Tag Archives: Student

Never forget why you became a teacher

Last night I took part in a twitter conversation with teacher’s from all around Ireland. The main topic of discussion was around the new Junior Cycle.

Many teacher’s have concerns about the new Junior Cycle undermining our educational standards here in Ireland. According to Sally Maguire of ASTI “young people who spend five or six years participating in second-level education will not experience State certificate examinations until they reach Leaving Certificate….the Junior Cert exam was invaluable Leaving Cert preparation and enabled students, parents and teachers to gauge aptitude prior to making choices about the Leaving Cert.”

One concerns even shared by myself is the legitimacy of in school based examinations. Has the importance of a neutral and un biased examiner been forgotten about? Students are “entitled to a fair, impartial and transparent State certificate to record their achievement at junior cycle. A school certificate based on grades awarded by students’ own teachers does not have the same status or validity as an independent State certificate.”

Other teachers are worried and apprehensive about the insufficient on day of CPD put in place for all teachers before the Junior Cycle commences. How can one day of training provide our students with the best education they deserve?

As a parent or teacher reading this blog you can see that our students are at the centre of all our concerns. When you see History teachers, religion teachers and all other teachers fighting for the preservation of their subject yes it is about maintaining and keeping our jobs but at the heart of all our anxiety is our students. They are entitled to the best possible education they can get and we their teachers are responsible for providing and upholding those standards.

Despite how idealistic and naive this may sound I became a teacher to make a difference to inspire, to teach and give students dreams a chance to be reality. If you are ever in doubt about the heart of a teacher watch the video to remind yourself who is at the centre of the concerns of teachers:

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Padlet (Wallwisher) in the Classroom: Online Notice Board Tool

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Wallwisher aka Padlet is a free online web 2.0 application that allows you to create a bulletin board online. Here you can display information on any chosen topic. All you have to do is create an account and build your notice board. Once you have built your wallwisher you can add images, links, videos and text. It is on online tool but you can also download app’s for Android and iOS devices.

Using this in the classroom with your students can be done very easily. One feature I quite like is you have simple security features: Private, Public or moderated by you the teacher. However, there is one slight disadvantage. The safest setting is to have your bulletin board on private, yet if you would like to give your students the freedom to post on the wall you will have to make it open to comments from the public. Once the class is over making the page private again will prohibit “outsiders” from interacting with any students the online notice board. Your wall is also controlled by a password which set by you.

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Check out this link for some creative idea’s to help you incorporate Padlet/Walwisher into your classroom:

http://www.teachersfirst.com/single.cfm?id=10007

Some examples I thought of:

  • Plan events (tasks, class projects and action plans)
  • Keep notes (allow students to write notes, ideas and thoughts on the lesson up on the wall)
  • Hold a class discussion
  • Post a question and let the students respond
  • Collect feedback to a lesson, video, book
  • Add images (college made by class group)

Go Animate: Make your own Video online! Teaching Resource

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Are you creative, imaginative and constantly looking for new exciting ways to engage your students? Why not try Go Animate.com. This is a web based application that allows you to create animated videos for free. It enables users to create their own animated video which is then posted online.

From my own personal experience of Go Animate the software is relatively simple to use however it is time consuming. I would hesitate to use it in a classroom with your students as the content on it is available to the public and as a result some of the video’s might not be suitable for the classroom. A good tip to remember here is that you can limit whole class activities by prohibiting access to the public section of the site. Your videos can also be made either public or private.

Video tutorials are available online to teach you how to use go animate quickly and efficiently. You can choose from a number of different templates, themes and characters.

A good idea if you have use of the computer room for a class or would like students to do a project using video animation.  You could sum up key points of a lesson, ask the class questions and provide answers using a very simple animated video there are loads of activities that can be incorporated into go animate.

Here is a quick video I made when exploring the webpage:

http://goanimate.com/videos/01CbamzMwqFY

Tips and Guidelines on Classroom Management

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When you teach you can’t plan for everything.

What is classroom management?

It is all about creating an environment an atmosphere in which learning takes place.

Who is the most important person in creating this positive learning environment?? You, Me, Us as a teacher. The ultimate objective is not to make friends.  The ultimate objective is that learning takes place. Students are not always going to be willing participants. Classroom management and discipline go hand in hand. You are responsible for disciple and the main objective is learning.

A few guidelines that you might find helpful:

  1. Establish Routine.
  2. Seating Plan- Day One put students in seats of YOUR choosing. Keep a copy of seating plan. It may need to be rearranged in time but ALWAYS stay on top of it. Keep it in your role book. CONSISTENCY is key.
  3. Introduce the Lesson- get them into the habit of knowing what to expect from the lesson.
  4. Books, Copies and Homework copy on the desk. But the date top right hand corner on the board and heading of topic. Do the roll when they are taking down heading and date off the whiteboard. If they want to ask you something they can wait until their name is called out in the roll. If they forget something- B for no Book H for no Homework etc. If they forget these things twice they get detention.
  5. Be prepared – Content. Be engaged and interested in the Content.
  6. Listen and Value the Student: Move around the room, Catch their eyes and be  interested in what they are saying. Ask them a few questions everyone’s opinion is valid. Get the class that don’t talk at all to write their answers down.
  7. Show them the standard- students need to feel that they can achieve in your class, in your subject and that you are interested in them. Show them you know what you are talking about. Example: Meditation- today we are going to Meditation…with no planning? because you couldn’t be bothered organizing something? Don’t do it! The students want to feel that you are into your subject. Keep your professional attitude.
  8. Keep Calm and Avoid Shouting! Keep your voice under control. Shouting becomes redundant. Don’t tell students to shut up. Avoid theatre.
  9. Be Fair.
  10. Positive Reinforcement. Individually and within the Class Group.

Always ask for help. When you ask other teachers for help it shows the school that you care about the responsibility that they have given you. Don’t assume that things will settle down. It shows that you are willing to go the distance to help them learn. It is a STRENGTH.

Servant Leadership: Model of Leadership for Teachers

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As teacher’s we are seen as educators and leaders in society. If you ask any teacher why they decided to follow this particular career path a few will say “for the long holidays and short work day” but there are also those who decide to become teachers to make a difference in the world, the become role models, to inspire, to help and to care. These teachers make teaching a life mission and strive for greatness not solely in themselves but in their students. We dedicate or lives to serving our students.

Yet how can we as teachers provide an environment for our students to grow, mature and flourish? I believe it all stems from how we perceive and develop our leadership style. I believe that educators show many characteristics of the leadership style known as servant leadership.

A servant leader strives to devote themselves to the wellbeing of those he or she has chosen to serve. Servant Leadership was first introduced by Robert K. Greenleaf. He spent 40 years working for At&T as a manager of research, development and education. When he retired he spent his time pursing ways to create a more caring society. He himself describes leadership as “servant first…It begins with a natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first’. I believe since the role of any educational system is centered on serving the needs of their students and therefore promoting the model of servant leadership is the key to a successful school system.

We as teachers dedicate our lives to serving our students and are natural servant leaders who strive to make a deeper connection with our students.

In order to become successful servant leaders I believe teachers need to follow one simple term: Humility.

Humility

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Servant leaders are humble in nature. We must push aside our own ego and provide an environment where the importance of others is placed above oneself. Yet do not feel this in an impossible task. As educators we do not enter our field of work to become world famous, have great power and great wealth. We become a teacher to help and serve children, a reason that highlights a clear humble character within all of us. Elevate you students with praise and admiration. Motivate them to learn with connections to their own lives and always be a model of the Golden Rule.

Servant leaders are devoted to serving others right to the point of personal sacrifice. As teacher’s I am sure many of us can relate to late nights correcting homework and planning lessons trying to create new and innovating ideas and resources. We are constantly looking to improve our teaching style to provide the best education for our students. However, although a servant leader will sacrifice a great deal in order to serve others, they do not seek gratitude for their service. Satisfying the needs our our students and becoming witness to their own development is satisfying enough.

We nurture and heal. As educators we operate on the premises that students’ needs always come first. Our mission is to use our knowledge and talents to serve children to help them create their best future. We nurture and heal by getting to know our students and building relationships, understanding their pain and finding ways to help them. A successful servant leader can therefore provide the building blocks for the next generation and therefore need to instill these values that improve relationships in our entire world.

We are visionaries. As educators we have great dreams for our students. These dreams provide direction and purpose for our leadership in the classroom. We guide our students through their school years. This is not an easy task but it can be accomplished through a positive outlook.

We empower students and we thrive to inspire students.

When trying to implement our role as a servant leader it is important to remember however that we are human. Human nature will always interfere when trying to strive to become the perfect teacher. Moods and spirits of us and our students are constantly changing. There are moments in the classroom when we feel a true connection with out students and there are moments when are students could not seem further away. There are moments in our own lives when we are more optimistic and open to this ideal vision of a servant leader.Servant leadership is a unique style of leadership ideology, which flows against the grain of self-interest human behavior. This quote highlights how servant leadership ‘flows against’ human nature. There are many who suggest that Greenleaf’s servant leadership model is too passive for today’s world and question whether it is a practical and applicable approach to leadership in real world scenarios.

It is important to remember that we are human and we do make mistakes. However simply dreaming and trying everyday to become a better person and a better teacher are constant steps in the right direction to becoming a servant leader.

Cyber Bullying (Movie) Resource for RE and SPHE teachers!

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As a teenager I was bullied. 3rd year in secondary school is one I do not remember with pleasant memories. I have found over the years being open about my own bullying experiences not only helps me move on from the experience but also helps me to help others. Today I have the unique opportunity to face my bullies. A reunion has been organized between old friends and amongst these are the girls who ‘bullied’ me.

All week I have been in a state of panic with a maze of questions running through my head, should I see these people and bring back all these negative feelings? Will they even remember what happened all those years ago? If I go do I rekindle old friendships or get some sort of closer?

All these questions then led me to think about all the teenagers and kids I will and have taught as a religion teacher. As a person who was bullied at just 16 years old I can relate to my students who have been or are being bullied. There is one difference….I got bullied in school. My home was my safe place. For students today home is not their safe place anymore. The internet with all its social networking sites provides teenagers with a constant battlefield for the bullies and victims alike. Bullying of young people is constant. This new wave of bullying is called Cyber Bullying.

How can we deal with this problem head on as teachers? How can we help each student to understand the impact cyber bullying has on their lives. How can we help our students understand that the bystander has a role to play too?

Resources: 

Recently I watched a movie called Cyber Bullying:  A teenage girl (Emily Osment) falls prey to online bullying and retreats from spending time with her family and friends. Soon the tormenting pushes her toward the edge, and her mom (Kelly Rowan) takes the troubling issue to authorities. ~ Jennifer Sankowski, Rovi. This movie takes a realistic and thought provoking approach to online bullying. There is some strong language used throughout so I would recommend showing it to senior classes. Even though it deals with the harsh realities of online bullying it also carries a positive message about tolerance, standing up to peer pressure and turning the tables on adversity. It is a great jumping point to start conversations on the very real dangers that exist online.

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