New Survey: Tell Us What You Need

100 Participants Will Win a Gift Card

Since my first blog post, I’ve been saying that input from educators is critical to the success of Teaching Channel. So, I’m asking you to join the conversation now and take part in our first Tchers’ Voice monthly survey. It’s an opportunity to help drive development at Teaching Channel. Tell us what you need to better support your students. We want to provide the resources and tools you need to grow as a professional and to serve the needs of your students.

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The Detriment of Teacher Isolation

Spending thousands of hours in my own classroom and the classrooms of many other teachers, I have come to believe that the most detrimental condition of a teacher’s work life is the isolation in which the majority of teachers work. The one-teacher-in-one-classroom model that most schools still use is based on an old set of turn-of-the 20th century assumptions that focused on factories and efficiency. Teaching, however, is a human enterprise and teachers need feedback from knowledgeable others to improve their own skills and to expand their ability to assess what the children in their classrooms need in order to reach higher standards.

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Seeking Motivation? Find Purpose!

Sarah's Classroom

I have been enamored with Daniel Pink since the first time I heard him referenced at a conference. His recent research, found in the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, has sent me into the kinds of conversations and personal reflections that have certainly influenced how I see my classroom, the culture of schools, and our profession. Even though Pink’s research stems from economists, his findings are universal and can’t be ignored when we think about the commodity in our classrooms.

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Elevate and Celebrate Teachers

In this third blog, I want to talk briefly about Teaching Channel’s third goal: to elevate and celebrate teachers. (See goal one and goal two). We believe that the task of getting significantly better gains for kids in our schools requires teachers who are all about improving their practice, and who are respected for the complex work they do to move kids forward.

To that end, Teaching Channel is working on a couple of initiatives to help the general public understand why teachers’ roles are so important, and how complex the work they actually do is. Once the public appreciates both of these things, we believe that the support teachers need to be successful will be more forthcoming.

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A Necessary Spark

Answering questions from beginning teachers

As the new semester unfolds after winter break, I seem to find myself back in some “beginning” places. With new students, the continuation of a new prep and routines to re-establish, this week always leaves me feeling out of “teaching” shape and scattered. However, this last week has also re-connected me with a few former students who are now somewhere along the continuum of becoming teachers. From first observations to beginning student teaching, it’s their questions that have brought me “closer to center” and have poised my thinking onward. Here are three of the questions that have reminded me why we do this intrepid work:

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Improving Teacher Practice

Last month I described the mission and the first goal of Teaching Channel: to drive the content of the channel based on feedback from teachers. This month we will finish creating the feedback tools and creating the advisory board and will report back to you what we learn!

The second goal of Tch is to deepen and facilitate teacher learning. We believe that providing high-quality video of classroom practice featuring teachers and students from around the country enables you to see how other teachers tackle teaching kids, particular standards and complex subject matter. We do know, however, that simply watching a video does not necessarily enable anyone to change his or her practice. So, we are building greater capacity into our site in order to enable you to form “Deeper Learning Groups.”

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Advice for a New Teacher

survival_header

Before the holidays we posted an email from a struggling new teacher asking for advice. I asked for your input—and our comments section now has some very specific techniques that should be helpful. I think one of Nick R.’s comments really speaks to the opportunity for this teacher: “With 172 kids your school has a unique opportunity to build a family of learners – and you’ll need teachers, administrators, relatives, students, and the rest of your community to make that happen.”

The New Year is a good time to start fresh—and start building that “family of learners.” So, as promised in my previous post, I’ve got some suggestions for “Trying to Get Better at Teaching for the Sake of My Students” to try this first week back from break.

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