Teachers Who Stay Connected Teach Longer

Tchers' Voice Teacher Retention Blog Header

As a new teacher, the demands of the career can be overwhelming at times. During my first year of teaching, I felt alone and I was unsure about whether I was doing a good job. So I turned to the internet, and I was both surprised and delighted to find that there was a bustling teacher community around every corner.

Building community is essential for teachers to feel connected, supported, and to share their ideas with peers. And when teachers feel heard and supported, they’ll be more satisfied with their career and more likely to stay in the classroom with the kids who need them. If you’re a teacher with a strong support system, online communities and social networks can be a welcome addition. But if you feel a little more like you’ve been making a go of it alone, these spaces can be a much-needed lifeline.

Teacher blogs, Facebook groups, and Twitter are three online resources that have helped me to stay connected, engaged, inspired, and to continue learning with a community of like-minded educators.

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Tch Talks 22: Intention & Critical Creativity in the Classroom

Tch Talks with microphone

What is Critical Creativity?

To Dan Ryder and Amy Burval, critical creativity is “students using creative expression to demonstrate deeper thinking and the nuances of understanding content.” It’s a portmanteau of sorts, which has the potential to turn ideas into action and push your students toward deeper learning and meaningful understanding.

Dan and Amy believe that, “When students make connections, transform knowledge, and articulate the reasons behind their creative choices, learning becomes more sticky, meaningful, and authentic.” Articulation of creative reasoning is key, because as students learn the power of explanation, rationale, and intentionality, they shift from passive pupils along for the ride to active drivers of their own learning. And the best part of this shift is that it occurs in the midst of purposeful play.

On this episode of Tch Talks, Dan Ryder, Education Director of the Success and Innovation Center at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, Maine, joins us to talk about his and Amy’s new book, Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom, and how a little rigorous whimsy can help you transform learning in your classroom right now.

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The Power of Student Voice in First-Person Commentaries

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It’s easy to have an opinion these days. But getting someone to see the world from your point of view — that takes a little more skill.

Enter the first-person commentary.

From newspaper op-eds to radio perspectives, there’s a growing market for content grounded in one person’s individual lived experience. Done well, commentaries can inform, persuade, and build empathy — making them powerful tools for civic engagement and fostering deeper community conversation.

This lesson on commentary writing comes to you from Youth Radio, an award-winning national network of next-generation storytellers.

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I Feel Smart! Vanessa’s Story

We were weeks into our new journey of bringing the science fair into the 21st century: Science In The Sky.

Everything is digital so why haven’t science fairs caught up? Well, my students were doing it! A feverish pitch exploded early amongst my scientific teams once scientists from around the world started responding to different blog postings. Elshaddai and his team were working hard collecting data on their hypothesis about whether the moon does or doesn’t affect mood. “I don’t even know where Luxemburg, Munich, Hong Kong… I don’t know where any of these places are!” I overheard him saying to his team. Using social media, I was able to distribute their survey around the world and excitement ensued when data started to pour in because they had no idea that I’d done this.

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How Twitter Saved Me

Every Monday my students ask me, “What did you talk to your teacher friends about last night?” When I first told them that I spend an hour on Twitter every Sunday evening, talking to other teachers about teaching, they looked at me like I was crazy — and this response hasn’t been limited to students.

At the high school where I teach English, other teachers have also been incredulous that after spending so many hours outside of school reading essays and planning curriculum, I would spend a precious hour of my weekend talking teaching to a group of people from across the world. But it’s this group of educators — amazing people I’ve connected with through Twitter and the social media app Voxer — that have reignited my passion for a career that can beat down and exhaust even the most motivated, caring teachers.

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Building A Worldwide Math Community

Tch Laureate Team

As someone who loves to learn, I’ve always enjoyed and looked forward to going to conferences.

I’ve been fortunate to attend numerous NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) and NCSM (National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics) annual conferences with my colleagues. There’s something about having the opportunity to choose the sessions I want to hear more about, listen to speakers whose books and articles I’ve read, and having the time to speak casually about math and education during more than a thirty minute lunch with my colleagues, that is refreshing.

While I enjoy the bonding experience each year, I started to find that while the conference location would change, my conference routine did not. Each year I found the majority, if not all, of my conversations and interactions were amongst the people I came with from my school, and the sessions I attended were only the big names I knew in education. Even when I was brave enough to venture off into a conference session alone, I always had a meeting spot planned immediately afterwards with my colleagues. I didn’t want to be that person walking alone in the hallway, and was definitely not one to strike up a conversation with a stranger. All of this seemed normal to me, and until last year I would have said I was getting the most I could out of the conference experience.

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Bringing Professional Books to Life With Twitter

Tch Laureate Team

When teachers read professional books, the majority of interaction around the content is based solely on our interpretation and its application to our work. While we know discussing the content with others would allow us to gain a new perspective on the material, finding time for a book study seems nearly impossible; and particularly with this subject, finding someone who would love to read and engage in discussions around a math book is often difficult.

Enter Twitter, the social media outlet that has changed the landscape of my professional learning.

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Back-To-School Giveaway: Supplies, Setup…Selfies?

2015 Back-To-School Backpack

Back to school season has arrived and you’re undoubtedly gearing up for the year ahead. Throughout the month of August, Teaching Channel will be sharing tried and true resources to drive your 2015 forward, and social media is going along for the ride!

In addition to the Back-to-School Backpack, Teaching Channel is eager to hear your innovative, creative, and supportive teaching techniques across social media. As we count down the days to the beginning of a new year, we’ll challenge our followers to answer questions, post photos, and share stories of life as a teacher. Use the hashtag #TchTogether on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and win a prize!

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