Posts Tagged ‘Education’

I Once Had a Gun Put to My Head Whilst Teaching

February 13, 2020

 

 

In my first year as a teacher, I had a nasty experience.

As I was teaching a 6th Grade class, an 8th grader stormed into my classroom looking angry, adorning a vicious look and immediately approached me, put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger.

I flinched in pure, unadulterated fear.

Turns out the gun was a plastic toy. Albeit, a lifelike plastic toy.

The kid involved thought the nasty trick was hilarious. So did the entire 6th Grade class.

I was stunned that after I described the event to my Principal and the enormous negative effect it had on my mental state, the best he could do was give the kid in question an in-house suspension.

That’s right, the kid wasn’t even sent home! The parents weren’t even called in!

So, you can imagine that I am very sensitive about threats against teachers, especially when they involve guns.

But, even after recounting my brush with gun violence at the hands of a student, I find this story absolutely rediculous and an extraordinary case of overreach:

 

A Pennsylvania elementary school called the police after a kindergartner with Down syndrome made a finger gun at her teacher. Officials concluded there wasn’t a threat, but the girl’s mother said they went too far.

Maggie Gaines called on the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District to update its threat assessment policy after her 6-year-old daughter Margot was questioned by administrators for making a gun gesture at her elementary school teacher and pretended to shoot her.
Gaines said it was a harmless expression of anger. But Margot’s school in southeast Pennsylvania determined her actions appeared threatening, so they conducted a threat assessment

THANK YOU!:

I recently donated 100% of the royalties of my #1 bestselling new children’s book (Amazon.com.au bestsellers list), My Favourite Comedian, from the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. Thank you for your support! This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Most Teachers Don’t Want to be Teachers

February 5, 2020

Teaching is an unbelievably rewarding profession. I love the being one and do not envisage leaving the classroom anytime soon.

But I don’t blame others for raising the white flag.

Teachers are arguably overworked and underappreciated. You don’t believe me? Try it for a week!

 

More than half of Australian teachers plan to walk away from the profession, saying they are undervalued and overworked.

New research from Monash University reveals three in five teachers feel they are underappreciated and the hours they put in outside of the classroom are not recognised.

These feelings of under-appreciation persist, despite surveys of the public revealing 93 percent of people feel teachers are trusted and respected.

Dr Amanda Heffernan, lecturer at Monash University’s Faculty of Education, said reasons for teacher dissatisfaction were surprising.

“The pay wasn’t as much of an issue as we expected,” she told 3AW’s Ross and John.

“What really came through was the work load and the subsequent flow on effects in terms of health and wellbeing.”

 

THANK YOU!:

I recently donated 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, from the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. Thank you for your support! This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

The Scariest Day of the Year for a Teacher

January 30, 2020

 

Tomorrow is my first day of the new school year and I am petrified.

It’s nothing new. This day torments me every year.

Whilst you can lose your students any day during the year, if you lose them on the very first day you are in a world of trouble.

I’ve done it all. Nailed my first day and botched it.

And there’s no script that one can follow to guarantee success. Every class is different, just as every individual is different. This uniqueness gives us great variety in our job but also challenges us to make a quick determination of what their needs are and how they want to be taught. Some are looking for more room to grow creatively whilst others want a more uniform approach.

And this determination has to be worked out on the first day.

In the first lesson, actually!

Wish me luck.

 

Becoming an Adult Starts in Primary School

January 28, 2020

adulting

A good Primary school invests in more than just the academic progress of the child. It also fosters an ability for each student to gain thinking skills, coping strategies and proficiency in life skills.

That’s why I’m stunned that a college would have to open a course on basic life skills. Seems 12 years late:

 

U.C. Berkeley is offering a class in “adulting,” basic life skills young people may have missed until college provided a wake-up call.

The class is so popular it’s turning students away.

“I want to feel prepared like I know what I’m doing and I know how to be an adult,” said Allegra Estrada, 21, who is a pre-med junior at Cal.

“You can know as much as you want about physics or biology or English but that doesn’t help you when you need to do taxes or figure out what to eat.”
Monday night, a new eight-week session in “adulting” began.

“We’re going to have guest speakers,” said instructor Belle Lau, laying out the topics: managing time and money, and improving relationships

“That can be a relationship with yourself or others, like family, friends,” said Lau.

Other areas include fitness, nutrition and mental health.

“Self-care, self-love and sleep,” Lau continued.

Many students admit they struggle making the transition to self-reliance in college.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

The US States That Still Allow Corporal Punishment

January 23, 2020

 

It is quite upsetting that 19 US states still allow corporal punishment in their schools. Below are some damning statistics from the said states. Of equal concern is the ratio of black and Hispanic children being the subject out this outdated and inhumane form of punishment.

Image result for corporal punishment  table in the us

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

How Long Can the Average Teacher Sit on the Floor?

January 22, 2020

Try sitting on the floor teachers.

No, not for 10 seconds. At least half an hour!

What are you doing? Don’t lean against a wall. That’s cheating!

If you want to improve the behaviour of the classroom you could do worse than treat your students the same way as you wish to be treated. Just like I find sitting on the mat utterly uncomfortable I try to minimise the amount of time my students are on the mat. Just like I can’t sit still for too long before feeling under duress, so too I allow my students to experience active lessons that mix learning with some movement.

The truth of the matter is that kids are bound to their seats or the mat for way too long. It is unhealthy and bad for the brain. Don’t take my word for it.

Angela Hanscom, a therapist in Maryland decide to get to the root of the reason why students couldn’t sit still during school and what she found out shocked her. Angela recounts her experience by stating  “I’ve been sitting for the past 90 excruciating minutes. I look down at my leg and notice it is bouncing. Great, I think to myself, now I’m fidgeting!” Angela realized that she couldn’t even sit through the same classes that students go through. She’s the example that people can’t expect  kids to sit through 90 minutes of nothing but listening when adults can not even do it. This proves that the school system must change to prevent students from damaging their maturing bodies and having been put on medication that they don’t even need.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

The Other “F” Word

January 21, 2020

The first line in my well-received new novel is, “I’m so fat.”

It elicits cheeky giggles whenever I used to read it out. Kids are not used to hearing that word anymore and are especially surprised that a major character in a kid’s book nonchalantly expresses such a candid self-reflection.

By the end of the first page, my audience grows to love the character and appreciate his honesty. Cheeky giggles are replaced with unabashed giggles. Finally, a character that feels comfortable to express the thoughts that many of us feel on a daily basis – seems to be the consensus.

When I first started reading the then-unfinished manuscript, a student approached me and told me how much the character of Jake meant to her. She told me that she had been ignored and disrespected because of her weight and it was inspiring to see those very same students that have ostracised her completely warmed to the fat character and instantly accepted him. She told me it gives her hope that the overweight kid can achieve some positive attention for a change.

I asked her what her name was.

“Nina”, she replied.

I told her I would name one of the major characters “Nina” because her words had moved me so much.

Nina is probably an adult now and probably has no recollection of that day and the origins of her namesake in my book. But her reaction has not been unique.

As a teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to read my book to thousands of students along the journey. There is a good reason why the word “fat” is frowned upon and there is a logic behind society’s reluctance to explicitly draw attention to weight.

But fat people know they are fat and are looking for a character that can own up to it and then prosecute the case why being overweight should never overshadow a person’s spirit, wisdom and achievements.

Enter Jake Archibald and the book, My Favourite Comedian.

Thank you, Nina!

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

 

Nobody’s a Nobody: An Original Poem

January 20, 2020

nobody

 

NOBODY’S A NOBODY by Michael Grossman

I used to be so popular,

When I was back at school.

The teacher’s used to love me.

The kids thought I was cool.

 

I used to be so pretty,

And very good at sport.

Used to think I was quite special,

Or at least that’s what I thought.

 

I used to hang with cool girls

Who knew the latest trends.

Everyone looked up to us,

And wanted to be friends.

 

So many kids we just ignored

I regret it in a way,

They may have seemed like nerds back then,

But look at them today.

 

I remember this one girl,

Big Stella Green

With these ugly, awkward glasses

And a huge nose in between.

 

We used to tease and tease her,

Before and after school.

Once old Tommy McNoughton

Shoved her in the abandoned pool.

 

If only he would have known

That later, in a time of strife,

Stella Green would operate on his fiance,

And all but save her life.

 

What about Kayoko Kishimoto?

Our only Japanese student.

She was brilliant at science,

But at English – not so fluent.

 

We would never come and talk to her.

No one would even try.

They just left her all alone,

Supposing she was shy.

 

Did she end up learning English?

Well, what can you say

About the winner of an Oscar,

For Best Original Screenplay.

 

There was Dante Ferretti,

Who was the ‘school geek’,

With his great boofy hair,

And pimples for each cheek.

 

So tired of getting abused

And so embarrassed with his looks,

He used to hide his spotty face,

Inside a range of different books.

 

Who would have thought

That this reserved, avid reader,

Would go on to become

Our new State Opposition Leader?

 

Everyone used to fear

Max Stockwell “The Freak”.

Rumour had it he ate live snails,

And showered once a week.

 

The girls thought he was mad,

The boys thought he was weird.

He’d come walking through a corridor,

And the corridor all but cleared.

 

I hear he’s no longer weird,

And no longer is he ‘mad’;

Instead, he’s changing nappies

As a loving, stay-home dad.

 

I was never better than them.

I used to be so lame.

If I only understood,

That we are all the same.

 

I used to be “cool”,

But never was I happy,

Until the day I realised

NOBODY’S A NOBODY.

 

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

 

The Untold Challenge of Teaching 6th Grade Math

January 19, 2020

 

It is rare to find a Primary teacher with a mathematics background. Usually, Primary teachers are far stronger in the Humanities (Liberal Arts), than Maths and Science.

It is for this reason that many opt not to teach 6th Grade math. By that stage, the concepts are too challenging for them to explain (that is if they can solve them at all). It is not uncommon for brilliant teachers to request never to be placed in a 6th Grade classroom, specifically due to the overwhelming nature of the math curriculum.

But there is a hidden challenge in being a 6th Grade maths teacher. One that doesn’t get nearly as much recognition and affects even the most confident of maths teachers.

What do you do with kids who simply don’t get concepts he or she have been taught every single year along the way, with no success?

How do you teach equivalent fractions to a child that’s already had it well explained, has already been shown it on a Fraction Wall and has already been exposed to manipulatives?

The same goes with telling time. If a child doesn’t know how to read an analogue clock by Grade 6, it isn’t because teachers haven’t practised skip counting by 5 and described the function of the minute and hour hand.

In fact, it is very unlikely that the teachers along the way have erred in their explanations. So going into the year thinking your explanation is going to be so much more effective than the previous ones is perhaps a touch conceited.

Some may just settle for explaining the concept once more in the hope that another shot maybe all the child needs to become successful. And if it doesn’t work – “Well, at least I tried.”

I believe one is compelled to find a new and fresh, sometimes even unorthodox way of teaching the material. There needs to be a completely different style of imparting the skill in order to break the gridlock. An outlandish game or activity can sometimes do the trick.

Of course, this is easier said than done.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Students Get Their Phones Banned but Teachers Don’t

January 19, 2020

 

Confession time: I walk into the classroom with my phone (on silent) in my pocket and my smartwatch on my wrist.

Should my kids get sick at school, or an urgent matter arises, I am the contact. I need the reassurance of knowing I can attend to serious family matters quickly.

This has come in handy. Like the time my wife went into labour, or the time my daughter’s ride failed to turn up, leaving her stranded outside the school gates.

I inform my students that I have the device not to look on eBay or scroll Facebook, but to respond to family matters in a timely fashion. They get it and don’t make a big deal of it.

But I am hardly the first teacher to have a phone in class, and although it isn’t a problem in my workplace, I would guess that there are plenty of teacher’s out there who aren’t as disciplined with their use of phones in class. My daughter constantly speaks of the addiction her teachers display with their phones, even answering social phonecalls during class.

So, the inconvenient truth needs to be raised. If students are forbidden to bring a phone to school, should a teacher be as well?

Kids could face detention or even suspension if they flout a new mobile phone ban in schools.

With just 10 days until kids return to school and the ban kicks in, the Sunday Herald Sun can reveal some schools are preparing to take a hard- line approach.

Under the ban, all phones must be locked away for the duration of the school day and smart watch and tablet notifications switched off.

Penalties for not complying with the new rules will be left up to individual schools, and some are expected to take a “three-strikes-and-you’re out” approach where students would be given detention for a second offence and could be suspended on strike three.

Public primary and secondary schools across Victoria must enforce the government phone ban from January 29.

 

The teacher’s union will ensure that teachers never have to follow the same rules as their students when it comes to technology. You can imagine the outrage if such a rule included teachers as well.

But students see right through the hypocrisy and teachers can never expect to command respect when they spend minutes every lesson checking their Instagram accounts.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.


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