Teacher Tip #7

Purge.

You’re cleaning up your classroom. You’re taking down bulletin boards. You’re taking down anchor charts. You’re removing decorations. You’re packing away books. Right now, you have the momentum, time, and energy to purge.

You do not need everything in your classroom. Some of the things you own are destroyed, and cannot be repaired. Some of things you own will not suit your next assignment. Some of the things you own are already outdated. Some of the things, well, you just didn’t use and don’t see yourself using in the future.

Take a step back. Look carefully at what is in front of you. What do you really need?

Consider the following:

  • Making a box for new teachers next year.
  • Giving things to other teachers in your building.
  • Giving things to students.
  • Donating to a local library or summer program.
  • Throwing things away.

It is better to give things away than let them collect dust. If you haven’t used it in a couple of years, give it to someone that can use it.

It is better to give things away than throw them in the trash. Kids want those anchor charts they made with you. Those incomplete marker sets can mean the world to your students. It’s okay to give your students some things to take home.

It is better to make space in your room for new things than to find yourself cluttered, taking things home, or opening a storage unit.

Right now, as you wrap up the year, look closely and carefully, and purge.

Monthly Advice–May 2

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10. It’s just one week, but in reality the whole month of May is a great time to snag some deals as an educator.

May is hectic. It’s the end of the race and the race was long. In between grading those final papers, finishing report cards, filling out all other forms of paperwork, cleaning and packing your classroom, I say: treat yourself!

Teacher Appreciation is only one week, and National Teacher Appreciation Day (May 7) is just a day, but that love and appreciation offered and demonstrated actually extends through the whole month of May.

Availability is not guaranteed everywhere but take¬†a look at these deals¬†— find something each week to help you finish strong, or simply pamper yourself. Go to your local district website too, they often post regional and local deals.

So, my added May advice: find a teacher appreciation deal, and treat yourself.

Monthly Advice–April

For the most part, this year, spring break is in April; therefore, I must advise you:

Enjoy your spring break.

Take more than a day, or a weekend, away from work. Enjoy more than a weekend’s worth of time off.

No lesson planning, no grading, no time in the classroom–absolutely nothing work related–for as much time as possible during this break. Take an actual break.

You have earned this time off, you have earned this break, so please, please make sure to enjoy spring break.

 

Monthly Advice–March

This month, a bit of humor, and a bit of truth:

Spring fever is real.

March 20, 2019 is the first day of spring.

Spring fever is defined as: restlessness and excitement associated with the start of spring. It is further defined, and known as mood, emotional, and behavioral changes that result from the arrival of spring.

With record breaking cold and rains, with a polar vortex that made parts of the US colder than Antarctica, with my own sentiments that winter weather has lasted much too long, I most assuredly anticipate spring fever.

There’s nothing I can offer to help alleviate concerns, or ward off this illness, my advice is only to remind you, or tell you, that it exists.

Spring fever is real: either you will feel it, or your students will feel it, or your co-workers will!

Whoever catches it, just be kind–this too shall pass . . .

Teacher Tip #6

It’s just a test.

It seems that the end of February we start entering a delightfully misunderstood and stressful season: testing season.

There’s quarter tests and WIDA about this time of year. These are followed by state-standardized tests, which are then followed by the next set of quarter tests.

These state-standardized tests and quarter tests, if you’re in secondary, may overlap with PSATs, and special subject exams (think AP). There’s also, of course, every other normal test sprinkled in between all of these *big* *important* tests.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in elementary or secondary, there’s this near two-month testing window rapidly approaching and I’m here to remind you: It’s just a test.

I have fallen victim to the stress and I passed it onto my kids. Don’t do that. They’re already stressed, they already know that these things are a big deal. So, I implore you–remind them: It’s just a test.

  • It’s one day out of 180 this year.
  • It’s one day out of however many they have accumulated over the years.
  • None of these tests are measuring their kindness, their dedication, their hard work, their perseverance, or any number of far more important qualities and traits they possess as human beings.
  • Tests can be taken again.
  • Tests are singular snapshots; they do not measure every aspect of learning and growth.
  • Tests are subject to human and technological error.
  • Tests are like every other assignment–there will be multiple opportunities to show just how much they have learned; today, and this test, are not the only opportunity to demonstrate learning and growth.

Tests–state tests, district tests, exit exams–are important, but they’re not the most important determinant, measure, or indicator of educational excellence. Remember that, and remind your students too.