Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How big is the pie?

Some people see the pie - all that is possible - as finite, so if more people get a piece of it, there is less for me.

Others think that you can expand the pie so that if you get a piece, and the pie is bigger, I still have the same (or more).

I think it must be so scarey to be one of the former. Someone is always trying to take away from your share of the pie, even if your piece is huge.

Personally, I think there is enough for all of us, that the pie expands. I mean - think back to your childhood and the number of kinds of, say, oreos. One. Now, there are original, double stuffed, etc. etc. The possibilities are endless.

Here's to a bigger pie. And helping others get a piece of it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Football recruiting by the numbers

So many of my students think they will parlay a sport into a professional career.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A tip for getting a better evaluation with TKES

As part of The Race To the Top, Georgia has decided to use TKES (Teacher Keys Effectiveness System) as a means of evaluating teachers. Here is a file that explains the whole system.

Some counties have been experimenting with this - and the whole state goes live next year.

Henry County has a file that will help you create your own file to wow your evaluator. This will also help set your expectations of what evidence you will need to provide.

Some schools are requiring portfolios as a means of evaluation. Again the Henry document is a good place to start.

A teacher I know uses the Henry file as a start, and behind each standard puts examples that prove that standard has been met.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How to study for the GACE or PRAXIS

The GACE is the test (or series of tests) that teachers in Georgia have to pass to be highly qualified. The PRAXIS is used by other states.

Laurel Burdette has designed a wonderful study guide for the Praxis science test which I have stolen and adapted to several GACE tests I have taken. She deserves a lot of credit for designing something that is slap-my-head simple and useful.

If you are given the standards that will be on the test, you start with those. Then that is the framework for building your study guide.

I have found this to be very very useful!

*** edited *** SMiller suggested that Brightstorm has science videos on a variety of topics

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sometimes people are not who you want them to be.

Sometimes people are not who you think they are.

Just got a call from an ex student Steve who was in despair that one of his long term friends (and another ex student) Toby had stolen Steve's money and several other people's belongings.

I don't know what is going through Toby's mind - he didn't reach out to me and I am going to let it be for now.

I did tell Steve that we forgive people not because they deserve it but because we do.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Play the hand you are dealt

During 2012-2013 I taught a challenging student - and I use the word "taught" even though I mean that he was in my classroom. I am not bothering to reference all of the times I talked about Curtis and am not going back and reading what I wrote. His behavior was horrible.

I couldn't get any administrative backup so I had no power. I had to have him removed during almost every test I gave - which was the only backup the administration gave me.

I would write him up - and nothing ever happened.

I met a friend for lunch yesterday and we got to talking about Curtis. She said that she had put him out in the hall virtually every day because of his behavior. I know I saw him in the hall from other people's classes this past year.

He is old enough to drive and incapable of behaving in a way that allows you to teach other people while he is in the room. (and, no, there is no IEP and there is no reason for this deficiency except willfulness on his part)

And so this got me to thinking. I kept him in the room, tried to teach around him, wrote him up and got nothing - and was the least effective in his classroom as I have ever been because of his acting out.

Other teachers put him in the hall (and we are told not to do this) and taught the rest of the class. And were more effective with those students.

I believe that you play the hand you are dealt and try to do right by all of your students. In this case, I should have sacrificed Curtis for the rest of the class.

And I did try to involve his mother. She would not respond to phone calls or emails because I was the only one complaining. Right.