Conversations Episode 79 - Teachers who are Inspiring
After all the teacher and union bashing this week from Waiting for Superman and Education Nation, Terry Shay reminded us, on twitter, that we have to start supporting each other. He asked us to name some teachers who inspired us. We decided to carry on this positive conversation on our show.
11:31:35 PeggyG : Hi everyone! Great to be here with such inspiring teachers!! We'll be talking about YOU today! :-)
11:31:59 MariaK : Hello NancyvonW - beeing seeing you around lately.
11:32:07 McTeach (Karen) : Still summer out here! :)
11:32:16 Maureen : No Sheila today? Just o
11:32:25 MariaK : Stop braggin karen!!
11:32:32 PeggyG : definitely still summer in Phoenix AZ-over 100 degrees yesterday
11:32:34 McTeach (Karen) : Sorry! :)
11:32:43 nancyvonw : Hi Maria, it's been cold and rainy here a lot lately- when you had warm temps last week we didn't get above 60 :(
11:32:47 PeggyG : Welcome Terry!! Great to hear from you!
11:32:53 Maureen : It was 32°F this morning- sun is nice, but breezy and cold
11:32:54 PeggyG : and....
11:33:03 PeggyG : Fablevision Lead Ambassador!!!!!
11:33:18 tjshay : Thanks for the welcome!
11:33:56 PeggyG : I couldn't find you last week and found your tweet later about Education Nation
11:34:01 CHERYL W. : NO SOUND THIS MORNING ANY ONE AVAILABLE TO HELP?
11:34:02 Maureen : I watched for a while, but it was irrelevant to me
11:34:05 McTeach (Karen) : Nothing of importance? I'm shocked! ;)
11:34:08 Lisa Parisi : ETTA is sound
11:34:12 PeggyG : go to ETT-A
11:34:19 Maureen : @cheryl w.. try etta
11:34:33 MariaK : sorry no ustream today - sheila - our ustream expert is away
11:34:50 ppalermino : Does anyone here teach in a charter school or a school without a union?
11:35:12 McTeach (Karen) : ppalermino...I do. I teach in a Catholic school.
11:35:26 Lisa Parisi : Here is my plan to combat negative attacks leveled at teachers. Think back to a special teacher in your life & fire off a note of thanks.
11:35:40 Maureen : I said this yesterday on classroom 2.0 show- but celebrating our successes- like the upcoming K12 online - makes more sense to me, gives examples of positive change happening
11:35:49 MariaK : @nancyvonw - deerfield fair weekend now - I'm off to the fair after the show. I'll get you some fried dough , if you wish.
11:36:51 McTeach (Karen) : Terry is a positive guy!
11:37:05 nancyvonw : mmmmm fried dough.. it was Apple Harvest day in Dover yesterday- missing all my favorite fall events!
11:37:11 McTeach (Karen) : Yay Maria!!!
11:37:42 nancyvonw : Maria, you're a rock star :)
11:38:05 PeggyG : I 100% agree!!!
11:38:16 Cathy E : Maria is the best!
11:38:36 liz : I come from a pro-union background but I have to agree, there has to be a way to protect teachers AND get rid of the bad ones....
11:39:02 liz : they should not be guaranteed a job, the cost is too high
11:39:58 MariaK : The thing is about getting RID of teachers - there has to be a process - in some places, because of my beliefs about taching and learning - I could be the one who someone might think should be gotten "rid of". We do need to be careful about what we wish for....
11:40:09 Lisa Parisi : There is a process.
11:40:11 liz : right, it's a catch 22
11:40:15 liz : it's a real quandry!
11:40:18 Lisa Parisi : It just doesn't get used.
11:40:49 MariaK : I'm really cheap and really old!!!
11:40:55 liz : ha ha
11:41:43 liz : I am a teacher and a mom. If my children had a bad teacher, I would want them gone 'yesterday'...the process takes too long.
11:41:46 MariaK : working 6 days of week, 7:30am - 6:00pm and don't take many weeks off in the summer! I'm a bargain!
11:41:54 PeggyG : just like there are good and not so good teachers, there are good and not so good admins!
11:42:04 liz : yes terry
11:42:05 liz : i agree
11:42:19 liz : we can't judge something by it's lowest common denominator
11:42:32 MariaK : Admins have a very tough job - especially in this NCLB world - lots of pressure!
11:43:58 nancyvonw : it's just sooo complicated- teachers are soo busy and have learned defensiveness and that doesn't encourage risk taking. We all need to feel loved and valued before taking risks.
11:44:12 liz : My principal insists they would NEVER get rid of an effective teacher, no matter the cost. I have no idea if this is true. Just a point of view from my admin.
11:44:22 ppalermino : I think the public wants to pay for excellent teachers.
11:44:29 CHERYL W : I agree with Lisa!
11:45:29 PeggyG : a good principal can do the same thing--allow you to try and take risks and fail and still support you!
11:46:11 Lisa Parisi : Thank you Cheryl.
11:46:32 nancyvonw : there are differences of opinion about what a "good teacher" is out there.
11:46:38 ppalermino : I don't have a union and my principal applauds out of the box thinking. She trusts her staff to do what is best for students
11:46:51 liz : yes nancy, that's the issue, eh? how do we measure a teacher?
11:46:56 CHERYL W : my county changes Principals so often (annually) - I wouldn't know if I have a suppportive principal or not.
11:47:24 McTeach (Karen) : Nicely said, Terry (about principals!)
11:48:29 liz : People I know regard teachers, highly. I don't feel that, Terry...(fortunately). But I see the attack on a national level, in the news.
11:48:52 PeggyG : http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2010/10/teachers_mus... very interesting article on EdWeek: Teachers-Must we be Saints or Sinners?
11:49:18 liz : So should we have kept those uninspiring teachers?
11:49:25 liz : Should we be protecting them?
11:49:41 PeggyG : lots of great comments on that article about what good teachers do/look like
11:49:42 liz : Or should we make teaching a more rigorous profession to enter, and discourage those mediocre teachers.
11:50:07 Lisa Parisi : That's scary Cheryl.
11:50:07 CHERYL W : those uninspiring teachers are what inspired me to be a teacher so I could inspire and make a diffeence for students!
11:50:16 Lisa Parisi : Me too.
11:50:38 PeggyG : we should be adding our voices to places other than where we all agree with each other :-)
11:52:26 ppalermino : I love that comment.....For me too ---that's what happens to work.
11:52:42 McTeach (Karen) : Exactly Peggy! Preaching to the choir may make us feel good, but it doesn't lead to a conversation that might lead to change.
11:53:57 nancyvonw : I agree, support each other- there is a lot of competition between some teachers
11:54:01 PeggyG : What are the characteristics of inspiring teachers to you? What do they do? How do they inspire you?
11:54:11 liz : Terry is getting to the crux of the matter...how do we get admin to utilize the process to remove bad teachers from the system? Also, do we settle for mediocrity? They're next....they need to go, too. How do we measure that? How do we attract the 'best of the best' to the profession, like in Finland (referred to in the "Waiting For Superman" book)?
11:54:31 Lisa Parisi : Welcome Jackie.
11:54:37 PeggyG : I am inspired every day reading the blog posts, plurks, tweets of teachers who are doing inspiring things with their students!!
11:54:42 nancyvonw : Those trusting relationships need to be in place before many of us will go out on a limb
11:54:50 jackiegerstein : Hi Lisa - how are you?
11:55:13 Deya -> puentesalmundo: adelante
11:55:25 McTeach (Karen) : Hello Jackie!!
11:55:54 jackiegerstein : Hi Karen
11:56:07 PeggyG : in my experience even very strict teachers inspired me because they expected a lot, taught me how to do it and then celebrated my success.
11:56:24 Lisa Parisi : Strict was not the reason I did not like teachers.
11:56:27 nancyvonw : I learned best with teachers who were gentle but challenging- and those who I felt weren't going to put a label on me
11:56:33 McTeach (Karen) : Isn't that what we're supposed to do for our students? Build them up. So, why can't we do that for each other?!
11:56:44 jackiegerstein : Depends how you define strict
11:57:38 PeggyG : I just used strict because it was short--lots of ways to define it but not teachers who just did fun, creative projects
11:59:34 liz : I come from the private sector...my boss didn't have an obligation beyond the normal training...
11:59:58 liz : You either show proficiency in your field, as compared to your peers, or you're fired.
12:00:07 tjshay : But, Liz, we are teachers.....so it's inherent in the job that they try to teach a better way
12:00:16 Lisa Parisi : Where does that allow for a learning curve, Liz?
12:00:29 PeggyG : trust and relationships are very important with colleagues, admins, students, parents!
12:00:44 liz : A learning curve would be analogous to the private sector's learning curve.
12:00:53 liz : You get an amount of time to demonstrate proficiency...
12:01:09 liz : if, after that time has passed, and you still have not demonstrated proficiency, you need to go.
12:01:27 tjshay : Teaching children is not ONE skill set....it's a million....as diverse as the children we teach
12:01:30 liz : The price is too high to keep you!
12:02:09 McTeach (Karen) : Amanda is amazing!!
12:02:24 liz : I'm rabidly pro-union, my mother is the president of a HUGE nursing union, my father is from the UAW
12:02:28 McTeach (Karen) : "Looking with different eyes"...great line!
12:02:31 liz : but I refuse to protect a bad teacher.
12:02:58 PeggyG : that's the key and heart of the matter Liz! you can be pro-union but not defend poor teaching!
12:03:10 liz : i agree, peg
12:03:14 tjshay : No one wants to protect a bad teacher....but who defines bad? The person who was fired was widely loved by the community
12:03:21 CHERYL W : Yes I agree Peggy!
12:03:22 liz : again tj, i agree
12:03:41 tjshay : Perhaps not loved for the write reasons.....but loved
12:04:25 tjshay : sorry, right reasons.....it's early!
12:04:30 liz : i place the blunt of the blame on admin
12:04:36 liz : they aren't getting rid of the dead weight
12:05:11 liz : brunt*
12:06:19 liz : i can relate with that
12:06:56 PeggyG : as a retired principal I can't tell you how difficult it is to remove poor teachers! You spend years guiding, mentoring, facilitating, and documenting with no change and when you file the claim there are always teachers, parents, students who step forward and say they love them and they are good teachers and the board won't vote to remove. It's not as easy as you may think it should be...
12:07:02 CHERYL W : I believe admin has there hands tied also due to who they have to answer to.
12:07:24 liz : peggy, my union prez told me my admin doesn't even do the reviews.
12:07:35 liz : they miss the deadlines
12:07:56 PeggyG : principals can lose their jobs for not doing teacher evaluations
12:08:06 tjshay : PeggyG, i know what you say is true....which makes me sad. It's devastating that some teachers don't want to be better
12:08:22 PeggyG : the good old days :-)
12:08:34 PeggyG : I completely agree tjshay!!
12:08:54 CHERYL W : Agreed tjshay
12:08:58 liz : Listen, I live in Michigan. I cannot express to you how difficult it was to land a teaching gig. The nepotism was UNBELIEVABLE. Maybe admin needs to reevaluate their hiring process? What IS the criteria? Ms. So and So has a friend looking for a job, or Mr. So and So has a son who just graduated and needs a job....that's BS.
12:09:21 liz : It is pure madness.
12:09:34 PeggyG : that is pure madness!!
12:09:51 PeggyG : did they not use panels to interview that included teachers, parents?
12:09:57 liz : It's the golden rule here, if you don't know anyone, you are NOT getting a job.
12:10:21 liz : Sure they do, Peg. The horse and pony show was in full force. No matter. The 'friend' or 'relative' always gets hired
12:10:33 patty : I totally agree with Liz.
12:10:40 PeggyG : that's very sad and disappointing then! the process wasn't working
12:10:49 liz : present tense--is not working
12:10:55 liz : It's worse than ever.
12:11:06 CHERYL W : many times same thing for us liz
12:11:13 liz : what state, cheryl?
12:11:34 CHERYL W : Florida - N E Rural county!
12:11:56 PeggyG : I love that statement Maria! I don't know what's over and above, I only know what I do. What a great way to explain your answer :-)
12:12:04 liz : I am still SHOCKED I got this job. I got it because one of my references was friends with the HR Director.
12:12:50 liz : I wake up every day, every day, and pinch myself.
12:13:01 liz : It took years and years to get this job.
12:13:07 PeggyG : great examples Maria! showing interest in them as people and really listening to what they say (and sometimes don't say)
12:13:48 McTeach (Karen) : Awesome line, Terry!
12:14:06 PeggyG : I'm inspired by teachers who love what they do and it shows every day in their teaching.
12:14:17 liz : I agree, Peg.
12:14:26 Lisa Parisi : Peggy, how does it show?
12:14:33 liz : I seek them out and use them as mentors.
12:14:44 liz : Sadly, they are few and far between.
12:14:52 PeggyG : it shows when they get excited about the things they are teaching and the things their students are learning
12:15:30 PeggyG : they show their passion and share it with others--"one of my kids just created the greatest story"...
12:15:46 PeggyG : remember The Dot!!!
12:15:48 liz : Patty, look what Peg wrote, I know a person like that, LOL.
12:16:22 liz : Patty is my inspirational teacher, her students are so extremely lucky!!!
12:16:29 tjshay : What I want to be said about me.....he always saw the kid and not just their behavior.
12:16:44 liz : Yes TJ! I don't want to hear about your bad history with my student.
12:17:27 CHERYL W : recognizing the .....ish in students!
12:17:59 tjshay : YAY "The Dot" and "Ish"
12:18:07 liz : I want my class to be 'interesting'; I want my kids to show excitement over the activities I spend hours preparing, every day.
12:19:09 patty : The teacher who inspired me most was "the hip" freshman writing professor at MSU.
12:19:16 liz : ha
12:19:38 jackiegerstein : The teacher who I absolutely learned the most from in K-12 was a 10th grade English teacher - inspired me to read Albee & Russian Playwrites, perform plays in class, She saw me as me, and tailored the class to my passions
12:19:58 liz : My most inspiring teacher was a Soc. Studies methods prof who taught us how to teach SS in an interactive way.
12:19:59 CHERYL W : learning just happens when a teacher cares and connects to their students
12:20:13 PeggyG : http://thoughtsofmcteach.blogspot.com/2010/08/let-us-begin.html This is a blog post from one of my most inspiring colleagues-McTeach! "Each day upon waking, I will remind myself that I am a person of value. I have something wonderful to share with the people in my life, including my students. My attitude is my choice. I choose to begin each day feeling positive about life. I choose happiness."
12:20:26 McTeach (Karen) : I don't feel like I'm a very good teacher, according to what I learned in the credential program, but my kids laugh every day.
12:20:46 PeggyG : a sense of humor is so important McTeach!!!
12:20:46 liz : That means you're a good teacher, McTeach, LOL.
12:20:50 McTeach (Karen) : Oh geez, Peggy...throwing my own words back at me! :)
12:20:58 jackiegerstein : It is best that you do not know about Educaiton Nation and Waiting for Superman - it is all about measuring student achievement via test scores
12:20:59 PeggyG : you live your words Karen!
12:21:08 patty : For some reason he befriended me and treated my "nascent ideas" with great respect. He compared my writing to Pauline Kael, which was a great honor, even though at the time I didn't know who she was.
12:21:27 McTeach (Karen) : Thanks Peggy and Liz!
12:21:31 liz : Patty, you show genuine interest in your students, they respond to that!
12:22:08 jackiegerstein : I got criticized (by a parent letter to the principal) last week because at the end of tech class I play Gotta Feeling (the kids mentioned it). The parent wrote the I and the kids got off task ;(
12:22:20 Maureen : But Maria- how do you measure love of learning...People want benchmarks- that is what we keep on hearing
12:22:22 McTeach (Karen) : That's what I want my kids to learn from me...HOW they learn!
12:22:34 Lisa Parisi : Maureen, the ultimate question.
12:22:37 liz : I believe the trick is creating lifelong learners. I know, it sounds cliche. But I believe it, wholeheartedly. Igniting that flame. That negates textbooks and worksheets. LOL
12:22:53 jackiegerstein : User Generated education,Lisa ;)
12:22:59 Lisa Parisi : LOL
12:23:16 MariaK : Maureen - I think we can see evidence of it in classroom - need for observing and documenting - motivated , self directed learners
12:23:22 McTeach (Karen) : Perhaps we need to stop thinking of our jobs as preparing our kids for the next level in their education.
12:23:24 patty : Can't we have both. Fun engaging activities in the classroom and students who are able to do well on one type of test.
12:23:29 PeggyG : yes Jackie!!! user generated education and choices for students and teachers are very important!
12:23:37 MariaK : look for evidence and see how the level of involvement increases
12:23:41 jackiegerstein : Love of learning period!
12:23:55 PeggyG : YES patty!!! we can have both!
12:24:13 Maureen : @jackie- Good thing they didn't see my 6th graders who took a break from what I wanted them to be doing to do a Justin Bieber karoke session- it was only 2-3 minutes, but it was really funny... then they got back on track
12:24:39 PeggyG : great story Maureen!!
12:24:39 liz : This conversation comes full circle! How much damage do uninspiring teachers cause? I believe a great deal of damage. Too much damage.
12:24:41 MariaK : Our learners have to be able to demonstrate what they know.
12:25:21 PeggyG : yes Maria--and there are many ways to demonstrate what they know--far beyond bubbles on a sheet
12:25:31 McTeach (Karen) : Yes!!! I agree Lisa!!!
12:25:37 jackiegerstein : An authentic audience motivates students for best work
12:25:48 jackiegerstein : LOL
12:25:51 liz : How much enthusiasm do you really expect a child to show when they are only exposed to textbooks and worksheets? Seriously?
12:26:01 Lisa Parisi : None, Liz. Not a bit.
12:26:13 PeggyG : don't get hung up on the label!! user generated education doesn't mean no standards
12:26:19 McTeach (Karen) : Oh geez
12:26:23 PeggyG : :-)
12:26:39 liz : Then why do we tolerate the 'textbook and worksheet' teacher?
12:26:45 liz : There are 1,000's of them!
12:26:54 liz : my kid has had a few!
12:26:59 PeggyG : I started every university course I taught with preservice teachers with the quote "Attitude is Everything!"
12:27:24 Maureen : I think that if we can communicate to parents what we are doing and to the kids.. we'd be better off. I asked my 9th graders to come up with how they were going to self-assess and what criteria they want me to use to assess them. It was really hard for them. I told the parents about my ideas for the class this year- and they got it. I want the kids to follow their own ideas, their own passions. It's coming along, but I have no idea what I am really doing.
12:27:25 McTeach (Karen) : Thanks Maria! :)
12:27:55 liz : I agree, I don't think the nation is anti-teacher.
12:28:03 liz : People I know support teachers, 100%.
12:28:30 Lisa Parisi : Maureen, I thought about you this morning. I am going to have my students write to next year's teachers about themselves as learners. You shared that idea with me. Let their parents help them with the letter.
12:28:34 liz : Let me restate that, they support good teachers 100%.
12:28:38 CHERYL W : Liz - I don't think the Nation respects teachers or the profession!
12:28:42 Maureen : The teachers seem to be buying into the media hype- esp this week.
12:28:54 Lisa Parisi : I don't either, Cheryl.
12:29:06 Lisa Parisi : I think most people think that they could do the job better.
12:29:15 Lisa Parisi : We've all been in school. We all know what to do.
12:29:17 liz : Yes Lisa.
12:29:19 CHERYL W : agreed Lisa!
12:29:19 PeggyG : if you need a daily boost to help you keep a positive attitude when things aren't always going the way you want them, get the CD "From Burned Out to Fired Up: Affirmations for Educators" by Carrie Chapman and listen to a couple every morning before you go to school.
12:29:34 liz : I don't help with attitude, I am too new...I'm excited every day.
12:29:39 Lisa Parisi : http://www.learncentral.org/event/106358
12:29:45 liz : need help*
12:30:14 CHERYL W : Yeah Fablevision!!!!
12:30:18 PeggyG : yes!! surround yourself with positive, like-minded people whenever you can!!
12:30:19 MariaK : Sounds good - peggy. I'm looking for it now!
12:30:49 CHERYL W : Maybe if we could all mentor one teacher we can start to amke a difference!
12:30:52 PeggyG : I love it MariaK!! It has affirmations that relate to all levels of education, teaching, admin, etc.
12:30:53 Cathy E : I am so very lucky to have administrators that support and guide and back each teacher 100%
12:30:55 liz : I'm new to the profession, my colleagues seem to have a pretty strong attitude toward admin, I try to stay out of it, ha.
12:31:17 PeggyG : That is going to be an outstanding webinar to participate in!
12:31:23 Maureen : Altho I don't disagree with you, Maria- I need positive feedback... but I have pie in the sky admins, and they would be happy if we all stood in a circle and sung kumbaya...I need to learn from people who disagree with me too- critical friends
12:31:23 liz : I did an IEP on my own time this week, the union was not happy with me.
12:31:24 jackiegerstein : It is going to be amazing - Steve's panel
12:31:42 PeggyG : Mon. Oct. 4, 5:00pm EST
12:31:50 nancyvonw : wow!
12:31:57 McTeach (Karen) : It'll be on during school time! :(
12:31:58 PeggyG : it will be recorded and archived if you miss it (on the same link)
12:32:31 CHERYL W : sounds good
12:32:32 liz : Alphie cohn? wow
12:32:49 Lisa Parisi : http://ettconversations.blogspot.com/
12:32:52 PeggyG : such an incredible group of people participating in the conversation! and they don't all agree :-)
12:33:18 liz : Does anyone know of a collaboration site, like this, that focuses on tech in the classroom?
12:33:20 Lisa Parisi : Bye
12:33:21 PeggyG : thank you Terry! you're always so enthusiastic and such an inspiration!
12:33:40 CHERYL W : thanks everyone great conversation!
12:33:53 Maureen : @liz have you checked classroom 2.0 groups?
12:33:53 nancyvonw : thanks, Maria- enjoy the fair!
12:34:01 liz : no maureen, do yu have a link?
12:34:06 MariaK : bye everyone - on my way to the Fair!!!
12:34:11 nancyvonw : thanks everyone!