Monday, November 29, 2010
For instance, it does no good to create a generation of people who are aliterate--people who know how to read but don't. If we can help create in students a love for books and for learning they will have a much greater desire to learn to read. Separating reading skills from books makes most young people hate reading.
Where we put our energies, time, and monies show what we value most. Therefore, if we value creating a generation of people who read it would probably be wise for us to put our energies, time, and monies into stocking our classroom and school libraries rather than into computer programs and packaged curriculums that only focus on reading skills.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Thoughts for this posting:
The Quality School by William Glasser
Friday, November 26, 2010
One of the latest examples is a school in Salt Lake City--Guadalupe School charter school--which was recently honored for closing the achievement gap. What are some of the things that this school with a 95% Hispanic student population do to close the achievement gap:
- Offers door-to-door transportation which lessens family mobility concerns
- Provides an early childhood program which starts at birth by sending parent educators into homes weekly to mentor moms and dads
- Students begin attending the school's PreK program at age 3
- All of the teachers are "highly-qualified" and ESL Endorsed
- Requires 100% attendance at Parent/Teacher Conferences and does whatever it takes to make sure that happens
- Supports a strong volunteer program consisting of community volunteers who come at least once a week to provide one-on-one interaction with students
- Works with the whole child which includes having a mobile clinic visit the campus every six weeks
Guadalupe has been in existence for many years. It would behoove other schools serving a similar student population to learn from this school and search for ways to apply the same principles and strategies rather than look for excuses as to why it can't be done in their setting.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
If teachers are to inspire their students to read they might want to consider how they can become more like Oprah in this regard. There are studies that have shown that most teachers do not read professional journals or books and only 25% of them read 3-4 books in a month. An additional 20% said they had read nothing in the last six months. Educators are not reading much more than the general population. Yet, they have the responsibility to help develop in their students a love for reading.
Administrators can help. Research about teachers has shown that in schools where their administrators talk about books and professional journals, the teachers read more on their own. Administrators can also encourage teachers to join professional organizations--maybe even paying for the membership--because educators who belong to professional organizations read more professional journals.
Some ideas for this post:
The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Another idea would be to have an Orientation meeting specifically for the new teachers and answer any questions they may have as well as let them know of opportunities that are available for them to grow professionally. It could be helpful to have a panel of teachers who are relatively new to the school to share what they wish someone had told them when they first started to work at the school.
Assigning a buddy as well as a mentor can also help the new teacher navigate the new environment and feel welcome.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
When I was at Jackson Elementary our principal at the time, Ernie Nix, showed us the film FISH Philosophy about Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington. They had learned at this market the importance of fun in the workplace. There is also a book Fish! Catch the Energy written by the owner of the market, John Yokoyama.
Principals can do a lot to make the school a place of fun for the teachers. It starts with the attitude. With the right attitude the principal will think of ways to make a teacher's day and be there to provide undivided, caring attention. This is especially important for those teachers who are irreplaceables.
Monday, November 22, 2010
The next group of teachers is the "solids"--those who are hardworking and dependable but haven't reached the irreplaceable level, yet. The third group of teachers is what we can call the "replacements"--those who are not very good and those who are negative forces.
To recruit and retain the irreplaceables we need to understand what motivates them--achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, advancement, and personal growth. Principals need to find ways to support the irreplaceables in these areas such as making sure that no matter how tight the budget may be monies need to be available for professional development. Also, they need to be recognized for the work they are doing. If irreplaceables don't receive these motivators that support their professionalism they will be the first to leave.
Two sources for this information:
- Already to Harvest by Hartman Rector, Jr.
- Six Types of Teachers by Douglas J. Fiore and Todd Whitaker
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The best people are mavericks and want to leave their mark. They are eccentric--rebels, radicals, and revolutionaries--who walk down unconventional paths. These people are willing to leave the safe harbor.
"It is always from the minority acting in ways different from what the majority would prescribe that the majority in the end learns to do better," advises Friedrich August von Hayek.
Ideas based on the works of:
- What Great Principals Do Differently by Todd Whitaker
- High-Velocity Cultural Change by Price Pritchett
- My Years As a Hispanic Youth Advocate by Barbara Lovejoy
Friday, November 19, 2010
When hiring this new breed look for those who will not only be excellent in the classroom but will also have a profound influence on the whole school. Also, focus on talents. Those who have the talent to love students, are bright minded, have a positive attitude, have a congenial personality, have a great work ethic, and have leadership skills will learn the needed skills and eventually in the long run outperform those who are resting on experience and credential laurels.
These thoughts are taken from the following works:
- What Great Principals Do Differently by Todd Whitaker
- High-Velocity Culture Change by Price Pritchett and Ron Pound
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Educators who have high expectations for themselves would constantly be learning and growing by doing such things as:
- Attending conferences, seminars, and workshops to learn and to network with others who want to do quality work
- Finding a mentor and participate in cognitive coaching
- Reading books and articles
- Keeping a reflection journal to determine what went well and what could be improved
- Participating in action research projects
In other words, the teacher who had high expectations would be to be the head learner in the classroom and the principal who had high expectations would be to be the head learner in the school.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
- Why did I become an educator?
- What do I stand for as an educator?
- What do I think is important in education?
- What are the gifts that I bring to my work?
- What do I want my legacy as an educator to be?
- What can I do to remember my own heart?
- What do I value most?
- What do my strong interests and passions tell me about my purpose in life?
- What opinions do I have about education that I passionately care about?
- What is my vision of a quality school? What would I specifically be doing in such a school?
- What behaviors would I never engage in if I were in a quality school?
- What kinds of things would I say to all the different stakeholders in a quality school?
Ideas for these questions came from the book Inspiriting Quality in Your School by Robert A. Sullo and Failure Is Not An Option by Alan Blankstein.