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Check back often for the most recent articles, guest blog posts, and other writing. Downloadable materials are available from the sidebar on the left.

Class Dismissed! Dealing With Difficult Colleagues (Educational Horizons)

While the majority of your fellow teachers are outstanding citizens, most schools contain a few reminders that carrying a “#1 Teacher!!!” mug doesn’t make it true. This column provides descriptions of some of the difficult colleagues who might be roaming your hallway, advice on how to handle them, and a few tips to ensure that you aren’t the difficult one.

 

Best Practices are Practices that Work for Your Students (Larry Ferlazzo’s Classroom Q&A / Ed Week)

Larry Ferlazzo’s Classroom Q&A asks the questions teachers everywhere are asking, and tracks down answers from educators and experts. This week’s question: Based on your research and what you’ve seen and experienced in the classroom, what are the five best practices teachers can do to help their students become better learners? Click here for my answer, along with answers from Pedro Noguera and Barnett Berry.

Class Dismissed! Five Unwritten Rules of Teaching (Educational Horizons)

Do you feel like everyone is following guidelines that you don’t have? Here are some rules of teaching that aren’t in any manual — but probably should be.

Class Dismissed! How to Slay Teacher Motivation Killers (Educational Horizons)

We know motivating students and engaging families is part of being a teacher. Sometimes, however, just keeping ourselves motivated can feel like a full-time job. But wait, you’re thinking, isn’t the look of delight and the love of learning on my students’ faces enough motivation? No. Not always. (And you weren’t even really thinking that. You thought that in August.) This column discusses some reasons your enthusiasm might be flagging this season — plus some tips for making it through the mid-year slump.

Class Dismissed! Six Tips for Looking Less Like a Rookie (Educational Horizons)

Is this your first year as a teacher? There are only a few possible answers when a student asks this dreaded question. All of them are wrong. No matter what your answer, however, the question can leave you paranoid and wondering how students picked up on your rookie status so quickly. This column explains the aspects of teaching that come with experience – plus a few tips for faking them in the meantime.

Interview: Huffington Post Book Doctor Blog

Whenever someone asks me for advice on getting published, I recommend The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. They are a husband-wife/agent-bestselling-author team, and they travel the country giving advice to hopeful authors. Their workshop and book helped me turn See Me After Class from a loose, 20-page collection of notes into a successfully published book with a major publisher. (Twice!) Read the full story here in our Huffington Post interview about teaching writing, writing about teaching, and getting a second shot at publishing success.

Teacher Advice: The Good, the Bad, and “That Would Never Happen in MY Class!” (Learning First Alliance)

Beware: Not all advice is created equal. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end, here are a few examples of common suggestions with potential pitfalls on the LFA blog. The Learning First Alliance is a partnership of 14 leading education associations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America’s public schools. I am a long-time fan of their blog, which provides reliably thoughtful edu-commentary aimed at strengthening public schools.

Seven Facts About Teacher Retention During the First Five Years

1. After 3 years, 1/3 of new teachers leave the field; after 5 years, almost half of new teachers have left. (Source: U.S. Department of Education)

2. In inner city schools, 1/2 of new teachers quit within 3 years. (Source: U.S. Department of Education)

3. “Students in (Washington D.C.’s) poorest neighborhoods are nearly twice as likely to have a new or second-year teacher as those in the wealthiest… The concentration of new teachers in low-income communities is ‘remarkably consistent’ across the nation.” (Source: Washington Post Monday, April 27, 2009, “Poor Neighborhoods, Untested Teachers.)

4. Approximately 1,000 U.S. teachers quit each day. (Source: RetainingTeachers.com)

5. “Thousands of dollars walk out the door each time a teacher leaves.” According to a recent study by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, the costs of training, recruiting, and replacing teacher-leavers reached as high as $17,872 in some districts. (Source: National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, “Cost of Teacher Turnover in Five School Districts”)

6. Teacher attrition costs the US over seven billion dollars each year. (Source: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education)

7. Beginning teachers go through several distinct phases during their first years on the job. The hardest part of the year for most teachers is the “disillusionment” phase, which usually begins in October and can last until winter break. (Source: The New Teacher Center)

Four Things on Which Almost All Teachers Agree (Washington Post / Answer Sheet)

As political debates about education become more public and more polarized, it can seem like educators don’t agree on much. In spite of a few divisive issues, however, teachers still share a lot of common ground. This post describes four statements with which almost all teachers agree – no matter what they think of the Common Core State Standards.

Disillusionment: The Mentor Edition (New Teacher Center)

If you are familiar with Ellen Moir’s widely circulated Phases of First-Year Teaching – or if you have experience mentoring beginning teachers – you already know what season it is. The disillusionment phase, which falls roughly between Halloween and Thanksgiving, is the time frame during which new teachers are most likely to burst into tears in public, type up resignation letters “just in case,” or fantasize about driving off a bridge on the way to work.

Rookies with the type of high quality mentor teachers provided by The New Teacher Center are the lucky ones.

Yet this season is no picnic for mentor teachers, either. The disillusionment phase is when new teachersare most likely to respond to your well-meaning suggestions with defensiveness, attitude, or a series of dejected “uh-huh”s. This post on the NTC blog shares a few tips for mentors to keep in mind as you guide newbies through November.

 

Second edition now available!