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Throughout the country, teachers are sharing their story of teaching: why they came into the profession, things that potentially held them back, moments of inspiration where they knew teaching was for them, and even stories of where they know they made a difference in the life of a student. If you search social media for #whyIteach, you will find these powerful stories. You will read about educators who believe in each other. You will find a community of teachers who are all sharing the same love and passion: teaching.

This time of year we find teachers can lose the focus of their "why" and get discouraged or frustrated--possibly to where they even question why they became a teacher. A challenge for this next week is to build an optimistic outlook to the future as we reflect to the past of why we became educators. Don't forget your vision and share your #whyIteach!

Raise Your Voice

Every teacher has a #whyiteach story. We want to hear yours.

Posted by Teacher2Teacher on Saturday, January 30, 2016

 

Here's some sites to read teachers' stories:

http://whyiteach.learningmatters.tv/

http://teacher2teacher.education/

 

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The return to work after an extended break is often accompanied with a mix of emotions.  During the time off, many remember that they enjoy spending time with family and friends.  In fact, the time of rediscovery is something more veteran teachers eagerly anticipate and plan for.  Looking forward to time off is nice.  The return to work/reality is not always as eagerly anticipated.  However, the question that must be raised is whether there could be another way.  Is there a way to enjoy life between the breaks?  Is it necessary to put family and self interests on hold with each return to work?  This is a problem that many new educators struggle to solve.  Striking an acceptable balance between work, home, and self interests is a tricky one.  One source suggests that there are some steps that teachers can take to more easily arrive at a sort of equilibrium of work and personal life.  Additionally, Andy Puddicombe makes a compelling case for regularly doing nothing.

Work

  • Work smarter, not harder

  • Make friends

  • Give yourself a break

  • Invest in your development

  • Celebrate accomplishments

Life

  • Draw a line between work and home

  • Cultivate a life outside the classroom

  • Schedule a time to do nothing

  • Get your ZZZZs

  • Practice reflective writing

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Thoreau, the transcendentalist author, must have known something about the life of a teacher.  He said "I, who cannot stay in my chamber for a single day without acquiring some rust... am astonished at the power of endurance, to say nothing of the moral insensibility, of my neighbors who confine themselves ... for weeks and months, aye, and years almost together.  I know not what manner of stuff they are of -- sitting there now at three o'clock in the afternoon." Indeed the teaching profession can become, at times, quite solitary.  With only the comfort of a stack of papers needing grading, there arises a need for a more human connection.  Tragically, some teachers prefer to remain in their own classroom while as Mary Oliver reminds us "There is, all around us, this country of original fire."  Taking a walk through the classrooms of any school will reveal a wealth of experience.  Teachers taking walks have the potential to benefit from a formative experience as it can be used to generate new ideas. That is, if the walk causes the participant to become reflective on his or her own practice. In the webinar below, Connie M. Moss & Susan M. Brookhart discuss their book Formative Classroom Walkthroughs: How Principals and Teachers Collaborate to Raise Student Achievement.  In it, they share ways in which classroom walkthroughs can be used to reflect and improve teacher practice in an attempt to increase student achievement.  If that is the potential outcome, it is indeed worth taking a walk.

 

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It is important that all educators reflect and ask themselves questions to improve student learning. Here are some great questions to help you reflect.

  1. How do you involve students in creating and evaluating their own learning?
  2. How do you handle difficult communication issues with students, colleagues, and parents?
  3. What systems do you use to manage time and materials to keep yourself organized?
  4. How well are the routines/procedures you have established working? What can you do to improve them?
  5. How are you using technology in your classroom? How can it be more effective?
  6. What are doing to ensure an active and equitable learning for all students?

 

 

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