The Best Day of My Post Teaching Career

Do you have a job, profession, or a career?

I was a teacher for the better part of decade.  I worked countless hours while always hearing from my friends “You’re a teacher, you get summers off, you have it made!”

Well they were right.  I did have it made.  I got to impact young adults lives on a daily basis.  On the other hand, they cannot comprehend for 1 second the hectic, crazy life of working in a school!  You have to be on your game 100% of the time and the majority of that time, your efforts will go unnoticed and unappreciated.

Many people have a hard time understanding the life of a teacher, aide, principal, or other administrator because unless they have “made it” they might not experience the same hectic lifestyle.  I have since left the teaching world to work in ed software and today, finally, almost 2 and a half years later, I had the best day of my post teaching career.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have had great days over the past 2 1/2 years in sales and I love what I do BUT today, I had the chance to do a podcast recording with Jon Bergmann and interview Tyler Tarver for an upcoming podcast in the same day!

Most of you have probably heard of Jon Bergmann or Flipped Learning before so it is obvious what an accomplishment it is to connect with him and I learned today that he is much more than just the man who helped coin “Flipped Learning”.  He has dedicated his career to making it a “thing” by putting together an amazing team that researches, supports, and developing their vision and they are making a global impact.  It is his CAREER and not his job.

Tyler Tarver on the other hand, is an inspiration to me because we both took similar paths into education.  We went to college to study history, became teachers, but found our niche in mathematics.  Tyler has since moved on to create Tarver Academy.  It is an amazing resource for ALL teachers looking to engage their students in learning that is driven by video content.  Tyler wears so many hats at his district that he should have a part time job at Lids but still finds time to fulfill his career by developing content for Tarver Academy and write a book.

So back to my original question: Do you have a job, profession, or career?

I am quickly learning what it means to have a career vs a job or profession.  It is NOT what it is made to be in high school – your future path in college and beyond – it is LOVING what you do and finding yourself willing to work overtime for FUN.  Careers are a once in a life time opportunity to make a difference and fulfill your dreams.  I have been experiencing those feelings, dream come true feelings, for about a year now.  I am blessed to have a manager that supports and motivates me while also mentoring me through the ups and downs of having a job.

Today I got to create a podcast episode with Jon, then interview Tyler, but most importantly, I got to connect them so that they can engage and learn from each other.  That one thing is what made this the best day of my post ed career.  Talking with them today was simply a privilege but I found great satisfaction in introducing them to one another and praying that they find a way to strengthen both of their impacts in education.  They both have taken their job/profession and transformed it into their career.  They work countless hours on their craft, building their brand, and establishing their footprint on education.

Isn’t that what so much of education is about in the end?  Strengthening your relationship with others in education, learning from those experiences, but then paying it forward by implementing those findings or connecting people that have the same vision?

I got to experience BOTH of those today.  I love my job/profession and with days like this, recently getting published on Edsurge, and collaborating with others… I am achieving my dream.  I finally have a CAREER and not just a JOB.

3 Ways to Build and Implement Successful Classroom Relationships

The article was posted by Meredith Sanders and comes from Getting Smart.  She highlights how she was able to build significant relationships with students.  Here is the introduction and here 3 concepts.

“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.”

‘This is a quote I try to keep in mind daily. As a teacher, we have the potential to reach so many students on so many levels every day. Building rapport with some students comes easier than with others, but it is one of the most important things a teacher can do. Positive encouragement can change your day, your students’ day, the classroom environment and even the school’s atmosphere.’

  1. Consistently Build Relationships with Your Students.
  2. Create a Bridge Between School and Home.
  3. Cultivate Community in the Classroom and at School.

 

Educators, Tech Industry Leaders Collaborate to Develop K-12 Computer Science Framework

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Article comes Antoinette Siu via Edsurge.

“Business and government leaders, including President Barack Obama, have been drawing attention — and investments — to support computer science education. Now a coalition of industry and education organizations have created guidelines to help educators teach the discipline.

Announced Oct. 17, the initiative aims to guide educators, states and districts in teaching the concepts and practices around computer science thinking. The authors also hope the effort can help policymakers and district leaders shape decisions in computer science education.”

Check out the article to read more!

 

 

3 Lessons To Systematically Engage Families

This article comes to you from the Harvard Family Research Project or HFRP.  I have published their work before and they are now starting a blog series called New Directions in Family Engagement.

Lots of people publish information about ideas/opinions the discuss parent and community involvement, my self included, but the difference maker here is this: the HFRP backs their suggestions/thoughts with FACTS found by surveying the public.  This blog is powerful and I hope that it provides all of you with a great resource as you enter the start of a new school year.  This is a crucial topic and one that all districts need to work towards master because it is proven that getting parents involved leads to success.

**Photo is borrowed from the article cited for this blog post by the HFRP**

 

Teachers Always Need to EVOLVE

Teachers are part of that every day challenge to use new technology, techniques, and strategies to achieve growth for their students.  This comes easy for some of us but is much more challenging for others.

I am sure that we could quickly come up with 5 reasons that you do not want to try a new technique, strategy or technology, right!?

The key is that we have to continue to evolve as educators no matter what the circumstance in the fast paced world.  Brad Currie, an author/Director of Instruction/Founder of #satchat / etc., takes the word Evolve and breaks it down into an acronym to help us…(struggling here but can’t help myself)…to evolve – no pun intended! (See Below).  Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers discuss, in this article, how to evolve as an educator and highlight Brad’s EVOLVE concept.

I recently wrote commentary and shared an article, by Peter DeWitt, that discusses why Educators Need Twitter in their Lives, so lets use this opportunity to evolve a little!

  1. Finish reading the article to see how can Evolve
  2. Take 1 step, of the many different 1 steps you could take, and JOIN TWITTER!
  3. Follow me! @JMcKean_K12, then follow Brad, and whoever else you would like.
  4. Google ways to use Twitter effectively – or try this link!
  5. Join Brad, me and others on Saturday mornings at 7:30 when you can for #satchat
  6. Sit back, enjoy, and learn!

I borrowed the graphic from one of his websites… http://www.evolvingeducators.com/evolve-as-an-educator.html

EVOLVE

How to Share Data Effectively

Harvard Family Research Project (2013). Tips for Administrators, Teachers, and Families: How to Share Data Effectively. Retrieved from http://www.hfrp.org/var/hfrp/storage/fckeditor/File/7-DataSharingTipSheets-HarvardFamilyResearchProject.p

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Data-driven organizations are found all over the world.  It is the data that drives decisions in banking, sports, and in recent years, schools.  It has transformed the way districts analyze scores, make decisions, and all of this has a direct impact on our students.  The question I have for you is are you sharing it effectively?

The Harvard Family Research Project provides us with their Tips for Administrators, Teachers, and Families: How to Share Data Effectively.  The article provides tips on how to effectively distribute, use, and communicate data to your teachers, students, and community.  I worked at a school that would provide me piles of data on paper, multiple websites with multiple log-ins, and then claim to be data driven!  They never sat down and talked with teachers to explain best practices is utilizing the data, how to share it with students or even how to share it with parents.  Do you work at a place like this?  This article is great and provides suggestions on how to get over these hurdles.

Here are some of the headlines from the article highlighting which scenario’s are discussed:

  • Creating a Data Sharing Culture Among Teachers
  • Helping Families Make Use of Data
  • Preparing to Share Data With Families
  • Talking With Families About Student Data
  • Preparing to Communicate With Teachers
  • Talking with Teachers About Your Child’s Progress

So often I see schools who claim they are data driven and then when you ask how they use it effectively they are not able to provide a solid response.  They are like one of the districts I worked at.  They can provide me lists of websites, benchmark tests, etc to collect the data but they do not have a plan on how to use it effectively.

Think of the things that are wasted when data is not used: money, instructional time, teacher planning time, etc.  “Recess!” My daughter would yell and you know what why not!?  Gathering data with benchmark tests bring stress, anxiety to classrooms across the country for teachers and students so when I see they are not used effectively it is disappointing.  Data alone has no value, it is what is done with it that matters.

So we have talked about ways to share the data so how did we get to this point?  Data has no value unless you use it appropriately to make decisions.  Here is a resource that highlights how to make data work and what you can do as a teacher, administrator and policy maker to ensure that data is useful.  If you are still wondering what specifically you could do here are 11 tips on How to Make Data Analytics Work for K-12.

Use these resources to inspire changes in policy and usage of data in your district or fine tune your methods.  In this ever changing world we always need to make sure that we are being efficient in our practices and data sharing is no different!

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Want to Guarantee Your Children’s Success?

I recently came across an article put out by my friends business called Guaranteeing Success for your Child.  “Guarantee”caught my attention and has a father of 3 (8, 3, and 1) I was instantly curious what is the secret!

The article discusses the work of a man named Geoffrey Canada.  This man’s story is awesome and after reading this article I encourage you to do more research on his past and how he impacts children.  The purpose of this article though is to discuss the key to successful children and also, the key to breaking out of poverty.  Ready for it?

READ TO YOUR CHILDREN

This blog encouraged me to research Mr. Canada and I am inspired of his desire to do the right thing, support families, and advocate for education.  He founded the Harlem Children’s Zone and The Baby College to help parents with children from age 0-3.  They teach the solution to poverty: READ TO YOUR CHILDREN.  These institutions have had AMAZING success.  You can follow the links above to read about them or watching his excerpt on TEDTalks (20 minutes) or 60 minutes (14 mintues).

How does has he had so much success?  Read the excerpt from the blog that highlights how he and his people are impacting our future generation.

“The more you introduce language to children, the more they grab it.  Middle and upper middle class parents typically know that, but in those 97 city blocks of Harlem, no one had previously stressed the importance of reading.

It turns out that the biggest difference between the haves and the have-nots is language acquisition, because that translates into verbal ability.

James Heckman, an economist at the University of Chicago, found the difference in the sheer number of words that middle class parents speak to their child–as opposed to poverty class parents–differs by about 20 million words.  So, by age three, your middle class child has been exposed to 20 million more words than a poor three year old.”

Geoffrey Canada wants to provide children raised in poverty the opportunity to achieve success and his institutions have been wildly successful.  Do your research, share his story with everyone because you can be apart of the success of another child, and READ TO YOUR CHILDREN.

His schools have boasted 100% graduation rates and 100% college placement.  They continue to stay involved with these students post-graduation.  They “harass” them as a good parent should to be involved in their lives, preach that you can do it, and let their children know that they REFUSE to let them fail.

Kudos to you Mr. Canada and all that you are doing for our youth.  I am truly inspired by you and your work.

Tips to Share Ed-Tech Success

In today’s 21st century the digital classroom is now common place around the United States and is found in over half of our countries districts.  The next big thing is the idea of personalized learning and how to find ways to customize learning for each individual student.

So maybe your district has a 1 to 1 initiative and found a solid way to personalize learning – AWESOME! – but how do you share those ideas?  Maybe you are in the middle of the process and are looking to develop buy in across the district and community?  Have you found ways to frame your district successes share them with your community?

SunGard K-12 sponsored an article with District Administration that highlights the best ways to make sure that you are celebrating and sharing your success with others.  Here are the highlights:

  • Consider how to frame your district’s story
  • Get to know your local education reporters, as well as ed-tech trade press
  • Leverage other resources in your district to help spread the word
  • Keep it simple, avoid jargon and acronyms

Another way is to use social media.  Here are links also provided by SunGard K-12 that highlight ways to be successful on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

 

Promoting Success in Public Education

Go Public is an amazing initiative that has been taking place in San Antonio, Texas, since 2013.  In a collective letter from the superintedents of the distrcits of Bexar County, they explain the purpose of the program.  “The purpose of Go Public is not to root our and ocrrect the faults of public education…Insetead, all of Bexar County’s 16 independent school districts have come together with this singular goal: To inspire everyone – whether you have kids or not, whether you went to public school or not – to take a collective step back and celebrate the wonderful, heartwarming, life-altering things happening EVERY DAY in public schools.”

Initatives like this are fantastic.  They promote strong educational ecosystems that include all valuable stakeholders in the process: administrators, teachers, students, parents, and the community.

If your wondering, Why Go Public?  Follow the link to learn more information and watch more success story videos that put the achievements of public education in Bexar County, TX.  You can also like their Facebook page to learn more information and track their success.

Kudos to all involved, today and in the past, on this amazing way to share success’s in education!