I have written up all of the labs my GT students will be doing for the entire 1st quarter.
I have GoogleCalendar-ed the entirety of 1st quarter for GT.
I’ve completed the first four weeks of student calendars for GT.
(Yes, I do have other preps. But this one is easiest to do right now because I can use last year as a direct template. Then I can revise down for Bio regular. Ecology is always a headache so I haven’t started doing specifics for that yet.)
Among yesterday’s news that I missed ‘til this morning is that my state has been granted a waiver from No Child Left Behind. The waivers are the mechanism created to address the absolute certainty that 100% of the students in a state will not either be proficient in reading and math by 2014. To…
I just spreadsheeted my finances for July and August and I am in good shape!
Turns out August is a 3-pay month for us, and because of pay dates I’m getting away with not using either July check for rent! It looks like I will easily be able to afford a new bed (!) and will probably be able to throw a little cash toward my credit card balance. And with all my expenses-paid traveling in July I’ll do a lot less incidental spending. So maybe I’ll even be able to get myself a couple new pairs of slacks for school this year.
And then you realize that, because of the man you voted for sticking up for the basic right to affordable health care, today millions of other people found out that they are going to be able to stop making the choice between food and medicine, and will get to experience that relief too. Thank you, President Obama.
WHY HAVE YOU NOT BLOGGED ABOUT US HANGING OUT? WHY HAVE YOU NOT TOLD EVERYONE HOW BEAUTIFUL AND PERSONABLE I AM? WHY DOES YOUR ENTIRE BLOGGING FANBASE NOT KNOW ABOUT ME YET? ARE YOU ASHAMED? YOUR LACK OF BLOGGING ABOUT ME IS NOT, AS ONE DIRECTION MIGHT SAY, WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL. Love, Caitlin
On Tuesday I had dinner with halvgal and another old friend of ours from Girls State.
It was MAGICAL. She is WITTY and CHARMING and GORGEOUS. It is an HONOR and a PRIVILEGE to be her friend IRL and on the Internet. I LOVE THIS WOMAN.
lhuddles took my question...(unless you have other advice for a first-year science teacher?)
Always pilot your labs. Always. The one time you don’t pilot will be the one time it doesn’t work.
It’s easier to scale a tough question down than it is to scale a simple quesstion up. Set the bar high and start with the harder questions. Your students will often surprise you, and you can always scaffold down if need be.
It’s ok to have them read from the textbook occasionally.
Don’t feel guilty about lecturing. Sometimes direct instruction is best for you and the kids.
Look for authentic science examples—current events, case studies with real data, etc. They’ll ask if it’s real and their interest spikes significantly. They’ll ask better questions and read more closely.
I tell my students, “I’ll watch you struggle, but I won’t let you drown.”
Give me advice for my first year of teaching. I'm thinking I'll still fall on my face sometimes, but maybe I'll fall on the grass and not the asphalt.
Wait a minute, I thought you just finished your first year teaching! Is this hypothetical or am I confused?
Sleep. Eat. Exercise. Seriously. You will think, “I do not have time! I need to grade these papers! And make the world’s most engaging lesson plans!” And those things are true, but it is also true that the kids will survive if they have to wait an extra day on that paper and you will be a much better teacher if you have rest and food.
Pack your lunch and put out clothes the night before. When the alarm is set for 5:15 every second is precious.
Give yourself a deadline for staying after school. For the first few months of school I simply resigned myself to being there forever, so I worked slowly and inefficiently—I was going to be there all evening anyway. In the spring I set a limit—I had to leave by 4:30. I started using my after school time more efficiently and I felt more in control.
Find someone (at least one person) at school to bond with. I’m really, really introverted and it takes me a long time to open enough to people to actually make friends, so this was a challenge for me. But it is absolutely what got me through the school year. If not someone at school at least someone local.
Take one weekend chunk of time off for yourself. I never did work on Friday nights—that was for sleeping, and beer, and TV.
Keep a journal. (I sucked at that.)
Don’t be afraid of taking a personal health day.
Accept that you are not a perfect teacher, that you are not universally liked, that not every lesson plan will work, and that you will be better next year.
This might not be super entertaining but here I go! I've been following you for a while and I just graduated in December with my education degree. I'm seriously struggling to find a job and I was just wondering if you had any helpful hints? I live in Michigan and seriously do not want to stay here for so many reasons. (that you no doubt understand) So I was just curious about what struggles or helpful little tricks you may have picked up on your job hunt. Thanks :)
My biggest “helpful trick” is “be willing to move,” and you seem to have that covered!
Aside from that, be sure to look into other states’ certification requirements before you apply. Generally speaking, having an out of state cert is not a big hang-up; it’s usually just routine paperwork. However, in some states, cert requirements are a little more involved and they may not even be able to offer a position to someone with an out of state cert. It pays to do a little research in advance.
I had a list of districts whose HR sites I would check daily. Apply to districts even if they don’t have an opening listed. I never actually saw a biology job posting for the job I currently have.
Make a profile on REAP, and look on sites like SchoolSpring for openings. Go to job fairs.
The TeamTeachers tumblr has a list of common interview questions you might find helpful.
I’ve stayed in touch with my two high school English teachers. My hometown is small and mostly rural. The school is small; it’s an everyone-knows-everyone kind of place. Change is slow. Many of my former teachers are still there. Hell, many of my former classmates are still around town.
I had dinner with said English teachers today. They greeted me with something I never expected: a job offer. An English/science job offer at my alma mater. “So do you like your job? Because we have an English/science opening.”
I laughed it off without even thinking. “I love my job,” I said. “I work in a good school. And I’m not MI certified.”
“Anyway they wouldn’t want to hire me. I have no formal English experience.”
“The hiring committee is us and your former French teacher. The job would be yours.”
It would be mostly English, so I would have to forfeit my teaching fellowship. But that wasn’t the reason I said no. I said no even before they told me it would be majority English. Staying with my current position is the right decision for me. I’ve established myself well in a good district with lots of opportunity. My alma mater is a great little high school, but there would not be a lot of professional opportunity for me there. There also would not be a lot of social opportunity. In MD, I’m within reasonable distance of all my closest friends.
Still, I never expected to make this decision. I never even thought I’d have the opportunity to make the decision, and I was happy about that. I was content to write off “coming home” as an impossibility. An English/science position is my dream and always has been. I love biology, I love teaching it…but English has always been my passion. My family is here. Last summer, when they wanted me to move home, I could say, “Find me a teaching job” to end the conversation.
What a teaching job. I can’t move back here. MI is no place for teachers right now. I need to be out living my own life, not re-tracing my steps here. Just thinking about those hallways makes me claustrophobic. Class sizes of 35. A pay cut. No raises in the foreseeable future. It’s tempting, somehow. It’d be easy. I was a star here six years ago. (mb24jg, I was famous here, for real.) But that’s history.
The truth is that my star is just beginning to rise in MD. There’s a lot to accomplish there. What distinction I have is based on my skill as a teacher rather than my eagerness as a student. I loved high school but I don’t want to re-live it. I love my family, and I would love to see them more but truthfully? Truthfully right now my relationships with my peers are more fulfilling and more sustaining than my relationships with my family. My relationships with family are what would make moving back a challenge. I really don’t think living here would be healthy.
I’m gld I said “no” without thinking, because thinking complicates things and reminds me of stuff I thought I wanted six years ago. An English/science job at my alma mater. Say yes to Michigan, indeed.
No, and now my rootless wandering is all of my own doing. Black universe, why throw me this existential curve ball while I’m on vacation?
Writing a lab that I now have to re-write because I didn’t consider my equipment limitations.
It’s my own stupid fault, but I’m annoyed. That was two hours of a summer afternoon. It’s the most complicated lab of the school year, so it’s no small task to rewrite. In fact, it’s so detail oriented that I don’t even trust myself to revise it; it will be less of a headache to start from scratch. Sigh.
My neighbor’s granddaughter is the cutest thing on the planet. She’s maybe 3 and runs around with her wild curly blonde hair every which away, and, as a fellow curly girl, a few months ago I squatted down to say hello to her and told her how much I loved her curly hair. She blushed and looked down…
“In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.”—
The vacation fund for Karen Klein, the 68-year-old grandmother who was harassed and threatened by boys on the school bus she was monitoring has just hit half a million dollars. It’s great that kind souls, feeling like they want to do something, have stepped up and made financial donations. But let’s get real: We’re to blame. We’re the reason she was taunted and teased. We created this environment.
Over and over again, the boys on the bus called Klein a “fat ass.” At one point, Klein, clearly shaken, told the boys she was crying. One of them responded, “She probably misses her box of Twinkies.”
That’s terrible, people said. But only because the kids were saying it to Klein’s face.
The truth is, Americans love to mock people. Especially women. Especially overweight women.
Though serious empirical research fails to show any beneficial effects of technology, it also doesn’t demonstrate any harm. The emphasis on technology is in part damaging because of its opportunity cost, both in effort on the part of policymakers and in terms of money. It also distracts from the real problem: teachers who don’t understand enough about math or science.
To sum up, technology helps students learn but in reality that isn’t happening; the graphing calculator is the example of students not understanding math, only how to use their calculator. And this is because we have teachers that don’t understand what they’re teaching.
“Computer technology, while great for many things, is just not much good for teaching, yet.”
I am a big advocate of inquiry-centered instruction. However, part of doing inquiry well in the classroom is recognizing that not every topic lends itself well to student discovery. Inquiry also exists on a continuum, and what often works best is a thoughtful blend if direct instruction and inquiry.
I’m not a math teacher. I was a very talented math student back in my day, earning the highest scores in my (small, rural) high school for both pre-calculus and calculus. I was the “math person” on my undefeated academic team. I loved math unabashedly and I’ll never forget how in awe I was of the beauty of calculus the first time I learned it. I always wanted to go further in math than I did. But I never did get the hang of my graphing calculator. I could input an equation and get a line, but that was really it. My classmates were much more fluent than me with the calculator. I was always able to do things much quicker by hand, and my accuracy was good enough that it was never worth the bother of fussing over the calculator.
Towards the end of the school year I covered for a math class—Algebra I. The students were working on a review packet, and I invited then to ask me if they needed help with anything. A few minutes into class, a student asked for a calculator, and the co-teacher assured me that they were routinely allowed to use calculators. So I found a set of calculators and handed them out to the students.
“These aren’t the regular calculators,” a student observed. I told them that was all I could find, and explained that most of the calculators in the school were being used for standardized testing. “Well, I can’t do this problem,” announced a student.
So I went over to help. The problem asked the student to find the slope between two points. It was pretty straightforward. They were given the two sets of coordinates. “You don’t need a calculator for this,” I explained. “Didn’t you learn the formula?”
“Yeah, but then we learned on the calculator, and that’s how we always do it,” the student replied.
“Well, since you can’t use your calculator to solve it, let’s try the formula. Change in y over the change in x.” I wrote the formula on the board; the students looked at me blankly. “So you just substitute in the points, and subtract…” I urged.
“But we do it on the calculator,” replied the student. It was one of the strangest interactions I’d ever had with a student. I know that teenagers can be inflexible when it comes to stuff like this, but I got nowhere in my conversation with them. They just skipped the problem rather than do the subtraction manually. I don’t know the math curriculum at my school, but I could not understand why they had even been taught to use the calculator for slope. It’s not a difficult formula, and having to plug in points and do the subtraction reinforces the actual meaning of slope. My Algebra I class did not even let us use calculators; we weren’t allowed to have them in my high school until pre-calculus. I understand that we want our students to be technologically literate, but I can’t say that graphing calculator literacy is an essential skill.
Technology is important, but we need to use it to support instruction in intelligent ways. Technology that makes a “black box” out of fundamental math and science concepts is detrimental, particularly in introductory level courses. This is one of the reasons I’m hesitant to use Excel with my students—not only would it take a lot of instructional time to teach, it renders mathematical reasoning invisible. I’d rather have them calculate an average by hand and scale an axis manually so that they have to actually make sense of what they are doing and what those operations mean.
“We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills, critical thinking skills and similar programs … which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”—
The Texas Republican 2012 platform, which officially opposes teaching students “critical thinking skills.
I just would like to add that in my Master’s classes, at a Christian university, our biggest emphasis was on teaching critical thinking skills to our students. If you don’t think that what you believe is true enough to withstand some critical thinking, why do you still believe it?