I saw this article and I really do not know what to think. Incoming grade 9s complete social profiles which they exchange with teachers. Students indicate their hobbies, interests, and information about their families. Teachers do the same. Personally, as a teacher, I am not comfortable sharing all that information with all of my students. I agree it is important to create a warm and welcoming environment for our students but I think there is a line to be drawn. Teaching is my job, career, and vocation but it is not my social life.
I would be interested to read what others think.
I was recently shown this wonderful TEDTalk by Rita Pierson. She talks about what students need and provides another viewpoint about the teaching profession.
I posted this because I agree with what she says. Students need relationships – appropriate ones – with their teachers. As a student I always did better in classes where I liked the teacher and I am not conceited enough to think I am alone in that! As an educator I strive to develop rapports with my students and when I teach teachers, I tell them to do the same.
For many students we are the most stable adult role model they have. Without that rapport, what do they have? There is a saying “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Perhaps cheesy but it is so true. People are more forgiving when you make mistakes if they know you are trying.
In special education it can take some time to really get the accommodations right for a student. There are standard accommodations but if you really want to customize a program to suit a student, you cannot grab something off the shelf! You try and reflect. If it doesn’t work can it work if tweaked? If not, need you start at square one with something else? And so on.
I had to laugh when Rita says that the students you have the most difficulty are always excellent attenders! Sometimes that is very true. But really, those kids are the ones you often make the biggest difference with. I won’t go as far as to say I didn’t like any students but really you have to think about the fact that if the student is showing up every day because he/she has a positive relationship with you, and you aren’t all that thrilled with the kid, then what are his/her other relationships like? Put it into that perspective and you will often find that you do in fact like the student.
I saw this audition on Britain’s Got Talent and had to post it on my blog. Here is a 14 year old boy with Cerebral Palsy who is a stand up comedian. Ok, he admits he cannot stand. So I am not sure if the term applies but he is brilliant, and proves yet again that people should be viewed for their strengths and not their weaknesses. I hope he gets all the way through.
I was sent this very interesting article about a West Virginia student who spoke out against a speaker her principal was bringing into the school. The speaker was advocating abstinence for teens but added in many inaccurate facts such as “.. every instance of sexual contact will lead to a sexually transmitted disease..”.
The principal actually threatened to call the college this student has been accepted to in the fall, and tell them she is of bad character.
This raises an interesting situation. What would you do if your principal and/or administration was using the school to forward his/her/their own personal agenda? As a student? As a teacher?
In my school board we had a situation a few years ago where the administration was aware of sexual assaults occurring in the washrooms but did nothing about it. Needless to say, when the situation came to light, the entire administration team was removed from office. Teachers were given the direction that if something is in appropriate and not being addressed by the administration team, then the teacher must report it to the Superintendent/Supervisory officer.
In this case I am assuming the school is a public one, but one does not know. Public schools have more accountability ultimately in my opinion. Where was the school board in all of this?
I saw this use of cell phones and technology and knew I had to share this article. This is the first time that I have heard of google being used to teach oral language skills in another language. I mean I have heard of sales people using google translate when they have a customer who does not speak English, for example, but I have not heard of teachers using a variation of this so that students can practice oral language skills. Excellent idea!
On the cell phone front, this week I gave my GLE (learning strategies) class two apps to use for organizing their work. Remember the Milk is a great to do list that you can incorporate in your class. At the end of class ask students to type in their homework on the app!For those with more need to organize work and time, there is pomodoro which is not only a to do list but also provides you with the capability to work in a 25 minute slot. After the 25 minutes are up, you get a 5 minute break. I won’t know until next week if these apps were effective, but the students were thrilled that I gave them FREE apps to upload.
Although not totally relevant to teaching, it is nice to learn that Mark Wahlberg is enrolled in online courses to get his high school diploma! After dropping out in Grade 9, and making millions modelling, rapping, and acting, he admits that if his career sours, he will likely have to work at McDonalds, etc. He dropped by a Virginia secondary school to encourage students to stay in school. Here’s the article.
I am a bit behind in my reading, but using Dr. Seuss to teach math really grabbed my attention. Math is not one of my strong subjects and I tend not to teach it, but even a non-math teacher could see the benefit of teaching math using Dr. Seuss as stated in this Huffingtonpost blog
I saw this interesting article in Today’s Parent. Although it is not medical journal quality, I think it presents some quick to read, good ideas not only for parents of children with Autism but for those who are meeting ASD children for the first time.
Certainly one has to realize that none of us are identical and we all have strengths and challenges. For the ASD child these challenges may be more apparent than in other people, but that does not mean these people do not have strengths. Many ASD people are hired as computer programmers, for example. It is my understanding that for some of the major computer firms, being ASD is almost a requirement since they have found the work of ASD people to be superior to that of the rest of us.
I would definitely advocate for looking for your child’s strengths and interests and starting there. From my experience most ASD students delve deeper into topics that interest them than anyone else does and can be a wealth of information for the class, and even to provide little known facts for teachers.
So, please join me in celebrating World Autism Day.
I saw this article and wanted to pass it on. Up here in Toronto we have had dual credits with colleges and universities for several years and they work very well. I have seen many successes. I have seen students who are dedicated to their university or college course and slack on their secondary credit courses. I have not seen anyone who failed their university course, but then again, I haven’t looked.
Another great couple of programmes we have in Toronto is a police foundations course and we had a dental hygenist course (not sure of the latter is still going). In both of these cases the students actually received their first semester of their programme while still in secondary school. There was a cost incentive for the students as they did not have to pay for that first semester. Competition, as you can imagine was very tough and I know the college offering police foundations commented that all of our students did incredibly well once they were in the full time college programme.
Personally, one of the first things I do when talking to an at-risk (of dropping out) student is what he/she wants to do after they finish high school. In most cases they do not know. I often find with out that goal to anchor them, the students just float aimlessly through school so it is easy to see why they do not excel. I then talk to them about their likes and hobbies and where they could possibly take that as a career. We look up places to volunteer to get some experience (and those 40 hours of volunteer work they need to graduate) and having that can often bring them back into the fold.
I think the dual credit takes that even further because it gets them on the road to their future. They can see something tangible which makes a huge difference. So, good for Carly Hill in Ill. for bringing in this programme.
I absolutely love this presentation because it concisely says something I have been saying the first day of every class I ever taught. I will not tolerate homophobic, racist, or sexist comments in my classroom. Should a student make one of those comments, I INSIST on an apology letter. Inevitably the student it was said to will say, “He/she doesn’t have to do that. I know he/she didn’t mean it.” My response in this case is, “The apology letter is for me. I am offended to have to listen to that.”
I strongly recommend that all teachers take a similar stand so that all students feel safe, welcome, and cared about, in our classrooms.