Archive

Archive for April, 2009

Confident Teaching | Defining Your Mission

Photo Credit by Afroswede

Photo Credit by Afroswede

“High expectations are the key to everything” Sam Walton

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 3.1

Spell Out Your Mission

After setting the stage for high expectations in your classroom help others understand your leadership by defining exactly how your mission looks, sounds, and feels. No need to be overwhelmed with having it all together at one time. As a matter of fact take a couple of days. No way. I’m just kidding its going to take a lot more time, perhaps weeks or months of revisions. Do your homework and study how Good to Great companies have designed their mission statements.

Clear Vision is Key

The clearer you are with your mission to provide and serve the clearer your community of learners will be able to identify how their investments will pay off. And that’s exactly what you want, for them to invest into your cause. Hopefully, you’ve done your part to unselfishly and specifically identify their best academic interests based on state board curriculum objectives, culture, and family needs.

Approach and Follow Through

They may not understand how it all works, but they will buy into what you’re aiming for if you help them take the hood off. Ken Blanchard describes it as your people approaching the bowling lane with a blinder on, ball in hand, hearing all the pins crash around him, but not knowing what happened after rolling the ball. If you want your students to become better problem solvers for themselves they’re going to need clear leadership from you. Teach students to approach problems according to your mission and to follow through with fundamental basics. Keep it simple, but clear.

Smack Down Basics

When designing a mission statement that sets the stage for rock star performances include what I call smack down basics. Smack downs address the core issues that prevent you from teaching and your students from learning in a physically, spiritually, and emotionally safe environment. What is your classroom’s thermostat setting? How should your student’s feel about school? How do your students, parents, and community leaders co-exist? What about your discipline systems? Are they clearly defined in your statement? Is your vision for the future revealed in plain English? Now get to work, you can do this.

As always please comment and share. What do your old mission philosophies have to say to your new realities? Are there some classroom or school mission statement concepts that have worked for you in your teaching environment that you are willing to share?

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 from someone 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 and @K12Live or connect on http://laroncarter.com.

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

Confident Teaching | Expect the Best

Photo Credit by GirlReporter

Photo Credit by GirlReporter

“A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.” Patricia Neal

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 3.0

High Expectations

One thing about effective teaching that remains consistent is the affect of designing your day around high expectations. Excellence in education comes at a high price and you hold the keys to making it happen. Nothing we’re unaware of, but sometimes it can get away from us real easy.

Stay focused on controlling the way you think about classroom situations. Lean toward optimism when others around you bring in all that negative garbage to the teacher’s lounge. You can do it. You’ve done it before right? Keep thinking the way you did when you started teaching and you’ll do just fine. Expect the best.

Above The Pavement

My career in the classroom began on the urban streets of Indianapolis, Indiana. I come from an outstanding city of commerce, sports, and hard working families that are driven to provide better for their children than what they grew up with. Yet the streets in my hood are as challenging as any major metropolitan city. And if you’re teaching in a city like mine you understand where I’m coming from. You’ve got to teach above the pavement so to say.

Geographic and economic circumstances can create a gloomy forecast for families in the hood and that may trickle over into your classroom. When you see the fog coming it’s important to stay focused on high expectations. Wrestling with low expectation has a spiritual element to it that you won’t beat down throwing elbows at. Press through the gloom on your knees praying for the leaders in your school, the families of your students, and your wisdom. I’ve said it before. In the words of my man Tavis Smiley at the end of each show, “Keep the faith” and keep it moving.

Sweet Smack Downs!

Stay out of the teachers lounge if it isn’t conducive to maintaining high expectations and unwavering student support. If my colleagues want to sit around and say a bunch of negative things about their students, their jobs, the principals, and their spouses during my lunchtime I’ve got to eat somewhere else. I love my teachers, but I love teachers with a sweet smack down mo better.

Smash The Boards

You’d think that I was Shaquelle O’Neil smashing the boards against negativity when it comes to protecting my confidence. Students do a good job cutting away at my high expectations of them without me having naysayer’s put their two cents in as well. Stay focused. Stay confident. And smack down negativity whenever you see low expectations on the rise.

As always please comment and share. Are you frustrated with colleagues having such low expectations? Why is it important to maintain high standards for your students and their families?

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 and @K12Live or connect on http://laroncarter.com.

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

Tech Notes | Beyond Twitter Expectations

Tweetout Friday Coming Up Find Out More @K12Live.com

Tweetout Friday Coming Up Find Out More @K12Live.com


“Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s levels of aspiration . . and expectation..”
Jack Nicklaus


This is How it’s Suppose to Work

Collaboration, Exploration, and things like Networking are far more rich experiences when they are built on a conduit that connects people. And, although, I find connecting offline way more satisfying than sitting in front of a computer screen or my Blackberry. Twitter is an excellent connector of conversation, people, and their ideas. I always expected Twitter to deliver, because, so many in my PLN (person learning network) said it could. Now it’s paying off.

Exchanges like this thread below demonstrate one of the unlimited ways to have gratifying experiences @K12Live on Twitter:

laron-carter-twitter

Note: I experimented with Twitter for many weeks before the micro blogosphere opened it’s galaxy and rained down on me.

Time Well Spent

Discovering your own voice or style of connecting with people on Twitter is going to take time to figure out for most of us. So, hang in there if you are new to the family.

When I first began using Twitter (in Jan. of 2009) I was eight weeks into it and still wondering whether or not I was wasting my time. Then it was another month before I was able to hear my Twitter voice speak from my thoughts through the keyboard of my smart phone.

Well it’s been several months, many blog post and books on the subject, and a thousand tweets later. Now days I follow my tweeps as we say using Twitterberry and HootSuite from my application client Mozilla brower tricked out with Don Hollings Twittin Secrets Toolbar. Twitter life became even more beautiful with Echofon (originally Twitterfox) a sweet compliment to Facebook’s sidebar add-on.

Facebook’s Virtual Coffee for Revolutionaries

On my regular Monday conference call with Facebook group Virtual Coffee for Revolutionaries I mentioned that I didn’t see it possible to define social media tools like Twitter in definitive terms. I am a teacher, but I’m much more of a student filled with lots of inquiry and observation data. And my notes reveal that engaged Twitter users usually find new levels of appreciation when there’s an exchange of instant information needed to solve some sort of problem. However, I imagine the creativity of Twitter users as a networking application will open up near future possibilities far beyond our current imagination of how to use it.

Start reducing the confusion of building your personal learning network by experimenting with great online application clients [mentioned above]. Then invest time into learning how each tool works in order to leverage them effectively.

For Those Who Have Ears to Hear

My advice is to approach social media slow, the way a scientist collects data from her experiments. Teachers are privileged to private information. So, be quick to listen, twice as slow to speak, and even slower to bite off more than you can chew.

As always please comment and share.

How are you using Twitter? Which web applications and add-ons are working best for you at this time?

P.S. 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.

Copyright © 2008-2010 | LaRon A. Carter The Guest Teacher