Conversations #51 October 11, 2009
Lisa, Sheila and Maria were joined this week by Peggy George and Paul Bogush to discuss teacher morale. Thank you Peggy and Paul for joining our conversation.
Lisa Parisi : Welcome Peggy...turn on skype and I will call you in to the show
PeggyG : I'm on a different computer-need to check headset and sound-listening to ustream for now
Maureen : It's gorgeous!
MariaK : glad to see you here - will chill!
Maureen : Lost sound
JoNelle G : me too
kyteacher : No sound.
kathbc : me too
kathbc : it's back
JoNelle G : :)
kyteacher : Whoo hoo!
Lisa Parisi : sound should be back
Maureen : it's back
Will Chill : First time joining--long time admirer ;)
MariaK : You'll like it here - wonderful folks listen to the show
JoNelle G : and integrating naturally
Lisa Parisi : http://herricks.org/webpages/spcollaborative/content.cfm?subpage=15244
Lisa Parisi : That is a link to our project videos.
Lisa Parisi : @Will Chill You might like to see what our class can handle this year.
Lisa Parisi : ;)
Lisa Parisi : Peggy, are you ready to join?
Maureen : We had Grandparents Day on Friday. Had GPs in my lab. I gave out flips and digital cameras and told the kids to interview their GPs. I gave them a list of questions they could use to start- most stuck with those. GPs have great stories to tell. If I do it again I will prep the kids better. I think the GPs were surprised not to "see me teach" a lesson, but they had fun. http://mybcd.org/mrstumenas/
11:43:38 Maureen : We used to try to stick with if you add something to the curriculum, take something away, but now it's just pile it on
Maureen : I think that better integration is the answer.
Lisa Parisi : Would anyone like to join the skype call?
JoNelle G : yes Lisa - show how you are using a tool instead of paper/pencil w/ same lesson
JoNelle G : i did not mean yes to skype:) yes to your comment
Lisa Parisi : I figured that. :)
Will Chill : Difference between stress and feeling over worked...
Lisa Parisi : How so Will? Doesn't being overworked lead to stress?
Maureen : @will chill- what's the difference?
11:47:02 Will Chill : Stress is caused by emotions--when you are thinking about something but you have no plan for doing it--there is no outlet with no plan, no action. Therefore the emotion twirls in your body and causes stress. Being tired from over work is totally different.
Maureen : So, do we as teachers have a knee jerk reaction to anything that is imposed on us?
11:47:46 JoNelle G : I have tried to reduce stress to homeroom teachers by reading their team meeting minutes, and then presenting idea, projects that go with their class lessons
Will Chill : Stress is a hormonal reaction affecting all sorts of body systems
JoNelle G : yes Maureen - it is perceived as "added on and more"
kyteacher : Here, here.
Maureen : I know I do- if it feels like it's imposed... so does that mean that if it's not my idea I don't like it... I don't know
JoNelle G : we seem to jump on many band wagons over and over. It is not presented as - this instead of that.
Will Chill : Younger teachers tend to feel more overworked...older teachers feel stress ;)
JoNelle G : yes
Scott Shelhart : @ will Is that a function of age or experience?
kyteacher : So many others things...many with little or no real value for students...are imposed upon teachers. Yet, we are just fine with teachers who cannot even check their own email.
kathbc : I think if we are shown new things, and also shown how they can work in the classroom, most teachers are willing to try. But if just told they must use it without the tools to do it, then is when it gets to be a problem.
Will Chill : @scott..answering, give me a minute
PeggyG : think I have audio and skype now- :-)
MariaK : For older teachers...speaking from experience...over worked leads to stress
JoNelle G : we want our leaders to lead the way - support - integrating new effiecient tech tools. and training time:)
PeggyG : no rush!! I'm happy to type
kyteacher : @kathbc I agree...need to support teachers as they try new things.
Maureen : @Maria- yes, I feel overworked and stressed... but some of that is my fault- rest is admin top down form of "leadership"
Maureen : I guess I think the morale at my school would be better if we were all on the same page, all treated equitably and all had a voice in decisions.
11:52:50 PeggyG : @Maureen-I think you're hitting on the key point-when it's top down and teachers don't feel they have input they are often stressed out and resistant-bad for morale!
11:53:36 Will Chill : @scott younger teachers on one level have a quicker recovery time, again stress is a reaction to cortisol, younger folks can go into recovey quicker. Younger teachers also tend to come home to homes with less stress--single, newly married, or young kids who can quickly take over the thoughts of school. Older teachers 40ish have ability to see teaching in a bigger picture and make connections that younger teachers can't make--see more things. Also have families, bills, older parents, etc, that are longer term stressors. A kid not sleeping you know is going to end, a problem with you teenager can stress you all day
Lisa Parisi : @will chill Want to join the skype call?
Will Chill : sure
Lisa Parisi : Are you who I think you are? You are in my skype contact list already and skype is on?
Scott Shelhart : Hmmm. So starting my teaching career at 45, am 2X blessed or 2X cursed?
JoNelle G : YES!! we have done all of those programs too...and more...seems that we cannot stay with one and build on successes. jump on another
Will Chill : yep--just need to clean up the caulking off my hands--one minute
McTeach : We were trained with Step Up to Writing...I use it, but not exclusively. I incorporate it into the other writing programs I know of.
11:55:10 Maureen : I am part of the push for integrating tech, and try to tread lightly, but part of me wants the admin to step up and say "just do it" . So I am feeling stressed by top down, but want it to work for things that I believe in. Kind of hypocritical of me.
PeggyG : that's such a typical experience with new initiatives--no input or training or support-just get it done!
McTeach : I'm trying to find out what's best for my STUDENTS! Not me!
kyteacher : Younger teachers are still looking for their "voice" in the classroom. Can be very stressful when you feel like all eyes are on you. Need to give permission to experiment from time to time, even if that means a lesson fails.
Maureen : @McTeach- great point. It is not about us.
McTeach : I don't think there ARE any answers, Lisa
McTeach : Thanks Maureen!
Cathy E : @Maria are those your pictures I see on UStream
MariaK : they are Sheila's ,Cathy
Sheila : @CathyE - my photos from last year.
11:58:22 kyteacher : @McTeach I agree that it is about what works best for students, but also about finding out your own comfort levels, procedures, etc. Watching many young teachers in my building struggle with these. Most are too afraid to ask for or accept help. Makes them feel like they are being judged.
McTeach : Hey Paul!!!
kyteacher : Hello Paul!
kyteacher : ...or goodbye?
Lisa Parisi : We lost you Paul
Will Chill : I can hear you
Will Chill : I only have skype running
Lisa Parisi : sound will be right back
Maureen : It's fine here
Scott Shelhart : ustream solid
Maureen : Can hear everyone
McTeach : @kyteacher For me it was always a confidence issue. I never wanted to ask for help because I "knew" I was a lousy teacher and didn't want anyone else to figure it out!
McTeach : Paul, you say that like it's a bad thing!
McTeach : I always say it's due "When it's done"
kyteacher : @McTeach I am so glad that no one was really looking over my shoulder that first year. I teach at my old high school, so there were many pre-conceived notions about me as a teacher. That worked for me and allowed me to really discover myself as a teacher.
Maureen : I do that when we start something new- I honestly don't know how long it will take
kyteacher : I seldom set hard and fast deadlines on major projects. Never know what is going to happen...whether the network is going to function, etc.
Maureen : I gave real drop dead deadline for a major project- term grades close and I need that grade.
Cathy E : I will have to listen later - my college daughter is getting ready to go back to school
kyteacher : @Maureen That's usually how my deadlines fall...end of term.
Cathy E : she says I need to "play" with her
Lisa Parisi : Enjoy Cathy
Sheila : Have fun CathyE
kathbc : have to go, have really enjoyed this conversation. Grandson calling.
McTeach : Well said, Lisa!!
kyteacher : But lights would be fun too...:D
Maureen : I want it from parents- I would like them to appreciate how hard I work/care for their kids
Maureen : But Paul, I don't want to keep running from the tigers!
kyteacher : Fortunately, my admin sees what I do...I just want her to see that it is not magic. I think I have my principal convinced to go to EduCon this year.
McTeach : I don't respect my principal enough to want her approval. Getting it from the parents this year makes up for it!
Maureen : @McTeach- ouch!
McTeach : @Maureen She's driving everyone crazy! Pushing the limits of legalities
kyteacher : I <heart> my principal. She gets it. She just doesn't quite have the vision, yet, to put it in place. But she allows me to experiment...and defends it to the Board, if necessary.
Maureen : Not nice to say, but if everyone was working as hard as I am, I wouldn't feel so stressed/overworked. I would feel like everyone was doing their best and working toward a common goal. Not the case.
McTeach : Amen, @Maureen!!!!
kyteacher : @Maureen Yep.
Maureen : I have to take the certification test, update my resume and start looking. The honeymoon with new head is over.
kyteacher : Low morale is the result of all of those.
Sheila : @Maureen - I agree the common goal is important.
Will Chill : Level of moral = level of interpersonal connections hmmm...
Lisa Parisi : @kyteacher That is where my principal is too...now. Makes for a very different year.
Maureen : Great idea!
kyteacher : Hmmm...
Maureen : No one would take my 7th grade boys
Will Chill : Teachers with high stress also have low morale?
McTeach : "Will"...or is it the other way around?
kyteacher : The technology in my room completely failed during my last formal observation. Stressful, but freshman principal loved what I was trying. Even shared w/ Assist. Superintendent.
PeggyG : great example kyteacher!
Will Chill : teachers with low moral in my school seem to have no stress, because they can just blame everything on the students
Maureen : @will chill I can be stressed and happy. When I was teaching K I always worked hard and always felt a little stressed. But when I don't feel like anyone cares about what I do, I have low morale- and am stressed.
McTeach : Will....ouch!
kyteacher : I think we are on a good path. I just need to be more patient...
12:20:10 Maureen : @Will I have a grp of boys that I would love to blame for their behavior... and I do, but I also have to step back and take responsibility for my classroom... look at what I can do differently.
Will Chill : low moral and no stress = no movement forward? High moral and no stress = hold steady? low/high moral and stress = move forward?
kyteacher : My stress comes from the District "Non-Negotiables." Many seem to have no connection to students and take time away from doing what I really want to be doing.
Will Chill : opps...not morals...morale
Maureen : @Will freudian
MariaK : low morals may help stress :D lol
McTeach : "Will" ... I'm thinking "no morals" is not very stressful
kyteacher : @Will Some stress does push us forward...at least some of us.
12:22:54 Maureen : @Will I did that same slip at back to school night- talking to 8th grade parents- meant to say immortal- but said immoral... referring to their kids. Whoops
kyteacher : lol
Rose Arnell : Working towards professsional and self-improvement can enhance morale, morals, and stress.
PeggyG : absolutely Rose!!
12:24:49 Will Chill : This really has me thinking...I hate "going to school"...I love working with my kids...walking into the building sucks my morale...working with my kids and doing the things we do in a place that sucks my morale is stressful...hmmmm
Kimberely : Thanks all great conversations
kyteacher : Trying to get parents to use my class website.
Lisa Parisi : I have very much had that situation, Will
kyteacher : I keep posting as if they are...
PeggyG : sorry I was talking--I'd like to try again to answer Maria's question
McTeach : "Will" I know exactly what you mean! I feel like I have to avoid the office every day so I don't get stuck being talked to by the principal! Makes me dread going to school! But I LOVE my kids!!
Will Chill : Research shows that kids will reflect their teachers stress in ways that increase teacher stress
Lisa Parisi : I believe that.
kyteacher : @Will Good point.
McTeach : I'd love to have that job title!!!!
Maureen : We had someone that used to do that for us- now he is an admin... Lost his sense of humor
McTeach : I think we should share a funny story at each faculty meeting!
Will Chill : @mcteach I start most classes off with a story, joke or video--more for me I think
McTeach : I love that idea, Will!!
Rose Arnell : Laughing and snorting together seems to bring people together.
Will Chill : @mcteach--that funny story realeases all sorts of positive chemicals to combat eveil stress ;)
MariaK : love to laugh
McTeach : Too true, Will!! Laughter truly is the best medicine!
Will Chill : @rose yes, simply laughing at a joke is like a hug -- a shared emotional experience
PeggyG : yes Will Chill!!
Rose Arnell : Agreed, Will
kyteacher : I often ask students about the best & worst thing that happened to them at school that day. Helps keep issues in perspective and allows me to troubleshoot when necessary. Reminds students that I care about them.
McTeach : We were taught in massage school that laughter is an internal massage!
kyteacher : Great conversation today. Thank you.
McTeach : @kyteacher I love that idea!
Rose Arnell : Have a great week everyone! Just being here shows you are committed to better things.
Lisa Parisi : http://ettconversations.blogspot.com/ .
kyteacher : @Mcteach Really important at the beginning of the school year. I have found students who don't have a scheduled lunch...or they have two.
JoNelle G : pick your battles...and yes, laugh thanks all
PeggyG : Great conversation again! I'm sure we could talk about this for a long time! It would be fun to hear from others about what they do in their schools to improve morale :-)
Will Chill : My passion causes my STRESS!!!!
PeggyG : next week's topic-passion!! sounds great!
Lisa Parisi : Thanks for coming.