This year I’ve been coaching several pre-service teachers. As they prepare to graduate and embark on their first teaching jobs, I started thinking about how I could help ease their transition into the classroom. My first year of teaching was insane– a student who constantly ran out of the room, a classroom with zero supplies, little collaboration. I so wish I had had an operating manual. In order to help their first years be a little less crazy, I’m hoping to give the teachers I work with a collection of advice from seasoned teachers.
I want to share some exciting news about a new development at Teaching Channel that will enable deeper collaboration and learning for teachers. It’s a big step in the growth of Teaching Channel, so I wanted explain why we’re taking it. We’ve been listening to you: from our monthly surveys to the hundreds of comments that come in daily from our growing community of 229,000 teachers. We hear how you’re watching Teaching Channel videos, modeling those strategies, and making them your own. We also have heard that you crave more feedback and collaboration. And we’re mindful of the recent Met Life Survey that emphasizes that teachers who have opportunities to collaborate are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. So, I’d like to officially introduce Tch Teams—a robust and personalized platform for collaboration among you and your colleagues.
Now that the Next Generation Science Standards have been unveiled, I’m sure many of you in our Tch community are trying to determine what the standards mean for you. Just what does the science classroom of the future look like? Let me give you an insider’s glimpse into next generation science teaching and learning.
Ever felt like your classroom was the arena for a tug of war between you and your students? Chances are that, looking back on that time, you can see that you were focusing on correcting individual students’ behavior, while not doing much to acknowledge students who were meeting expectations.
How do teachers get “unstuck” when we find ourselves in such positions? How do we improve the classroom environment?
Each year the MetLife Foundation conducts the important Survey of the American Teacher offering a temperature reading of perceptions related to our educational system. While in the past, they’ve focused on facets such as teacher preparation, parental involvement or even professional development, this year they zeroed in on the complexities of leadership as well as the Common Core. It probably comes as no surprise that school leaders continue to find their jobs more complex and overwhelming than ever before. Such perception just reminds us how these roles have and must continue to shift until our managers become instructional leaders.
But school leaders aren’t the only ones facing more complexity, so are teachers who must understand and implement the Common Core State Standards. And according to the MetLife survey, teachers feel confident. Here’s a snapshot of some of the most prominent findings.
Approaching Controversial Texts
Sometimes they happen unexpectedly and other times we have to gear up for them. Regardless of how they march into our classroom discourse, there are some discussions that are just tough to have. For many teachers, it’s our texts that provoke them, too. The chapter on evolution, the controversial current event or the classroom novel that exposes humanity’s darkest moments. In these never easy but essential situations, teachers need to be prepared and confident to take on such complex conversations.
In a recent Teaching Channel video, we highlight a teacher who did just that. Esther Wu shows us her approach in “Socratic Seminars: Use of the N-Word.” In this video, Ms. Wu is teaching Huckleberry Finn and tackling the tenuous, but necessary discussion about Mark Twain’s word choice.
MetLife Survey Indicates a Link
Each Spring I look forward to the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher—it-s a valuable tool that all of us a Teaching Channel pay attention to each year because the MetLife Foundation is gathering important information from a large sample of teachers across America. (The newly released survey queried 1,000 K-12 public school teachers in Fall 2012).