“To turn off your iPad, you press the button on the side. Let’s practice turning it off and on, and our next steps will be to explore the App Store.”
This professional development on “iPads for Teachers” was genuinely a great recipe for PD:
- Hands-on teacher involvement
- Opportunities to put ideas into action
- Immediate followup in the classroom during the coming weeks
Unfortunately, I found myself bored to tears. The school where I’d previously taught was 1:1 with student iPads and I’d been using them in the classroom for at least three years. What I anticipated as an opportunity to enhance my instruction using digital tools turned into a daydreaming session on all of the work I could’ve been doing in my classroom.
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there. We’ve all found ourselves in a well-intentioned, yet not relevant, professional development session generalized for a staff of perhaps several hundred teachers. Personalized learning for students and differentiation have been a focus in the world of education for several years and considered a must in the modern classroom. However, this type of thinking around learning has not been universally adopted for teachers as learners. If we’re expected to provide personalized learning for students, what can be done to support teachers in their quest for lifelong learning?
“What if you chose to teach, because you could be anything.”
~ Talia Milgrom-Elcott, 100kin10 2018 Summit
Remember when you wanted to be an ER surgeon who performed on Broadway during the weekends? No? Well, what about that summer you wanted to be a pink flamingo? Still no? Ok, well, do you remember that time when you chose to be a teacher?
Looking back, none of these career choices would have been easy (especially that flamingo gig); but teaching is hard — really hard. We may have chosen this job, but at this time of year, with all the challenges of the day, why do we continue to do this? Why do we continue to push students to become their best selves, towards what we believe they are capable of — shooting for the moon and beyond — even when they don’t understand why?
In 1949, when I was twenty-one years old, I took a creative writing course at the New School in Manhattan, taught by Professor Don M. Wolfe. He had been my freshman English teacher at New York University, where I graduated in 1947, just two months shy of my twentieth birthday.
Dr. Wolfe assigned compositions and encouraged us to stretch the language to create imaginative imagery and use muscular words to tell our stories and create our plots. He was extremely diligent in his reading of our material. When I would receive one of my compositions back, he wrote his criticisms in red ink scrawls and you felt dead certain that he had read every word. It was through those red scrawls that I interpreted his message.
You can write, son. Keep at it.
Many students can cite similar experiences: the mentor, the inspiration, the great teacher who took the student under her or his wing and made the crucial difference, who pointed the way to a fulfilling and prosperous career.
In that fateful freshman year, largely due to Dr. Wolfe’s inspiration (of which he was surely unaware), I decided to be a writer of fiction. I changed my major to English Literature, gloried in the study of the extraordinary western canon of authors, and have since then pursued a lifetime of obsessive composition of novels, short stories, essays, and poems. I’ve been through every imaginable phase of rejection, insult, deprecation, praise, acceptance, and a moment or two of lionization.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
We’re kicking off our week of Tchers’ favorite things by gifting you with time. Well, sort of! Since we can’t literally give you more time in your day, or give you a longer prep period (though we wish we could!), we hope to cut back on your planning time by showing you a few easy strategies you can try right away.
Demonstrated by some of our long-time favorites, like Sarah Brown Wessling, to brand-new teachers like Marquis Colquitt, these four new videos will give you fresh tools for your teacher toolkit.
Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7-11, 2018
The school year may be winding down, but spring is definitely one of the most stressful times of the year for teachers. So what better time to show our love and admiration for the special and amazing teachers in our lives? It’s also the perfect time to slow down and take care of ourselves as educators. This Teacher Appreciation Week, we’ve got you covered with gift ideas and self-care advice for educators like you.
Summer is just around the corner. Here at Teaching Channel, we know you’ve worked hard all year, so we certainly encourage you to take time to rest and recharge. You definitely deserve a break!
But for many educators, summer is also a time to do some learning. Perhaps you want to try out a new tech tool. Maybe you want to pick up new strategies for classroom management. You may even want to take a professional learning course. Whatever your learning mission, Teaching Channel is here for you with our videos, deep dives, blog posts, and now our brand new, Tch-designed courses.
Why Take a Teaching Channel Course?
Our courses enable you to:
- Engage with Tch resources through interactive assignments and discussions.
- Watch and reflect on videos from our best-in-class library.
- Learn from educators you already know and love, like Sarah Brown Wessling. Our courses are authored by prominent subject-matter experts and thought leaders, all current or former K-12 educators.
- Connect with other educators taking the course and build a new professional learning network.
- Earn credit from your choice of regionally accredited colleges and universities.
We know that educators are busy, so we designed these courses to work for your schedule.
- You have 15 weeks to complete each self-guided course.
- You can earn 3 credit-hours (we have for-credit and non-credit versions).
- Course authors will have twice-monthly live webinars.
When Can You Start?
Ready for summer learning? Here are the first three courses, Read more
Standards and assessment.
Two words that are packed with so much meaning for educators. When you hear those words, do you cringe? Or do you get excited about measuring your students’ growth? Do you see standards and assessments as opportunities for students to drive their own learning?
Because standards and assessment can indeed be exciting, and they’re an integral part of a teacher’s practice and a student’s learning, Teaching Channel and Ashford University have partnered to bring you a new, graduate-level, three-credit course on the subject.
Making Teaching More Manageable
We all have days (or weeks, or months) when we feel like we can’t keep teaching. Often these times come at the end of the year, when we’re exhausted and overwhelmed. The good news is that sometimes small tweaks can make all the difference, giving you the energy you need to power through.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try these tips:
Here at Tch, our goal is to appreciate teachers all day, every day. This Teacher Appreciation Week, we want to give you what you really need: more time and more energy, plus opportunities to relax, splurge, and learn. Sounds good, right?!
Here’s what we have in store for you this Teacher Appreciation Week!
As adults, we often rely on people with practical knowledge to model procedures for certain tasks we intend to do on our own. This is why we sometimes turn to YouTube for guidance whenever we need to change a tire, assemble furniture, or roast a turkey. You may have even used video as a support for some of your professional development initiatives.
In my freshman Ethnic Studies classroom, we use resources like Google Classroom and Edublogs as an early scaffold to support the work students will produce in upper grade levels. However, when students first come to our school, they bring with them a wide range of competencies using these tech tools. One way I’ve been able to overcome this challenge is by creating instructional videos to provide directions for my students. The amount of time I spend managing the process of digital projects has decreased, and the time I’m able to spend engaging students in the challenging work of an Ethnic Studies class has increased.