Archive

Archive for October, 2009

7 Steps to Becoming an Effective Teacher

Photo Credit by Just Me

You’ve gone to school, graduated from the college of education, hopefully negotiated more than what they offered you on the union negotiated step level contract, and now you are learning that teaching in K-12 environments aren’t the same classrooms you sat in as a kid. Here are some tips for acquiring effective teacher skill sets so you can reduce the stress and begin teaching with more confidence.


STEP 1

Get you hands on valuable information available from student CA-60 background folders. Documents like IEP’s and medical records provide a snap shot into the student’s academic story as a valuable first source for gathering information. A pit stop to the office several times a week on the way to planning hour or lunch can pay big dividends. You’re a pro, so tap the most obvious info resources before forming a misinformed hypothesis.

STEP 2
Gather current contact information of parents and guardians. You might want to include cell numbers of big brothers and sisters (both siblings and from United Way mentors). Be sure to note phone service carriers, off peak times, and texting plans so that you don’t get screened out unnecessarily. Research shows that many families are more likely to use cell phones as primary phone lines for calling contacts and Internet use so add primary email addresses in your contact list as needed.

STEP 3
Create well-written icebreaker activities. Loosening up the atmosphere not only gets your students connected to each other, but also gives you a starting point for valuable organized intel on your little darlings. Discovering whether a student has a favorite pet that’s sick or has been moving around a lot because of complicated family circumstances will help you more clearly identify classroom problems and develop “how to” solutions.

STEP 4
Do a walk around. The wonderful thing about venturing out into the neighborhoods of your school and meeting the people who live there and work in the retail stores, repair shops, and laundry mats is it gives you an understanding of its culture. You will also find out what works for the community as well as the problems needing to be fixed. Information from the pulse of a community, at ground level, helps to better understand outside issues brought into your classroom.

STEP 5
Make it a rule to contact each parent on your roster at least twice with heart felt positive reports before having to rat a student out. Parents that get regular negative calls from school personnel are a little punchy when seeing the call come in on caller ID. By establishing a genuine service connection with parents, based on trust and credibility, you can easily recruit them as part of your classroom management and support team member for special events.

STEP 6
Create a phone list of highly qualified substitute teachers [from colleagues and secretaries] that are capable of handling your students while you are away from the classroom. Substitutes will always have their work cut out for them, but some will have skill sets that return your students back in one piece and on task to pick up where you left off.

STEP 7
Teach your students to respect substitute teachers before you need to call one in to teach. You may not need a sub often, but incorporating a plan instructing students of proper etiquette practices and consequences establishes standards in your absence that will praise or reprimand behaviors upon your return. The best substitute teachers will want to teach for you if they know you have set them up to succeed.

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.

Diversity Teaching | Cultural Understanding

Photo Credit by CGehlen

Photo Credit by CGehlen

“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 4.1

Does It Make Sense?

Many of the post I write on Asphalt Check are inspired from ideas of being able to solve classroom management problems in teaching environments that seem to work against all efforts to achieve. You simply want each student on your roster to make the grade and have fun doing it. Right?

The reality of teaching a diverse student body is that you have to genuinely believe in each student being able to achieve the American Dream. Believing in your students, or someone else’s for that matter, requires having an on going sense of cultural understanding.

Understanding Your Students

Being able to solve your classroom management problems could very well begin with understanding your student’s culture. It doesn’t matter if he or she ever reaches the world’s standards of success after graduating from your class. What’s most important for your success is having high expectations and belief systems that support your goal to provide an undeniable service.

Whose Pie Is It?

Even if we began our careers believing we could make a difference in the lives of students that are often over looked, time evolves and rigor sets in. Then we stop dreaming change is possible and we start buying into the idea of it being easier to blame administration, parents, students, and whomever else we can latch onto for comfort. Think of your students as people in a struggle to bite into their slice of American Pie that might just be graham cracker crusted key lime or mango instead of apple.

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.

What I Learned | Leadership Leads With Less

Photo Credit by misery.loves.company's

Photo Credit by misery.loves.company's

“A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” John Maxwell

The Blame Game

You may hear me regularly reference whichever of three books I might be reading from at any one time. This week Russell Simmons’ “Do You” has me celebrating his Law of Success messages. Russell identified how awareness of his own weakness leveraged leadership over fear at his Def Jam Empire once he was able to give voice to mistakes and blunders openly with his team members as their leader. Humorously, Simmons teaches that those you lead already know you messed up, so get out of your own way by openly recognizing having hit a wall and not holding onto the mistake or passing the blame onto someone else.

Learn from Mistakes

Years ago I owned and managed a professional window cleaning service. One day an employee accidentally damaged a customer’s high-end window screens while transporting them between cleaning sites. That was one of the hardest early leadership lessons. I chose to man-up and confess to the homeowner her screens had been severely damaged without passing the blame. Fully accepting responsibility for correcting the problem isn’t an easy task. But, by focusing on the goal of leading with integrity and an ability to take more of the blame you create lifelong learning experiences from mistakes.

Take Less Credit

Paying attention to missteps has brought me to conclude that one characteristic of highly effective leadership demonstrates a genuine quality for taking less credit for success. People want to feel needed and heart felt appreciation leads to more productivity. Pass whatever available credit there maybe onto those that help you get there. Learn from the wisdom of leadership expert John Maxwell, “A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.”

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.

Categories: Weekend Post Tags:

Diversity Teaching | Blaming the Student

Photo Credit by frerieke | Leadership Training - Everybody is Equally Huggable

Photo Credit by frerieke | Leadership Training - Everybody is Equally Huggable

“The problem is that they become institutions in themselves, and the bulk of the energy goes to making them better places to work than places to learn.” Halps

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 4.0

Google Alerts Rock

Once again my Google Alerts has delivered a gem to my mailbox. This time its Teacher Magazine in a Discussion Forum moderated by Anthony Rebora titled Classroom Management: Blaming the Student?

This past week Teacher Magazine ran an impromptu poll identifying “disruptive students” as their biggest classroom management issue in live chat Managing Difficult Classrooms. Surprised guest Principal Robin Weaver responded, “From my perspective, that ‘blames the student’ when we must be the responsible party (as adults) to figure out how to turn it around.”

Rebora posed a follow up discussion question, “How, in your experience, can teachers and school administrators work together to help children with behavioral problems?”

Experience is Priceless

Like so many educational issues children with behavioral problems will never have a cookie cutter solution. In my experience the best thing you can do with classroom behavioral issues are to learn the language of those acting out and then dare to teach it to difficult administrators. I wish it were easier than that.

Becky Norris posted, Day in and day out, I see the same students in different teachers’ classrooms. In one classroom, the student may be an enormous disruption. In another classroom, the same student is quiet but does not participate or engage with the curriculum. In a third classroom, this same student again is engaged, respectful, even enthusiastic.

Halps poignantly wrote, I agree that we really need to start centering schools on the concept of what they exist for — helping the community raise their children. The problem is that they become institutions in themselves, and the bulk of the energy goes to making them better places to work than places to learn.

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 on the web.

Classroom Management | Engaging Your Students

Photo Credit by Monster: The Apple

Photo Credit by Monster: The Apple

“It’s important that kids enjoy school and that they have fun learning.” Kevin Bibo


K – 12 Education: Stressed Out Series

Keep the Students Engaged in Learning

I use Google applications for just about everything web related. The other day I found this 20 plus month old teaching article neatly tucked into my Google account. A great method should have a long shelf life worthy of being passed along to those that missed its debut the first time around. How to Be an Engaging Teacher is one of them.

The author Kevin Bibo believes the single most important element of a successful classroom is a teacher who designs learning assignments that keep the students engaged and fun to complete.

Here are some of the bright ideas that Bibo suggest for making a focused effort to keep your students actively engaged in the subject matter and the learning process:
• Assignments must be meaningful to students.
• Tailor the work you give to fit the interests and experiences of the kids.
• Set the achievement bar as high as possible and really challenge them to reach it.
• Show examples of truly outstanding student work.
• Share your confidence in their abilities and urge them on to greatness.
• Breakdown assignments to smaller pieces.
• Make sure that every aspect of the assignment is worth points on rubric.
• Stick to hard deadlines and subtract for late work.
• Grade student’s work in a timely manner. The best is a 24-hour turnaround.

Bibo spotlights productivity and some of the things that take “happy” out of teaching as discipline issues including acting out, tardiness to class, and student failure being minimized and maybe even eliminated If you, the teacher, think innovatively.

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.

Goal Setting | You’re Smarter Than Most

scr cover“No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny.
You make your own future.”
President Barack Obama
Back to School Event, Arlington, VA September 8, 2009

Lets Get It On

Much has happened since you have read a current post here on Asphalt Check. But rather than bore you with the details of my life I find it more important to ask forgiveness for being unaccountable to my readers. I messed up by not blogging for more than five months to date.

Accountability

Though I can’t promise I’ll be crafting daily post, I will commit to regular post that serve to inspire and enlighten my followers with truthful thoughts on building meaningful relationships with other educators so that your ability to provide high end educational services grows weekly (also see @K12Live on Twitter).

Stop Crying

As many of you know I launched my first eBook Series out of Empowering Basics University this summer titled, Stop Crying in the Restroom [it ain’t that deep]: A Guide to Effective Goal Setting for Any Teacher on a Mission. Well if you were not following these free weekly downloads fret not. You’re probably smarter than most and waited until my endless editing was exhausted from the experiment encouraged by mentor and social media strategist David Meerman Scott, author of World Wide Rave.

Everyone can find the complete series assembled into one “no strings attached” eBook here.

I believe this Guide to Effective Goal Setting represents a body of seamless essays, videos, and teacher blog experts that speak directly to the heart of problem solving fears we all face in classrooms with challenging situations. Download Stop Crying and start Effectively Setting Your Goals today and create more time to do what you LOVE. . . Teaching.

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 articles delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to http://laroncarter.com to connect with me on the web.

Categories: Goal Setting Basics, K12 Live Tags: