Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Why Teaching?

January 7, 2020

 

I often get the question, “Why on earth did you choose teaching?”

My usual reply is, “The money, of course!”

But it turns out I chose to teach for the same reason as most – out of a desire to make a difference in an area I felt was in need of more idealism and passion. I also obviously enjoy working with students and really appreciate how lucky I have been to work with so many gifted and caring individuals.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. 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.

Teaching Children to Think for Themselves

January 7, 2020

 

When you look at the parochial student groups and lobbies it’s easy to assume that forming opinions comes naturally to young people.

This isn’t the case.

I would argue that for many, the positions they reach stems less from personal insight and knowledge and is more of a result of what conviction is fashionable for the time and place.

This is not ideal.

Today’s primary aged children tend not to have fixed viewpoints on most issues. They can parrot what close friends express, but it is clear they haven’t given it much thought. They can be asked for example to give their view on whether schools should have uniforms. They usually respond that they shouldn’t but then get stuck when asked to elaborate and provide reasons.

It is absolutely essential that teachers address this and show the students how to think for themselves and why introspection and knowledge really matters.

My advice for children and adults is to indulge in both sides of every viewpoint.

For example, read a book from a leading atheist and then from a leading religious thinker to determine whether you believe in a creator. Read the best book on socialism and compare that to a book advocating capitalism.

These examples are more apt for High School kids than Primary, but the idea extends to them too. That’s why debating is such a brilliant discipline. It forces one to see things from a different perspective.

And it’s not just politics. If you can see things from different perspectives you can connect better with others, forging stronger and more meaningful relationships.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Reading Aloud Radically Improves Reading Skills

January 7, 2020

My new book, “My Favourite Comedian” was written specifically to encourage children to read aloud. Similarly, I have been extremely heartened to hear that parents are reading the book aloud to their children. I feel that reading aloud has been stigmatized unfairly when it is, in fact, a very beneficial mechanism for improved comprehension and greater reader engagement.

Courtesy of babble.com

1. It’s time spent together. Reading time is time when you’re focusing on no one else and nothing else but them. It’s impossible to read to your kid and look at your smartphone or watch TV at the same time. I read to each of my children separately before bed. This lets me spend quality time with them individually. It makes for a longer bedtime ritual, but I don’t care because I love it.

2. It’s a conversation starter. Books always give us a reason to talk with each other, even if we don’t feel like we have anything to talk about. It keeps communication open.

3. It’s a great way to talk about emotional health. We talk about the things that happen in the stories, how we would feel if they happened to us, and how we might deal with such events the same or differently. Books have helped me broach topics that I might not have thought to raise if it weren’t for the subject matter in the story.

4. It’s a great way to honor the individuality in your children. I read different things to my daughter than I do to my son. We go to the bookstore and they pick out books about topics about which they are interested. Through paying attention to what they want to read, I can learn more about what their likes and dislikes are, including what they might want to be when they grow up.

5. You can open up new worlds for your kids. Reading allows you to introduce your kids to things that their school curriculum just doesn’t have the time or perhaps even the interest to cover. My 6th grader has recently expressed an interest in industrial design, so I’m on a hunt for cool books about the design of cars and about architecture. Dear publishers: Please publish more books for young readers about these things!! We don’t just need stories about zombies and vampires. 

6. You get a wealth of information on where your children might need help.  Through reading aloud to my children I’ve been able to teach them the meaning of words they still didn’t understand. They have better vocabularies. They have better comprehension skills and understanding of abstract concepts. And reading allows them to excel not just in language arts, but in all of their subjects. I’ve been able to see when my daughter was ready to read on her own — she started pushing me out of the way and reading the words herself — and also to see if and when she needs help.

7. It can lead to a lifelong love of reading in your kids. If you do it right, by reading like you mean it — which means getting into the story, changing your voice to reflect what is happening and not droning on like you hate what you’re reading — your children will learn to love reading on their own. My 11-year-old has now read more than 25,000 pages in his lifetime. How do I know this? For fun, together we created an Excel spreadsheet (OCD, anyone?) where we record the books he has read and how many pages were in them. He loves that little sheet, because it gives him a sense of accomplishment and he can look back on all that he has read and remember his favorites.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

The Golden Globes: The Teacher Version

January 6, 2020

The nominations are in for the following awards:

 

Most Discrete Check of Facebook During a Lesson

Most Overdone Hanging Classroom Display

Best Aide in a Slightly More than Supportive Role

The Chiropractic Award for Longest Mat Session

Best Sledge Against a Photocopier with a Paper Jam

Most Food Ingested in a 2-Minute Lunch Break

Best Job of Living Just Above the Poverty Line

Acting award for the Teacher who Best Pretends to be Awake During a Professional Development Session

Most Coffee Consumed During a School Day

Biggest Purchase of Stationery by a Teacher Using Their Own Money

Most Repetition of a Basic Instruction

Most Creative Use of the 1-Metre Ruler

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

How Restraint in the Classroom Can Transform You as a Person

January 6, 2020

In the classroom, we are tested beyond comprehension. It can be quite a challenge to keep one’s cool and it often involves sucking in some pride.

But, if you can overcome the urge to lose it and maintain a calm and considered approach to dealing with bad behaviour, disruption and rudeness, think about what you have achieved! And the respect that you are likely to get from your students cannot be understated. They realise when they have given as good as they got and haven’t been able to break you that they have a teacher who possesses self-control and resilience.

But it goes beyond that.

If you can withstand a hectic and unruly classroom situation, resisting all temptation to blow up and completely lose it, think about how much easier it becomes to deal with stressful situations at home. If you can leave the classroom with your voicebox intact and your reputation restored, you should surely be able to duplicate the act when it comes to dealing with your partner, children and mother-in-law.

Keeping your emotions in check in the classroom is as challenging as it gets. If you can achieve it, you can do just about anything!

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

What Polar Bears and Male Teachers Have in Common

January 3, 2020

It seems like I have a fair bit in common with polar bears and the Vaquita porpoise. According to some commentators, male teachers are an endangered species on the verge of extinction:

 

So how does Australia go about attracting men back into the classroom?

Kevin McGrath is the researcher behind Australia’s first longitudinal study of teacher numbers. He has also crunched the national workplace data on the gender and leadership positions in schools.

His studies have found schools are set to run out of male principals in the next 20 years and the male teacher will be extinct in the next 40 years.

Some argue that’s a good thing, given the struggle women face in the workforce, domination in one occupation can be considered a triumph.

 

Whilst I maintain that quality teachers should be the aim, I find the reaction to the lack of male teachers quite bewildering.

One of the biggest myths in education is that the lack of male teachers is being addressed.

This is pure rubbish.

Can anyone name me a strategy or policy that seeks to promote or incentivise the career to men?

You can’t? Of course not. None exists!

Interestingly, whenever a female gender gap in representation exists, such as in STEM courses at the university level, scholarships programs have been instituted in the name of diversity.

But here’s the thing.

It is ILLEGAL for universities to give scholarships to men in areas where they are underrepresented! That’s right, illegal!

How is that fair? How is that not sexist?

I’m proud to be doing my part for the endangered species that are male teachers. I aim to continue until my own work-life extinction.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Teacher as Imposter

January 2, 2020

 

I once watched the movie Speed and asked why Sandra Bullock didn’t just stop the bus.

Now I teach comprehension.

 

I once poured glue all over my hands so I wouldn’t drop the ball during recess.

Now I teach sport.

 

I was once asked to recite my tables and replied, “Dining Table, Kitchen Table, Tressle Table …”

Now I teach Maths.

 

I once humiliated myself by spelling organism incorrectly.

Now I teach science.

 

I once shattered a shower screen.

Now I teach singing.

 

I once thought General Patton was a make of car.

Now I teach history.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

We Have Already Found the Grandfather of the Year

January 1, 2020

It’s the first day of the year and we have already found our winner:

 

An Oregon grandfather of 10 came up with a brilliant way to spend more time with his grandchildren — he surprised them with a school bus that he had decorated and named the “Grandfather Express,” which he will use to drive them to school each day.

Doug Hayes was out to dinner with his wife Amy celebrating his 59th birthday this past June when Amy, just for fun, asked, “Well, you’re officially going to be old next year, anything you need to check off your bucket list? Anything you need to do in your last year before 60?“

In a Facebook post recounting how the Grandfather Express came to be, Amy explained that Doug was “totally bamfoozled” by the request because he’s always looking out for everyone else and is very outwardly focused. 

“What did HE want? What was on HIS bucket list?” Amy wrote. “He was floored. Actually a little disturbed. He couldn’t even comprehend the question.”

Amy went on to explain that Doug didn’t give her an answer that night, but one day he finally came up with the perfect answer.

“I want a bus,” he told Amy. 

When she asked him to clarify, he said that he wanted the bus to be able to pick up all his grandchildren each morning and drive them to school before he went to work. 

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

My Latest Book Interview

December 29, 2019

 

It has been a great thrill for me to publish my debut novel. Below is the transcript of my latest interview.

 

What is your e-reading device of choice?
The Kindle is now waterproof, which is perfect for me as I love to read in the shower. I hope the next edition is shampoo and conditioner proof.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have found that not taking no for an answer has been the best strategy. That tactic worked to finally persuade my wife to read the book.
Describe your desk
My desk happens to look a lot like a kitchen table. In fact, it is a kitchen table. Used cereal boxes make for great mouse pads.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Melbourne, Australia which is a lot like Melbourne, Florida aside from the beautiful climate and great beaches. Australians are fun-loving and easy-going people. I’m surprised they haven’t deported me yet.
When did you first start writing?
I once wrote a letter of appeal for a traffic violation. I wrote a very convincing letter. I knew then that I could make it as a struggling writer.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
This book was never supposed to be written. What started as a summer project that was abandoned after just two chapters slowly turned into a completed work. And the credit goes entirely to my students.
Back in 2002, whilst I was a mere student teacher, I noticed that kids weren’t utilising their quiet reading time very well. In fact, they were staring off into space. I decided to print off the two chapters as a means to provide the students with another reading option. Not only were they suddenly engaged in what they were reading, but they brought it home to their parents. I was getting messages from parents requesting the next chapter. And this started my journey towards completing the novel. This certainly wouldn’t have happened were it not for the support and encouragement of my wonderful students over the many years!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It is the perfect career move for me at the moment as I transition to my ultimate dream job – telemarketer!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Sharing your story and the characters you love with the world. That, and getting off parking fines.
What do your fans mean to you?
My uncle means the world to me.
What are you working on next?
I am working on two titles:
The A-Z Guide to the Alphabet; and
Mannequins for Dummies
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A nice, warm Kindle shower.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a social justice warrior. The other day I protested against cuts to the police force by handcuffing myself to a policeman.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I use the same method of discovery as Christopher Columbus – Google.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was 4 years old and got myself in heaps of trouble. Permanent marker is hard to get off wallpaper.
What is your writing process?
Sit at the kitchen table. Turn on the computer. Brainstorm. Give up and watch a YouTube cat video. Reward myself with chocolate.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
War and Peace. It totally changed my life. I loaned a copy to Kim Jong Un, but as of yet, he’s only read the first half.
How do you approach cover design?
I get someone else to do it. I can’t even make my stick figures symmetrical.
What are your five favorite books, and why?

How to Win Friends and Influence People – How I got my wife to read my book

The Art of the Deal – Pure comedy. One of the funniest books ever written.

The Achievements of Kim Kardashian – Available in pamphlet form

The Mueller Report – I once had insomnia. No more.

Grease – Not the movie, just a Jewish cookbook.

What do you read for pleasure?
The television guide.
What was your greatest achievement?
I once got the lead part in my school’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to perform it. I got injured during rehearsals. I fell off the roof.
spotlight
Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Teaching With Your Heart … and Small Intestine

December 26, 2019

 

I’ve heard of going the extra mile to keep your students engaged, but this takes the cake. And for what it’s worth, cake is the reason I won’t be trying this lesson any time soon:

 

A teacher in Spain is baring it all for education.

Veronica Duque, 43, has been teaching for 15 years and currently instructs a class of eight-year-old students in various subjects, including science, social studies, art, English and Spanish. But when she decided it was time to liven up her standard anatomy lesson, she went swimsuit shopping.

“I was surfing the internet when an ad of an AliExpress swimsuit popped up,” Ms Duque told Bored Panda. “Knowing how hard it is for kids this young to visualise the disposition of internal organs, I thought it was worth giving it a try.”

Rather than expose her outer body in a bikini, she wore another type of revealing swimsuit – a full-body wetsuit printed head-to-toe with a diagram of the human anatomy.

Her husband tagged along for a lesson, snapping a few photos of his wife’s “naked” bod in actionand sharing on Twitter.

His post quickly went viral with more than 65,300 likes and 13,000 retweets.

 

I think I’ll stick to the traditional overhead projector slides. As much as I like engaging my students, I like keeping my job more.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.


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