Trending Teacher Topics

I was recently asked to participate on a teacher panel. This opportunity included providing input on the panel topic. Instead of providing topics I could, and would gladly, discuss, I decided to provide a list of topics I am over.

Topics to retire, if only for the next conversation:

  • Failing Grade(s) Epidemic
  • Learning Loss (thanks to distance learning)
  • Motivation (or the lack thereof)
  • Online Learning Games
  • Technology in the Classroom
  • Zoom: Pitfalls or Tips

It’s not that I don’t have first-hand experience, opinions, or things to share about these topics; rather, I feel that given a global pandemic, given the past year, I need space.

I know students are failing, and there is definitely academic loss, but we’re trying to survive a global pandemic that has upended nearly every sector of life. So, if we’re distracted or unmotivated or unable to put forth our regular best, it’s understandable.

I’m happy we’ve had the option and opportunity to have distance learning. It’s not perfect, it was implemented in haste, and even in the best circumstances it may not be suitable for all learners. I have heard and presented, ad nauseam, about online games, technology tools, and all the workings of Zoom. I need time to process, to practice more, to simply keep what I like and forgo anything new for awhile. It’s not that these things aren’t important, it’s just that (I feel) we’ve talked about them enough for now–what do you think?

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Remote Learning: Cons

Look, I’m not Pollyanna. I may have started with the positive, but I can be real too.

How has (mandated) remote learning (for all) been a difficult experience?

  • All day on screens. My eyes!
  • No walking . . . minimal walking.
  • Too. Many. Platforms.
  • Distance.
  • Loading.
  • Still loading.
  • Reconnecting.

What else?

I have tutored online previously–short segments with adult learners. It was a choice.

I have used online platforms as a center option, as a reward, as a form of enrichment, as a tool for remediation. Again, though, short segments of time and it was a choice.

This is different.

And what’s even more humbling? My scope of understanding is actually limited; I’m not teaching a classroom of kids, full-time. But I’m exhausted!

So, to all the school staff and families out there navigating forums, bandwidth, and distance: I see you. I know it’s hard . . . harder than I can even understand . . .

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Remote Learning: Pros

We all have our complaints . . . and I have them too.

But are there are any good things about our current (mandated) remote learning?


Possible positive sentiments on remote learning . . .

  • No bulletin boards to maintain.
  • The weather doesn’t impact the school day.
  • There isn’t a line for the copier.
  • No school traffic–anywhere.
  • Learning for all–new systems, new platforms, new methods . . .
  • Shoes aren’t required. (I LOVE being barefoot!)
  • We’re building lessons and curriculum for the future.
  • A national conversation on the amount of work, and the true essential place of public education, has been thrust into the spotlight . . .

It was hard, difficult, to come up with this list, but I do like to frame things into a lesson, or a positive–whenever possible. It took some stretching and thinking to find these, but they seem reasonably uplifting. In other words, when I am most frustrated, or sad, I have something to reference on what I am gaining or enjoying, or what others might be gaining and enjoying, from this experience.

Do you have any other positive outcomes?


With so much screen time in remote learning, with so much time spent indoors, a walk around the block is probably the easiest, and greatest relief, for all of us.

And, if you need some ideas and inspiration for learning on that walk outside, here are some items to note, ask, or consider on your walks:

  • Read every sign together.
  • Find letters and numbers on a walk.
    • Addresses, license plates, political signs, street signs, etc.
  • Use a plant guide app, identify plants on your walk.
    • Plant species identification; read over the guides for plant care.
  • Use cardinal directions to describe your route.
    • We’re walking northwest, we need to walk ______ to get home.
  • Compare and contrast lawns.
  • Discuss make and models of cars.
  • Calculate elapsed time
    • It took 15 minutes to walk this block, 10 minutes to walk this block, what time will we arrive home?
  • Discuss what happened today.
  • Discuss the weather.
  • Discuss plans for the week.
  • Recite poems, song lyrics, favorite stories.

Generating a conversation means generating vocabulary. Discussing concepts reinforces conceptual knowledge.

I know we are all struggling to find the time and inspiration for learning; it’s hard navigating multiple platforms and sitting in front of a screen all day. So, allow yourself a break, and know that learning can still happen, and still be fruitful, even on a simple walk.

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Education Platforms

I do not have all the answers. Despite all the research, the on-the-ground work, the constant reading, I’m still learning. I’m discovering new tools, new methods, new concepts, new ideas. That is both the curse and the beauty of education–it is in a constant state of change and evolution; the work and learning is never done.

Now, sometimes I have enough time and energy to read 10 books on a topic. I have enough time to discuss and debate with colleagues for hours, days. Other times, I want to learn but only have enough time and energy for a single thought, a single bit of reflection, or a single dose of inspiration.

When time is limited, I go to social media, blogs, and websites.

My favorite forums, ones that I highly recommend are:

Each of these speakers, experts, and platforms are incredible inspiration for me. If you click on any of them, or all of them, you will notice that they are equity-driven, equity-focused, resources.

Equity and access, mirrors and windows, providing the most welcoming inclusive education for students is the core of my work. So, I seek out material and places where I can work through short exercises, read about new concepts, or learn a new bit of information–and I seek it out daily.

If I have enough time to read a book, that’s good. If I only have enough time for an Instagram post, that’s still good, still worth recognition. Why? Because if it is the core of my work, if it drives me, if I am committed to it, then every moment–big and small–is an opportunity to increase my capacity. And with that in mind, if you only have a few moments, or if you need a daily dose of inspiration and reflection, I recommend checking out Dr. Courtney Rose, Love.Tanesha, Teach and Transform, Teaching Tolerance, The Conscious Kid, and the Zinn Education Project . . . and if you find other equally amazing platforms, definitely let me know!

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