An outstanding teacher is…

I have spent the last two hours writing responses to job applications so my brain is absolutely fried on the creative side this evening. Although I would love to have more to give… the response to one of the essay questions will have to do. If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions… it isn’t yet submitted. I have one more response to write… job hunting is exhausting!

Describe the Skills or Attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher:

I believe an outstanding teacher must possess a wide variety of skills and attributes in order to accommodate the academic, social, and emotional needs of all of their students. Teachers serve several roles for their students, each of those requiring specific abilities that need to be consistently present in the classroom.

First and foremost, an outstanding teacher must be effective; and a teacher is only as effective as their passion and excitement for teaching. An outstanding teacher expresses enthusiasm for content area instruction and works to ensure that all students are engaged and participating as active learners in the classroom. An outstanding teacher knows how to transfer their energy into their instruction, and cater to all students’ diverse learning styles; thereby ensuring that ALL students have the opportunity to engage in the learning process. When new information with passion and excitement, students want to learn.

Secondly, an outstanding teacher works to create a classroom community where all students are equally respected and valued for their unique contributions to the room. Positive relationships between both teacher and student are nurtured and mutual respect is displayed in daily interactions. An outstanding teacher is available for their students and is willing to invest in their energy into getting to know each of their students as individuals. When students know that their opinions are valued and respected, they are more likely to strive for excellence.

An outstanding teacher has a mastery of the content to be taught, uses assessment to drive instruction, and sets attainable goals; which are continually monitored through both formative and summative assessment. Material is presented through various modalities and with appropriate scaffolding so that the material is attainable for all levels of learners.

Finally, I believe that an outstanding teacher is realistic and flexible. Things do not always go the way they were planned; students misbehave, schedules are changed, the material is not engaging… there are many factors that can easily invoke stress and frustration into a teacher’s day. An outstanding teacher knows how and when to adapt, step away or completely abort planned activities. Adaptation does not mean failure and outstanding teachers know and understand this to be true.

As shown above, to be an outstanding teacher, there are a number of roles and skills that must be juggled during daily classroom instruction. When all of these attributes come together, ALL students are given the opportunity to succeed and ultimately, an outstanding teacher is born.

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What I can teach others

It has been another one of those days… from sunup until well after sundown…go go go and tomorrow is looking to be no improvement. I have hardly had time to think let alone sit down and write so here I am, pushing 10:00 and my brain is void of ideas. I quickly search google to find a writing prompt but nothing seems to grab my attention. I could easily just shut my computer and give up on the challenge… I mean- my life is busy as it is. But, what would that prove? That I can’t write? That I am tired? That I am a quitter? That is one thing I definitely am not. Challenges are supposed to be hard, they are supposed to stretch you and make you uncomfortable. Check and check.If I want to grow I must push ahead. Tonight I am choosing to push onward, through half open eyes and a foggy brain to type out tonight’s post. Without further ado… tonight’s writing prompt and my response.

What I can teach others

*Never give up… as I said above, challenges are hard but they bring about growth. Growth doesn’t come without pain. Push through- the results will be worth it.

*Find the good in every situation… even a rainstorm brings beauty afterwards.

*Follow your dreams… even if it means totally changing careers and running yourself ragged to allow them to come to fruition. In the end, it will be worth it.

*Be kind to others… you never know the battles they are fighting.

*Brokenness doesn’t make you worthless, it makes you unique and beautiful in ways that no one else can replicate.

*Money doesn’t buy happiness… small moments spent with those you love does.

*Find someone that believes in you even when you don’t believe in yourself. This will make the hardest times more bearable.

*Take time for the small things… stop to dance in the rain, listen to the first spring birds, notice the flowers push through the ground after the final bits of snow melts away. Stand and watch your child sleep, hug one another and take time to sit and just talk.

*Listen to one another. Ask people their stories… sometimes you will be amazed at what you discover.

*Be yourself. You are unique and bring a different perspective to the world than anyone else. The world needs YOU… not whom others want to turn you into.

 

I am sure I could list so much more… but now I am not only exhausted… I am also hungry and on that note, I just need to go to bed.

 

THIS is Why

QUESTIONS?
Why would you want to become a teacher?
Why are you starting a new career when you are already in your mid-30s?
Why would you put yourself through college again?
WHY. WHY. WHY.

YOU DO KNOW…
Teachers don’t make good money.
The future of teaching is shaky.
Federal mandates are ruining the profession.
You won’t be able to retire until…

BUT WHAT ABOUT?
Late evenings grading
Violence in schools
Kids that don’t want to learn
Your own kids… they need you.
Money. You won’t make back what you put in.
Common Core- it is ruining education.
Testing…
You do know teachers are leaving the profession daily…

This is all I seem to hear. Society telling me that I have it all wrong. That I am making a mistake. But for me, this is something that has never felt more right.

THIS is Why…

“Every child deserves a champion- an adult who will never give up on them, who
understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they
can possibly be” (Rita F. Pierson). These words sum up what I believe to be the motivating factor for my venture into teaching. See, I once had a teaching (or a champion) in my own personal life, and it is due to them, that I ended up at this place in my life today. So in part, I guess you could say that I am ‘passing it on…’ or ‘paying back what was given to me.’ Whatever way you look at it, my desire is to be that person to someone else someday.

I went into social work because I wanted all children to know that there was somebody there that caring about them and fighting for them, and while I had that opportunity, I quickly realized how little of a connection you ever actually get with most clients. My heart continually broke, as I saw case after case of children that needed SO much, but the most I could offer was another program, that eventually they would age out of or simply never participate in due to lack of parental motivation. I wanted to do SO much for these children, but my time was so limited and I realized, that at best, some of their basic needs were being met… but I knew there was so much more that could be done… but I wasn’t yet ready to take that plunge.

Through my experience both personally and professionally as a social worker, I
have observed that children are more likely to strive to reach their potential when they know there is somebody believing that they can actually do it. But what about those children that have no one there to be that ‘cheerleader?’ Who is whispering words of encouragement to them? Who is smiling with pride when they have the ability to read their first book?

Teachers. That is who.
Teachers are given the role not only educating, but also developing a sense or worthiness and pride and sharing in the ups and downs of each student’s life. Teachers are there… when some parents are unable to be. Teachers have the unique opportunity to shape young minds in so many different facets.

It wasn’t until my youngest entered school that I began to toy around with the idea of going back to college and *gasp* enter the teaching profession. It all seemed to fit… my love of children, learning, and desire to make a difference- no matter how small it might be.

So here I  am… 2 years later and ready to enter full time teaching next fall. This is what I have dreamed of… what I have worked for and what I believe will be my legacy.

As I enter the classroom this fall…
I want all students I come across to know that I believe they are important and that everyone has the potential to change the
world.
I want all students to know there is someone cheering them on from the corner, doing all in their power to help them succeed.
I want to be that person whispering, “You can” when everyone else is telling them they can’t.

Long ago, someone modeled those beliefs for me, and they have never left. I too, will now have this opportunity, because I am a teacher.