Great teachers work best when they work together. TNTeacherTalk is a place for Tennessee teachers to connect, share our stories, and learn from one another. Join us as we discuss the issues affecting Tennessee students, teachers, and communities.

Leadership
Get Work-Based Learning. Get Experience.
October 2, 2018
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Get Work-Based Learning. Get Experience.

Heidi King
@heidikingking

Iremember trying to write my first resume.  I breezed through my contact information, proudly noted my educational background and then typed in bold letters EXPERIENCE.  I sat and pondered my time driving a golf cart peddling sandwiches and beverages and babysitting my coach’s children. I wasn’t too impressed with myself, so how could I expect potential employers to appreciate what I had to offer?  All too often, students exiting high school and college experience this dilemma: extensive education paired with marginal, practical work experience.
Policy
Education Policies Must Work in Classrooms
September 22, 2018
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Education Policies Must Work in Classrooms

Candace Hines
@Mrs_C_Hines

If you’ve ever painted (or watched someone paint), then you’ve witnessed the incredible transformation of a blank canvas into a vibrant work of art. With each layer of paint, each hue blended together, comes a new depth and richness to the picture that hadn’t existed before.
Professional Learning
A Growth Mindset: Starting with Ourselves
September 14, 2018
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A Growth Mindset: Starting with Ourselves

Ashley Corey
@ms_corey8

In the last few years many districts across the country have been encouraging a “growth mindset” with regards to students, grading, and general practice in the classroom. Oftentimes this means focusing on the gains that a student has made over a period of time. It also frequently means replacing the phrase “I don’t get it” with “I don’t get it yet.” This concept of yet can be very powerful for students, but making radical changes to our attitudes on how students grow must be authentic if it is going to be valuable. This means that when considering a growth mindset, we must first start with ourselves. When the beginning of the school year hits, an opportunity to show students that you believe in a growth mindset is present but also fleeting. Establishing this as a norm in the classroom must begin with teachers believing that the growth mindset model applies to everyone in the room, teachers included.
In the Classroom
Camp Seeker: Decreasing the Summer Slide
September 5, 2018
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Camp Seeker: Decreasing the Summer Slide

Beth Gotcher
@b_gotcher

During the summer, while many students were far from their classrooms, 15 students in Maryville were in the middle of their writer’s workshop. The district was fortunate enough to receive a Read to be Ready Summer Grant. This experience was a wonderful learning experience for both teachers and students. Six key takeaways from this experience could benefit future Read to be Ready Camps.
Leadership
Back to School – The Journey Begins
August 20, 2018
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Back to School – The Journey Begins

Mark Wittman
@wittmanmarks

The first day of school is quickly approaching for students around the country.   Stores are stocked with back to school supplies and there are mixed emotions around the words “Back to School”.   These three words can stir a range of emotions depending on who is hearing them.  Some parents may hear these words and experience excitement at the thought of their children spending their day at the schoolhouse.  While other parents may face anxiety at the thought of getting all the school supplies and completing the necessary paperwork to ensure that their child is ready for the first day of school.   Some student may dread these three words because it means the end of days filled with freedom, while others may get excited because it means structure and routines.   Some teachers may hear these words and experience dread, while other teachers will experience excitement and joy at returning to their classroom.   It is my hope and prayer that as you read this “Back to School” article that your journey will be one of growth and prosperity.
In the Classroom
10 Things Teachers Should Remember as They Begin Another School Year
August 8, 2018
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10 Things Teachers Should Remember as They Begin Another School Year

Lynnsey Metcalf
@sterchimetcalf

10. Restart your attitude every day! Some days are rough. Things go wrong. Always start your day with a positive attitude. Forget about the negative things that happened in the past and focus on the amazing opportunities in front of you.
In the Classroom
The Trouble with Deadlines: Accountability in the Secondary and Post-Secondary Classroom
July 31, 2018
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The Trouble with Deadlines: Accountability in the Secondary and Post-Secondary Classroom

Jeff Gray
@iteachushistory

When I was a junior in high school, my best friend and cousin finally succumbed to her lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis and died at the age of seventeen.  It was devastating for everyone in my family.  The morning after her death, I had a trigonometry exam.  The policy of the teacher – and all my teachers – was unless you have a doctor’s excuse, you were required to take an exam.  Since there was no doctor’s excuse, I came in that morning to take the exam.  Once I finished the exam, I left to aid in the preparation for the funeral.  There was no question I was going to take the exam.  It didn’t even dawn on me to try to get an extension as this was not a qualified excuse for missing the exam.  It was the expectation.
In the Classroom Professional Learning
Targeting Academic Success: How They Hit the Bullseye And How I (Almost) Missed It
July 24, 2018
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Targeting Academic Success: How They Hit the Bullseye And How I (Almost) Missed It

Amy Crawford
@AmyKCrawford

Over spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua with a group of eight high school seniors. While many of their peers were frolicking on beaches, guzzling beer through funnels, and striking provocative poses in barely-there bikinis, these kids were serving, leading, sacrificing, sharing, and loving. What makes this group even more unique is that all of them are graduating high school with GPAs north of 4.0 and an average ACT score of 32. Two of the students attend a private school, and six attend public high schools. 
 
In the Classroom Uncategorized
Each School Year Is a Fresh Start
July 14, 2018
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Each School Year Is a Fresh Start

Al Feldblum
@afeldblum 

Have you seen the commercial with the parents gleefully riding on shopping carts while their two children watch with sad, remorseful faces? The background music lyrics are “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” The family is back-to-school shopping.
In the Classroom
Teaching Is a League of Its Own
June 12, 2018
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Teaching Is a League of Its Own

Hayley Cloud
@hcloud_tn 

Probably one of the most “feel good,” memorable movies I remember watching growing up is A League of Their Own. I watched it many times, and I can still recall many quotes from the movie, such as the famous “There’s no crying in baseball!” But my favorite line from the movie is when Jimmy Dugan says, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great!” As a teacher, those words are something with which I can connect.  Teaching is hard. If teaching were easy, everyone would do it. Somehow, the hardest moments seem to always yield the greatest.