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msusong

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Reply with quote  #1 
Of the components mentioned in chapter 2, which do you think is the biggest missing factor you would like to encourage your school to add in order to have a "school that works for kids?" And, why?

“With these essential elements in place, changes will become embedded components of a transformational school culture where uncommon learning is the norm, not the exception” (Sheninger, p. 35).

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Maggie Susong
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jgoedken123

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Reply with quote  #2 
Of the components mentioned in chapter 2, which do you think is the biggest missing factor you would like to encourage your school to add in order to have a "school that works for kids?" And, why?

I am relatively new to my discipline campus - this will be my fourth year to teach there.  I'm sure they've tried things many different ways, but one of the things I find difficult is in my classroom I will have a multitude of mathematics subjects.  Sometimes I will have Algebra 1, Geometry, Math Modeling, and Financial Math at the same time.  Granted, my class size number is generally low - 15 or less, but it still makes things difficult to teach.  Over the last three years I have wished I could have separate subjects taught each period.  I have suggested this a few times, but the counselor generally has a negative response.  I wish my school was a little more flexible in their planning.

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Jennifer Goedken
Eillian

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Reply with quote  #3 
The "Modeling" section spoke the most to me.  We have a school that serves low-income kids, often from hard places.  Some of our staff employs the Drill Sargent method with discipline.  I am not a fan of that for multiple reasons and have, over the past few years, become a big believer of TBRI out of TCU.  I know it is up to me to not just model but STRONGLY model meeting these kids from hard places where they are at, creating a safe environment, and moving successfully forward.  

In addition, our school, with the guidance of a new principal, as put a greater emphasis on teacher collaboration.  Being somewhat new, I am really looking forward to the times that will be set aside for me to observe excellent teachers modeling excellent teaching.  I definitely learn best my example!

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Erin Illian
lolabugz77

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Reply with quote  #4 
Well, this upcoming year will be my first year as a teacher, so I don't know much about my school yet and cannot speak about it particularly. 

Something I have seen in interviews is where a candidate is expected to know about all the of the programs that school is participating in. As a new teacher, or really any teacher, I think we ought to be more supportive of each other when new teachers have questions about programs or how certain things work at that campus. Even with experienced teachers, communication and allowing for questions and mistakes is something all adults can learn and model for younger people. Sometimes adults do a great job of looking as if we "have it all together," but I am always quick to own up to my mistakes, admit them, and show my students how I will fix these issues. I am always quick to use myself when I fail or make mistakes as an example for problem solving and creative thinking and how to be positive about a negative situation, so my students feel safe making mistakes themselves. I think this is super important for all people of all careers, and teachers can be great models of this.

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Lauren Milam

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Reply with quote  #5 
I am teaching at a new school this fall, so I can't really talk about that school, nor the one where I just worked.  However, I have a vast array of teaching experience at different educational levels and in different types of institutions in three states and two countries over the past 20 plus years.  What I have found that creates optimal efficacy for the students in any classroom is flexibility.  I now try to use technology (video) of some sort in each class, which is what can make learning a language, whether it be the first, second, or third language, most authentic and engaging.  Technology in the classroom, however, can sometimes stop working, sometimes because of the point of website origin and others because the surrounding teachers are having students use it at the same time; in addition, last year I shared a classroom in two schools (every other day in each school), and whatever the other teacher did to the computer the day before had to often be reorganized for my activity the next day.  Flexibility in daily planning is a must for those who use technology.  I try for no downtime on the students' part, which means I have some sort of activity for them to be working on while I try and figure out whether I can fix the tech problem or whether we should just move on to the next activity, something which happened a few times each week last year.  The students seemed to be used to it, but it aggravated me because it can be a great time waster. 
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Teresa Tuggle
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Reply with quote  #6 

I teach Office Administration to young adults and my wish is to have more collaboration.  Within my facility in Texas, the instructors for trade and academics try to collaborate whenever possible.  We don’t have planning periods and our lunch periods are different, but we do our best via email and after hours.  However, there are other centers that also teach my trade and it would be so helpful to discuss curriculum and creative ideas with them.  I did have an opportunity several years ago to attend a workshop at another center that was presented specifically for my group (I was teaching academics at the time), and it was great to share ideas.

Newt82

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Reply with quote  #7 

I’m a substitute teacher, but based on what I have seen around other schools I have to say that the biggest missing factor I think schools should add in order to have a “school that works for kids” is modeling. When I was a long term teacher last fall there was quite a lot I needed assistance with. I asked for help or someone to just show me how something was done. I didn’t really want to bug anyone but if I didn’t know what I was doing I didn’t want to make any lucky guesses. I do quite well in learning how something works if it is modeled to me. That’s all I was asking, but it seemed like an annoyance to some of the other teachers. One teacher ended up being the only one out of the group to help me when I needed help. In the end I didn’t bother asking the others, just her if I had any questions. That also brings up collaboration. I love collaboration! I enjoy learning what others can teach me. But with this last long term job I felt like the odd girl out.  A few of the teachers did not keep me in the loop and there were things I missed out on. It is important for us all to get along.  We need to for the benefit of our students.

lorelai86

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Reply with quote  #8 
Two things stood out to me, modeling and support. I learn best by watching others do it first. If you teach me/show me how, I am more than willing to try new things. The support from administration and fellow teachers is also helpful. Teachers should be given time to observe other educators who teach the same subject/grade level. Teachers need to work together and collaborate. We are here for the students and we should lift up teachers who need help, not put each other down.
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Laura Niehues
Martha_1234

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Reply with quote  #9 

Of the components mentioned in chapter 2, which do you think is the biggest missing factor you would like to encourage your school to add in order to have a "school that works for kids?" And, why?

This is will be my second year to teach. I work at a great school (private) and the co-owners are amazing. They are always available to us. One thing we are encouraged to do is to think outside the box. When something is not working in the classroom, we have the freedom to change it.  If there a resource we feel would improve the learning experience, our administrators will try to provide that for our classroom.

  Teacher collaboration is high at our school. Just like the administrators, teachers are willing to help each other with whatever they can. There is always more than enough help. When our school has a need we all do what we can to support it and our co-workers. I know that children see that and that is why they love coming to school.  My sons often want me to stay after school and work so they can stay at aftercare, which is provided free of charge to teachers.  J It is a VERY positive and supportive environment. It is truly a dream job!!! 


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Martha Leija McMillan
CarrieYarbrough

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Reply with quote  #10 
As mentioned in chapter 2, many of the components mentioned are already being implemented in the school district where I am a librarian.  The school district seems to be geared for uncommon learning and 21st century learning.  However, after reading the section titled Autonomy and Ownership, I feel this is an area that the school can improve.  Students taking ownership of their learning and feeling they have a say in what is being taught and how it is being taught is vital in them remembering what they are learning.  I really enjoyed the concept of Genius Hour as mentioned on page 569 (Kindle page).  Genius Hour discusses designating an amount of time within the school day for students to explore and study however they chose.  In the library, my plan is to implement MakerSpace and centers in the library where students are allowed and encouraged to be more creative, independent thinkers, and pursue activities that interest them instead of what I am forcing them to do.  I am hoping students will take more ownership of their learning and feel they have a say in what happens in the library. 
jamie

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Reply with quote  #11 
I would like to encourage flexibility.  More flexibility in scheduling. There should be flexibility so that if there is a Skype opportunity or other group activity it can be arranged.  Most of the time everyone is expected to stick to certain subjects at certain times.  This is fine as as long as it doesn't keep students from being able to participate in other opportunities just because they are at the wrong time.
Stephanie

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Reply with quote  #12 
Of the components mentioned in chapter 2, which do you think is the biggest missing factor you would like to encourage your school to add in order to have a "school that works for kids?" And, why?

“With these essential elements in place, changes will become embedded components of a transformational school culture where uncommon learning is the norm, not the exception” (Sheninger, p. 35).

We have an administration that 1- is flexible with us and our schedules and 2- models technology.  The hardest part in my school is that as a teacher we get caught up in routine and schedules that it sometimes is hard to be flexible.  I would like to see teachers become more relaxed in the routine when it would benefit the kids.  Another thing I see is fear when it comes to technology.  Sometimes it works, very well, and then there are other times I need to get my hammer out and show the computer just who is in charge.  This past year, with support of my administration, I set out to do google classroom with my second graders.  The only reason why I took the risk is our principal did a google classroom book study with us.  She was learning how to do it as we were learning.  I felt that if she put herself out there I could to no less for my kids.  They saw "10,000 ways not to do some stuff" but we kept trying and I hoped learned not to give up.  Technology is scary, but it is the way everything is going.  We would be remiss in not exposing our kids to the dos and don'ts and helping their parents to trust and navigate this new adventure with their kids.  As a matter of fact the most complaints I did get was from the parents.  So maybe the best thing my school could do is help educate parents that technology is as important as math, science, or any other subject that is taught.  The kids will either learn it from the adults around them or from their friends.  

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SKDroddy
Crystyjohnston

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Reply with quote  #13 
I am not currently teaching, but what I see as a parent of two elementary school students in public education is that flexibility needs to be improved. The hyper focus on testing makes the curriculum very inflexible. I think it is terrible that all of the teachers are teaching the same activities each day. They are all following the same plans. This does not accommodate for students' individuality. If a group of students needs reteaching, it can't really be accommodated because the teacher feels pressure to keep up. If students already know a skill set, it is time wasted to have to go through the lessons anyway. Also, it doesn't allow for the teachers to tailor lessons to their students' curiosity, interests, and creativity. Everything is already mapped out before the students even arrive.
ritawilcox

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Reply with quote  #14 
The encouragement of teachers to "collaborate" appears to be missing from our district's schools.  There is very little time for teachers to collaborate with each other, after lesson plans, grading, parent meetings, and endless administrative meetings.  If a student could move from english lit, to science, to art carrying a common theme; there is no doubt new understanding and learning would take place in each of these subjects.  When you think about it, in the "real world" your job will most likely require you to communicate verbally and in writing, as well as produce visual aides for meetings, and possibly scientifically prove your point.  The industry itself would be the common thread.  If teachers could share the lesson plan, the grading rubric, and the common subject matter; efficiency for everyone results.  Most importantly, I believe the students themselves would be more excited about the projects, and likely to collaborate and learn with each other, as they look forward to moving to the next classroom and phase of the project.
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Rita Wilcox
blailie

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Reply with quote  #15 
I think flexibility could be improved. There is such a focus on tests that it doesn't allow much time to veer off of the curriculum the district says all the teachers must teach. The kids seem like they're having to take benchmarks or checkpoints way too often. If teachers didn't have to give these and had some more flexibility, they could have time to broaden their teaching and activities done in class to include subjects that may interest the kids but not necessarily be part of the curriculum. Also, our district has all the teachers teaching basically the same lessons. Not much flexibility in lessons doesn't let teachers gear their lessons to their class or teaching style.
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