Worried About That Student on Your Class List? (Just remember these 5 things)

You don’t like what you are thinking. How you are feeling, They’re somebody’s kid. Someone’s world. But you can’t help it. Seeing her name on your class list has you worried. All you can think about are class disruptions, interrupted instruction and stand-offs.

Please know that that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. We’ve all have felt this way before and anyone that says they haven’t is either lying or has never had a class of their own. Don’t worry, you got this. Below are five suggestions that may help shift your mindset.

Don’t Buy-In to the Rumors

Sure, you’ve heard the student that is going to be in your class this year has a history of misbehavior and her discipline log entries take up three pages. Your colleagues breathed a sigh of relief when they saw that she wasn’t on their class roster. Okay, but guess what? She hasn’t been in your class before. She hasn’t had you for an entire year. You haven’t even met her yet.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ruby Payne, author of Emotional Poverty in All Demographics, about how teachers can maintain their emotional stability when students lose theirs. During our discussion, she pointed out that “the difference between a good and a bad behavior is compassion.”

What?

I used to thing that bad behavior was bad and good behavior was good and that was that (deep, I know). It was fairly cut and dry. But then I thought back to an incident that I witnessed ten years ago involving a student attacking another student. I remember my initial reaction and thoughts and I remember how everything changed once I learned all the facts. Once I learned of everything that led up to the incident, I had compassion. Take a moment to read this short piece where I go into more detail and I think you’ll see what I mean.

The bottom line is that you don’t know why she misbehaved in the past. But you owe it to her and you owe it yourself to start fresh and make your own impression. You could be her favorite of all time. The one she talks about twenty years from now when her friends ask her about the teacher that made a difference in her life.

Imagine being the person that helped rewrite this child’s lifescript. That’s powerful and definitely worth a shot. So, whatever you do don’t buy-in to what you’ve heard about this kid. Don’t you dare.

Don’t Believe the Movies

Who among us hasn’t been inspired at some point in our lives by the way that teachers in movies are able to magically transform students who are struggling into model students in a matter of weeks? From Dangerous Minds to Dead Poets Society, Lean on Me to Stand and Deliver, it’s mesmerizing to watch what these men and women are able to accomplish—on the screen.

On the other hand, we know that we are not Morgan Freeman or Michelle Pfieffer and this scares us. We see these movies for the first time when we are young and oftentimes they are what inspire us to go into education. But then the Hollywood Effect wears off and we have our first class—our first difficult situation in which we can’t figure out what to do what with hard-to-reach student. We think back to the movies and we say what Morgan Freeman said and we do what Michelle Pfieffer did. And it doesn’t work. And we are scared. And we think it’s us.

Can teachers transform lives like the characters in the movies? Yes and no. Yes, you can absolutely change the lives of students and impact them like these fictional and sometimes real-life characters did. But it often doesn’t happen as smoothly and as quickly as it does in the movies. Movie producers and script writers must tell a story in under two hours and the bumps and bruises aren’t always as exciting as the victories and transformed lives. So, we never have the opportunity to witness the entire story. Author Jon Acuff once said, “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

You Will Have Help

Often we think that we must go it alone. Turn this kid around all by ourselves. Yet, we are often the first person to offer help or lend a hand when it is needed. Then why is it that we are reluctant to ask for help?

I think we believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness—it signifies that we are unable to do our jobs. The thing is, nothing could be further from the truth. Schools have guidance counselors and social workers and coaches for a reason. Teaching is hard and it is meant not meant to be a solo act.

While some students may come to you well-adjusted and in need of little, there are others that are in need of help and resources from various stakeholders. That is why they are they are there. The services that some students need couldn’t possibly be one person alone. So, don’t hesitate to reach out.

They May Be There for You

Did you ever stop to think that maybe this particular student was put in your class such that you could get better? Yes, we are the ones that are being paid. Yes, we are the adults. And yes, we already have our degree.

But, what if this student that has you worried was somehow, someway, placed in your room to help you learn more about yourself. Maybe this student requires us to practice extreme patience. More than we have ever needed before. And maybe we do, over the course of the year or the semester, become a much more patient person.

We mustn’t forget that we are much more than educators. We are mothers and fathers and husbands and wives and friends and partners. Learning to be more patient at school will often help us become more patient at home.

I know. I know. It is hard to imagine that the angry, defiant student has something to teach us. But I’m betting they do. If we are open to the possibility. As Ryan Holiday reminds us in The Obstacle is the Way, changing the way we see obstacles can make all the difference as we go through life. We can hang our head when presented with difficult situations or we can believe that obstacles placed before us have the potential to help us grow. As the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius put it: “the impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

You Got This

I have been where you are. I know what it is like to see a student’s name on my class list and think the worst. It doesn’t make us bad people. It makes us human.

I’ve also had students that drove me crazy and struggled all year become the same ones that came back years later to give me a hug. Or stopped me in Target to say hello. They remembered me and I definitely remembered them. And while I remember wanting to pull my hair out at times, I will also never forget their mom telling me how much of a difference I made in their child’s life. And that was worth it.

Have a great year!

Additional Resources:

Maintaining Your Emotional Stability When Students Lose Theirs  interview with Ruby Payne

Best Year Yet a short story about a teacher and a student who met each other at just the right time

Fix? a short piece about the mistaken mindset that it is our job to fix students

Why I let 2 kids’ behavior ruin my school year (and what I wish I’d done differently) an incredibly transparent piece and accompanying podcast episode from Angela Watson

*If you would like to have my next article and my latest podcast episode delivered to your in box just click HERE. And as an extra bonus, when you sign up for my newsletter you will receive “A Teacher’s Blueprint To The Best Week Ever”. This is a free, 40 page pdf designed to help you have an awesome week. It’s not what you think, trust me.

Why We Shouldn’t Give 100%

Something has to change. Then again, maybe it’s just me.

I am paid a fair salary and my working conditions are good. And yet, it continues to bother me. So, until I make a change, it will continue to happen.

What am I talking about?

I am referring to the physical and mental state I am in when I arrive home each day.

When I walk through my front door, and sometimes before I even get inside, I am greeted by my seven-year old son who excitedly asks me, “What are we playing today Daddy?” Usually he has some type of ball in his hand and he is ready for action. The problem is, I am not. Ready for action that is. Most of the time my response is, “We’ll play later Buddy, Daddy just got home, he needs to rest for a little bit.”

Then my little bit often turns into an hour or two. Don’t worry, we play. But often it’s not for as long as he’d like and it’s not with energy and enthusiasm that he needs. I tell myself that I need to play longer but by the time we get outside and get going, our time together is usually less than 30 minutes. And I feel guilty.

That is ridiculous! I know I shouldn’t beat myself up over this. I mean I just wrote a piece titled You Are a Good Parent and yet here I am. And I do think I am a good parent. But I think I am giving too much of myself to my work. Don’t get me wrong, most educators put in much longer days than I do and most educators, teachers especially, have much more difficult jobs than I have.

But something’s doesn’t seem right. I am giving seven and half plus hours to my job and yet can barely find 20 minutes for my own son? To be clear, I am not giving seven and half hours, I am paid quite well. And I signed up for this. I know. I know. Stop complaining Jon.

This isn’t meant to be a complaint. I am thinking out loud. It’s been on my mind recently and earlier this week I came across a thought-provoking tweet and thread from John Spencer.

I would like to add-on to John’s tweet. Not only do students need well-rested teachers, children need well-rested parents, husband and wives need well-rested partners, friends need well-rested friends and we need well-rested minds and bodies.

Right about now you’re either thinking, Jon you’re in the wrong profession or Jon I feel you. And I respect and understand either reaction. I just know that I can’t continue to operate the way that I have been for years. It’s not healthy, it’s not fair to my family and it’s not fair to me.

Here comes some pushback. But Jon, what about the students, staff and parents that you are paid to serve each day. Don’t they deserve 100% from you every day? How can you give them less than everything that you have? You gotta go all in.

No I don’t.

And neither do you.

And here’s why.

Educators are burning out and quitting at an unprecedented rate. More and more folks in this profession are experiencing anxiety, depression and are just plain exhausted. Those of you that hire teachers each year knows what I am talking about. The summer months are a scramble just to fill positions. And teachers,  you can’t possibly give any more. In fact, as the title says, I think you should give less.

Blasphemy Jon!

How could you say such a thing?!?

Test scores will drop.

Children will suffer.

Teachers will sell-out.

To that my answer is …

Well, I don’t want to say what my answer is because I am trying to keep this clean.

Ok Jon, if you’re so smart, what do you propose? We can’t just tell our staff to give 90%. And if you’re a teacher, you’re thinking, I am not wired that way. It’s all or nothing baby.

Well I had an idea. And I tried it out yesterday. And it worked!

Tomorrow, today, when you’re ready. Make a conscious effort to save a little bit. Not much. Just 10%.

Don’t correct every mistake. Don’t expect a perfect lesson. Don’t demand that your class behave perfectly. And see what happens.

Well, I tried it yesterday. At lunch duty. I help supervise 4 lunch duties each day. It’s a great time to be with the kids and it helps to keep an orderly cafeteria. It can get loud at times. Well yesterday, I saved a little bit. There were a few times when it got just a little too loud for my liking. I was tempted to raise my voice and get everyone quiet. And I did, most of the time.

But not every time.

I saved a little.

And you know what? Everything worked out. The results were no different than the day before. But I had more energy when I left the building.

On my drive home I called my wife. I asked her to tell my son that we were playing football when I get home. Not later. Not in an hour. But when I get home. I could hear his excitement through the phone. I could feel it.

And I knew at that moment that saving 10% was what I needed to do from now on.

Try it today. Don’t tell anyone. But throughout the day make small conscious efforts to save a little here and a little there. I bet nobody will notice and I bet there will be no ill side effects.

Actually, I take that back. Your family will notice. Your friends will notice. And most importantly, you will notice.

It’s time to feel better.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

 

*If you would like to have my next article and my latest podcast episode delivered to your in box just click HERE. And as an extra bonus, when you sign up for my newsletter you will receive “A Teacher’s Blueprint To The Best Week Ever”. This is a free, 40 page pdf designed to help you have an awesome week. It’s not what you think, trust me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Teachers Should be Thinking About On Thursday

Just two days left before the weekend. If you’re having a tough week, just remember you’re almost there. And if you’re week is going well, then keep riding the wave. It’s easy to shrug your shoulders at Thursday because it’s not Humpday, like Wednesday and it’s not Friday, the last day before you get a little break. Don’t shrug it off though. Instead, try the three strategies below to make Thursday incredible.

Set Students Up for a Great Friday

Friday is often the most difficult day of the week for students. Misbehavior increases, stress and anxiety is elevated (often due to assessments being on Fridays) and students that have not earned the weekly incentive are already dreading the day.

Why not make Friday a day that students look forward to—no matter what.

Spend a portion of Thursday psyching your students up for what is going to happen on Friday. Maybe you decide to have theme days every Friday or every other Friday. Make it mismatch sock day and have a silly award to the student or adult who has the silliest socks. Students will come to school Friday just to see what their friends and the adults decided to wear. It may seem like a little thing, but it has the potential to change the mood in your room. Imagine, every time a student looks up, or down actually, they are going to see someone with socks that don’t match. They may not laugh out loud. They may not even make a sound. But inside, they smiled just a little. And that could make all the difference.

Now for some reason, and I was guilty, teachers and districts schedule at least one, if not several tests, every single Friday. Friday’s suck! Sorry, but I think inundating students with tests has taken much of the fun out of what for adults, has the potential to be a great day. Instead of celebrating a week of hard work, learning and exploration, we often have students sit for several hours bubbling in circles and double checking their work. I know, I know. Double checking your work is important. For students that are below level this is often a day where they rush and are reminded how behind they are. And for many other students, it’s a day that causes anxiety because they are expected to be perfect. No mistakes. Must get an A.

Okay, so if you have no say in your testing schedule and Friday had to be the day, then at least make it as enjoyable or as least painful as possible. And this begins on Thursday. Tell the students that you will be playing instrumental music during assessments. Don’t say classical because you will get eye-rolls and groans. Play instrumental music that students may already be familiar with. Hans Zimmer is my favorite. He wrote and produced the soundtracks for many of your students’ favorite movies; Transformers, The Dark Night Trilogy and the most recent Lion King. His music has energy and it is something that I promise you your students will recognize and enjoy. Another way to make assessments a little more palatable is to give kids a mint or even better, a Jolly Rancher during the test. Yes, they make be taking a test. But why not try to make the experience a little more pleasant? The key is to let your students know that all these things will be taking place on Friday. The key is planting the seed.

 

Watch One TED Talk

What I love about TED talks is that they are less than 20 minutes and they often teach me something I never knew. We often spend the bulk of our professional development learning about something that we hope will help us better master our craft. This makes sense. But I have found that we have become almost too specialized. It’s not our fault, we simply are conditioned to think that only educational stuff will help us become better educators. Rarely do we wander outside of our field when looking for ways to improve our craft.

I think we should and I think TED Talks are the perfect vehicle. For example, TED Talks such as Your body language may shape who you are, The danger of a single story and Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model were all talks that I found helped me become a better educator.

I didn’t watch either of these talks, expecting to learn something that would help me with my day job. But, each of the talks gave me insight, knowledge and awareness that I didn’t previously possess. David Epstein, author the New York Times Bestselling book Range noted:

 

“The labs in which scientists had more diverse professional backgrounds were the ones where more and more varied analogies were offered, and where breakthroughs were more reliably produced when the unexpected arose.”

 

In his book, Epstein explains how individuals who have a wide range of experiences and interests are often more effective and successful than those who simply specialize in one area. Now I’m not saying go out and get several other degrees. What I am saying is that by watching just one TED Talk a week, you would expand your knowledge such that you would have much more to draw on when solving problems within your field, teaching. No, you are not going to become an expert on body language or modeling by watching the aforementioned TED Talks. But what you will have are more diverse ways to attack problems that might come up in school.

 

Do 100 of Something

I am guessing that many of you, like me, are exhausted when you get home from work. You know you should head to the gym or go for a run. But you don’t. You want to spend time with your family, you have other obligations or you just want to relax. I get it.

That was me. And it kinda still is. With one small exception. Or to use James Clear’s term, one atomic exception.

Let me explain.

One of my major takeaways from Atomic Habits was that little changes, compounded over time, can have big effects. This was difficult for me for two reasons.

  • First, when I was younger, I used to think that a workout had to be at least 45 minutes and it had to be super intense. If I wasn’t sweating, grunting and groaning, then it’s wasn’t really a workout.
  • Second, social media inundates us with videos and infomercials that make us think that if we’re not following some prescribed workout regimen then we’re wasting our time.

Well, I have since been convinced otherwise. About two months ago, I began doing 100 reps of some exercise each day. The weights didn’t need to be heavy. I have 8 lb. weights sitting next to me as I am typing this piece. In fact, I don’t need weights at all. I could do push ups, squats, crunches, etc.

Most nights the 100 reps take me about 5 minutes. Some nights I do 4 sets of 25 and some nights I do 2 sets of 50. As long as I total 100 reps, it doesn’t matter how I get there.

At first, I didn’t see or feel much difference. But after about two weeks I started to notice my pants fitting better and my body feeling healthier. It was hard to believe, but one little habit compounded over time did make a big difference.

What does this piece have to with education or being a better educator?

Not a thing.

BUT.

It takes on a much more important topic.

YOU.

If you feel better then you will do better.

And I promise you, you can do 100 of something every day. Try it for a month and you’ll see what I mean. It’s time we allow ourselves to feel good. Oh, and it just happens that I recently had the chance to talk to James Clear about ways teachers can develop and stick with habits. Check out our interview by clicking here.

 

Finish the Week Strong

You’re almost there. Tomorrow is Friday. Hopefully you can look back on the week and smile. Hopefully you can look forward and be hopeful. Make Thursday awesome and you will set yourself up for a great Friday. And trust me, if you can win Friday, you can win any day.

 

*If you would like to have my next article and my latest podcast episode delivered to your in box just click HERE. And as an extra bonus, when you sign up for my newsletter you will receive “A Teacher’s Blueprint To The Best Week Ever”. This is a free, 40 page pdf designed to help you have an awesome week. It’s not what you think, trust me.

 

Related Resources:

What Teachers Should Be Thinking About on Friday

What Teachers Should Be Thinking About on Saturday

Your body language may shape who you are

The danger of a single story

Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Teachers Should Be Thinking About on Wednesday

Hump day!

I have never fully understood the hoopla that surrounds Wednesdays. Yes, halfway through the day the work week is halfway over. Yes, you sort of feel like the weekend is within sight. And yes, you begin to feel as if you have finally gained some momentum.

Okay, I get it now. Having said all that, I think there are 3 things you can do to make Hump … I mean Wednesday even better.

Make Time for a Quality Rest Period

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of Rest, is the founder of a company called Rest that is devoted to helping others understand and take advantage of the rest. I mean with chapters titled Walk, Nap and Sleep, how could it not be?

Now I have always been one to enjoy rest. I imagine we all have. But, while each of us appreciate it and enjoy it, are we deliberate about our rest? We think we get enough, but do we really? A weekend nap or midweek Happy Hour does not mean we are well rested. In fact, the later can mean the opposite.

I am here to say that I think Wednesday is the perfect day to plan and get the some important rest at just the right time. The rest that can help us finish the week strong. I know, we usually don’t associate Wednesdays with rest. For some reason, we tell ourselves that we can’t rest until Friday after the last bell rings.

What if we started treating Wednesdays differently? What if we strategically planned a solid hour to an hour and half rest period on Wednesday after school? It doesn’t need to be an expensive spa treatment and you don’t even have to leave your home. But there is one thing that I think is crucial. You must plan this period and treat it just as seriously as you do your teaching.

Maybe you live near the mountains or the beach and you set aside an hour or two to go for a peaceful walk without any of your devices. You might go on this walk/hike alone or with a friend or loved one. We all recharge differently.

Or you might plan on kicking back and watching one your favorite John Hughes movies with a bucket of popcorn and a soda. It’s just an hour and a half. But for that hour and half you are not thinking about what you have to do the next day. Instead, you’re laughing at John Candy or Anthony Michael Hall and wondering why they don’t make movies that good anymore.

Whatever you plan to do to relax isn’t as important as simply planning to relax. Don’t worry. I am sure you have a lot to do. There is always going to be something on your to-do list. But by making a conscious effort to relax on Wednesday evening you will be so much more ready for end of the week than your colleagues. Give it a shot.

Take Care of the Little Things that Can Become Big Problems

For some reason it always ends up being the little things that have the power to wreck our day. You’ve planned for the week, you’re bonding well with the new student and your class grasped adding fractions with unlike denominators in just one day.

But …

This morning while you were getting dressed for work you couldn’t find a pair of socks to match your outfit even though you own 50. The five minutes you spend finding a matching pair of socks was time that you usually spend drinking your coffee. And for some reason, probably because you trying to find socks that match, you left your coffee mug on your dresser. And it was full!

and

On the way to work you remembered that you needed gas. You didn’t even have enough gas to make it to work. The problem is that you had to help your daughter pick out an outfit that looked good with her new jeans and now you have 0 minutes to spare. Zero! You don’t have a choice. You must stop and get gas. This is going to make you late to work and you hate being late to work.

and

After a busy day at work you remember that both kids have practice this evening and you are not going to have time to make dinner. The only option is McDonalds but you have been trying to eat healthy and to be quite honest, you never liked their food anyway. So, you pick up food for your kids and spouse but you get nothing. By about 7:30 you feel your head begin to pound and you realize it’s because you have had anything to eat since the lunch. Plus you remember you never got your coffee this morning.

Wednesday is the perfect day to take care of the little things—ahead of time—so that they don’t become big issues. This way you finish the week strong.

Plan your outfits ahead of time. It doesn’t take that long. Yes, it may not be what you feel like doing at 9 o’clock at night. But I guarantee you, fifteen minutes one evening a week may just prevent you from morning hassles that have the potential to wreck your day.

Fill up your tank on Wednesday night. I know, you don’t really feel like driving across town—but make it a win-win. Find a podcast you enjoy. It may be for professional development or it may just be to make you laugh. By the time drive to the gas station, fill up your tank and return home, you will have listened to an entire episode.

Finally, we all know how difficult it can be to eat healthy or at the very least, eat happy. By eat happy I simply mean, enjoying what you eat and feeling full and nourished. It is so easy to lose track of the day. So, tonight write down seven tentative dinners. Half of them may be take out. Half may be microwave. Or half may simply be protein shakes. Either way, you have some sort of plan for what you are going to be having for dinner each night.

Notice Everything You Possibly Can About Several Students

I realize that at first this may sound like an odd request but trust me, there is solid reasoning behind this strategy.

Teaching is an incredibly difficult and complex profession. Being responsible for anywhere from 20 to 200 students can be overwhelming. Getting to know your students is important and yet it seems impossible with all that you are required to do in the course of a day, a week or a semester.

So, what if one day a week, you decide to make it a point to notice everything you can about a few of your students. I am not talking about favorite colors or favorite foods. I mean really make it a point to hone in on students and see things you might not normally see because you had to watch the whole class.

For example, what makes a student laugh or smile? During the course of a day, students will laugh and smile numerous times. What is it that causes this? Maybe there are just a handful of kids that make them laugh. Maybe they laugh at everything. Worse yet, maybe they don’t laugh or smile at all. Being able to reference these notes will be invaluable throughout the year—especially when they are having a rough day.

If you can, try and notice students’ body language. Do they sit close to other students? Or do they always have space in between them and their classmates? Are there certain students that make them tense up and certain students that help them relax? This kind of stuff matters and it is the kind of thing that you may miss when you are watching everyone.

Not only will you be able to better interact with your students because you know what make them tic—you will be more likely to notice when something isn’t quite right. That is huge and that could save the day. It’s not going to be easy. But I think taking the time each week to notice, I mean really notice, your students will take your teaching to a new level.

Hump Day!

So, there you have it. Three suggestions for Wednesday that have nothing to do with a camel. Get it? Hump day. Sorry, I embarrass my 14-year-old all the time with my dad jokes. That’s okay, I never run out of material. Here’s hoping you thrive this Wednesday and finish the week with enough energy to catapult you into the weekend.

*If you would like to have my next article and my latest podcast episode delivered to your in box just click HERE. And as an extra bonus, when you sign up for my newsletter you will receive “A Teacher’s Blueprint To The Best Week Ever”. This is a free, 40 page pdf designed to help you have an awesome week. It’s not what you think, trust me.

Related Resources:

What Teachers Should Be Thinking About on Friday

What Teachers Should Be Thinking About on Saturday

How to curate an easy teaching wardrobe that’s comfortable and feels like “you”  by Angela Watson

Three Students You Need to Reach Right Away

Doing More By Doing Less: Yes It ‘Is’ Possible  Teachers’ Aid interview with Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

What Teachers Should Be Thinking About on Tuesday

So, you got one day under your belt. And depending on how it went, you either feel energized or deflated about the rest of the week. That’s okay and that’s normal. Tuesday is a unique day. You can’t quite see the weekend, but you know it’s there. Furthermore, you’ve got four more days to make a difference. In the lives of your students, your colleagues and yourself.

How do you approach it? I have three suggestions that will help make the rest of your week run a little bit more smoothly.

Start by Assessing Your Monday

If you followed the guide for Saturday, Sunday and Monday then odds are you had great plans for starting Monday off on the right foot. But … plans don’t always work out the way we want them to. Maybe we woke up with a headache. It could be that one of your own kids has the flu and you had to drop them off at your parents’ house and it caused you to be late to school. Your morning was thrown off and it seemed like the day got worse and is went on. Most likely, if your Monday didn’t work out, it was because your lesson, the one you had planned hours for, didn’t work out as planned.

In fact, it bombed. First, if your awesome lesson bombed, know that you are not alone. In fact, you’re in great company. You think I am making this up just to make you feel better? Trust me, I’m not. Take 10 minutes and listen to Dave Burgess recount the time when his well-planned lesson bombed two years in a row. Yes, you read that right, one of the most engaging educators on the planet had a lesson that bombed—twice!

Maybe that happened to you on Monday. You spent some time over the weekend planning the most engaging lesson ever, only to find that it wasn’t as engaging as you thought. Guess what? It’s only Tuesday, the perfect day to recalibrate and start over. Maybe you only need to make a few tweaks to your lesson. Maybe you need to ditch the entire thing and start over. Or, maybe it’s time to get student feedback. Ask your students what worked, what didn’t and what you could do to make it better. It’s worth a shot, right?

Having gone through all this, it could be possible that you crushed Monday. I mean you had the kids’ attention, the lesson went as well as, or better than, expected and you couldn’t be more pleased. If that’s the case, be sure to make a note of what worked. Ask your students. Write down details so that when it comes time to repeat this lesson next year, you are ready. Heck, you might even be able to kick it up a notch. Collect samples of work, take photos of the room and as mentioned previously, ask your students why they think things went so well.

And most importantly, pat yourself on the back. We are quick to get down on ourselves when things don’t work out but rarely do we allow ourselves to soak it in when something goes well. It’s okay to feel good about yourself. In fact, I highly encourage it.

Get a Quick Dose of Professional Development

I know, I know. Sometimes those two words can run shivers down an educator’s spine. You know the anonymous saying, “I hope when I die, it is during professional development so that the transition would be so smooth.” I get it. I have attended professional development sessions that were mind numbing and I’m sure, even though I hate to admit it, I have provided professional development that put people to sleep.

The thing is, professional development doesn’t need to be like it was in the past. It can be differentiated and much less intrusive. One of my favorite forms of professional development is listening to podcasts. Now, a little disclaimer, I am biased because I am affiliated with two education podcasts, My Bad and Teachers’ Aid.

But I am here to tell you that while mine are pretty good, there are others that are much better. Just a few days ago, two of the most prolific and talented bloggers and podcasters around, Jennifer Gonzalez and Angela Watson, released a podcast epiosde titled, 4 Myths About Great Teaching Debunked, that is well worth your time. Trust me. It is quite possible you will gain more from this podcast than you will from all your professional development this year combined.

Podcasts are one best ways to receive professional development. First, you can listen to them at your leisure. I have a friend of mine that listens to my podcasts when she goes for her weekend run. Now, I must admit, neither of those sound appealing to me; running or listening to myself speak. But it works for her. Second, podcasts give you a chance you to hear real people in real situations. No worksheets in front of you and no powerpoint to follow. Just a straight-up conversation. Finally, podcasts are small bite-sized doses of learning. They don’t last for hours and you can pause them whenever you like. Don’t we wish we could do that in real life?

So, give them a try. I have a feeling you’re going to be glad you did. Here is a list of some of my favorites:

In Awe Podcast; Inspiration to Amplify Women & Empower a Community to Rise with Sarah Johnson

The Dr. Will Show with Will Deyamport

The Creative Classroom with John Spencer

Cult of Pedagogy with Jennifer Gonzalez

UnearthED with Ben Gilpin and Brad Gustafson

Make a Positive Phone Call or Have a Positive Conversation

I realize that I should be making positive phone calls every day. But I don’t. So, if I can make it a habit to make one positive phone call or have one positive conversation every Tuesday, well then I think that will be pretty good. I know I always enjoy hearing good news. I think that much of this has to do with the fact that it is so rare.

We know we need to lift each other up and we all have great intentions of doing so. But at the end of the day, when we look back on all that transpired, we realize that we got so caught up in the busyness of work that we neglected to stop and notice the positive.

These positive phone calls and/or conversations don’t always need to be to parents. Staff need to hear and know that they are appreciated just like parents. I remember one such call last year. I was in the Chik-fil-A drive thru getting ready to order a tasty dinner, when I got a call from my principal. To be honest, I was a little worried that I had done something wrong. But then my principal spoke and said that he just wanted to let me know that I did a good job running the school on that day. We were down a few staff members and we were stretched thin.He was proud of me.

I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. Just a quick phone call—probably less than a minute. But it made my day and helped me raise my head a little higher. I need to remember that phone call and make more of them myself. It doesn’t take long. Oftentimes, less than a minute. Try it this Tuesday and see how it works out. You’re going to make someone feel good—I guarantee it.

Tomorrow is Hump Day

Wednesday is the day when you start to see the end of the week. There is still much to do. Technically, we’re not even halfway there yet. But we got this. Just remember the three suggestions above and you will head into Hump Day ready to crush it.

 

*If you would like to have my next article and my latest podcast episode delivered to your in box just click HERE. And as an extra bonus, when you sign up for my newsletter you will receive “A Teacher’s Blueprint To The Best Week Ever”. This is a free, 40 page pdf designed to help you have an awesome week. It’s not what you think, trust me.

Related Pieces I Have Published Previously:

What Teachers Should Be Thinking About on Friday

What Teachers Should Be Thinking About on Saturday

What Teachers Should Be Thinking About on Sunday

What Teachers Should Be Thinking About on Monday

The Night Before Tomorrow

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