Teachers Are People, Too.

http:// http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/note-sons-teacher/story?id=27472112

When this story came across my news feed, I read it, and skimmed through the thousands of comments. In the end, I arrived at a question: when did the profession of teaching fall from grace?

Teaching, once a revered and respected profession,  has seemingly become one of increased scrutiny, speculation,  and disrespect.  Every move teachers make seems to place them under the proverbial microscope.  Why?

Today’s post does not attempt to answer that question. I instead invite commentary to be used for later analysis and discussion.  Instead, I write today to simply offer this late breaking news: teachers are humans, too.

Teachers may seem like super heros. Afterall, they balance books, manage to squeeze 30-plus desks, students,  and supplies into a closet-like space, all while memorizing hundreds of names and faces. They have 360-degree vision, supersonic hearing, and heightened senses even Spiderman is jealous of. They have photographic memory,  are geniuses,  and though their profession lists “teacher,” they are also doctors, counselors, producers, actors, coaches, therapists, hair stylists, seamstresses,  chefs, chauffeurs,  and a miriad of other positions.

Yes…teachers seem perfect,  and we often don’t realize they’re not until their mortality shows, then all hell breaks loose. It’s similar to Superman, Batman, or Spiderman who all experienced a momentary fall from grace where the ones who once hailed them, failed them. The one moment the teacher’s memory fails, or her strength lessens and she drops the ball, or his patience wanes and he loses his temper. It’s then that the stakes and daggers come out.

I realize that just like there are super heros,  there are also villians in the profession of teaching.  This post is not about them. I challenge you to support your heros. Though they don a cape, and take on the roles of many, they’re really just people in disguise.  Cut them, and they’ll bleed. Hit them physically or verbally,  and they’ll hurt. They may seem like geniuses,  but they really don’t know it all. Their professional trainings were in the methods of teaching,  not medicine or magic, so chances are they will not be able to diagnose and fix all that ails or hinders your child.  Just like you have good and bad days, so will they. Think of what helps and supports you through those moments and share them. Afterall,  teachers are people, too.

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Why Teach?

When I initially created this post, its purpose was to solicit feedback from teachers to include in on open letter to pre-service and first-year teachers.  I still encourage that feedback:  

However, as I was scrolling through Facebook today, I ran across this Washington Post article/editorial.  Many can relate to the teacher’s frustrations, which prompts me to ask another question beyond “why teach?”  Why should teachers remain in the field?  Please e-mail your encouragement for teachers to: richardsonretrospect@gmail.com.

Do You Feel the Burn?

ImageThe first quarter has barely ended, yet a number of teachers I’ve talked to are not counting the days to Winter Break; they’re counting the number of months left until this school year is over!  They, like many others across the country are feeling the burn of Teacher Burnout.

From the demands of the profession, to the drive of the passion to teach, teachers work well beyond their scheduled hours.  They worry about budget cuts, and the demands of high-stake testing.  They pray about having enough resources, enough coverage, enough time.  They research best practices, better technologies, good websites, all while hoping they’re free because money just isn’t there for any extras.  They feel the burn.Image

Are you a teacher?  Do you feel the burn?  Read the following articles and let’s talk.  Comment or e-mail us at richardsonretrospect@gmail.com

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/burnout-hits-one-in-four-teachers-20131005-2v13y.html

http://neatoday.org/2011/06/07/surviving-teacher-burnout/

http://www.ehow.com/info_8426923_symptoms-teacher-burnout.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_10018163_handle-teacher-burn-out.html

Review of Remind101: A Bulk Messaging App

I started this school year off with a homework assignment of my own:  find a free tool to send bulk text messages to parents, without sharing my personal cell phone number.  The result:  Remind101.

Remind101 is a FREE and safe way to communicate with parents (or students) without them knowing your phone number, nor you knowing theirs.  Remind101 will provide you with a default phone number.  You provide that number to your parents and/or students, and they send a unique text message , provided by Remind101, to subscribe to your class(es).

Remind101 is not designed for communication back-and-forth.  It does not allow subscribers to reply to the messages you’ve sent, so you will need an additional means of communication for that (I suggest e-mail).  It is very useful for teachers who do not have access to their school or grade-level website and would like to send out daily or regular messages.  I use it for posting the homework I’ve assigned each day.

About 1/3 of my parents have subscribed so far and the feedback has been great!  For example, one of my students does not complete homework on a regular basis.  His parents and I have tried numerous interventions to no avail.  Now that his parents are notified nightly of the homework, they are able to notify me when he doesn’t bring the proper materials home.  This allows the student to still complete the assignment in a time frame that allows him to still get credit versus waiting until Friday when parents are notified of missing assignments via my weekly grade report.

I hear this is also a great tool for coaches and other non-traditional educators (dance teachers, piano teachers, etc), too!

Are any of you using Remind101?  What are you thoughts?

If you’re looking for more information on Remind101, visit their website: http://www.remind101.com

P.S.  There are Remind101 apps for the iPad, iPhone, and Android devices.