Monthly Archives: November 2013

Causion-We are sometimes our own worst enemy.

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enemy Recently I experienced what I would consider to be a very embarrassing moment. Like all very embarrassing moments it led me to think about how we work with students. Let me set the scene. I work as an educational consultant and as such I periodically put on workshops for teachers. Now, there are many things I am not good at, we’ll look at one such thing in a moment, but public speaking is something I feel is a strength. So when I hold a workshop it generally goes well, participants are happy and I feel successful. Well, not this time.

I was conducting a workshop on differentiated instruction, one that I didn’t plan under normal circumstances. The workshop started off great. Then, during the first group break one of the participants pointed out to me that there were some misspelled words in my PowerPoint. I was HORRIFIED. I’m speaking to a room full of teachers and I’ve misspelled caution. (I spelled it causion-and honestly thought it was right. Don’t judge!). Now to make matters worse there are several other errors in slides to come. (These were just missed errors; caution is the only one I legitimately didn’t know was wrong). Ok, so I’m a horrible speller and grammar is not my thing (odd that I write a blog, right?) If you’ve read very many posts on this Blog it’s obvious I do my own editing.

It doesn’t bother me that I struggle with spelling. FYI- there is not a link between spelling ability and overall intelligence. But once I notice all these errors all I could think was “every teacher in this room thinks I’m an idiot”. No one said that of course, and I turned it into a joke and went on with the presentation. But something just didn’t sit right with me. MY opinion of how people saw me outweighed what was going on. Even though I had several people tell me this wasn’t a big deal, it totally dampened the rest of my day.

You may be wondering, “what does your spelling disability and insecurities have to do with teaching students”. Well here’s how it connected for me. How many times have you had a student say, “Mrs. Whoever hates me” or “Mr. Soandso thinks I’m stupid”? No matter how many times you tell them they are wrong it doesn’t change that student’s perception of what someone else thinks.

The point is sometimes we are our own worst critic. What we perceive other people think about us is linked back to how we feel about ourselves in that moment; this is why no one can change that opinion except you. So connecting this to students; teachers need to spend time getting to know and making a connection to their students so that later in the year if they are struggling they will trust you for help and not have a preconception of what you think of them. Below are some links and ideas for icebreakers and ways to get to know your students.

Remember, we all have strengths and weakness. It’s not about what we can’t do, but what we can overcome.

*Note-causion was misspelled in the title on purpose haha.

Learning Style Inventories
http://www.personal.psu.edu/bxb11/LSI/LSI.htm
http://sunburst.usd.edu/~bwjames/tut/learning-style/stylest.html

Student Interest Survey
http://www.union.k12.sc.us/ems/Teachers-Forms–Student%20Interest%20Survey.htm
http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=475167#anchor
Interest Inventory
student_survey

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Every little bit counts-even the laundry!

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With my job I travel quite a bit. I was recently out-of-town for four nights. On the way home I started anticipating the disaster area my house would resemble. I walked through the front door and immediately notice the smell, looked at the sink and saw dishes with mold on them. I was grossed out to say the least! I set off cleaning the mess without stopping to notice the state of the rest of the house. If I had been a bit more observant I would have seen that ALL of the laundry was done. This is a big deal in my house where we tend to fill very traditional male/female roles. My husband had washed, dried, folded and put away all of our laundry. But I was so caught up on the dishes that I didn’t notice the laundry.

This is often the case in our classrooms. We get a kid in on day one who can’t read, write, do math, sit still, etc. As educators we are focused on the BIG picture. The massive number of standards we must meet. The BROAD skills we are required to cover. At semester we assess and find that they still can’t do these skills. Then at the end of the year we feel they still have not accomplished these major skills. But are we overlooking the small skills. Do we always take time to notice the narrow skills that aren’t always measured by the standards?

I’m challenging you; don’t miss the laundry because you’re focused on the dishes. ☺