Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Teacher Hero

I love Teachers!

Not cause I am one...

But because there are so many that have inspired and continue to inspire me to be the educator I am!

Today, some teachers are linking up with Jenny from LuckyFrog's Lilypad to share their teacher heroes with you!

I'm going to tell you about one of mine.

Unlike most people, I didn't know I wanted to be a teacher all my life.  I don't even remember much of elementary school, sadly. I even decided to go to school to become a Veterinarian.  Then I changed to study Music, and lastly, changed to education.  When I think about teachers who inspired me to make that last decision, there one particular one that comes to mind (who was actually the inspiration for wants to do something in music as well!).

His name is Mr. Craner.  

When I was in the 4th grade, I joined my elementary schools band.  I had just moved there and thought it would be fun, plus a good way to make friends!  I was just an average musician.  I played for fun, I enjoyed it.  

In Jr high, my band conductor was diagnosed with cancer.  After I think 2 years having her on and off, my high school hired a new director (I was now in 9th grade).  I thought Mr. Craner was CRAZY.  The music that he gave me to play - I wondered how the heck he ever thought I was going to be able to play it. I gave him the "you are crazy" looks- (I'm pretty sure he would confirm this haha!)  Even though I gave him those crazy looks and had no faith in myself- Mr. Craner had faith in me.  

He worked with me, practiced with me, pushed me.  Before I knew it, My grade of 85 (because I was not so good about making it to lessons) had changed to a 100. I went from 2nd flute, last chair to 1st flute 2nd chair - and eventually first chair. I even started playing Piccolo too!  But I didn't stop there.  I soooo badly wanted to play in the Jazz Ensemble that Mr. Craner started at my high school.  So he loaned me the schools Bari Sax and he taught me how to play.  I made the Jazz Ensemble which I played in for 2 of the best years of highschool!  My last year of high school, I was even in Mr. Craner's music theory class. My friends and I, we spent every possible moment we could in the music room. If I wasn't playing field hockey, you knew exactly where to look. It wasn't just a place for music.  It was a place for studying, for laughing, for popping popcorn, for learning, for taking risks, for being comfortable - it was a place that I felt I belonged - and Mr. Craner created that for me.

I want to create this same learning environment for my students.  If it wasn't for Mr. Craner, I might not even know what that learning environment looks like, feels like.  But, I do...and I can think about that to help me create a welcoming classroom that my students *beg* to be in everyday...and for that, I am thankful.

To say "Thanks" to teachers for being Heroes everyday, TPT is having a sale this Wednesday-Thursday!  My store is 20% off and you can get an extra 10% off by putting in the code "heroes".  Thanks for being a hero for kids everyday!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Teachers don't "get" snow days

So this morning, as I was perusing through my Social Media, I found this silly article that was posted online over at Philadelphia News and Opinion.  If you want to read it, and you are a teacher - I'm warning you.... it might infuriate you, but here it is ---> Silly Article 

Gene - I have an answer to your question that titles your article. "Why do Teachers Get Snow Days?"

I'll put it simply....

First of all, I must start by telling you that teachers are only paid for 180 days, those 180 days spread out over 10 months of the year (Or 12 if you teach at a year-round like me).  So anybody who wants to argue that teachers "get summers off" - you are woefully incorrect.  Just like any salaried employee, teachers make a salary.  For many teachers, that salary is split up over 10 months.  For others, 12.  And the 5 snow days that my district has had this winter, will be made up- on our break - or our precious Saturdays. For others, those snow days were built into their schedule - so children had 190 days in their schedule instead of 180 - in preparation for those snow days.  Obviously and quite clearly, teachers don't "get" snow days.  So that settles that....

Second, in your article, you've bulleted 10 things that teachers COULD do on a snow day. Well, let me tell you what teachers ARE DOING EVERYDAY, not just on snow days.

  • Looking at/grading papers 
  • Dreaming up new and innovative ideas to educate the kids
  • Cleaning/rearranging our classroom to make it the best environment for learning (I've probably changed mine 10 times this year)
  • Meeting with Professional Learning Communities, Special Education teachers, support staff, specials teachers, and others to discuss the kids, plan, & determine long range objectives.
  • Talking to other educators online to discuss best practice (Want proof? Just check the #ncsnowchat archives, #weirded #totallyrossome #whatisschool)
  • E-mailing/Calling parents
  • Crafting new engaging lessons
  • Teaching- making themselves available to their students outside of school hours through twitter, edmodo, blogs, and other online means.
  • Researching ways to reach "Johnny" who's been acting out the last 3 weeks
  • Creating a new Project-based unit so kids can discover, rather than just be told
  • Putting together resources for the next big unit they're teaching
  • Figuring out how to differentiate the current math unit to reach EVERY child in the class
  • Worrying about the children who don't have food, heat, a bed to keep them warm
  • Helping neighbors shovel their driveway
  • Going to the teacher store to buy new manipulatives or learning games.
  • Buying snacks to make sure that that child that comes to school every day without one, has something to eat. 
  • Spending last months paycheck on markers, scissors, glue, paper, technology etc because "I can live on Ramen Soup for another week."
  • Trying to figure out how to get that little sweetie that just came 20 weeks into the school year to talk to you.
  • Wondering how to handle that bullying situation that's been going on and handle it with care.
  • Preparing kids for a BS test that measures nothing except the ability to sit for 3 hours and read meaningless questions - without stressing them out.
  • Preaching everyday, that no matter what anybody else tells them... that they MATTER.
  • Working a 2nd job and missing out on precious with their own children, in order to support their family.
and more

So it it quite clear that all those thing you said we COULD be doing on Snow days... well, we do all that and more.  

Maybe you should do a little more research next time you want to pass judgement on a profession that you clearly know very little about.

Upon further investigation, I see that another smart educator wrong a reply to the article.  You can read that here