Feedback and I have a love-hate relationship. We've had horrendous moments, lowlights including: YouTube comments from trolling strangers; The parent who threatened to sue me for targeting his daughter by – get this – reminding her of homework due dates; A teacher's constructive feedback of “Wear better clothes” after a PD; Blog commenters arguing that … Continue reading A 3 Minute Tradition for Powerful Feedback
Seventy high schoolers I’ve never met are either staring at me or pretending I don’t exist. I’ve come 750 miles from my home in Kalamazoo to spend a day teaching this eclectic group of freshmen and sophomores, who struggle with school. I have just 6 hours to build rapport with them, to shift their thinking, and … Continue reading 4 Power Moves for Building Rapport
There's no question that today's young adults are feeling intense levels of stress. 31% of all teens report feeling overwhelmed, depressed or sad as a result of stress 36% of teens report fatigue or feeling tired 23% report skipping a meal due to stress 2x as many students report their stress is getting worse compared … Continue reading Stepping Off Our Stress Box
It's hard not to feel like our society needs more empathy – more shared connection rather than polarized disconnection. What if we approached teaching empathy the way we teach literacy?
"My friend told me I should talk to you. I'm really struggling and I didn't know who else to talk to..." Frequently, students come to my room, starting conversations like this. Some of them I have in class. Some I've never met. I work with them after school or during their lunch, listening to their … Continue reading Why Teens Don’t Talk to Us
My wife once pulled a human tooth from her pocket. For a split-second, I thought she was a serial killer who finally let her evidence slip (I watch too much t.v., I know). Then I remembered that: a.) she was a 2nd grade teacher and b.) she often helps students pull their loose teeth.While she felt … Continue reading Stop Hoarding Emotions: Become a Goodness Curator Instead
There is no shortage of articles and musings on the issue of teacher burnout. Why can't we gain and retain quality teachers? Low pay. Little respect. Testing. Classes wrought with internal and external malaise: apathetic students, dated facilities, finger-wagging parents, administrators, and legislatures all getting speared with blame. I can attest to many of these … Continue reading Are you a mentor or a de-mentor?
If you work with teenagers (or parent one) you've probably heard of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why, a series based on Jay Asher's book of the same title. It's that show everyone seems to be talking about. The gist, if you haven't seen the series or read the book, is this: A teenager, Hannah Baker, takes … Continue reading Essential Questions for 13 Reasons Why
The simplified story is that one of my students cried after I made her pick up garbage for a day. The real story goes more like this: Each trimester, I take my students on a service learning field trip. We spend a morning volunteering at a local homeless shelter. In the afternoon, students pick up … Continue reading A Call to Help Students Find Purpose
At the end of this year, I had a major thought: I need alcohol. Then, I had a more productive thought: I need a change. You've had those years, right? When the challenges of teaching stalk you like dementors, sucking the life out of your soul? But as much as I've thought about waving goodbye … Continue reading Ready to Quit Teaching? Try Job Crafting First