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3 Reasons Why Writing Standards are Falling in the Classroom

August 2, 2017

 

The standardised Naplan tests are back and surprise, surprise, it shows a decline in writing standards.

Many will be scratching their heads and asking why?

Below are 3 theories I have to explain the decline.

 

  1. Kids hate writing – It’s a struggle to get kids to write. They detest it. And don’t even bring up a second and third draft. No way are kids amenable to fixing up their already “perfect” first attempt. Teachers, in their bid to engage the class often keep writing lessons to a bare minimum. This of course has a major impact on the quality of their writing.
  2. Technology – There is a technology race among schools. Schools are constantly trying to outdo each other by embracing cutting edge technology. Technology does next to nothing to improve “bricks and mortar” skills like writing.
  3. Teachers Choose What Writing Genre to Focus on – Teachers are often given the choice as to what writing genre to focus on. They often choose the easy ones and the ones they are most comfortable with. Recounts and procedural writing are popular mainstays in classrooms. Instead of finding out the genres the students have already covered in previous years, teachers are only to happy to revise the same old tired genres for no other reason that they are easy to teach, write and mark. In the meantime, more difficult genres are hardly ever looked at.

 

 

Click on the link to read You Can Blame Me for My Students’ Standardized Test Scores

Click on the link to read Teacher Writes Truly Inspirational Letter to Her Students

Click on the link to read Redirect Your Frustrations About Common Core

Click on the link to read Perhaps There Should be a Standardized Test for Teachers

Click on the link to read Reasons Why I am Forced to Teach to the Test

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There are a Lot of Bernard Tomics Among the Teaching Fraternity

July 5, 2017

“This is my eighth Wimbledon or ninth, I think. I’m still 24, and it’s tough to find motivation, you know,” he said.

“Really, me being out there on the court, to be honest with you, I just couldn’t find any motivation.

“It was definitely a mental issue out there.

“Yeah, I just tried to break a bit of momentum but just couldn’t find any rhythm and, you know, wasn’t mentally and physically there with my mental state to perform.

“I don’t know why, but, you know, I felt a little bit bored out there. You know, to be completely honest with you.”

 

Above is from a candid post match press conference given by Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic.

He is getting slammed for these comments, and it’s not hard to see why.

But, if you think about it, teachers all over Australia could sympathise. Many of my fellow teachers have expressed the same levels of disenchantment and have admitted to going through the motions.

I don’t blame them, really.

Any industry that takes incentives out of the equation, leads their workers to do nothing more than just enough. By refusing to pay teachers based on their worth and instead paying them according to their experience, the Government have set up a system that will lead to Tomics, not Federer’s.

There is nothing worse than seeing a natural talent squander his or her potential. But before we judge a sporting star who refuses to try his best, we have to ask;

Are we trying our best?

 

 

Click on the link to read Why Many Teachers Leave

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Click on the link to read Which Country Pays the Most for Its Teachers

 Click on the link to read “Better Pay Leads to Better teachers”: Prove it!

I’m Not Myself When I’m Teaching. I’m Better!

July 4, 2017

 

There was a time there when I thought that I wasn’t the real “me” when I was teaching. That is was all a bit of an act.

I no longer feel that way.

In fact, I suspect it is the opposite.

Teaching has given me the opportunity to be my best self. I suspect that I am more myself when I am teaching than at any part of the day.

The confidence, the humor, the ability to take risks and try new things, it’s all characteristics that I should be exuding in everyday life. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it’s restricted to the classroom.

That’s why, whilst others celebrate school holidays, I dread them.

Teaching, after all, represents a return to me.

 

 

Click on the link to read Teacher Stereotypes: Which One Are You?

Click on the link to read Questions to Improve Your Teaching Performance

Click on the link to read Tricks That Work For Some Teachers But Don’t for Others (Video)

Click on the link to read Tips For Less Talking and Better Teaching

Click on the link to read What Type of Teacher Are You?

Queensland’s Stupid Selection Process for New Teachers

June 5, 2017

 

Would you trust a University to pick a good teacher?

This would be the same Universities that have been badly training our young prospective teachers. The ones that have left them full of theoretical mumbo jumbo, but with no idea how to solve the practical problems that make the job so difficult.

Making prospective teachers write an essay is a stupid idea. You might as well just get them to buy a raffle ticket instead. It would lead to a similar strike rate by the end of the process:

 

FUTURE teachers will have to pen a 1000-word personal essay on what inspires them, in a bid to select those most likely to survive in the classroom.

On top of existing academic requirements, prospective teachers will have to “draw on their life experiences” to show they are “motivated, organised and resilient” before being accepted into any Queensland education degree from August.

Candidates will have to write 500 words on two categories, one addressing suitability to teach and another covering personal learning, with a range of prompt questions asking what makes a good teacher and what has inspired them to teach.

 

Click on the link to read my post Tips for Teachers Who Want to Get Ahead

Click on the link to read my post Mindless Theory Not Benefiting Young Teachers

Click on the link to read my post Care About Your Students or Find a Different Career

Click on the link to read my post I Can’t Recall Anything Useful About My Teaching Course

Teacher Does Lesson Plans While Giving Birth

May 3, 2017

I dislike lesson plans immensely. I understand the value of it, yet it remains one of my least favourite aspects of the job. This teacher wins the medal for completing hers at a time when most would have it as the last thing on their mind:

 

Any woman who gives birth deserves a medal, all the chocolate in the world and a whole heap of praise, but a mother from Texas has truly proved that she’s superwoman – by doing her lesson planning while in labor.

Jennifer Pope, who gave birth to a baby girl last month, is the internet’s new favourite person after a picture of her working hard in the hospital ward was uploaded to social media. Photographer Andrea McDonald caught the candid picture of Pope working from her bed, which she then uploaded to Facebook. She captioned the snap:

“No, she is not doing her taxes. Those papers would be her lesson plans her husband is about to go drop off with her sub in the parking lot.

“Also, next week is Teacher Appreciation Week here in Texas. Spoil them rotten because even in labor, they care. No lie, she gave birth less than an hour later.

“This post is about showing the dedication of a teacher (I was one myself for many years). Seriously, be kind or scroll down.”

Pope, who has worked as a teacher for over 10 years and has three older children, told Huffington Post that she wants her picture to inspire other women to know that they can be parents and have careers.

“Being a working mom is hard ― like really hard,” said Pope. “But, it’s also so rewarding and fulfilling. I can’t imagine myself in any other profession.”

She added that she hopes the picture will help illustrate teachers’ dedication to their job and their students: “To many ― perhaps all ― of us, this is so much more than a job. It’s an all-encompassing passion.”

 

Click on the link to read The Letter that Brought a Teacher to Tears

Click on the link to read Students Care About Caring Teachers

Click on the link to read The Inspiring Things Teachers Often Do for Their Students

Click on the link to read Teacher Pens Moving Letter to Autistic Student

Click on the link to read Music Teacher Makes History at the Superbowl

The Letter that Brought a Teacher to Tears

April 27, 2017

It’s moments like these that gives us perspective for the hard times:

 

Markus left the incredibly heartwarming note on his teacher, Mr. KJ’s desk, with the proud mentor then deciding to share it on Facebook group ‘Love What Matters’.

Mr. J was obviously taken aback by the compliments in the letter and shared it with the world.

“So I walked in the classroom and found this letter on the desk that one of my kids wrote me and…I tried so hard not to tear up,” he wrote online.

 

Click on the link to read Students Care About Caring Teachers

Click on the link to read The Inspiring Things Teachers Often Do for Their Students

Click on the link to read Teacher Pens Moving Letter to Autistic Student

Click on the link to read Music Teacher Makes History at the Superbowl

Click on the link to read A Profession that Truly Cares

The Death of a Student

April 18, 2017

 

I suppose it happens to nearly all teachers at some point and tonight it has happened to me.

At approximately 7pm I got an email to notify me that a student I had taught 2 years ago had passed away.

I am grief stricken. He was only 12 years old!

Words fail me. I had a great connection with this child. I felt I understood him like no other teacher.

And now he’s gone and it will take me a while to get over it.

They tell you not to get emotionally involved but it is absolutely impossible.

Especially with students like him.

Rest in Peace!

 

Click on the link to read Explaining the Paris Tragedy to Young Children

Click on the link to read Some Kids Are So Brave! (Video)

Click on the link to read Guess What This Map Represents

Click on the link to read Is There a Greater Tragedy than a School Tragedy?

Teachers Should View a Sleeping Student as Feedback

March 29, 2017

What a horrific act and a total and utter overreaction. I’m sure this teacher felt disrespected that his student fell asleep in his class, but to assault her by biting her hair is astonishing and unforgivable.

As rude as it is for a student to sleep in class, a teacher should see it as crucial feedback and consider changing their style accordingly:

A strange clip of a teacher biting a students hair in order to lift her head off the table has emerged.The odd incident happened about a year ago but has resurfaced online. Jaws wide, the teacher approaches the snoozing student across a classroom. He then pounces on her, chomping her ponytail between his teeth. As she’s pulled from the desk where she was sleeping she looks shocked and worried. She gasps and grabs her hair and the creepy teacher relinquishes his grip. It isn’t known exactly where the weird incident happened but the 27-second clip has been shared widely on social media and other internet sites.

This teacher has a lot of explaining to do.

Click on the link to read Tips for Teaching Difficult Students

Click on the link to read Watch a Teacher Go Berserk Over the Most Trivial Thing (Video)

Click on the link to read Tips for Teaching Difficult Students

Click on the link to read Teacher Threatens to Give Away TV Show Spoilers if Class Misbehaves

Click on the link to read Teacher Called Cops Because Students Planned to Sabotage Class Photograph

Classroom Toilet Rules Turns Schools Into Prisons

March 13, 2017

I have one rule when it comes to toilet use during class time.

If you need to go, you won’t be timed or denied access to the toilet. You don’t even have to raise your hand to ask. Just let a friend know where you are going.

I don’t care if they need to go multiple times in a day. I don’t care if they need to go just after recess. My bladder isn’t always as predictable as I’d hope, why should I subject my 11 year-old students to standards I can’t always live by?

My students do no exploit this rule. They do not take a long time to go and classes are not disturbed by my rule. In fact, the students love this rule because it treats them like responsible citizens rather than inmates.

I can’t stand toilet rules. That’s why I am not sympathetic to this school’s predicament:

 

Police were called when a protest erupted at a British school after students were limited to two toilet breaks a day.

Officers were forced to be called in after up to 40 students took to the playing fields on Friday morning protesting the controversial new rule at Bedale High School in North Yorkshire.

Parents have criticised the school after being informed the 580 pupils were only allowed a bathroom break between 11.05am and 11.25am, and 12.25pm and 12.45pm.

The decision was criticised as “breaching human rights”, but the 11-16 comprehensive school maintains the toilets are accessible on request and to those who held a ‘medical card’.

Parents first learned of the new policy by a letter in February, which ITV reported as saying: “There is no access to the main building (where the toilets are located) after 12.45pm.”

Lunch finishes at 1.10pm, adding to the outrage.

One parent, who posted anonymously on Facebook, said: “I believe that this is humiliating and undignified and is a breach of human rights to be denied access to toilets at any other time unless you have a medical need, and totally ridiculous to say that you cannot go to the toilet after you have had lunch.

“My daughter had stayed behind in her class to do extra work and then went to the toilet at 12.45pm but staff wouldn’t let her go.

“I wrote to the Head saying I felt this was a breach of human rights and she wrote back saying that those with medical issues would need to get a note from the doctor.

“It’s appalling, the fact that if they have got medical issues they have got to show a pass, they are making them a target for bullies, it’s just degrading.”

And Pupil Madelaine Anderson agreed, writing: “I find this unfair on everyone not only girls but also boys, not everyone needs to have a ‘medical note’ to be allowed to use the toilet.”

But a notice posted on Bedale High’s website defended the move, saying the new behavioural code was part of an overall action plan.

They said: “The code also includes tighter rules on uniform and on reducing the numbers of students outside of classrooms during lesson time. 

“As part of this the school has reminded students that toilets are freely accessible during specific periods at lunchtime and break time but that students who need the toilet during lessons, or need access for medical reasons, will always be given access on request. Toilets are therefore accessible at all times.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire police confirmed they were called to a protest at the school but advised staff it was not a police matter.

 

Click on the link to read Hands Up if You Don’t Like Putting Your Hands Up

Click on the link to read Every Good Teacher Should be Allowed to Make a Mistake

Click on the link to read Girls Banned From Running at Sporting Events

Click on the link to read Schools Don’t Get Much More Scary Than This

The Normalisation of the Stigma Against Male Teachers

February 28, 2017

kasey_edwards

Below is a very destructive article against male teachers. Although not directly mentioning male teachers, the implications are obvious.

Parents are allowed to have their opinions about men’s ability to supervise and care for children, even though I contend that men make very good teachers and caregivers. What irks me is that this ridiculous and damaging article was published in the mainstream media, thus becoming yet another example of the growing normalisation of the stigma affecting men in teaching and care giving roles.

I implore the meainstream media to resist publishing this type of destructive drivel.

 

When our first daughter was born my husband and I made a family rule: no man would ever babysit our children. No exceptions. This includes male relatives and friends and even extra-curricular and holiday programs …

No one told her she’s off the planet? Or maybe they just quietly thought it, given how few sleepovers her friends have agreed to:

When my daughter goes on play dates I make sure that she will be supervised by a woman at all times. So far she has only slept at one friend’s house. Beforehand I spoke to my friend about our rule and clarified that if she’s going to pop out to shops for example and intends to leave our daughter in the care of her husband or another man then the sleepover cannot happen…

As you can imagine, this was not an easy conversation to have.

 

Click on the link to read And You Say You Want Male Teachers!

Click on the link to read A Male Teacher Drought or a Great Teacher Drought?

Click on the link to read Double Standards on Gender When it Comes to Teaching

Click on the link to read Sexism and Schools

 

 


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