Category Archives: Discussion Topics

New Ideas for Using Technology in the Classroom

In the past I have mentioned my intent to use more technology in the classroom. Here are a few ideas that I have been exploring more and more on a daily basis. Of course, this depends on the resources that you have available, but all you need to be able to truly do these things is to have a laptop with wireless or networking available, and also a projector. In order for your program to truly be successful, you also need your students to have computer/internet access at home or in a computer lab at school that they can use during their study hall hours.

#1–Nicenet. Located at www.nicenet.org, this is an amazing teacher tool, especially for challenging your gifted students or your high school students. Students love it for two reasons: They can use it to interact with each other outside of school walls and they can have more exciting assignments that can accomplish more in less time. Let me explain. Nicenet is an online bulletin board that you, as the teacher, control and moderate. It is a private site that is only accessible by you and your students. Therefore, you do not have the potential problem of outside advertisements or spam mail that could contain dangerous content for your students. You can use it to do the following things:

–Post a discussion topic or assignment for your students to independently “turn in” online.

–Allow students to write responses to each others’ entries and start a discussion stream.

–Post links to websites for reading or youtube videos that fit into classroom goals.

#2–Youtube. Located at www.youtube.com, this is a tremendous resource for teachers. You do have to be careful of what content you are using–many sites are student-developed and may not contain accurate information. (Similar to the issue with Wikipedia.) However, they can provide an excellent anticipatory set or introduction to material. ESL students especially can focus with Youtube, especially if content vocabulary is introduced ahead of time. When my students read FDR’s “The Four Freedoms” speech in their books, they were able to hear the audio of Franklin D. Roosevelt giving the speech. Teachertube is another site similar to Youtube that contains academic videos that you can search according to subject area. Just remember that sometimes they videos need to be “buffered” or uploaded ahead of time so that they will play smoothly. You can do this by pausing the video and waiting a few minutes before playing it.

#3–Microsoft Powerpoint presentations. With the appropriate technology, teachers can quite easily use this powerful visual tool for presenting information. I suggest giving a Powerpoint presentation while asking students to fill out graphic organizers. It gives them a format for notetaking to keep them on task while you take care of your Powerpoint direct instruction of content. You can make it also more interactive by using a Powerpoint to create games and quizzes for students as a tool for review. You can also use it to show students primary sources that can be found online.

#4–Edmodo. So much controversy has bloomed over whether teachers should be using Facebook or connecting to their students’ Facebook pages. I personally do not “friend” my students or allow them to “friend” me. In my opinion, it is best to keep a professional distance from the personal lives of my students and avoid any issues that may arise as a result. However, I recently ran into a kind of Facebook alternative–one that allows a teacher to message her students, post documents and links, and maintain a calendar independently. This option is located at www.edmodo.com. If Nicenet gets too complicated in format for your younger students (say, Middle school or Upper Elementary), this new tool may be the answer to keeping your class in one private location where the focus is professional, not personal. Some of the tools provided by your school’s technology (such as Renweb or Edline) may overlap with this tool, but you can certainly control some of the design functions and use it in different ways. It’s a brand new tool offered through TeacherTube, which mean it may have a few glitches left to work out. After I’ve had a chance to set up my site, I’ll review it and let you know what I think!

In the meantime, I highly encourage all teachers to think outside of the box and actively push yourself to understand how to use technology. Don’t give excuses that you are too old to learn, but actively seek ways to be innovative with your classes. If you don’t know how to use the technology, ask someone who does to show you. Use whatever resources that you have available. Your students will thank you and you will appreciate it when they appear more engaged and ready to participate in your classroom activities. I personally have been astonished at the depth I have found in my students’ Nicenet responses. In most cases, it is more in-depth than I would ever receive in a classroom discussion since it eliminates fear of public speaking and encourages contribution and interaction. Don’t be afraid to try new things! Old dogs CAN learn new tricks!

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Substitute Teachers

Our experience with substitute teachers varies widely. Sometimes our last interaction with substitute teachers was back in high school, when one entered our history or math classroom. (Note: these are the types that tend to chuckle over the memories of those experiences.) Some of us have been substitute teachers ourselves, which makes us appreciate the difficulty of settling down a classroom that is not used to accepting a substitute teacher’s authority.

Which brings me to my biggest question for this post: How responsible should a mainstream teacher be for the experience of his/her substitute teacher? In today’s public schools, a teacher need only email in a lesson plan or two (which may include spontaneous “study halls) and then allow the school to do the digging for the substitute teacher. Once I was a long-term substitute for a teacher on maternity leave who left very brief, vague outlines with little to no notes or suggestions other than–“you can use my files if you like.” Granted, there are good substitute teachers and there are bad substitute teachers. I have seen some substitutes spend an entire class period on the computer or putting on makeup while their students wander throughout the classroom. I have seen other substitutes that just yell at students the entire period. But, in my personal opinion, the success of a substitute teacher in the classroom really runs both ways.

Rule #1: The way you prepare your classroom for a substitute teacher really reflects on your commitment to your classes.

Is teaching just a “job” to you? Chances are that the only reason you’ve lasted in this profession is because somewhere down deep inside of you, there is a true and lasting commitment to the learning and social experiences of your students. And if this is the case, you need to keep in mind how much your students miss of that learning time when you fail to adequately prepare your class. My students are aware that my policy is an automatic detention if I hear any information about student disobedience, disrespect or out of control behavior while a substitute is in charge. While for myself I will take aside a student and question them, listening to their version of events, students know that I will not ask them questions, not accept explanations and that they will simply take the punishment as given. Sound harsh? Well, it certainly eliminates the possibility of the student trying to usurp the authority of the substitute by assuming that I will take his/her word over the teacher’s description of events. Students make an extra-special effort to treat the teacher with dignity, knowing that they will be held responsible for their actions with or without my presence in the classroom. Before I went on maternity leave, I communicated with my students about which substitute would be chosen, and even gave them some “transitioning” assignments that allowed them to thoughtfully anticipate the changes that they might experience. These types of activities are essential in making sure that a class does not take advantage of a substitute teacher in the classroom or cause transition conflicts for the substitute.

Rule #2: When you leave your substitute teacher in the dark, you should expect that they will not necessarily always make the best decisions about classroom management, lesson planning, student discipline or class organization. Not all substitutes are experienced classroom teachers. Also, even an experienced classroom teacher will benefit from knowing your procedures and teaching methods ahead of time. Not that they have to use every single method you use, but they should at least know what the students are used to and which procedures will help them feel comfortable in the transition. When you leave scanty lesson plans (a.k.a. “study hall”), you can expect that your substitute will have difficulty at some point controlling the noise level over a 40-minute class period. Before I went on maternity leave, I left detailed semester outlines not only of the content that needed to be taught, but also suggestions about which specific textbook items to use, ideas for activities/projects and files organized by month for each class. I also copied my USB items onto a USB for the long-term substitute, realizing the amount of work it takes to reinvent the wheel. Save your substitute time, and he/she will be more effective and likeable to your students. Allow your long-term sub to contact you via email or telephone for the first week, then let them go. By then you have done your job.

To summarize, in case I haven’t been clear enough, it really is the responsibility of the mainstream teacher to complete his/her professional duties with responsibility and recognition of the consequences of decisions made in regards to substitute teachers. If you have not shown enough professional respect for the substitute, the students will not show respect for the substitute either. It is not your job to teach the class for the substitute and remain in contact every second during a maternity leave. However, you should at the very least do your best to make the transition as easy as possible for both students and substitutes. This allows students to learn appropriate behavior toward authority and also earns you the respect of substitutes who will always want to sign up for your classes in the future.

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Schools, Kids and Nutrition

I find it very disturbing that, despite all of our concerns about American obesity and all of the physical health issues that go with it, we still have schools and parents that do not take responsibility for the nutrition of children, which is where our first education about nutrition begins!

Let me break it down for you, parents. You are your child’s first model of how to eat correctly and how to eat well. If you are inconvenienced by cooking, it does not excuse reliance on fast foods or artificial, processed products for the primary meals of your child. If you treat your body poorly, your child will do the same. Think of it this way. You work hard for your money, but consciously eating well is not just helping you; it is also helping your child. There are some easy changes you can make in your diet that would not take nearly as long as you think.

Tips:

–Start buying and using whole wheat or multigrain pasta instead of the regular kind. There is not much cost difference, and it doesn’t really taste much different. Just be sure to make sure it is thoroughly cooked and that there is sufficient olive oil in your pot to avoid sticking.

–Make the switch from processed white bread to whole wheat or multigrain bread. (It’s SO much different!)

–Slowly take your whole milk down to 2% milk, then to 1% milk and finally to skim milk so that your child adapts to the new taste.

–Buy natural peanut butter that contains Omega 3’s and flax/linseed oil. The No-sugar or reduced sugar Smuckers jellies can also help you make those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches healthy!

–Try pureed carrots to add to your spaghetti sauces or even spinach, if your kid doesn’t object to the color green.

–Limit the meat intake on a given plate, but allow for seconds on the vegetables and whole-wheat bread.

–Offer fruit as dessert. Canned fruits in heavy syrup do little for your child. If you must buy canned, look for the ones canned in plain water.

–Find fat-free salad dressings to use in all kinds of yummy flavors. Experiment with different salad ingredients such as putting grapes, oranges, grapefruit or spinach leaves in the salad. Make it look pretty and inviting.

–Kids tend to like finger foods, so take the time to pull the grapes off of the stems for your kids or put together a little baggie of baby carrots or cucumber slices with some dressing.

–Some yogurts contain less sugar than others. Look for “natural” or “organic” yogurts that can aid your child in digestion and immunity. Gelatin is also good for the skin and is cheap to buy in little cups.

–Fat-free puddings are a good way for your child to get a chocolate fix without ice cream or candy bars.

–Don’t send your kid to school with money every day unless you are guaranteed that they will not be spending it on chips, chocolate and sodas from the vending machine. Look at the school’s lunch menu, and do not assume that the school is looking out for your child’s best nutritional interest. (You want to know how much salt and fat is in the “turkey chunks and gravy potatoes” dish? What about the mac and cheese or the chicken fingers?)

I hope that some of these tips help you out as parents. I also hope that some of you will also make some of these dietary changes. Parents, we need to stop abusing our bodies so that we can give more and be more for our kids. Waiting for an illness or a dysfunction in immunity to take place before making lifestyle changes is not good enough! Love your child by loving yourself!

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New Textbooks?

Although small schools often work from small budgets, they should always be looking for new ways to improve the resources that they use, and make sure that their textbooks are designed to be used within the framework of their school setup. For example, some textbooks (such as A Beka or Accelerated Christian Education) are typically designed to be used for homeschooling environments. Others, such as ACSI’s Purposeful Design, are more geared toward private Christian schools.

Sometimes as teachers and parents we tend to panic when faced with change. We’ve taught out of such-and-such textbook for so long, and saved all of the materials we needed, and learned how to “make it work,” that the idea of a textbook change is scary and requires too much time and effort. Not only that, it is a huge investment of money as well. A school needs to be committed to a textbook change since money invested cannot be easily returned. But it doesn’t mean that we have to be afraid of change or that we have to feel guilty if we can’t figure out the new curriculum resource right away. Keep in mind the following hints for success in working with new resources:

1. Learning to use a new textbook really well sometimes takes a few years. So here you are, in your second or third year of teaching, and your school just changed textbooks. What about all that stuff you already developed? Do you have to throw it all away? No, not really. Most textbooks are very similar in terms of the content they cover. A literature textbook, for example, may be organized slightly differently, but may include many of the same authors. Don’t be so quick to throw out all of the materials you have developed over time. Take a look at some of the “quick” tools your new textbook offers such as printable worksheets, quizzes, tests, etc., and make use of them during the first year until you can get your bearings. When you see a way to develop materials to supplement the primary resource in a way that improves the quality of instruction, the rule is “JUST DO IT!” If it works out well, SAVE IT! If it doesn’t, THROW IT AWAY!

2. Communicate with others about the snags you run into with the new resource. Most private schools have a department head of some sort. If you are having difficulties, try writing down the problems that you are experiencing and examples of how you experienced them. Do not make generalizations such as “It just doesn’t work” or “It doesn’t give enough guidance.” Instead, tell your supervisor exactly which areas of the textbook caused snags and debunk the problem. In some cases, you can sort out the issues with your supervisor, fellow teachers or even with the textbook publishers, who may be willing to send your school a representative that can answer questions. Our school recently switched to Scott Foresman language arts books for elementary. When the representative came down to speak with us, she not only gave us access to a website for additional help, but gave us her personal email if we should have further questions. For homeschooling parents, there are plenty of connective websites out there to help you educate your child in the best way possible. Make use of the knowledge and experience of others!

3. Have an open mind, and be willing to change your teaching methods. Are you used to a textbook that encouraged a lot of direct instruction? Perhaps you are happy when your classroom is quietly working in their rows or completing worksheets and homework. What are you supposed to do with a new textbook that encourages use of technology, group work, interactive instructional techniques and perhaps even a little bit of noise in the classroom? Believe it or not, it is possible to have an interactive, yet orderly classroom. For some, it may appear noisy, but when you look at the students and their independent and group work, you can clearly see that learning is taking place. Find new and creative ways of approaching your textbook. Don’t panic when you are out of your comfort zone of direct instruction. Instead, find methods of setting up your classroom and instruction that gives you the best of both worlds–a highly dynamic yet well-managed environment.

4. Realize that you will need to spend time to make your textbook work.  Don’t expect the textbook to do the work for you. Don’t just spend the entire year relying only on the textbook and its accompanying supplements. Develop, create, invent, research, investigate, add, and enhance your curriculum. These skills are the responsibility of every teacher regardless of the textbook he or she is using. There is no such thing as a perfect textbook that already contains absolutely everything that you might need. If you are annoyed with the textbook for not providing better anticipatory sets, then create your own! If you are not given tips on how to approach vocabulary, complete some research on vocabulary instructional strategies and learn how to make the vocabulary in the book work for you. You may not be able to do all of your development in one year, but you can at least get a good start and build off of it next year. Don’t just allow yourself to be paralyzed in panic so that you convince yourself you don’t have time or enough creativity to pull it off. Experiment, and don’t be afraid to start or stop a teaching technique that isn’t functioning.

5. Be secure and confident in yourself as a teacher. Teachers, for some reason, tend to be very insecure about their classrooms. So many of us load up on the guilt and end up rejecting constructive criticism out of hurt feelings. Don’t be resentful when someone tries to show you a better way. Don’t automatically assume that they are wrong as a form of self-protection. At the same time, be confident in your skills as a teacher and assess yourself regularly. Ask yourself some key questions at the end of a lesson–what did I do right? What could I have done better? How can I make the lesson less boring? How can I increase the level of academic skills in the lesson? What confused the students and how can I teach it better next time?  At the end of each quarter, assess yourself and your teaching methods. Ask yourself: Am I getting through to the students? How is my classroom management? What improvements can I make next quarter? What improvements will have to wait until next year? If you are constantly growing and improving, you are doing your job as a teacher. We all make mistakes and we can all improve our skills, regardless of the years of experience we may be carrying with us.

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Combating Racism in the Christian Classroom

I am always disappointed when I hear negative comments about the Christian community ignoring social issues such as racism. It happens in our churches, but we ignore it. It happens in our culture and in our world, yet we do not necessarily equip our youth to see it for what it is and do something about it.

Christian school teachers, in my opinion, are even more called to train their students to understand racism in all of its ugly forms, not as an outside entity (It happens “over there” to “some people” in “other places”), but as a continuous process of stereotyping, negative attitudes and discriminatory perceptions. Why is this part of our mission? It is an issue that it NOT political; it is a matter of ethics. Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, we can appreciate the fact that a black American has finally made it to the Presidency and celebrate that fact by encouraging our youth to take advantage of education opportunities. We can take it upon ourselves to motivate our students to develop positive identities and role models within the African American community.

As a little white girl from rural Western NY, it is difficult for me at times to believe that I have a voice in helping to stop racism. I’m tempted to just say, “What do I know about racism? I’m one of the privileged majority. What right do I have to draw the attention of my multicultural students to the dangerous mindsets that perpetuate racism? Don’t they already know more than I do about these issues?” In this sense, it is not about white or black–we all have a part and a duty to train students to see clearly. Yes, my students may have had more personal experiences concerning racism. But it doesn’t necessarily make them mature thinkers in terms of how to react to these experiences and how to pinpoint how they affected their identity and their responses to society.

The interesting part is that in one of my very multicultural classrooms, where each student comes from a different ethnic/regional background, I found my students making blanket statements such as, “Black people create their own stereotypes” or “If they don’t receive a quality education, it is their own fault.” Now that my students have opened the can of worms dialogue, how can I guide them toward appreciating African American culture? These discussions came as a result of reading Zora Neale Hurston’s book Their Eyes Were Watching God and I found myself growing discouraged. What is the point of introducing such a beautiful, lyrical, important multicultural text if my students just aren’t “getting” it?

The solution to this problem that I am pondering right now is to get together some of the variety of women from the U.S., Panama and other Latin American countries who have successfully established themselves in a career field. My preference would be to choose a variety of women who come from different economic brackets, who can not only speak on the African-American female experience in a way that is relevant to the novel, but can also open up dialogue from personal experience concerning racism and how it has affected them. Will this work? I certainly hope so. Feel free to respond with your own ideas or comments.

One thing is for sure in my mind. Whenever students believe that racism is dead in their particular area of the world, or that it is someone else’s problem and not their problem, we cannot in good conscience permit that mindset to go unanswered. The danger lies in pretending that simply because we do not perceive aspects of racism or that it is not as visible in certain regions as in others that it has simply erased itself from society. How can we motivate students in the black community to rise above racism and believe in their own achievement? How can we encourage students to take advantage of educational opportunities offered to them instead of thinking, “That’s not for someone like me.” How can we show that we believe in our students, regardless of their racial background?

Let’s make our Christian school students aware of the issues around them, instead of just ignoring them because we believe they might be outside of their personal experience. We don’t stop teaching the Holocaust simply because we don’t happen to have any Jewish students in the classroom, so let’s not take teaching multicultural literature for granted.

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Obama and McCain on Education: What Is In Store for Christian Education?

I must say that the election between Obama and McCain is storing up to be a very close race. And why shouldn’t it be? This is democracy at work, a moment that very well may be historical–either by the election of our first female VP, or by the election of our first black President. And on that level, I am very happy to be an American citizen where leadership is not necessarily limited by race or gender in our governmental system. However, both candidates have certain pros and cons to their stance on the issue of education, which I would like to attempt to deal with on this blog (at the possible expense of combining the interests of both Christian schooling and politics, which very well may get me drawn and quartered, depending on the level of tact involved).

The topic of this blog concerns ONLY the issue of the future of Christian schooling, and does not necessarily address the myriad of other issues at stake in this election. I am simply discussing the differences between McCain’s campaign on education and Obama’s campaign on education and what that means for those of us who working in Christian education. Obviously, a vote should depend on a wide variety of philosophical ideals, not necessarily just on one pet issue that a voter feels strongly about.

Today I looked through McCain and Obama’s official websites. Since I found myself so divided, I thought it might help to check out what they, in their own words (or rather in the words of their speechwriters), have decided to stand for should they be elected into office. Today’s Christian voters, it seems to me, have more diverse party affiliations than in year’s past, and are now choosing to vote based upon the quality and quantity of information that they can gather about both candidates. In my efforts to be an informed voter, I thought that I should check it out and decide for myself which candidate appeals to me.

In terms of education, John McCain’s official website states, “Public education should be defined as one in which our public support for a child’s education follows that child into the school the parent chooses. The school is charged with the responsibility of educating the child, and must have the resources and management authority to deliver on that responsibility. They must also report to the parents and the public on their progress” (Issues, Education). McCain follows that idea with the concept that “If a school will not change, the students should be able to change schools . . . parents should be empowered with school choice to send their children to the school that can best educate them just as many members of Congress do with their own children” (Issues, Education). 

In terms of Christian schooling, private schools other than charter schools usually start out as fledgling academies using the best possible resources available until they have room and money to grow. I do not hold that all public schools are bad places for students, as some Christian conservatives do, but it is clear that we are at the point where we should finally acknowledge not only the inevitable inequities of school funding and school quality, but we should also acknowledge the fact that each student as an individual is different and education does not necessarily have to be a cookie-cutter base of knowledge. I myself went to a small 25-student Christian school until my senior year of high school, and I found that my gifts and abilities allowed me to make the switch quite fluidly. It’s not the size of the school or the availability of things like baseball fields, football teams and swimming pools that make a child’s education great. Otherwise, why would we have so many successfully homeschooled children? A parent who chooses to homeschool their child is a parent who is going to be the most caring and concerned teacher that their child would ever find in any school. Trust me, those parents feel a strong sense of responsibility toward their child’s education, and are not doing it out of a whim. On that level, the rights of parents to homeschool and the rights of parents to choose a Christian school should be honored. Particularly since all of the original schools and universities in the U.S., including good ole Yale, were seminaries at one time, and literacy once meant that you could read and interpret the Bible. (I especially liked the dig that Congress people are already making the choice to send their kids to outside schools. What would happen if all of Congress were required to send their kids to their local public school?) 

Obama’s website also contains some good information about what he plans to do, such as making math and science education a priority by recruiting strong teachers in those subject areas. He also plans on expanding middle school intervention support to lower the dropout rate and expanding afterschool and summer programs. According to his website, “Obama will address the dropout crisis by passing his legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school – strategies such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time” (Issues, Education). Obama has also promised on his website to “double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more children” (Issues, Education). Perhaps the most exciting initiative for me, as a teacher is to see that “Obama supports transitional bilingual education” as a means of providing support for English Language Learners.

Although McCain is an advocate for school choice, his targets for public education do not seem clear or specific. It seems as though he is “fixing” the problem by not fixing it. Instead, he is simply giving parents to the freedom to go elsewhere if they are disgruntled with their local public schools. He does believe that “our schools can and should compete to be the most innovative, flexible and student-centered – not safe havens for the uninspired and unaccountable. He believes we should let them compete for the most effective, character-building teachers, hire them, and reward them” (Issues, Education). But other than asking schools to compete for teachers and leaving it up to the free enterprise system of supply and demand, McCain’s policies offer no real answers for public school funding or teacher recruitment problems. However, McCain’s choice stance does work out well for those schools who are working to be recognized and are trying to avoid discrimination in their local communities. Homeschoolers and small Christian schools may want to vote for McCain’s stance on education for this reason.

However, assuming that Obama’s promises to fund programs and carry out the well-intentioned by poorly-organized NCLB into the 21st century hold water, he is the more logical candidate to support when it comes to working within our public schools for change. We certainly should be concerned that many students do not have a choice to homeschool or go to a charter school, and are left with only the option of public school. Are we willing to sacrifice the needs of all of those students in order to make a statement about our right to choose? By the way, Obama never mentions in his website about whether he will pass legislation limiting a parent’s right to choose a private or charter school. It might be a good question to ask. He does, however, promise to also provide teacher scholarships to aid in teacher recruitment and create Teacher Residency Programs in order to provide teachers with the preparation they need to succeed. In addition, he is going to campaign for teachers to have “paid common planning time” so that they are better capable of working in collaboration (Issues, Education).

So does this answer all of my questions? Not really. It does, however, give me a good idea of which questions to ask. Do you happen to have any questions concerning McCain and Obama and their views of education? Feel free to comment and we can all try to answer them together.    

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Up To Your Ears in Paperwork?

You’re not alone. At least 50% (if not more) of teaching requires ugly, nasty, boring, time-consuming paperwork. Where does all this paperwork come from? From my experience, it comes from the following:

  • lesson planning and grading
  • communicating with parents via email/notes
  • writing and modifying assessments
  • documenting missing work from students
  • working with the resource department (and by this, I mean REALLY working with them, not just checking the boxes.)
  • printing and copying
  • professional development work
  • writing out detentions/disciplinary forms or reports

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list.

So many college students decide upon a teaching profession because it seems like simple solution to getting a job once they graduate. Some are also under the mistaken notion that teaching is easy. It usually takes about a few months in the profession to quash that concept.

But before we get frustrated and negative about paperwork, let’s think about all the wonderful things that the paperwork actually does, assuming that we are filling it out in a disciplined, thoughtful way.

  • It allows us to grow as teachers and create more exciting activities for our students.
  • It allows us to help parents become better at their jobs and us to become better at reaching the student before they get to the point of giving up.
  • It allows us to treat all students fairly and meet their different needs in a more effective way.
  • It allows us to keep track of student work before they get so far behind that they can’t catch up.
  • It allows us to work more effectively with LD and ED students and reflect caring by making stronger connections with the Resource professionals.
  • Printing and copying are two functions that we can sometimes take for granted. I know of many school districts who impose very strict printing and copying restrictions on their teachers or even block off the copier with impossible codes! This function allows us to take advantage of so much from giving students typewritten tests and quizzes to including visuals and manipulatives in our classroom activities.
  • It allows us to achieve our credits and maintain active and up-to-date in our profession.
  • It helps us train students how to be self-disciplined and choose appropriate social behavior, taking learning beyond the academic aspect of the classroom to a level of life enrichment.

Thus, paperwork, unfortunately, is a necessary evil. (I know, it was hard to reconcile myself to it also.) Try to remember that next time you’re sitting next to a stack of essays, or trying to grade a constructed project sitting on your classroom floor. Try to remember that next time you get annoyed at having to keep paper records of your grades. Try to remember that when you get to the point of wondering why on earth you became a teacher in the first place. And also remember: We’re all in the same boat.

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