Archive

Archive for February, 2009

Purpose Teaching | Clearly Defined Goals

Photo Credit by johnthescone

Photo Credit by johnthescone

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Zig Ziglar

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 2.2

Danger Zone No Goal Ahead

How dangerous cannot having goals really be? Extremely. Well, lets say not having clearly defined goals and an effective action plan for your goals is extremely dangerous. Sometimes your colleagues will approach projects with cookie cutter strategies and others will lesson plan out of plain old ignorance. But the smarter teacher operates in a less stressed learning environment because she understands how teaching systems work. She gets help with her Individual Educational Plan (IEP) and seeks to understand her purpose behind delivering lessons to each student she serves.

Fundamental Basics

Not to suggest that you have to have a special education certification and do an IEP team meeting on every issue, but you do want to develop skill sets for meeting the basic needs of your students. You are more than able to develop extraordinary skills for meeting your student’s needs by following some of the concepts and ideas covered here in the Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series.

Who’s Listening

Elizabeth Gilbert was on point in her description of thinking differently about creative genius. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when working on your lesson plans. Of course you should always have the final decision of what goals to use in your program. But, don’t sleep on getting valuable input from your department, your students, and to a certain degree their immediate family for important goal setting. Think of it as the student being on loan. Your goal is to help the parents get their child across the finish line, preferably in first place. The way I see it you have two options. You can be an agent for change. Or you can be stressed out doing your own thing. Listen to what your clients are saying and watch great things happen.

Listen for Details

Listen to your students life’s stories for specific details that can help you to set some really meaningful goals. Details that allow you insider’s information is privileged intelligence that not only reduces classroom management stress, but creates leverage to your career success. Here’s where effective interviewing techniques are extremely important for Step 1 to Achieving Your Goals. Deciding on most important goals may be a little different from what you had in mind originally.

Case Study

I was facilitating Profound Impact vs. Stress and Frustration Workshops at a conference recently when a group of new school employees mind mapped ideas for their mission statement. The group identified things like student achievement and an inviting environment as their #1 mission statement goals. However, after further investigation through mock student and family interviews we discovered that for their case study student nutritional needs being met mad a stronger case for being their number one goal (Kendra Van Wagner).

Can you see where it was more important to feed the children before any learning could take place? This is the kind of smart investigating that will help you to get clear on which goals are most important.

In the next segment (2.3) I’ll shine light on why setting dates on measurable goals are so important.

This is a new series called Stressed Out K – 12 Education. Over the next several weeks we will explore classroom issues surrounding special needs, at-risk behaviors, student – teacher and teacher – parent relationships, and much more as it relates to reducing stress created from educational systems, narrow minded thinking of difficult colleagues, and the headaches of some one else’s undisciplined kids.

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (just below this article) to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Then encourage family and friends by sharing this blog address and invite others to subscribe so we get a chance to connect as well. Just send them to https://laroncarter.wordpress.com where they can bookmark or subscribe to the page. Feel free to direct message me on Twitter @laroncarter or connect on http://laroncarter.com.

Copyright © 2009 | LaRon A. Carter “The Guest Teacher

Tribute to My Friend Andre

brothers
“Be slow to fall into friendship, but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.” Derek Bethune

Be Blessed True Friend

Andre was packing up his office. His last clean sweep of the work area he labored from the past ten years. I had followed him into the office building, rather than wait outside for him to wrap things up. Andre had taken a new job with a promising title and even brighter possibilities out East. This was his last stance to leave a mark of the character that took years to develop in the last 50 minutes of his tenure.

I sat and played with my phone. Reading over status post of my Facebook friends while my man tossed reams of outdated documents into the recycle bin. Then from around the corner a man pushing a round gray trash can on wheels said, “You still here Andre?”

His shoes were well worn out, as if many miles of earth had traveled under his feet. His beard was scruffy like that of a guy with other priorities in life. His blue jeans were slightly soiled as though to announce ‘will work for food.’ Our eyes connected. The blue cataracts around his iris were like calluses of a man that has seen far to many bad things in his time. I glanced down at his hands and the ash across his knuckles covered age long cracks in his skin boldly stating, “I work hard for my money.”

They exchanged awkward conversation like that of old friends in a time to say goodbye as the senior of the two took a seat across from me sitting at a nearby conference table. Our eyes exchanged greetings while waiting for the most opportune time to say hello without interrupting their exchange.

After a few minutes of me checking out him and him checking out me I had to do it. I had to ask for his thoughts.

“Mr. Charlie,” as I was introduced, “if you knew that a young man in your company would leave your encounter never to see be seen again, but you sensed a need to share a parting word with him, what would you say?”

He leaned back in his black conference chair looking deep into my soul and didn’t say a word.

Then with the gentleness of a man I once knew he said, “Well son the first thing I’d realize about that encounter is that if that young guy didn’t want to hear something from me it might be a better to invest my two sense somewhere else.”

Without saying another word we both communicated an agreement that bonded my heart and ears to his many years of wisdom.

“If I knew a young man was ready to receive I’d tell him to pursue your passions with the hold of a Pit Bull’s bite.

Whenever in the presence of the wise, whether it’s one or a room full, be sure to listen twice as much as you think you should say.

Be quick and long to gather accurate information. The stuff you often think you see will only lead to wasted time and illusive pursuits.

Never allow the Nay Sayers and Joy Robbers block your blessings, for life is far to short to chance.

I’d tell him to seek the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind. But realize that your faith action step to good deed others pleases Him beyond measure.

If I still had his attention I’d tell him to work hard, but be smarter. Let your work reflect the pursuit of excellence in all that you do and the Lord will pay forward on a product the world finds undeniable.”

Then just as I took a deep breath he said, “ Although there may be many that we call a friend, time will tell on each of them. That guy should learn to master the art of friendship so that its roots grow deep into one of the most significant mysteries of life. If a man has found only one to call a friend in his lifetime he has been blessed. In the end of this journey no mater how long it may be, my friend, you will have then nurtured a true friend in deed.”

True Story

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (just below this article) to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Then encourage family and friends by sharing this blog address and invite others to subscribe so we get a chance to connect as well. Just send them to https://laroncarter.wordpress.com where they can bookmark or subscribe to the page. Feel free to direct message me on Twitter @laroncarter or connect on http://laroncarter.com.

Copyright © 2009 | LaRon A. Carter “The Guest Teacher

Purpose Teaching | Pursuit of Mission

Photo Credit by dbking of Chris Gardner

Photo Credit by dbking of Chris Gardner

“When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.” W. Clement Stone

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 2.1

The Question

Pursuing your mission can mean a lifetime of discovery and ongoing development. Would you agree? What smacks me upside the head is that if our purpose in life is important enough to require years of refinement, why then don’t we spend more time studying the idea of purpose?

Many teachers have given up on their dream in less than three years on the job because they lacked purpose. I am a Marine. I understand mission and the purpose behind carrying it out. Have you ever wondered how long you’ll be in this career?

Are you unhappy because you just can’t seem to grab classroom discipline by the ears? Are you recognizing the journey? Or am I the only one on this page realizing it is an aggressive pursuit of a purpose-based mission that defines what we do? Listen to what Chris Gardner wrote in the movie Pursuit of Happyness, “You got a dream, you got to protect it. You want something go get it. Period.”

The Genius In Us

We must spend more time thinking different about how to produce winning outcomes of our pursuits. For most of us that means thinking differently about creative genius (Elizabeth Gilbert). Our creative genius is not only on the line, but our students depend on us to deliver. As a matter of fact they probably won’t even show up if we haven’t found our creative genius. You know what I mean. Absence is one thing, one of the worst if you ask me, but for a student to be present and mentally somewhere else because the teacher doesn’t have his stuff together is a crime.

Back to the Basics

Before you begin planning for next semester or next year’s objectives, you will need to create clearly defined goals (Dorit Sasson). Need I remind you that if you are not clear about what you want out of yourself, you’ll be opening up the doors to a stressed filled teaching experience from the minute the bell rings. Get ready.

When I sat down to create my teaching goals on that first teaching assignment my heart was hungry for change and my head was budding with ignorance. I was just fortunate enough to have more success than failures. That allowed me to gain some momentum with learning the curriculum and in gaining trust from my students. I really didn’t experience much stress in the beginning.

After building a little success with the lesson plans my confidence to take on behavioral issues had leverage. And throughout my career that case worked both ways. Being able to have behavioral management success leveraged lesson-planning success. And how many of us know that both of these contribute to a less stressed life outside the classroom? The bottom line is productivity. Reducing stress with effective systems affects the bottom line. Productivity is real basic. You have to create measurable goals.

Regardless to what we set goals for, whether personal or professional, following a universal system and mastering it makes life more beautiful all around. Here are 5 Key Steps to Achieving Your Goals, the very steps I’ve been using from the beginning.

1. Decide on most important goals

2. Snap your intentions to a timeline

3. Don’t be distracted | Stay focused

4. Get down to business | Make it happen

5. Complete projects, reflect, and adjust (before moving onto the next clearly defined goal)

If you can find the time take 20 minutes and review the TED video and blog links above and come back tomorrow prepared to go deeper into what goal-setting is about before we investigate why mission statements are important?

This is a new series called Stressed Out K – 12 Education. Over the next several weeks we will explore classroom issues surrounding special needs, at-risk behaviors, student – teacher and teacher – parent relationships, and much more as it relates to reducing stress created from educational systems, narrow minded thinking of difficult colleagues, and the headaches of some one else’s undisciplined kids.

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (just below this article) to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Then encourage family and friends by sharing this blog address and invite others to subscribe so we get a chance to connect as well. Just send them to https://laroncarter.wordpress.com where they can bookmark or subscribe to the page. Feel free to direct message me on Twitter @laroncarter or connect on http://laroncarter.com.

Copyright © 2009 | LaRon A. Carter “The Guest Teacher

Valentine Day Gone Wrong

Photo Credit by Saturated Simplicity Photography

Photo Credit by Saturated Simplicity Photography

“Our minds have unbelievable power over our bodies.” André Maurois

I Feel Your Pain My Sister

Wives pray for your husbands, “The Jerk,” while praying for your marriage this Valentine’s Day.

I don’t know how you feel about prayer. You could be the type that can’t leave home without it. You could be the type that cares less because it never works for you. You could be like I use to be only praying when I needed to get out of a jam or better yet, get what I wanted. And then after praying for divine wisdom and prosperity I’d get up off of my knees and take matters back into my own hands. What a screw up?

But if you feel your marriage isn’t perfect in respect to how you were treated on Valentine Day, consider praying for your husband instead of trying to change him.

I know he totally blew this Valentine Day’s showcase of love. He didn’t prepare for that romantic encounter you desired and it showed.

Shoe Fit?

Maybe you are at wits end over his hygiene habits on top of it.

Do you have a husband that is obsessed with buying toys or maybe he gambled the day away?

Has he had an extended bout with unemployment?

Do you have an ever-growing list of things to do, places to go, and people to see that your budget and your husband won’t allow?

Won’t he listen to you?

Do you find yourself not being able to trust him anymore? Or are you losing faith in the man you married to live up to all you expected him to become?

Doesn’t he hear you screaming for attention?

You no longer believe in him or the process of growing a happy and successful family with this guy any more.

Pump your brakes, partner. The red lights are flashing and sirens are screeching ear to ear. Not because of your reasoning, it’s valid. He is a jerk. But allowing doubt and disbelief to run loose will seek out, kill, and destroy your relationship.

Think Doubt and Fail

The Magic of Thinking Big author Dr. Schwartz writes, “Disbelief is negative power. When the mind disbelieves or doubts, the mind attracts ‘reasons’ to support the disbelief. Doubt, disbelief, the subconscious will to fail, the not really wanting to succeed, is responsible for most failures. Think doubt and fail. Think victory and succeed.” If this is your situation you probably are thinking of ways to get out of your marriage and of course your doubt about its future is attracting all sorts of reason to support your disbelief in him. You may have chosen to stay, but behave as if you were no longer there, no longer committed to your vows. Do you feel as if breaking the covenant is the way to healing your broken heart? I genuinely feel your pain my sister. Really I do.

Think Victory and Succeed

Break those marriage vows back out and take your attention off of him. Return your focus on him’s creator. One of the best ways to be a Good to Great helpmate during these challenging times is to pray for your husband. Yep, he’s a jerk, I agree. You know it and his momma knows it. Consider the high road on this journey. Pray for God to have mercy on him for his illmatic behaviors. Pray for his mental stability to ride out life’s storms. Pray for his favor with man ( and you ;-D ). Pray for God to bring people into his life that will help to resurrect the pillars of his heart.

Heck Just Pray With Me

“Lord thank you for giving me the ability to ride out the wrath of this storm. You have shown me time over time it is my faith in you that brings peace and victory to every situation. I realize you have called me to do things bigger than I am able to carry out. So I trust in your love for me to keep and protect my husband as you work out in me that, which is not good for us. You made a covenant with my husband to have dominion over the works of his hands.

Thank you for revealing to him his responsibility to provide and protect us. Thank you for making us fruitful and multiplying our prosperity. Thank you for empowering him with skill sets to use valuable resources efficiently. Thank you for helping him to grow wisdom through this prayer. I believe in you God to give me patience while my husband transforms into the man you created him to be. We are undeniable recipients of heaven here on earth. Our fruit will unquestionably mark our quality and merit among those who see us operating as one powerful force to be reckoned with.”

My prayers are with you my sister and my friend. Amen.

You know who loves you Baby!

If there is someone in your family or a friend who needs to hear this word encourage them by sharing this blog address and invite others to subscribe so we get a chance to connect as well. Just send them to https://laroncarter.wordpress.com where they can bookmark or subscribe to the page. Feel free to direct message me on Twitter @laroncarter or connect on http://laroncarter.com.

Copyright © 2009 | LaRon A. Carter “The Guest Teacher

Purpose Teaching | The Call to Action

Photo Credit by bobster1985

Photo Credit by bobster1985

“When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.” W. Clement Stone

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 2.0

The Question

Discovering your mission can mean a lifetime of discovery and development. Would you agree? What smacks me upside the head is that if our purpose in life is important enough to require years of refinement, why then don’t we spend more time studying the reasons why we do what we do? Am I the only one with this question banging around in my head?

The Statement

Over the past few days I shared tips on how making accurate observations can be the start of turning you into a power teacher. If you have ever wanted more from your performance or looked for solutions to your classroom management problems, consider the idea of creating a genius mission statement that defines and measures success.

In this next set of ideas I’ll explore how creating a clear purpose in your life as a person transcends to the classroom. I intend to share real life applications of how it has worked for me. My hope is that you help me turn this into a real conversation by commenting to the blog here or at any of my Youtube videos that are linked to Asphalt Check: The Problem Solving Blog for New Teacher (see creating).

The Call to Action

If you are pulling your hair out as a new teacher looking for ways to regain control of your classroom start thinking of how you would want your program to run if everything was perfect. Like you haven’t already, right?

Discover your mission, write it down, and walk it out. . .

What I will attempt to do in this strand will be to light up the idea of designing a classroom environment that shines with possibility.

Here’s what you do.
• Dust off that Philosophy Statement (and anything else you have) from those 400/500 Level COE intern courses.

Make me real happy by turning around in your seat and pulling off the bulletin board behind you and edit where necessary to fit into the real world of teaching you know now. If you can’t find it, cool. Let’s start over.

• Listen to the voice of change. Make adjustments in how you define your purpose so that you’re less self-serving and more giving of yourself.

Chances are you have done your homework and genuinely put some time into understanding yourself and how you can best serve your students and their families. You do understand that you are serving an entire family when you serve a student, don’t you? Ok, we’ll pick that conversation up later.

But for now I want to show you some love for making it this far. If no one has told you lately, “I appreciate you devoting your career to serving my child. I’m here to let you know I appreciate you and all that you do to make a difference in my child’s life. I love you for that and there’s nothing that you can do about it.”

The Request

• Go to this link and download my personal classroom mission statement. I hope it kick-starts new ideas about who you are and where you can lead your students. Tomorrow I’ll break down how this all works in the real classroom.

This is a new series called Stressed Out K – 12 Education. Over the next several weeks we will explore classroom issues surrounding special needs, at-risk behaviors, student – teacher and teacher – parent relationships, and much more as it relates to reducing stress created from educational systems, narrow minded thinking of difficult colleagues, and the headaches of some one else’s undisciplined kids.

Copyright © 2009 | LaRon A. Carter “The Guest Teacher

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (just below this article) to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Then encourage family and friends by sharing this blog address and invite others to subscribe so we get a chance to connect as well. Just send them to https://laroncarter.wordpress.com where they can bookmark or subscribe to the page. Feel free to direct message me on Twitter @laroncarter or connect on http://laroncarter.com.

Teaching Basics | Observation Teaching Power

Photo Credit by Cherice

Photo Credit by Cherice

“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” George Bernard Shaw

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 1.3

Yesterday I wrote about using basic visual observations to collect important information. In Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 1.2, I suggested caution about over analyzing what you see, you just want to collect data. Once accurate observations have been gathered of those you have been assigned to engage you can begin developing a cool power teaching classroom environment.

What the Family Sees
Lets pick up from yesterday’s blog post. The student’s home environment may be the same healthy stimulus as in your classroom or it may be totally different. Whichever the case plays a critical factor in how you are able to connect with that student. For that matter your home experience plays into this issue, but I digress for now. Interviewing the parents and guardians and making allies can make or break your ability to effectively manage student behaviors. Are you talking to the parents? Don’t be shy about contacting them.

Remember my rant on customer service in 1.1 of this series? Talking to those that know the student best can be interesting. I’ve had families that said, “Oh not my kid” and not have a clue what that rascal was up to behind their back. And I’ve had others say, “Terrence has the worst behavior of all my kids” and he was my model student. Whatever information you get out of servicing the customer is valuable when collected bias free. Your goal is to be an excellent service provider when wearing the hat of civil servant.

How the Student Sees It
One of the things that will frustrate you the most about this crazy game of teaching is how “the experts” often fail to silicate the ideas of those we serve. Sometimes I walk away from meetings think can we at least take a poll or survey. That’s what world class company’s do isn’t it? Customer feedback seems to works for them. If you’re reading this in real time it’s mid-year and you may have had a few blow ups already. Have you been able to stay on top of student feedback while trying to learn new curriculum, grade papers, and have a life of your own?

Sometimes priorities bump task like interviews and recording observations off our to-do-list and understandably so. But trust me on this, if you allow customer service to fall short of your priorities you will get your head bashed by that not so friendly stress-myster guy. Find your confidence to eliminate classroom behavioral challenges by collecting accurate intelligence from observation, observation, observation. See it happening not how to get it done. Keep breathing.

This is a new series called Stressed Out K – 12 Education. Over the next several weeks we will explore classroom issues surrounding special needs, at-risk behaviors, student – teacher and teacher – parent relationships, and much more as it relates to reducing stress created from educational systems, narrow minded thinking of difficult colleagues, and the headaches of some one else’s undisciplined kids.

Copyright © 2009 | LaRon A. Carter “The Guest Teacher

Best Year Teaching: If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to http://laroncarter.com to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.

Teaching Basics | Who’s Following Who

Photo Credit by Nelson Lauren

Photo Credit by Nelson Lauren

“Consider your origins: you were not made that you might live as brutes, but so as to follow virtue and knowledge.” Dante Alighieri


Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 1.2

Before we get into the stink of smelly issues wrapped around your sanity and peace of mind during your first years of school, take a deep breath. If you are like most new teachers, even though it may be mid school year, you are probably feeling like you just want it all to be over right now. In the rare event of this is not being the case; this message is not for you at this time. Read on anyway and prepare for a rough forecast ahead. Don’t twist my message. Life is still good. I’m here to inspire you to assist your students (the younger the better) to become better problem solvers for themselves.

Birds of the Feather
Remember when mom and dad would monitor your relationships saying things like, “I don’t like that kid.” or “She’s not good for you.” But now that you’re older you understand that birds of the feather do really flock together even though you may have a friend or two that aren’t exactly good for you. Thank God you are older and wiser now. Keeping friends at a safe distance is easier these days. But kids haven’t developed that skill set yet. They’re still flying blindly. Here’s where you come in – But not so quick, Newbie. You’re a Semi-Pro now, a New Leader of little soon to be leaders. Fly in like the military in a Stealth aircraft.

Recon Intel Rules
One of the most valuable methods of collecting intelligence on your students is observation, observation, observation. Now you may need to implement several resources in order to accomplish this mission. I will cover observation methods from my high level Intel military perspective in later post. For now however, I want you to keep it basic. Consider using these three types of intelligence collecting methods.

• Visual (what you see)
• Visual (what the family sees)
• Visual (how the student sees it)

What You See
Be careful not to over analyze the observations you make, particularly with who your students follow. That’s a sure way to stress your self out quick. Because what you think you see may not really be what you think you see. Trust your intuition. Does that make since? Even the Secret Service didn’t fully understand what was behind the President’s social media network following when the Obama’s demanded to keep their Blackberry phones.

He built a historic and award winning political campaign from making social observations and implementing connecting systems. Systems that collected intelligence that told a hidden story (and hidden dollars) his competition wasn’t able to collect in time for a win. I’m sure they were constantly stressing over it as well. You school may come down hard on the use of new media technology in your district. They may not understand what’s going on. You know what time it is.

Document observation notes in a separate journal, voice mail, or iPod if you have to. Just make sure it’s as it happens. You want to record accurate Intel in real time, but you don’t want to be distracted to the point of being knocked off task. Take time to develop a method that works for you. The results will prove to be priceless. Record micro notes of things like: moods, behaviors, patterns, and habits; who students are connected with, customer service phone calls/visits home; and interviews with students.

To be continued . . .
I will write more about the basics of observations tomorrow. Until then, stay focused. And stay confident that you will successfully make it through this marking period even though you wish it were over. There are more than twelve weeks left. You will win!

This is a new series called Stressed Out K – 12 Education. Over the next several weeks we will explore classroom issues surrounding special needs, at-risk behaviors, student – teacher and teacher – parent relationships, and much more as it relates to reducing stress created from educational systems, narrow minded thinking of difficult colleagues, and the headaches of some one else’s undisciplined kids.

Copyright © 2009 | LaRon A. Carter “The Guest Teacher

Best Year Teaching: If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to http://laroncarter.com to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.