Guest Post–My Wish for You

I had the honor of guest posting for Angela Maiers this week.  I finished up my “My Wish for You” poem  and gave it to Angela to share with her followers. Thought I’d share a pdf version of the poem here as well if you’d like a copy to print. Feel free to use and share as you please. Click here for a copy: My Wish for You poem by MrsTG

Now, while the poem took some thought, my true challenge is LIVING it throughout the year. I’m going to mess up. No doubt. I pray on those days I can take responsibility, apologize, and learn from my mistake. Most of us would expect that from our students. Do we expect that from ourselves as well?

Have a great year! I’m looking forward to learning a lot from you, my friends and colleagues.

-Michelle

What DOES an Elementary Teacher Do?

[OR “I Should Have Been a Bus Driver”]

So I’m at a conference for career development in the 21st Century, feeling a little out of my league with high school guidance counselors, Area Education Agency personnel, and some fine folks from the Department of Ed. It’s a great conference, offered as a one credit class, and I am LEARNING SO MUCH! 🙂 Anyway, I find myself  sitting in a session where we’re invited to log in as students into a career exploration site. Naturally, I visit the elementary version.

Yeah. Here’s the thing. People who do not KNOW elementary kids and teachers should probably not try to write curriculum for them.

Well, I go about answering some of the “interest survey” questions and guess what? Education is not even one of the “Career Paths” offered to me. Whoa. At this point I’m somewhat concerned that I have totally misjudged my talents for the past sixteen years, but I reassure myself that this was the elementary version and only had like maybe 20 questions to judge interests. Must be a fluke, right?

[By the way, I went through another route and found the “elementary teacher” information. Can’t begin to describe how appalled I was to see the LAST line as quoted by a cute little puppy character say, “I know my ABCs and I like to tell stories. I would like helping students learn.”  Um. Yeah. That’s EXACTLY how I spent my four years of college and my master’s thesis work–learning my ABCs and telling stories. *Sigh*]

Anyway, in a different session, I think, “Well, let’s give the MIDDLE-HIGH SCHOOL version a try.” I log on as a student, navigate to the interest survey, and proceed to answer about 100 questions. Seriously, about 100. Went on FOREVER, asking questions such as “Do you like to build cabinets?” <No> “Would you like to help a doctor?” <No> “Would you like to teach children to READ?” <YES!>

“School Bus” by ImageMD on Flickr

 

Guess what? I had 49 possible careers that matched my interests.
Not ONE was a teacher.
However, apparently I’m interested in DRIVING THE BUS.  [NOT kidding]
Oh, and a “teacher’s assistant” DID show up as well.  Another *sigh.*
I’m going to the DMV tomorrow to apply for my CDL license and I’m asking my colleges for a refund on all that tuition $$.

So, once again, I go through the BACKDOOR to get to elementary teacher and find the list of “Elementary School Teacher: What They Do.” Geez, no wonder I didn’t get this as an option. This job would suck  not be fun.  Here’s the EXACT list (emphasis mine)**:

  • Prepares reports on students as required by the school.
  • Prepares course objectives and outlines, following curriculum guidelines set by the school or state.
  • Administers standardized tests and interprets results to determine students’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Lectures, demonstrates, and uses audiovisual aids and computers to present subject matter to classes.
  • Teaches rules of conduct and maintains order.
  • Counsels pupils when behavior or academic problems arise, and meets with parents when necessary.
  • Adapts teaching methods and instructional materials to meet students’ varying needs and interests.
  • Assigns and grades class work and homework.
  • Helps in school libraries, monitors halls and cafeterias and helps with bus loading and unloading.
  • Sponsors extracurricular activities such as clubs, student organizations and academic contests.

Seriously. If that’s what I do all day, somebody shoot me now. Sure, I do a lot of that crap those things, but geez, could you make it anymore cold or clinical? Did they even CONSULT an ACTUAL elementary teacher? Or did they think we had our hands full with ABCs and telling stories?

*BIG SIGH*

So, what say you?
Let’s make a LIST of what ACTUAL elementary teachers do.
What would YOU put on the list?

 **Oh, and high school teachers, guidance counselors, and the Department of Ed, please don’t put TOO much stock in those career development sites.  They may be great ways to INTRODUCE and EXPLORE these topics, but let’s not label and track kids based on them. Kids don’t fit into neat little business formulas.

 

 

 

 

No More Sink or Swim AND Making a Difference.

Join us in Sioux Center, Iowa, June 27-28, and 29-30

Join us in Sioux Center, Iowa, June 27-28 and 29-30

I’m offering two courses this summer for either license renewal or graduate credit. The first is called “Purposeful Teaching of Comprehension Strategies: No More Sink or Swim” and the second is called “Making a Difference: Examining What Great Teachers Know and Do“.  I always look forward to meeting new teachers through summer classes and I appreciate how others can offer points of views and ask questions that really sharpen my own understandings. If you are in Northwest Iowa in late June, join us! I’d love to have you sign up and be a part of our conversations. I am certainly blessed and humble to ba a part of them!

Revisiting: Aliterate Teachers

Here’s a post from my Classroom 2.0 Blog from 2008. It caused a lot of comments. Would love to hear your thoughts on either side of the aisle.

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MTG reading2Okay. So I’m sitting at a “Literacy Institute” and I’m surprised by a comment from a teacher who says she doesn’t like to read.

Doesn’t like to read? An elementary teacher, in charge of teaching kids to READ, doesn’t like to READ herself? What’s up with THAT? That’s like a boat salesman who doesn’t like water! Or a astronaut who doesn’t like space travel, or a doctor who doesn’t like patients, or a baker who doesn’t like bread… (Feel free to add your own analogy in the comment box!)

How can you teach kids how to read if you don’t like to read yourself? Sadly, this is NOT the first time I’ve heard something like this. (Thankfully, the work of Karen Kingsbury has been nothing short of life-changing to many of my former non-reading colleagues and friends. I even had one teacher somewhat upset with me because she had such a hard time putting those books down after being introduced to them that she was losing sleep!)

So, here’s my plea to school administrators around the world: Please ask EVERY interviewee if she considers herself to be a reader and what books she’s read lately. Then ask her if she considers herself to be a writer and what types of things she’s written lately. Seriously, ASK!

What do you think? Can someone whose main job is to teach literacy do so without being actively literate themselves? Can someone whose main job is to teach mathematics (or any other given subject/content area) do so without being actively literate?