Teachers have a plethora of tools in their metaphorical toolkit, and often utilize many of those tools on an hourly basis. Some of these tools are taught in teacher education programs; however, many “tools” are acquired through experience and ongoing professional development once teachers are in the classroom.
Have you ever been grading a stack of papers and found yourself wondering, “How did my students perform so poorly? I really thought they knew this material!” I have found that moments like these can often be answered with the recognition that I did not check for understanding (CFU) enough throughout the unit or within each lesson.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York has said, “We know that when families are engaged in their children’s learning, students succeed,” and I would wager that almost every educator has heard the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
In my recent post, Team Building with Your Students, I shared a variety of ice-breakers, energizers, and team-builders that you can use with students. However, I would be remiss not to include that so much of student culture at a school is rooted in the staff culture. When a school’s staff culture is prioritized and strong, this models for students what a strong team looks and feels like, and it lays the foundation for the staff to work together in order to create a team mentality amongst the students
Regardless of age, if you put a group of individuals in the same space, where some know each other and some don’t, where some are from the area and some aren’t, and where some feel overly confident and some feel insecure, inevitably conflict will arise. We’ve seen this play out on 38 seasons of Survivor (can you believe that?!) and in classics such as Lord of the Flies. We also see this play out everyday in classrooms and schools with students, staff, family, and community members.
If you have ever had the opportunity to watch Ella Bess Marshall teach children or lead a coaching meeting with an adult, you know about 2 minutes in that you are in the presence of greatness (aka: a truly talented teacher). Ella Bess began teaching in 2006 and since that time has taught upper elementary and middle school math and coached 4th-8th grade math. In 2010, she was on the founding team at Henderson Collegiate and is there currently serving as an instructional coach and grade level chair coach. If you happen to find yourself in Henderson, North Carolina, go check her out. You will leave a better educator.