At the beginning of the year most teachers spend time going over classroom expectations with students. One of the ‘hot topics’ has been making a chart or poster of things that are in a student’s control. controlThe premise is that if students can recognize that some things are out of their control, they can then regulate their response. The outcome hopefully produces a more self regulated classroom where students are proactive, not reactive.

While I think this a great exercise for students, isn’t it a great exercise for teachers as well? There are many aspects to teaching that are out of my control (class size, which students I get, schedule, and so on). I can choose to be reactive and complain or be discouraged but realizing there are many factors that go into running a school, I may not see the big picture.

Teaching is hard, doesn’t it make sense to work at having a positive outlook regardless of the circumstances? Students pick up on your attitude toward school, make sure it’s worth catching!


Prized Posessions

One of the benefits of working in elementary school administration is that you get to hear the fantastic, unbelievable things that kids say.

Everyone has heard of or participated in the ritual that is ‘Show and Tell’. In one instance at a previous school, a kindergarten student had brought in a pretty white stuffed rabbit around Easter time to share with the class. The teacher comments on how pretty and white the bunny is and asks the student if it is her ‘pet’ bunny. The student replies yes and asks the teacher if she wants to hold it. The teacher says yes and upon taking the stuffed bunny in her hand realizes that it is wet. Surprised, the teacher asks why the bunny is wet to which the students replies that she licks it and that is why it is so clean!

Southern Cornbread Salad

Southern Cornbread Salad

Cornbread cut into cubes and crumbled

1 can black beans drained

1 can whole kernel corn drained

1 medium onion, diced

2 large tomatoes, chopped

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 bottle ranch dressing

Fresh parsley, chopped 

Put cornbread in large bowl or square pyrex dish. Layer half of the beans, corn, onion and tomatoes. Spread half of the dressing on top then layer with cheese. Make another layer and then top with cheese. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Garnish with fresh parsley.

(Recipe courtesy of Dot Moore)

What Is Important?

As a former administrator, part of my job was to interview potential teaching candidates. Once teachers made it through the application review process and were called in for an interview, there were several questions and statements that were posed to them. I used one particular statement to gain insight into a teacher’s “classroom personality.”  The statement was:  Rank the following three words in order of importance for a successful classroom; explain your thinking: discipline, planning, and enthusiasm.

Here are my rankings and explanations:

  1. Discipline – It doesn’t matter how enthusiastic you are or how much you’ve planned, if you don’t have an orderly disciplined classroom not much will get done by you or the students.
  2. Planning – You must use data to plan for your students. If you don’t know where they are, how can you move them academically to where they need to be?
  3. Enthusiasm – If your students are well managed and they have lessons and activities that are planned for them specifically, you can be enthusiastic about the success in your room (both yours and your students’.)

I’m sure there are successful teachers out there who would rank these traits differently for a variety of reasons. I would love to hear from you! If you are a teacher or not, give it some thought; how would you respond to that statement?