. #FirstDayofSchool

Suggested Twitter tags: #FirstDayofSchool, @jordandistrict.org, #UTED, @DicksonSyd

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Beginning your first year of teaching can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. Getting a classroom ready and planning those first few weeks can be all encompassing. Here are a few suggestions to make your transition to teaching in Jordan District a little easier:

1. Create an account in JPLS:

Here’s a new acronym for you to learn: Jordan Professional Learning System (JPLS). This is the district portal to find professional development classes offered in the district. To set up your account, you will want to contact the Help Desk at (801)-567-8737. The link is: https://jpls.truenorthlogic.com/U/P/Channel/-/Guest/Login

2. Sign up for a JPAS class:

JPAS (Jordan Performance Appraisal System) is our district evaluation system. Each year the JPAS department offers classes to help new teachers and veteran teachers learn how to work through the evaluation. New teachers even receive a stipend for taking the course if you attend the face-to-face version. Now that you have an account on JPLS, you can sign up for a class! Here’s their course schedule: http://jes.jordandistrict.org/educators/trainings/

3. Become familiar with Employee Access:

Do you know where to enter a sick day? Employee access is where you can find out how many days you have, what your current salary is, and even get a check estimate for what your next paycheck might look like. If you need help figuring this out, your mentor may be a great resource. (Have you met your mentor yet?)  Here’s the link for Employee Access: https://skyfin.jordan.k12.ut.us/scripts/wsisa.dll/WService=wsFin/seplog01.w

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Congratulations! You made it to the end of the school year! During the craziness of the final days, it is important for teachers to take a moment to reflect on the past year and begin to plan toward the next. There are multiple ways teachers reflect. Elena Aguilar, an instructional coach in California and author of The Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation (Jossey-Bass, 2013), shared an article with Education Week titled Reflecting on a Year of Learning (2014).

Aguilar suggests two ways we reflect are through talking and writing. "Some people like to talk more than they like to write; some like to write more than talk. Most of us benefit from a mixture of activities." She encourages teachers to find someone to reflect with (possibly a school team), and as you reflect to use talking and writing to expand your ideas.

She also suggests teachers can draw out their year and map it from beginning to end visually using art. Reflect on the whole year and design symbols or pictures to show important events.

Need help getting started? Here are some questions to ponder and begin the reflection process:

  • What is something you accomplished this year that you are proud of?
  • What did you try for the first time this year that was successful?
  • Which student in your class showed the most improvement? Why did they do so well? What did you do to help them?
  • What caused you the most stress this year? Are there things that can help eliminate that stress or make it more bearable?
  • What things do you plan to try differently next year? What support might you need? Is there someone in your building or district that can help you?
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”

~John F. Kennedy

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.”

~Plato

“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”

~Alexander the Great    Your contributions of time, talent, and support offer great opportunities to kids, truly making a difference in their lives.  

Thanks for all you do!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail