Kismet

Inspiring Insight

Posts tagged ‘teachers’

Succeeding Featured

 

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Bikini Doodle 

This will complete my summary of Paul Tough’s book, How Children Succeed.

5. A Better Path

The author of this book, Paul Tough, did NOT graduate from college!

Tough does not fit the demographic of college dropouts: He came from a well-to-do family; and got admitted to (and briefly attended) Columbia University.

However, he was rebellious after high school (where he did very well).  Inspired by Jack Kerouac, he wanted to travel and do something uncertain, unsafe…something he felt uncertain if he could succeed at. Believe he would learn more on the road than on the campus.

Steve Jobs’ famous graduation speech at Stanford (2005): Job told graduates that dropping out “had been one of the best decisions I ever made.”

  • allowed him to take classes he was interested in (calligraphy, typography)
  • this led to his creative typography in personal computers – distinguished Mac from all other computers
  • Biggest failure – being fired from Apple – a very public failure
  • allowed him to reorient himself and his work that led to his greatest successes: buying and transforming Pixar, getting married, returning to Apple rejuvenated
  • “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.”

Paul Tough: became a magazine editor and journalist. Twenty-four years after dropping out of Columbia, Tough quit the New York Times and wrote this book.

 

2. LG Parenting

Remember the high and low level Licking and Grooming experiment with rats?

Paul Tough thinks about that often now that he has become a new father.

Realizes that the most reliable way to produce and adult who is brave and curious and kind and prudent is to ensure that when he is an infant, his hypo-pituitary-adrenal his functions well. How?

  • Protect him from serious trauma and chronic stress;
  • provide him with secure, nurturing relationship with at least one parent, ideally, two.
  • provide lots of comforting, hugging, talking and reassuring;
  • also provide discipline, rules, limits, someone to say “no”;
  • help him to learn how to manage failure;

“More and more graduates from prestigious colleges are going into investment banking and management consulting and far fewer become artists, entrepreneurs and iconoclasts. Why? Because Wall Street decision is easier…they are driven by fear of not being a success than by a concrete desire to do anything in particular.” p. 184

3. A Different Challenge

Liberals and conservatives differ greatly on how the government should aid families in poverty, but just about everyone agrees we need to do something.

“The government should guarantee every citizen enough to eat and a place to sleep.”

In 2012, the child poverty rate was 22%. This means between a fifth and a quarter of American children are growing up in poverty. (From 1966 to 2010, the child poverty rate was 15%.)

Unsurprisingly, children who grow up in poor families in the United States do very poorly in school.

If we can help poor children escape the cycle of poverty, we can help them improve their academic skills and academic outcomes.

Conclusion: We could replicate on a big, national scale the accomplishments of the schools outlined in this book and make a huge dent on poverty’s impact on children’s success.

4. A Different Kind of Reform  p. 189

For a long time, educational reform was focused on teacher quality  and they way teachers are hired, trained, compensated and fired.

Whatever your stance, research on teachers remains inconclusive in some important ways:

  • we don’t know how to reliably predict who will be a top-tier teacher in any given year;
  • variations in teacher quality accounted for less than 10% of the gap between high and low-performing students.

The only official indicator of the economic status of an American public-school student today is his or her eligibility for a school-lunch subsidy.

If you qualify for subsidies, you probably can’t afford adequate shelter, nutritious food, new clothes, books or educational toys. Statistically, you are likely being raised by a poorly educated, never-married single mother.

5. The Politics of Disadvantage

The biggest obstacles to academic success that poor children, especially very poor children, often face: a home and a community that create very high levels of stress, and the absence of a secure relationship with a caregiver that would allow a child to manage that stress.

 

Character matters: grit, resilience, perseverance and optimism.

Perry Preschool – 128 children in poverty randomly chosen to attend high-quality preschool program. Experts believe that the school gave a return between $7 to $12 for each dollar spent.

The website displays data that starting quality education for the very poor at an early age has lasting effects (through the participants’ 40s)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Teacher Shortage, You Say? Featured

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Incomplete Monochrome  (need a white gel pen for detail work)

 

What could possibly be the effect should this continue?

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Solutions currently being considered implemented:

  • Hire teachers from abroad (Philippines);
  • Hire unqualified people;
  • Hire long-term substitute teachers;
  • Raise teacher pay

 

 

Is That a Sheep?

I shared my drawing of llamas today with my fifth graders.

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I got a rousing, “Not bad!”

 

For some reason, they loved yesterday’s 5 minute timed writing prompt:

“Describe how to drive your teacher crazy.”

Ahhhh. Kids.

 

Each morning, I open my drawing book, 20 Ways to Draw Everything. I make myself draw whatever is in front of me. I am always tempted to draw the easiest figures. I might start with the easiest, but I know that I will not get better if I stick to the simple ones. My initial goal was to draw all 20, but because I have only 45 minutes to draw before I go to work, I choose about six: a few easy, a few difficult.

It’s become my morning meditation.

Transgress Stress

 

 

I went to the mall last weekend and looked at these products. They were not discounted, so I didn’t buy them.

Today, one of my 5th grade students presented me with them! Funny how that happens!  In big letters, they say “Stress Relief.” As we near the end of the school year, stress relief is key. He is so thoughtful!

I wrote an email to his mother to thank her. She emailed me back:

“As for the gift, that was all “M.”* He used his money and it was his idea this year.”

He used his money! He’s in 5th grade and earns money by working for a hockey organization.  What an amazing kid.

Teaching kids like him gives me so much hope and optimism for the future.  Our kids are hard-working, thoughtful, intelligent, and just good to the core. They make me feel like everything is going to be OK.

I’m grateful to be a teacher and work with amazing kids each day.

15 Down, 45 to Go

student paper

It’s that time again: Fifth graders write a research paper on a famous scientist/athlete/politician/artist. They will dress up as the celebrity and give a 30-60 second speech in first person.

Grading the papers can bring tears of joy or sadness.

It’s akin to the feeling when a student gives you an end-of-year gift with the message of thanks:

You are my favrit teacher.

Or,

You are grate.

 

 

 

Clientele

My husband is a project manager for a commercial construction company. I’m a 5th and 6th grade English teacher.

This morning, over coffee, he says, “Some of my clients seem to think we work magic.” [He was about to complain about their unreasonable demands.]

“Some of our clients seem to think the same thing,” I say.

 

 

 

Why I Became a Teacher

When I was eight years old, my teacher, Ms. Meretta, told my mother I was one of the hardest working kids she had ever had. Until then, no adult had ever said anything positive about me. Really. My parents were concerned that I showed no genius academically. They compared me to other kids (always unfavorably). My other teachers were either distracted by personal problems, or they just seemed mean (maybe they weren’t, but they seemed unapproachable). One teacher said she liked me, but I rushed through my work too quickly to get to the “book table.” I liked reading too much.

I loved Ms. Meretta. I worked even harder after her comment to my mom. But this time, I worked hard not just for myself..but for Ms. Meretta, too.

When I was a young adult, I worked as a summer camp counselor for the YMCA. It was a fun and rewarding job. I loved the energy the kids brought each day. I loved thinking of fun activities and working with them. I laughed every day. I laughed every hour.

I’ve held different jobs but none have had the creative opportunities or the intrinsic rewards of teaching. One of my favorite gifts from a student was a short letter. I had recommended him to go to a school for high-achieving students. He had older siblings who attended a school closer to his home. He always assumed he’d follow their footsteps. It was easy to hold the fastest track time there. It was easy to be the best student. I told him I knew he would succeed at the Academy, a school that was more rigorous and offered both Spanish and Mandarin. “Besides,” I told him. “if you go and you don’t like it, you can always go to the other school.” He went to the Academy and he loved it. He wrote a letter thanking me because he’s so happy and he’s learning so much. His younger sister now attends the Academy, too.

Helping kids is endlessly rewarding.

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. I wish the media and politicians would stop with the negative talk about teachers and public education. Why pick on educators? Of course not every single teacher is highly qualified, but not every doctor, nurse, accountant, or politician is, either. For every lousy teacher you hear about, there are easily 1,000 fantastic teachers. I’ve had to handle a sixth grade student who slashed her peers with a razor. I’ve had to handle a fourth grade student who crapped his pants every week. I’ve had to handle students who complained of verbally abusive parents and who cried of hunger.

I teach in Arizona. We rank absolutely LAST in teacher pay. Last! 

I did not go into teaching for the money and I will never expect the pay to equal the work or expertise.

My reward is working with the children. Yes, we get summer break, but most of my teacher friends will hold a second job (teach summer school, drive Uber Lyft, etc.) to make ends meet in June and July.

Did you know…

  • Teachers must get a fingerprint card renewed regularly and they pay for it.
  • Teachers must get recertified and they must pay for it.
  • Most teachers pay for school supplies for their students.

Let’s stand behind teachers who work to help students.

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Ms.K., Thank You for Giving My Daughter Detention

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Dear Ms. K.,

I want to thank you for giving my daughter detention today. Per our previous email, you informed me that she has been late to your class every day for several days. This baffled me, as I drop her off an hour early and you are her first class of the day. After several warnings, you emailed me to let me know that should she be late again, she would get detention. I assured you she would not repeat that mistake.

But of course, I cannot guarantee the actions of anyone besides myself.

After confronting her, she hurriedly assured me she learned her lesson. She explained that she gets hungry and her friend meets her to bring her food. Her friend is not always so quick.

Oh, are we blaming our friend?

No, no. It’s not her fault. Mom, it won’t happen again!

I try to give my daughter freedom within strict guidelines. A  “C” in a class at any time means her cell phone gets confiscated until the grade goes up. How she operates within her hours and activities is up to her.

When I remind her to make time for breakfast in the mornings and to pack a snack, I am met with heavy sighs. She is too busy styling her hair and applying makeup to worry about breakfast.

So it happened again today. She didn’t eat breakfast. She got hungry and met her friend. She was late to your class. And, as you promised, she will now have to serve detention – one hour after school tomorrow.

In the car, she was shaken. She’s never had this kind of consequence from a teacher before.

“It’s my fault. I got hungry. I didn’t pack any snacks or eat breakfast. It’s my responsibility. I will pack food the night before.”

I wanted to lecture  her and reinforce the lesson. I wanted to voice my dismay and disappointment. Instead, I said, “I am very proud of you for taking responsibility for this and not blaming anyone.”

Thank you, Ms. K., for doing the right thing. You are helping my daughter develop character and responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bitter Pills

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Sometimes, the best teachers are not our favorites.

The best teachers in my life have been bad bosses, miserable jobs, serious illnesses and cruel “friends.”

Where there’s pain, there’s a lesson.