I recently received an email from the school board I have been retired from for six years. It relayed the county’s need for one hundred substitute teachers and asked if I’d be interested in completing an application. This prompted my search to see what fulltime instructional needs the county had. They were plentiful.
We live in a time of low college admissions for future educators. The high school graduates’ desire to become teachers has been in steady decline over the past ten (or more) years.
Recently, despite the rising Covid-19 numbers in 39 states, the White House Administration is calling for in-class instruction to begin in August. “The rule” as Betsy DeVos frequently cites, is to return students to “normal” classroom settings. How unfortunate that these politicians feel better equipped to determine the needs of children than teachers, administrators, and parents.
To be clear – there will be no “normal” classroom setting in the time of Covid-19. No one knows this better than classroom teachers and administrators. No one knows better how much stress children will experience staying seven hours in a classroom under the proposed Covid-19 changes than teachers and parents.
What is happening in your community? How do you feel about it? How much Russian Roulette are you willing to play with your children’s’ lives and the lives of those, including yourself, that your children will come in contact with throughout the days, weeks, and months to come should they return to school?
I used to think of my classroom as a safe place for my students and told them as much. So many students these days need to experience a stress-free environment even if only for a few hours every day.
Yesterday, hundreds to thousands of students went to their supposed safe place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen of those students lost their lives there. Still another fourteen experienced physical trauma from gunshot wounds. The emotional scars inflicted on those who survived will remain for years to come.
Today, politicians offered their well rehearsed lines – the lines they have uttered at the hundreds of other school shootings since the tragedy at Sandy Hook. Tomorrow we will probably hear elements of blame placed on reasons for why still another school shooting happened.
There has become a pattern of violence and insincere resolution in our country perpetrated by those having easy access to guns that have no earthly reason to be on our public streets and those who allow them to have access to them…
Tragedy – shootings
Gun issue debate
Debate drags on
Brief respite from shootings
There is no one reason on which to place the blame for these senseless crimes but rather a myriad of reasons that need to be discussed in a rational way without political affiliation or money generated concerns to guide ethical decisions. That said, it’s obvious that present administration politicians cannot satisfactorily meet en mass to discuss anything pertinent to the health and well-being of the people of the United States without adding a political bent to it. It should be obvious to all that after hundreds of school shootings since Sandy Hook that nothing will change unless the American voters start speaking up. Speaking up is done in any number of ways but the two most easily accessed is phoning and writing your representatives and senators. Be mindful that just one letter or call won’t suffice. If you want to be part of change in this country you have to be persistent.
In schools across the nation, violence has become a part of “daily life”. While it may be that we hear of it more often in secondary schools – violence is prevalent in all schools beginning in the elementary years.
When schools, administrators, and teachers are placed under microscopes to create readers and great test takers at all costs, developmental practices of teaching the whole child vanish from the curriculum. Pushdown curriculums frustrate learners who need to learn along a progressive continuum in order to establish self-worth, “I can” attitudes, and ultimate learning success.
We can’t assume that teaching reading and math for most of the day will lead to well-rounded learners. In order for children to thrive, they need to learn the fundamentals of being functional in society as well. This used to begin at an early age with social studies instruction, yet social studies instruction has virtually vanished from the curriculum. No time.
Children do not automatically learn how to behave. They learn by what they see and know to any given point in their lives. It takes everyone to provide appropriate behavior learning conditions and modeling. If it’s not happening in the home it needs to happen in the classroom. Unfortunately, teachers are so restricted by what and how they have to teach, they run the risk of poor evaluations if they step outside of the “box” they have been placed in.
We can’t blame children or teachers for what is happening in schools today. Perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at the curriculum being provided and offer a better path to higher student achievement through positive social interaction instruction which teaches children that morals, character, and compassion for others will lead them to being caring, successful, and productive members of society.
I thought about letting this blog go since I retired and then I decided to include retired teachers to the mix. New to retired teachers all have something to say and want to know what is happening nationwide in public and private education.There is much to be said about our educational system and much might be changed for the good if more people shared their great ideas, views, and great or maybe not so great experiences. Someone somewhere will be listening. So this is a shout out to all of my teaching and retired teaching extended family for experience and/or research backed posts to add to this blog. To this date my blog has had 7,878 hits and 344 followers and I haven’t posted an entry in two years. It’s time to get back on track. If you’d like to be considered for site publication, you may choose to include your real name or use a pseudonym. There is interest in what you all have to say and bottom line is – children need our help inside and outside the classroom! Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” You can message me with any questions you might have. Hoping to hear from you soon!
Not just in Kent! My goodness! This has been going on forever! When I was in fifth grade I remember a very mean boy punching my teacher in the face. Working as a teacher, the first time a child threw furniture in my classroom was in 1997. No one knows what teachers’ work involves and until politicians and others step inside the classroom and spend time with teachers no one ever will. Then again, those spending time in classrooms might not even admit to what they see. We might call this “feigned ignorance” or “an easier way to blame teachers for all of the ills in society and education”. It’s time to wake up and admit that all of us have a great deal of work to do! Parents, guardians, teachers, politicians, and others. Not only are society and our political system collapsing – education is too! So – is teaching all bad? Heavens no! I wouldn’t trade a moment of my experiences – good or bad – for anything! Every experience in life is a lesson learned. I am not blaming! I realize that all any of us know is what we’ve been taught to a given point in our lives. It takes an effort to change experience for all. While we can’t change the past, we can do something about the present and future. It takes courage to speak up and out. Will you?
According to Maslow, a child’s first need is physiological. Children need food, water, clean air, and a safe, warm place to sleep. How can parents and teachers meet these needs?
Make time to meet these needs in a “family” way – no matter how big or small your family may be.
Set the breakfast table together the night before.
Ask your child to help you plan a healthy menu while teaching him or her about nutrition.
Pack a healthy lunch instead of buying one. Include an “I love you” note for your child to read when the lunchbox is opened.
Find time for a home cooked evening meal and eat together around the table to discuss everyone’s day.
Keep the air in your home clean. Avoid exposing your child to cigarette smoke, excessive dust, and toxic fumes.
Provide a clean, restful slumber environment void of technological distractions.
Teach your child to be responsible for his or her own physiological needs over time.
Allow time for snack breaks each day. Children can’t learn when hungry. Ask parents to donate healthy snacks.
Allow children to drink water as needed. If no classroom fountain is available, let children bring a water bottle from home.
Create a warm and inviting classroom environment.
Provide students the opportunity to design and keep up the classroom environment.
Classrooms are dusty places. Try a Friday cleaning day and include students in the process. This makes for a great way for all to begin new Monday morning. If needed, bring in an air purifier. Be sure to clean the filter as required.
All of these suggestions are easy to carry out and need very little time. If you have other suggestions, feel free to comment and add to the list. Thanks!
In 1954 psychologist Abraham Maslow developed his theory of Hierarchy of Needs. His hierarchy is based on the assumption that human beings have basic needs. These needs expound upon each other over time until self-actualization occurs. We’ve come a long way since this theory was developed. Though time and circumstance see our world a different place, the basic tenants of human nature and needs stay the same. Needs being met allude to learning taking place and meaningful life. Since learning and views on life begin in the home and continue in school, what better gift can parents and teachers give children than to truly understand and strive to meet their basic needs? Maslow said humans have physiological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem, and self-actualization needs. These needs begin with infancy and continue through adulthood. Childhood then, is a critical time for all.
What about current childhood experiences? When Maslow stated his theory, most families had two parent households with one parent working and one at home. The steady rise of one-parent families and extended working hours has placed a strain on the amount of time available to meet the needs of children. Add to this increasing demands society places on all to achieve and it’s easy to see how the most important things in life may fall by the wayside.
That said, this will be the first in a series of posts based on Maslow’s Hierarchy, which is just as valid today as when first theorized. I hope you will add ideas and real world examples as levels are published. Children are our future and the most important adult task we have is to make sure children are nurtured substantively to encourage life-long learning that leads to meaningful lives worth living. Until tomorrow…
Today is Constitution Day. Are you teaching about the U.S. Constitution in your classroom today? At a time when many – including adults – have no idea what the U.S. Constitution is or means to them, it’s more important than ever to include time in lesson planning for meaningful social studies instruction. Include it in your reading time, math time, or anytime that a teachable moment presents itself. Too late for today? Not to worry! There are still two more days in this school week and more teaching days in the months ahead! Need ideas? Click below.
Welcome to Teacher View Today - a forum for “teacher voice” and a platform for expressing concerns, sharing success stories and imparting strategies to help others successfully maneuver each day in the classroom. Whether teaching K-12 or college, we all share like experiences. I hope you’ll consider Teacher View Today your “go to” place for collaboration outside your classroom. Nancy Ellington
The Real Object of Education…
The real object of education is to give children resources that will endure as long as life endures; habits that time will ameliorate, not destroy; occupation that will render sickness tolerable, solitude pleasant, age venerable, life more dignified and useful, and death less terrible. Sydney Smith
Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.
"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." Albert Einstein
A child’s spontaneity
“We cannot know the consequences of suppressing a child's spontaneity when he is just beginning to be active. We may even suffocate life itself. That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendor during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration. It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life.”
Collaboration is a gift. We collaborate with others throughout our lives and when we create a really special bond, are always surprised at the richness the encounter can bring. Take advantage of the richness collaboration can bring to your table.
Working with others makes any process less stressful. Sharing concerns as well as successes lightens your load!
Thoughts on writing
Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.
Mean instructional salaries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics updated March 27,2012…
Secondary School - $56,790
"I want my children to understand the world, but not just because the world is fascinating and the human mind is curious. I want them to understand it so that they will be positioned to make it a better place. Knowledge is not the same as morality, but we need to understand if we are to avoid past mistakes and move in productive directions. An important part of that understanding is knowing who we are and what we can do... Ultimately, we must synthesize our understandings for ourselves. The performance of understanding that try matters are the ones we carry out as human beings in an imperfect world which we can affect for good or for ill." Howard Gardner
As educators we seem to be inundated with stress everywhere we look these days. It’s during our most stressful times however, that we can actually make the greatest gains in life.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing, which you think you cannot do."
How do you cope with classroom stress?
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”
Balance is important in our lives. In today’s world we find little time to do much more than work and eek by with everything else.
Edward Hallowell, M.D. says, “Simplifying your schedule is a matter of living in a way that reflects your life’s natural rhythm.” He authored a book called CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and about to snap: Strategies for coping in a World Gone ADD. His seven strategies for coping with time crunches are -
1. Don’t multitask
2. Keep to-do lists short
4. Be positive
5. Limit interruptions
6. See organization as a means, not an end
7. Don’t lose sleep over it
Hallowell, E. (2006). Stop the Insanity. Psychology Today, 39(5), 37.