Monday, September 10, 2012

Are teachers just glorified babysitters?

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Chicago teachers are striking today. Some odd and silly quotes are coming from various people around town there. Makes you wonder what people really think of classroom teachers.

Many quotes seem to be from parents, wondering what in the world they are going to do with their children if there is no school. Like the public school system exists to be one big glorified daycare service. Is it the public schools job to provide something for your kid to do while you work?

Then there's talk of opening up churches and other venues to drop kids off at. Like that's the same as school?

I even heard that some schools were going to be open for half-days, letting kids do things like puzzles.

Is that what people think teachers do? Play with kids all day long?

I have heard from some teachers, especially kindergarten teachers, that people tell them it must be nice to play all day.

Anyone in the classroom knows that teaching is not fun and games. Professional teachers make it look easy. And fun. But being a teacher is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

Getting back to the teachers strike. Does it do your students good to miss a day of school? Each day out is one day lost. These kids cannot go back in time. They get one shot at a public education.

This is not for or against the strike. It's a balance. Can't the smart people running the schools, and teaching, come up with a way to settle their differences WITHOUT a teacher stepping out of a classroom? You step out of your classroom. What does that get the kids?

We are not talking about what perks or pay teachers should or not get. Or state rules. We are talking about the fact that the regular teacher being out of the classroom cannot be good. For anybody. You can't make up those lost day.

>>How to motivate your students.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Teachers and the internet

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Teachers and the internet can be a powerful combination. You can find quite a lot if stuff to help you out in your classroom. But many teachers make the mistake of using the internet as a crutch, or worse, as a substitute for quality teaching. Don't make that mistake. There are three ways the internet can really be an educational partner.

First, worksheets. Creating and printing worksheets has never been easier. The internet has a plethora of sites for you to get free worksheets for virtually any subject. In that past, teachers would need stacks of old worksheet booklets to use each year. No more. >> Find and create free worksheets online.

Next is lesson plans. Don't have a lesson plan idea? Don't panic. The internet is full of lesson plans and ideas. If you have some of your own favorites, there are sites for you to share your ideas as well. >> Find lesson plans and tips.

Teaching tips and articles are abundant online. Again, there are several good books, but if you can find good, solid teaching ideas and tips online, why would you need to buy a book? >> Find teaching articles and tips.

Do not think that the internet can solve all your problems, or is to be used all the time. It's not. Don't become lazy. Never stop learning from others. Keep networking with your fellow teachers.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Teachers, New School Year - Get Organized!

If you are a new teacher or a veteran, teaching can be unmanageable in a hurry. Just the daily tasks alone that a teacher must complete are tiring. Even teachers who have been in the classroom for years have trouble. New teachers don't know it yet. Be determined to be an organized teacher this year. Start now! Classroom Discipline should be the first task to tackle. Work out some details now. What do you expect your students to do? How will you accomplish this? Come up with a plan now....and stick with it. Once that's done, you can turn your attention to classroom management. What exactly is classroom management? Classroom management is how you accomplish daily tasks in the classroom. Everything from roll taking to collecting work. Even passing out materials and transitioning from one task to the other. All is classroom management. Even what you do outside of class. Grading, lesson planning. Will you do this? Get organized! The tasks of a teacher can mount up like a mountain. What will you do if a student shows up without a pencil? Without great classroom management, your classroom teaching and learning will fall apart. A lack of the above will most certainly lead to teacher stress. You will find yourself working hard at school and at home. Remember, it's the teacher's job to make the students work while he or she watches, not the other way around. You want things to go smoothly. You want to be prepared. An organized teacher is an effective teacher. There is no real effective teacher that is not organized. With a little planning, you can make the school day go by smoothly. Your head will be clearer. Your teaching will be fantastic! Be determined to get organized before the first day of school! Don't fall victim to teacher burnout.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Teachers and home loans: The time is right

Teachers are a great credit risk. The profession is respected and teachers are looked upon as stable employees. Stable employees, means good credit risk. Even with recent education layoffs, most teachers have a solid job, with little chance of getting fired. These and other factors make the chances of getting a home loan quite good for teachers.

Did we mention that mortgage rates are at all-time lows? That's right. Mortgage home loan rates are at the cheapest in history. This makes a perfect storm for buying a home.

If you are a teacher, and not a homeowner yet, what are you waiting for?

The current rate for a 30 year mortgage is 3.66% You read that right. That's cheap. Not too long ago they were double digits. If you bought a home in the late 70's or early 80's, chances are it was over 12 percent.

This very low mortgage rate makes it quite reasonable to buy a home. Yes, the loans are not as free-flowing as they were five years ago. You need good credit, a good income, and probably close to 20% down. But if you can manage it, there may not be a better time in years to come for a home loan.

Public school teachers have other options not available to the general public. HUD has teacher programs that make buying a home even cheaper. Go to: Home Loans for Teachers for more information on teachers and home loans.

Here are some general home buying tips when shopping for a mortgage. The big banks may give you the best interest rate deal, but they are probably a little more selective. Try a big bank first, then shop around. Try a smaller bank. If you are turned down from a large bank, try again at a smaller one. Even local. At this time, they may be more willing to help you get a mortgage. The downside is that they may charge you a little more. But with rates so low, a little more is not much. It is better to be pre-qualified for a mortgage when home shopping. You will know exactly what you can afford.

If you are a teacher who is still renting, what are you waiting for? Get into your own home!

| Create free math worksheets online || Substitute teacher tips |


Monday, June 18, 2012

Need for elementary teachers projected to grow

There is no job that has as high satisfaction as being a teacher. Elementary teachers are no exception. The chance to open up a young mind to the world is an amazing experience. Even though many school districts are experiencing budget cuts and layoffs, the Department of Labor is forecasting that elementary teacher workforce will grow by up to seventeen percent in the next eight years.

Read more on: Average Teachers Salary

One must look closer at the school budget crisis in many states. Large districts are needing to tighten their belts. But even those still will have a high need in certain areas of cities that lack good teachers. Some school sites are just not attractive to some teachers. This is a plus if you think you can handle the situation. Also, special education teachers are always highly sought after. Some states that do not have any budget problems are still funding education and will need teachers. It all depends on where you plan to teach. Some districts in large states have more teachers than they need. But the fact that the elementary teaching profession is expected to grow is a good sign. If you are willing to relocate or take a challenging position in a high risk area, you can still get a job. Not to mention that you may get your student loans forgiven by teaching in these areas.

Every state requires some sort of teacher certification. All must have at least a bachelor's degree. States vary in other requirements. Do some research as to what your state of choice requires. Some even require you to pas a test, like the CBEST Test.

There are alternate ways to become a certified teacher that are available to everyone anywhere. >> For more info, go to: How to become a teacher and get a teaching job.

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You can probably work as a substitute teacher while working on certification.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Encyclopedia Britannica to stop printing books

Encyclopedia Britannica has decided after over 200 years, to stop printing books.

Many teachers will rue this event. How many of us grew up going to classrooms with a set of encyclopedias? Remember having to do reports by hand?

There was always something special about flipping through a real book.

Encyclopedia Britannica was just not selling many any more. They sold a little over 8,000 sets last year. How many hits do you think wikipedia gets daily?

Wikipedia can never replace a real encyclopedia. Hopefully, teachers will still steer their students to those.

And since there are probably old sets just laying around, nothing says that a teachers cannot still get a set and put in his or her classroom.

Eventually everything will be online. What with smartphones and tablet PCs, it's just a matter of time.

This does mean that "books" will be cheaper. But there is nothing like the feel of a book in your hands. Let's hope today's children can keep on experiencing that.

>Home Loans for Teachers

>How to be a Teacher and Find a Teaching Job

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dress code for teachers?

Should we have a dress code for teachers? There seems to be a growing number of teachers who feel they can show up to teach wearing just about anything. But what does that say about the teacher? That they are lazy? They don't care about their appearance? Teachers really need to step up to the plate and start dressing the part. Are teachers professionals, or is is teaching just another job that one can show up wearing whatever one wants?

You can say that clothes don't matter. That teachers have a right to wear whatever feels comfortable. Maybe even that looking at clothes is kind of shallow. But I beg to differ. Our clothing gives off the first impression to people. The clothes that we make a choice to wear, each and every day in school, does indeed give off some sort of a statement. That statement is made to our students, other teachers, and certainly out principals. What kind of message are you sending? That you don't care about your appearance? That you were too lazy to put on anything better? If teachers really want to earn respect about the profession, they can start with their in-classroom wardrobe. Seriously. Why should we not want to convey the best opinion about us?

Teachers, use your style of dress as an opportunity for a teaching moment. Model good behavior and life skills to your students. Getting up in plenty of time to put on a decent set of clothes is certainly something students need to learn is valuable. It makes you employable, for one.

For some reason, teachers feel the need to be free. To dress any which way. The problem is this: We are substituting freedom for logic and reason. You can have freedom.

Freedom does not mean wearing a tank top and shorts to school. Freedom means one can choose a professional wardrobe with many options and ways to accessorize if one chooses. In fact, the more professional your wardrobe becomes, the more option and freedom you have to make a unique statement about you.

Like it our not, jeans and a t-shirt convey bum. Lazy. Non-professional.

But there is also a BIG plus for teachers who dress professional. It's about classroom respect, control, and being taken of seriously.

From day one, if you look the part, dress sharp, like you mean business and are professional, you can make quite an impression. Why would you not want every edge you can get when walking into a classroom?

So before teachers scream freedom, just think of the thoughts that go through your mind throughout the day as you pass strangers. The first impression is what they are wearing and how they are dressed. We expect doctors, nurses, bankers, even cashiers at the supermarket to look some-what professional. Why are we putting the bar lower for teachers?

And one last thing. The dress code is certainly more important as one moves up in grades. How can a high school have a dress code for students, and allow teachers to dress unprofessionally?

Just a note. Even teachers in lower grades, even kindergarten, may feel the need to dress so they can get messy. But one can also choose professional clothes no matter what the grade.

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