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Career & Technology Education Teacher

Facing the Giants Video

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I had seen that video before, but never new were it came from. Thanks for sharing the link. I have some students right now who could benefit from seeing the video as encouragement that they can do anything if they put there mind to it. I will certainly be showing it in class.

Career & Technology Education Teacher

Inspiring

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I found your blog post very inspiring. Our homecoming is next week and we just had interim reports. There are students in several of my classes with the "I can't" and "computers are too hard" mentality who are not doing very well. A lot of the students I am talking about are economically disadvantaged and have not had the benefit of growing up with a computer in their house. So, I have been contemplating how to best help these students. Computer Applications can be such a dry subject at times. Your post reminded me that sometimes we need to think outside of the box to what will grab students attention.

A few years ago, I taught middle school math and one of the problems was students understanding the different between the Associative Property and the Communicative Property. At the time I came up with analogies. We live near Washington, D.C. so all the students know about commuters. So I drew a car around one of the numbers and showed it "commuting" to another location. This of course led to jokes about my car being a junker. For the Associative Property, we talked about associating things together like law practices. In this case, we talked about one number (a girl) associating with another number (a boy). The girl number decided she did not want to associate (be friends with) the boy number anymore and found a new number to hang out with, using parenthesis to show the new associates grouped together. That year, none of my students missed those two properties on the state tests.

Thanks for writing a blog that reminded me not to just "teach" or "lecture", but to also include a component that the students can relate too.

4th Grade Teacher

This article really touches

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This article really touches me. I think that it is so important to understand what the kids are interested in and what engages them. Students are always going to have something on their mind additional to school work. It is so important to figure this out and utilize it in your teaching. As a younger teacher, I find it really easy to connect with my students and discover their interests. I then share them with my grade level team because they find it very effective. I am learning that sometimes this means accommodating an assignment to help a struggling student. For example, I have a student who refuses to do his homework every week. His mom and I tried so many strategies. I found out what interested him, football, and went with a theme. I created work in reading, writing, and math that related to football and now he does the homework. A simple interest to engage the students can be so successful!

Secondary English Teacher

I loved this post and its

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I loved this post and its timeliness to the football/Homecoming/season of school spirit that is so much a part of the fun of back to school. I agree that the shine begins to wear off, but that the full-contact effort of teachers must continue to keep that brass ring shiny. Helping students realize their goals - even when they weren't aware of what those specifics may be - is more valuable than any content that we can teach. Of course the content is an important piece, but it is one that must mesh with the rest of the team, the rest of the school and its mission. Reading this reminded me of a video clip I have shown every year for the past few, right around this time, when football season crescendos and the first major unit tests start arriving. I'm sure many have seen it, but going back to "Facing the Giants" is something I do regularly. I am a full-contact teacher, and maybe a little "in your face" now and then. Any pep talk I can give, right? We need a few cheerleaders out there as well. Here is the YouTube clip I love about the Death Crawl:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GYYle0hTUc
Thanks for the inspiration!
Erin Merritt

Eleventh-grade English Teacher from Wilmington, DE

Full-Contact Teaching is the Way to Go

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I certainly agree with your philosophy that teachers must be willing to give themselves fully to their students (mind, heart, soul) in order to encourage students to engage in learning and to be willing to take educational risks.

I especially like your recommendation of starting one's "full-contact" support with five students. Your suggestion is manageable; it is something that teachers can do. Even if a teacher starts with three students at a time, change will occur. The students who now feel more confident will in turn help other students who need additional assistance, creating a strong classroom and school community. And the things we do to encourage do not have to be huge gestures. It is the small things we do on a regular basis that can make the difference.

I had a past student come back two years ago to see me. He is now in law school. He did not take the direct route, but he remained faithful to his dream and persevered. When he came to see me, he thanked me for reaching out to him during his junior year. He said he was having a difficult time, and he remembered a time when I asked him why he was hesitant to go to lunch. After he explained that he did not feel that he belonged, he said that he has always remembered what I said to him: You will find your way. Sometimes you will feel that you have been sidetracked, but you have to keep going and find another path.

I had no recollection of what I had actually said, and I was shocked that he remembered. My statement was not glamorous, but it was what he needed to hear at that time. I was reminded that teachers have much more impact in the little things we do than the big things. I remember him eating lunch in my room while he studied and I graded papers. Progressively over the year, he spent less time eating lunch in my room and more time with his peers.

Since then, he and I have stayed in touch. (I have found that I do like Facebook after all.) He will be graduating from law school in a year, and he just completed a successful internship for a Washington, D.C. judge. He is so deserving of the success that he is now having. I am happy to have been able to be perhaps a little spark that helped him get there.

Your post reminded me of a practice that I need to resurrect. Our school used to have postcards entitled, "Good News from Raider Country." A teacher could write a positive note and then mail it home. We no longer have the postcards, but I want to get back in the habit of sending out these cards. Writing these small notes are easy to do throughout the day, and the impact can be profound.

Thank you for your blog post!

New certified teacher, graduate student and current paraprofessional in CT

As a new teacher and graduate

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As a new teacher and graduate student I was excited by the title of this blog. I especially loved the comment that teaching "...requires our minds, bodies, and our entire heart and soul to be successful." What a great way to think of teaching! I see so many struggling students in the school I currently work in, and although I am new to the teaching profession (and currently working as a paraprofessional) I can see the great potential for teachers and staff to work together to help our students succeed. I think that choosing particular students who are struggling and making it a priority to work together to find a way for them to succeed could definitely work. What an amazing concept. In fact, after reading this I am inspired to do just that. I cannot wait to meet with the teachers I work with on a regular basis to collaborate on how to accomplish this. Thank you for your insights!

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