About Me

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I've been an educator since 1995 where I've served as both a teacher and administrator. I believe that serving others is the key to success and make it my goal to be a servant leader for students, teachers, parents, and the community. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Five Weeks

The countdown has begun.  The days are being marked off and thoughts are drifting toward that idyllic place called "Summer."  As I hear the hallway talk and watch the calendar days disappear, it reminds me that, yes, summer is coming, but more importantly, our time is limited.  We have just a moment left with this group of kids and then they are off to the next grade.  This remaining time is so precious.  I wrote the post below for my staff in our Friday newsletter to remind them of all that we can do with the short time we have left.  I hope you enjoy.

I looked at the calendar today and realized that we have five more weeks of school.  Just five weeks.  What on earth can you do in five weeks?  I would have to say quite a lot.

In five weeks, you can
  • inspire a child to become better.
  • build stronger relationships with your kids.
  • raise a child’s reading level by (fill in the blank).
  • teach your children new math/reading/writing strategies.
  • recognize something positive about every child in your class.
  • Encourage every staff member in the building
  • help a child get their AR shirt.
  • Make a positive contact with every parent in your classroom.
  • try a new teaching strategy.
  • visit another classroom and see how someone else teaches.
  • read that book you’ve been trying to get to all year.
  • develop a new habit.
  • learn more about a coworker.
  • walk 33 miles (if you just walk one mile a day).
  • read 33 blog posts (by just reading one a day).
  • Start setting goals for next year.
  • Add your own ideas to this list

How will you choose to use the next five weeks?  Whatever you choose, use it well.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Good for kids?

Last week, a student ended up in my office.  He was having trouble controlling himself and was bothering other kids to the point that they couldn't learn.  When I got him into my office, he was all over the place, barely able to sit still.  We talked while he bounced.  It didn't take long to find out the circumstances that brought on this behavior.  For one, the adult he normally works with in the class was out.  Plus, he had been brought to school late by a family member who didn't know his morning routine.  Everything was off.  It was now 9:00 in the morning.  Normally, this child can be calmed by looking at some calming sticks I have in my office.  These are tubes filled with colored liquid and glitter that slowly move when turned.  Not this morning.  They quickly turned to drumsticks and were taken away.  It was now 9:15.  I knew he liked to read, so we got some books out and I told him I had to finish what I was working on at my desk.  He could sit in the chair or on the floor and read.  That lasted all of 5 minutes. I then sat on the floor with him and we read together until he could no longer focus.  Having an errand to run in the building, I took him with me and let him help me carry a few things back to my office. Deciding that I would likely get no work done, we sat at my desk and tested out apps I had recently downloaded.  We would do them together and he would rate them for them.  Most were not any good in his eyes because they weren't games.  We did have some fun with Sock Puppets as I tried to get him to explain some things to me using his puppets.  However, he could only focus for a short time. It was now 9:45.  I had to make another quick trip to a class and saw a teacher waiting for an appointment.  I asked her if she would sit with him for a minute.  She agreed and I went into the building.  When I returned 10 minutes later, they were sitting on the office floor making funny faces into an app.  It was now close to 10:00.   I knew that he would have some extra support arrive in his class at 10:30, so I made the decision to keep him until that time.  We went back to my office, read some more, explored a few more apps, and then it was 10:20.  I took him back to class.

Walking back to my office, I asked myself three questions:

1)  Was that time good for the student? I would have to say yes.  He got positive one-on-one time with an adult, wasn't getting into trouble in class, and did learn a bit in the process.
2)  Was it good for the kids in his class?  Again, I would have to say yes.  They were able to work for over an hour with the teacher focusing on them and not on this one student and his constant movement.
3) Was it good for me?  Yes and No.  While I built a stronger relationship with this child, I had really needed to use this time to visit classes and finish an appraisal I was working on.

As a reflected on these three questions, I was reminded that, as an educator, I come to work each day to do what is best for kids, not necessarily what is comfortable for adults.  Yes, I could have taken this child back to class but would that have been in his best interest?  What about the best interest of his classmates?  At the end of each day, I want to look back and be able to say that I have done what is best for kids, no matter how it affects me.  That is why I come to work each day and why I am educator.  It's not for my own well-being and comfort.  I do what I do for children.