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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.

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