"We ALL know who they are. They’re the teachers who are smiling almost every time you pass them in the hallways. They look energized and motivated. Most of the time, they’ll take a moment to ask how your day is going or about something in your personal life. They’re the teachers who are adored by their students and parents. They rarely pass on negative information or chime in during a teacher gripe fest. They truly and genuinely LOVE their jobs, and it shows.
Truthfully, I’ve had years where I really felt like this teacher and other years that I envied those who did. But you know what I’ve figured out over the years? That this magical positive glow and overall attitude of happiness about teaching is a daily CHOICE when you enter your school building.
In the wise words of Abraham Lincoln, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”""
Although teacher attrition rates appear to have stabilized in recent years, the fact remains that nearly half of new teachers leave the profession before celebrating their fifth year anniversaries. I remember my first years in the classroom as some of my hardest, both personally and professionally. New teachers weren’t mentored then, and even now, many who do have the opportunity to work with a mentor report varied levels of satisfaction from their experiences.
How can we make the first years of teaching rewarding enough to retain new teachers? This question framed my work with a group of middle school mentors last month. They began attending to it by brainstorming ten different ways that new teachers burn themselves out. Naming them helped these mentors define new entry points for their work.
In this TED Talk video entitled, 7 ways games reward the brain, Tom Chatfield talks about the characteristics of video games which have the “ power to motivate and compel us and transfix us like nothing else.”
Statistics show that the game industry was worth 10 billion dollars in 1990. That number has significantly increased to 50 billion dollars globally today. In addition, today people spend about 8 billion dollars buying virtual items that only exist inside video games.
Tom Chatfield’s discussion explores why this is occurring, and what we can learn about learning from games. Rewards, particularly the emotional rewards play a large part in the motivation to succeed in games. The simple psychology behind it is that people want to succeed, but they also derive pleasure from success. Games are made engaging by a combination of probability and rewards, and reward schedules are visible for players in order to hook them further into the game they are playing.
"Understanding those on the verge of or in the trenches of middle school can be like finishing a complex puzzle only to realize there is a single missing piece — just when you think you have them all figured out, they pivot and leave you just as confused as you started. They sometimes feel like a walking contradiction: they want your love, but would prefer you did not show it in public; what makes them laugh one day, brings them to tears the next; going to school used to be the best part of their day, now they dread it. Whatever the contradiction is in your household, it is important to remember that the journey that these soon to be adults are traveling is a difficult yet AWESOME one. They are in a constant state of learning and discovery and as parents and guardians, we GET to be along for the ride!"
Will Smith once told a story from his childhood in which his father broke down the brick wall at his business and told him and his brother to rebuild it. It took them a year, but they finished the job and learned a powerful lesson contained within a memorable metaphor. He explains, “You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfect as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day and soon you have a wall.” This story from Will Smith captures the very essence of the Slight Edge philosophy that we will discuss in this article. Applying this idea within the classroom will help students develop a strong long term sense of accomplishment that is necessary to achieve their goals.
If curriculum is the what of teaching, and learning models are the how, assessment is the puzzled “Hmmmm”–as in, I assumed this and this about student learning, but after giving this assessment, well….”Hmmmmm.”
So what are the different types of assessment of learning? This graphic below from McGraw Hill offers up six forms; the next time someone says “assessment,’ you can say “Which type, and what are we doing with the data?” like the TeachThought educator you are.
Here are ten questions that some of my former graduate students appreciated asking me and the other mentors who supported them. They tell me that the answers they received continue to serve them well now that they are leading classrooms of their own.
Homework: effective learning tool or waste of time?
Since the average high school student spends almost seven hours each week doing homework, it's surprising that there's no clear answer. Homework is generally recognized as an effective way to reinforce what students learn in class, but claims that it may cause more harm than good, especially for younger students, are common.
Would like to be better, faster, stronger, and all that good stuff? As you might expect, the road to self-improvement isn't short, and it isn't easy. It all starts with forming good habits, habits that you can carry with you through each day of your life. Once you do them enough, they'll become second nature,…
Finland’s education system, often held up as an exemplary model for the rest of the world, is on the verge of making some major changes.
For years, Finland has led the pack in international test scores, becoming a source of fascination for education policymakers and experts. Now, the country is changing the way it teaches students. Going forward, Finnish schools will be placing less emphasis on individual subjects like math and history, and will instead focus on broader, more interdisciplinary topics. The goal, according to Finnish leaders, is to provide students with the necessary skills for a more technological, global society.
Here are three things you need to know about Finland’s changing education system:
Advances in technology certainly help educators bring new resources and methods of teaching to their classrooms. In fact, I’d venture a guess that it is because of these new tech tools that we have really looked at changing the way we teach and how students can learn. This is evident by the use of SMART […
Do you remember the joy that you felt as a student when you saw the teacher roll the TV into the classroom? Your students can experience the same joy when you show a film in your own classroom – and it won’t be because it’s a perceived distraction. In her recent Guardian.com blog post, Sarah Marsh outlines 12 ways to use film creatively in the classroom. Building on concepts from that piece, we’ll focus on three key themes here: film immersion, cultural immersion, and student activity.
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