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Educational Consultant/Author, Southern California

Be realistic!

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I found it hard to admit I wasn't Wonder Woman. But once I realized, one year as a Resource Specialist, I couldn't take on half of someone's caseload who was out, when mine was full, I felt much better and could fulfill my commitments with peace of mind. We need to stand up for ourselves, and each other, too.

eighth grade math teacher in Camden, New Jersey

Thanks for the great tips on

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Thanks for the great tips on how to avoid teacher burnout. I also enjoyed the comments from Dr. Goldberg. It is true about us not having control about what happens in the homes of our students. You can do so much in the classroom to move a child to the next level but until they get the support from home where someone is telling them to do their home/study and go over it with them to make sure that it is completed - we are not going to be able to see gains. What frustrates me is after spending so much time going over a concept and then you give a quiz or a test based on what was taught - you get students not applying what you have taught on the assessment. Their retention span is very limited and as a teacher I feel like I am starting over everyday-reteaching the same thing over and over.

Missed the boat on presenting/evaluation

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I was just given the PBL in the Elementary Grades book by some schools I work with. Loved what I read until I got to preparing for the presentations and the presentation rubrics. Speaking skills have always been an afterthought in education and no one seems to know exactly how to teach or evaluate speaking. First, you don't teach speaking with "a one-minute bad example" speech. (see www.pvlegs.com) Second, you shouldn't jumble disparate items together in a rubric. This is part of a post I made:
Common Core State Standards are part of our lives now. Part of those standards is the Speaking and Listening standard. Though all teachers at all grade levels in all subjects have students speaking in their classrooms, few teachers have ever been given instruction on how to teach speaking. We sort of know what to look for and we have score sheets for grading presentations that show what we think is important. No two teachers in any school have the same score sheet or rubric, however. Every teacher has a unique idea. When SBAC and PARCC assessments come online, how will we figure out how to evaluate oral communication in some consistent way?
Understand that all speaking has two very distinct parts: building the speech and performing the speech. This is true for all oral communication: one-on-one, small group, large presentation, webinar, video, and more. Building a speech refers to all the things we do before we ever open our mouths. We think of the audience, we work on the content, we organize the content, we construct visual aids, we dress up—all before we ever say a word to the audience/camera/microphone. Presidents, actors, and newscasters have people who build speeches for them. It is a special talent and some students will be better at creating the communication than others; some will be better at creating the communication than performing it.
Performing the speech refers to all the things we do as we are talking. I use the word performing instead of delivering to emphasize the true nature of the task. As we speak, we need to be poised, we need to be sure every word is heard, we need to have some life in our voices, we need to make eye contact, we need to gesture, we need to pay attention to pace—all of these are done during our address to the audience/camera/microphone. Performing is a special talent, also, and some students will be better performers than others; better performers than builders.
Never blend these two very different aspects on any rubric. Create separate sections for building the communication and for performing the communication. Students will be clear on areas of strength and weakness. You will be clear, also, and won’t let a well-built speech make you oblivious to performance defects or a well-performed speech keep you from noticing a lack of content.

Educator

You're tired...your students

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You're tired...your students are tired. Be kind to yourself and your class. Facilitate activities that help you and your students feel better. Take frequent breaks - stretching or take mindful moments during transitions to be quiet and listen to the sounds around and within. One tool with a variety of activities to do just that can be found at www.recessitate.com.

Also, students are more chatty this time of year. Give them something content related to talk about so they won't decide to talk when you need them to listen.

Have fun with them. They'll be on their way to their next adventure before you know it!

Clinical Psychologist & Author of The Homework Trap

Good tips. I would add two

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Good tips. I would add two comments. A sixth tip is to follow the concepts of the serenity prayer: to accept the things that are out of our control, act on the things that are in our control, and know the difference. The class is in the teacher’s control; the home is not. Each home is different. Each parent is different. We can stave off burnout by not getting overly invested in how parents behave and what students do in their homes. My other comment is to look at comment number 3, recognize the wisdom of putting boundaries on time, and then considering how that applies to students as well. Should they be working until their assignments are done? Or should they be working (on their homework) for a fixed amount of time and allowed to stop working when that time is up?

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