Posts Tagged: Lifelong Learning

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.
Professional Learning
Micro-Credentials – Personalized Learning for Teachers
June 7, 2018
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Micro-Credentials – Personalized Learning for Teachers

Jessica Childers
@JDouttChilders

According to the Center for Teaching Quality, 84% of teachers report that they have participated in inservice days but only 20% are satisfied with their professional development. I believe we can do better than this. In the past few years, personalizing learning for students has become a focus for many educators. iNACOL defines PL as “tailoring learning for each student’s strengths, needs and interests...to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery..." We should apply these same ideas for professional learning for teachers as well. Through micro-credentials, I have found a way to personalize my learning in a way that directly influences student learning in my classroom.
In the Classroom Professional Learning
Why I Pursued National Board Certification
May 28, 2018
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Why I Pursued National Board Certification

Erin Glenn
@erin_glenn_edu

If someone peeked in my classroom years ago, they would have seen students seated in desks, aligned in straight rows attentively completing their work. This would have likely followed a typical lesson that required they take notes, as I lectured, and required they read a passage and answer corresponding questions. My students were quiet, well behaved and accustomed to this routine. Though this may have been perceived as effective classroom management, I knew hadn’t met the mark. I’d often implement new strategies I’d learned in professional development but continuously sought to discover how I could grow as an educator and become more effective for my students. In my search, I discovered National Board Certification, a process that forever changed my traditional routines and methods of practice.
In the Classroom Professional Learning
Summers Off?
April 29, 2018
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Summers Off?

Al Feldblum
@afeldblum

It took me a few years to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I found that I had a passion for coaching football. High school football. What better way to live my passion than be a high school teacher. I made the decision to get an undergrad degree in education and become a teacher.
In the Classroom Policy
Full-Immersion Work-Based Learning
February 7, 2018
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Full-Immersion Work-Based Learning

Heidi King
@heidikingking

Patrick’s alarm goes off at 5:30 am.  He rolls out of bed and gets dressed.  He has to clock in at Gestamp by 7am, which he’s learned means arriving no later than 6:45.  Patrick is saving for a car, but for now he pays Uber $20 a day to get to and from work.  This is not the easiest life for an 18 year old high school senior to face, but this experience has changed the course of Patrick’s life for the better.  
Leadership Professional Learning
My Leadership Story
January 28, 2018
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My Leadership Story

Melissa Collins
@CollinsNBCT

I am Dr. Melissa Collins, and I am a nationally known teacher leader. I have received National Board Certification, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the Horace Mann Teacher Excellence Award, West Tennessee Teacher of the Year, and was recognized as a 2018 Global Teacher Prize Finalist to name a few. I have conducted leadership and instructional workshops to inspire teacher leaders. These accomplishments have helped me to strive as a leader in and outside the classroom.  Even though I am a successful educator, I overcame many obstacles to get where I am today.
In the Classroom Professional Learning
What I Didn’t Learn in My Teacher Preparation Program
January 17, 2018
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What I Didn’t Learn in My Teacher Preparation Program

Rachel Turner
@ChattanoogaChat

Now in my eighth year as a teacher, I often chuckle when I reflect on how far I have come in my teaching career.  Just a few short years ago, I was a clueless student teacher eager to change the life of every student I met. I did not know much, but I knew that I did not want to be like the Economics teacher (Ben Stein) in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or the teacher in Peanuts. I envisioned being a mix between John Keating (Robin Williams) in Dead Poet’s Society and Louanne Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer) in Dangerous Minds. Instead, I entered the classroom more like a cross between John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in Kindergarten Cop and Sherman Clump (Eddie Murphy) in The Nutty Professor.  Luckily, I have thick skin and stuck with the most rewarding career one can have.  However, I often think back and wonder why so many aspects of a teacher’s career go unmentioned in our preparation programs.
In the Classroom
My Educational Journey
January 10, 2018
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My Educational Journey

Candace Hines
@Mrs_C_Hines

Peeking through the blinds, I anxiously search for friends who weren't sleeping in on this hot summer day. My heart leaps at the thought of playing school! Many days my Barbie dolls and teddy bears became my students. School was my place of escape - a place that I thrived and looked forward to visiting each day. Looking back, I realize that my passion for education was fueled by a welcoming elementary school experience.
In the Classroom Professional Learning
Implementing Classroom Changes
April 19, 2017
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Implementing Classroom Changes

Crystal Nelson, Ed.D.
@CN628

fter a disastrous first year of teaching, I knew I needed to make some changes. I reflected on my year and identified areas I thought would make the biggest impact in the next year. That summer I worked on what I needed to learn and developed a plan to make my next year better. Thus began a habit of reflecting on my practice that has helped me to improve each year in my teaching career. I hope sharing these steps can help other teachers reflect and grow too:
  1. Identify where you need improve. What is going to make the biggest difference in student learning or even in maintaining order in your classroom? What is the goal of this change? Limit the changes you are going to make to no more than three. You can’t change everything at one time, and you may not see the success you’re looking for if you spread your attention too thin.  
  2. Decide how you’re going to measure a goal. Sometimes, my measurement stick is very specific and is exactly how teachers are supposed to goal-set: “I will use x instructional strategy 8 out of 10 lessons.” Sometimes my goal breaks the rules and lacks the specificity: “Don’t be terrible at x.”  Of course, you want to quantify any goals relating to student learning. However, changes relating to organization, classroom management, procedures, etc. can depend on where you’re starting, what the nature of what you’re trying to do is, and whether you have a clue what your “end game” should quantifiably look like. Sometimes the vaguer goal is just fine, and you will know if you’re happy with the change or not.
  3. Make a plan to make your change happen. If you aren’t sure and don’t know of anyone to ask, read. There is a book on every topic. Reading professional literature has been the biggest help to me, especially those times when I’ve felt like I had no one who could give me the advice I needed.
  4. Identify when to start. It’s hard to make “big” changes in the middle of a semester or school year. Because your classroom expectations and policies are already set, it often takes a lot of legwork at the beginning to make a new change successful. It might be better to start new changes on a fresh year with a new group of students when you’ve had all summer to let your ideas marinate and have had time to get new systems in place. It is possible to make adjustments and changes in the middle, but it really depends on what you’re trying to do, how you will be managing the expectations of students, and whether you physically have time to get the legwork in.
  5. Reflect on your new change throughout implementation. Is it better than it was before? Where are you seeing success and where are you still unhappy? Modify your plan as needed and figure out those problem-pockets. If you feel the plan is failing, you don’t have to continue living with something that isn’t working. However, analyze why it isn’t working and give it a real chance before you give it up completely. (Remember, if you’re attempting a behavior modification plan, the behavior might get worse before it gets better. If this is an area with which you don’t have a lot of experience and the behavior is especially challenging, get help from your principal or a teacher who has a lot of success in this area before implementing the plan.)
  6. Pick your next change if you’re happy with the results of your new change, or you’re at a place where you can handle something else.

My first year of teaching was incredibly challenging, as I know it is for many. I try to stay focused on what I can control and improve, rather than all the many factors outside of my control (lack of parent support, limited instructional time, etc). This has led to improved student learning, student behavior, and personal job satisfaction.

Crystal has taught at Camden Elementary for six years teaching PreK-2nd grade general music and reading intervention and serves as RTI Co- Coordinator. Crystal served as the Benton County Education Association president 2013-2015, is an active member of Delta Kappa Gamma, and was named Distinguished Educator of West Tennessee by the Tennessee Education Association in 2014. Crystal is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin where she earned a B.M. in Music Education. As a life-learner, she has also earned her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and an Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University. She also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging her colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.

In the Classroom Leadership
Are You a S2.A.P.P.Y. Educator?
December 30, 2016
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Are You a S<sup>2</sup>.A.P.P.Y. Educator?

Tina Faust
@tntechgal
passionate educator, blessed to be a technology integration specialist

Have you ever had a time that left you extremely frustrated? Have you found yourself aggravated because you were excluded from discussions that will impact you? Have you felt disheartened because you were not a part of the decision making process?

I confess that I recently found myself in the above scenario. Like many of you, I am a passionate educator. I was frustrated over things that are out of my control. I found myself venting to a friend and grumbling to a colleague about initiatives that I felt excluded from but they will impact me. I became mentally drained and exhausted. I finally stopped mentally rehashing the things that are out of my control and realized that I was the one letting my frustration take root. I’m usually a positive person but I was allowing my negative reactions to impact me. It occurred to me that I have the ability to control me. Regardless of whether I agree or disagree with a process or decision, I can control my reaction and my focus.

I don’t want to be a yappy, negative educator but I want to always be a S2.A.P.P.Y. educator. I can control my thoughts and my actions. When I find myself frustrated, I can stop and find the positive in the situation and be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. I can always have a positive attitude and I yearn to be a lifelong learner.

2017 is fast approaching. For the new year, my goal is to be a S2.A.P.P.Y educator. When I find myself getting frustrated, I will remind myself to self-reflect, be a part of the solution, keep a positive attitude, maintain a perspective that involves a positive mindset, and I will yearn to learn. I can learn from every situation and I can I always control my thoughts and my reactions. Feel free to join me and get S2.A.P.P.Y.!

Self-Reflect

Solutions-Oriented

Attitude is Everything

Perspective is Key

Positive Mindset

Yearn to Learn

A former high school marketing teacher with Jefferson County, Tina is currently the Instructional Technology Specialist for Hawkins County Schools where she works with teachers and administrators across 18 schools to integrate technology in K-12 classrooms. A Tennessee Department of Education iTunesU featured presenter, Tina has presented at numerous professional conferences including Tennessee’s first EdTech Summit. An advocate for technology integration, Tina works with professional societies to plan, and produce annual technology conferences for teachers across Tennessee. Tina holds a B.S. in Business/Marketing Education, an M.S. in Human Resource Development, and an Ed.S. in Instructional Technology from the University of Tennessee. She is currently pursuing her Ed.D at Liberty University. She also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging her colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.