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The lightbulb goes onSomeone has figured it out

Their face reflects joy!

Kris Kimball Rosamond Elementary, 6th Grade
Gayle Dowdle Fort Herriman Middle School Science
I teach because I love helping students enjoy learning.I had science teachers who made science seem like a horrible chore that has to be done. This is so wrong!

Science is amazing and kids are born with a love of learning why things work the way they do. These kids need to see that life experience is enjoyable. That work is not a painful thing. That doing hard things are rewarding and that there is so much to enjoy.

I had such a horrible 8th grade year when I was a teenager that I feel it is my duty to help them be able to look back on 8th grade and remember it with positive feelings.

It is one of the hardest times developmentally and I want them to have positive memories of it.

I want my class to be fun, educational, and a place where they know they have someone on their side. That is why I teach, to help my students love life and see the awe in all the amazing things around them!

As Dr. Seuss said...

Now, I may not be a LORAX trying to save all the TRUFFALA TREES, but I sure love and care about my students just as much. I want to give each kid their best shot at life.

Growing up, I had teachers who loved me for the little weirdo that I was, and I strive to also love those unique qualities in my own students.

These kids are the reason why I love teaching and the reason why teaching is both the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done. This job sure comes with a lot of highs and lows, but these kids bring me joy by the dozens.

Cassandra Lee, 1st Grade, Terra Linda Elementary

There is nothing quite like getting to see the joy and triumph in a student who has finally conquered a daunting challenge or who’s creativity and curiosity is bursting. These kids have sure taught me more than I’ve taught them. Their love for life is truly infectious, and getting to be a part of that is why I love teaching.

I love teaching because I love the students I work with. I look forward to coming to work everyday.

I am so lucky, because not only do I get to teach amazing high school students, but I also get to spend 2 1/2 hours of my day with the preschool children. Those 4 and 5 year olds can always put a smile on my face.

 

Janae Dunn, Bingham High School FACS Educator , Mini Miner Preschool

I absolutely love watching them grow and develop, but more importantly,  I love watching the high school students grow and develop, as they plan their lessons and work with these 4 and 5 year olds every day throughout the year.

The high school students care so much about those preschoolers. I love watching the connections that they make with them. My job is definitely fulfilling!

I also love teaching my child development classes. I feel that everyone needs to understand how children grow and develop. We have a great time together throughout the semester.

I couldn't ask for a better job!

 

As I prepare to retire this year after 30 years of teaching, I have reflected a lot on what I 30 years about teaching. Topping the list, of course, is children. That is the reason I entered the field. I have always loved children. Life is so much more enjoyable and “real” when children are a part of it. I love learning with them and helping them to learn.

I love that in Elementary School we teach all of the subjects to children. I feel often that we “open the world” to them—the World of Reading and Writing, the World of Mathematics, the World of Science and Social Studies and History, the World of Arts and Music, etc.

I even love that we can help them solve problems such as social and study problems.

 

We can help them become more prepared to live in our world successfully. I had the special opportunity to teach Chinese for six years.

Janet Craven Oakcrest Elementary Chinese Immersion

I get chills when I think about what those students might do for our world.

I hope that with all the students I have taught that they have learned about many things and have loved learning. Mostly I hope that just perhaps I have taught them as much as I have learned from them over the years. They will forever be in my heart!

When my students come to my class, I may be the first smile they see each day, the first how was your evening, and the first I missed you while you were out.

My students come to class with the knowledge that they have a safe haven to learn and grow in. We laugh, we care and we cry together. We succeed and we fail together because that's what you do as a teacher.

Not only am I teaching my students, but they are also teaching me on a daily basis.

Jennica Bodenhofer 6th grade Columbia Elementary

These kids are the future and I am proud that I get to be a part of creating that.

Therefore, to answer the question, I love teaching because I am molding good, kind and smart kids into the type of citizens we hope to see in this world.

I love teaching because I am lucky enough to show my students that people care and want to see them excel in life.

Love is the tool with which I ply my trade.

 

Love: when I hear the word, I dive toward memories that brought me joy, strung together like so many glittering pearls: thank-yous and lightbulb moments, challenges that made way for achievements. But then I check myself because love isn't always pretty. Love is gritty.

I love the sand before it shimmers. I take each grain and work at it with hope, adding love layer by layer, trusting that it will one day be pried from the darkness to shine in the light, invaluable.

I see the shape of clay before it is sculpted and love it in its incompleteness. I love each gray rock to its inscrutable core, its iridescent future in my mind's eye, and tumble it to see it glimmer.

I gather what others may pass by, taking each abrasive grain, each wet mound of clay, each raw geode, and loving it into something more.

Love is not the gems with which I am paid, to string along my neck as tokens of my dedication, but the tool with which I ply my trade. What I love about teaching is that teaching is love, dirt and all.

Teaching is love, dirt and all. by Lindsay Blowers

Lindsay Blowers
Sunset Ridge Middle • Language Arts • 7th grade

I remember the first time I cried at school. I had a 2nd grade boy, who absolutely hated to read. You could put a single simple sentence out and watch him just melt, sinking lower and lower into the seat until my poor little snowman was a puddle on the desk.

It was the beginning of the new year and I had spent winter break devising strategies for my kid. I put a piece of paper in front of him with the longest (3 paragraphs, one page, no pictures) assignment I had ever given him.

The paper hadn’t been down on the desk for more than a couple heartbeats and he was already melting like an ice cube in the sun. I handed him a highlighter and covered up everything except the line we were using.

Together, we went through and found all of the sight words he had mastered (and added a few others he was able to sound out). When we were done, I pulled off the blinders and he stared at all of the yellows on the page.

Mandy Gomez
Special Education Teacher Grades: 4th - 6th
Columbia Elementary School
“I guess I can read this,” he commented.Then. He. DidWhen he was done, he looked at me with the most confident smile I had ever seen in my life.

I burst into tears. It had taken us months to get to this point and it was worth every second of it. Moments like this are exactly why we have the best job in the world.
Mrs. Sabrina Davitt
Columbia Elementary, 1st Grade Teacher

Mrs. Sabrina Davitt Columbia Elementary, 1st Grade Teacher

Teaching children is something I believe I was born to do.

Knowing that I am teaching the next generation gives me such joy. I feel in my element when I am in the classroom surrounded by my amazing classroom family.

Our future will be in their hands one day, but for now, their future is in my hands. What will I choose to do with that great responsibility?

This question is one that I ponder frequently. I have the opportunity to make a positive difference in a child’s life.  By doing this I can, in a way, make a positive difference in our future. 

Every day I greet each student at my door with a smile and a greeting of their choice. This is my opportunity to look each student in the eye before the day begins and check how they are doing. This is one of my favorite parts of the day. 

I believe every child matters and they should feel like they matter as well. I am so lucky to have this opportunity in my life to impact their lives, hopefully for the better.

Seeing a child light up with joy and excitement when they learn something new keeps me going through the ups and downs of teaching. 

Teaching can be very stressful, however, by just taking the time each day to stop and look for the good things that happen make it definitely worth it.

Knowing that I made a difference in a child’s life, even just the smallest difference, is very rewarding.  This difference could affect this child’s entire life for the better. Why wouldn’t I want to do that?

I know that being in an elementary classroom is where I am supposed to be. It is how I am supposed to make a difference in the world. One child at a time!

"In my world there are NO BAD KIDS, just impressionable, conflicted young people wrestling with EMOTIONS & IMPULSES, trying to communicate their FEELINGS & NEEDS the only way they know how" -Janet Lansbury 

Sharon Rinehart
Welby Elementary  • 6
th gradeI love to teach for two reasons. First of all, I love the "ah ha" moment. There is nothing more satisfying and exciting as when a student, who has been struggling, finally gets a concept. I can almost see the little lightbulb being turned on in their brains as they get it. I also love to teach because I love to learn. As a teacher I get to be continually learning. I also like to try to inspire the love of learning in my students. 
What I LOVE most about teaching is the connection you make with people. As a teacher, I am privileged to work alongside other teachers, staff, students, and parents on a daily basis.

I truly LOVE learning about my students, as little human beings, while I teach them all day.  We laugh, have fun, cheer each other on, and comfort each other. All those moments, compiled together, create a unique bond that helps kids, and their teacher, feel loved.  

I also LOVE the school community at Butterfield Canyon.  My coworkers are not just my colleagues, they are my mentors, my friends and my family. We help and encourage each other daily, and do “life” together!

Kristy Hernandez 1st Grade Teacher Butterfield Canyon Elementary

The parents of my students are not just parents. They become partners in advocating for their child’s well-being and educational success. Sometimes, they’ll sit next to me at my son’s ball game or my daughter’s dance competition and cheer them on too, even though their own child is on the opposing team.

And if you are lucky like me, a parent of one of your students, becomes a best friend because you’ve worked so closely with them all year long to ensure their child’s wellness and progress during a difficult season.    

I LOVE my job and the opportunity it allows me to form lasting relationships and connect with people!  I will admit, wholeheartedly, that some days are hard and I cry, but it’s all worth it in the end!

I have the best career in the world! I get to solve riddles and puzzles all day long!

I am given pieces of many different puzzles at the beginning of each year. Daily, I get to figure out clues in order to know where each piece should go and how many to add in order to complete them.

If I am successful, I get the results of well-adjusted, happy, and successful leaders. I am challenged every day because no two puzzles are the same.

There is absolutely no greater joy in the world than solving a tough problem and I get to have that feeling every day.

Natalie Newbold
Terra Linda Elementary
3rd Grade

I get to see the light in my students’ eyes. I get to be taught alongside my students.

I get to see future brain surgeons, lawyers, politicians and many other careers that have yet to be invented, sitting in those seats.

I have the privilege of leaving each night knowing that I have played a role in their future successes.

That is why I am passionate and truly love to teach.

More than 50 years ago, a little girl lined up her ragtag group of dolls and began, “Now class, today we will…”

 

Her parents understood her seemingly innate desire to teach and provided her with a small table and two blue metal folding chairs, in the same scale. Her older brother had made her a large bulletin board of cork and trimmed the edges with oak wood. It was mounted on the wall of their basement in her special spot that had become her classroom.

On the bulletin board were assignments and pictures made by her “class,” and only the best papers got shiny gold stickers (the kind you had to lick). Sometimes the neighbor kids played school with her, but she always insisted on being the teacher. She knew the other kids just wouldn’t do it right. And yes, eventually that little girl did grow up to be a teacher.

When I think about why I am a teacher, my thoughts go back to when I was that little girl playing school in the basement. Back then, if you would have asked me why I wanted to be a teacher, I probably would have replied, “Because it’s fun.” Yes, then it was all fun and games, and now it is still fun, but also a lot of hard work. And now, I have many more reasons for why I want to be a teacher.

Lorene Fullmer
Second Grade
Copper Canyon Elementary

I am a teacher because I can’t imagine being anything else. Like many other teachers, I feel “called” to this profession. It isn’t just a job to me, but something that I was meant to do. I’m a teacher because I feel like I make a difference in the world.

As a teacher of young children, I know that when I teach them to read, I’m giving them a skill they will use for their entire life. When a student has a troubled home life, I may be one of the only people they can consistently count on to be there for them. I am a teacher because I love children and I love seeing the struggle that eventually turns into accomplishment.

I love seeing them learn and grow, inside and out, during the school year. I love that I also learn new things every day. I learn from the children as much as they learn from me. I am a teacher because teaching is one of the most creative jobs you can have. If you like to craft, write, draw, sing or invent, it’s all there in a teacher’s day.

We are continually trying to do better and thinking of ways to make lessons more interesting and more memorable. However, even though something is right, it doesn’t mean it is easy.

Being a teacher is hard, and there are some days I wonder why I am doing this. Then a student gives me a hug and says, “I love you. You’re the best teacher ever.” And I know that I made a difference in at least one child’s day, just as they did in mine. Tomorrow is always another day and a new beginning.

Sometimes in my mind, I visit the little girl playing school in the basement, and I wish that I could tell her that someday all her dreams would come true.
Lori Nickerson

 

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A few tips…

  • Remember that you are a role model and that your actions speak louder than your words.
  • Be an excellent classroom manager.
  • Treat all students with dignity and know how to diffuse almost any situation.
  • Teach enthusiastically even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Relate all lessons to real life.

What does an effective teacher’s classroom look like?

-There is little or no down-time.
-Procedures and routines are evident and consistent.
-The teacher’s rapport with students is evident.
-The classroom is well organized.
-The teacher is well prepared for each lesson.
-The lessons relate to real life and are student-oriented.
-Transitions are smooth.
-Teacher moves around the classroom frequently.
-Incorrect responses from students are dignified by the teacher.
-Teacher models skills for students.
-The students are actively involved in all lessons.
-The atmosphere is comfortable and pleasant with lots of smiles and encouragement.

As a bonus… here are a few tricks for avoiding discipline problems:

Try…

  • Greeting students daily with enthusiasm.
  • Maintaining a calm, composed, professional demeanor at all times regardless of a student’s demeanor.
  • Avoiding negatives whenever possible.
  • Keeping students busy from bell to bell.

“We have to believe that all children are both reachable and teachable and that we, as teachers, truly can make a difference in their lives”.

Resource: Annette L. Breaux - For information on Annette’s books, go to www.eyeoneducation.com

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After returning from Holiday Break your students will benefit from reviewing your classroom management expectations. Here are a few ideas and reminders to help your classroom start 2019 on the right foot!

  1. Review classroom rules and practice procedures. Students will need to be re-taught what is expected.
  2. Circulate among the kids. It allows you to give immediate reinforcement or corrective feedback.
  3. Deliver high rates of reinforcement.
    Pro-tip #1
    -Talk about the good behavior and say individual students’ names when praising.
    -Make sure to provide examples and non-examples of desired behaviors (but don’t use students’ names when giving non-examples).
    -Remember 6:1 ratio of positive reinforcement to correction!
  4. Give an attention cue before giving instructions.
  5. Use road mapping before starting a lesson or activity. It creates predictability and it is an antecedent to compliance.
    Pro-tip #2
    -Try using language such as “first we’ll do this… then we’ll do this.”
  6. Have materials ready to go before calling students to groups. Down-time can lead to behavior disruptions!
  7. Get creative about reinforcers. Watch and listen… students will show you what they want to earn.
    Pro-tip #3
    -Remember the basics of reinforcement are (IFEED-AV): Immediate, Frequent, Enthusiastic, Eye contact, Describe the Behavior, Build Anticipation, and Variety

Information from Melisa Genaux, Autism Specialist, Jordan School District

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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.

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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

 

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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