25 Things Successful Educators Do by Julie DeNeen (21-25)


Dear Readers,

Here are the last 5 parts:

21. Successful educators bring fun into the classroom

Don’t be too serious. Some days, “fun” should be the goal. When students feel and see your humanness, it builds a foundation of trust and respect. Fun and educational aren’t mutually exclusive either. Using humor can make even the most mundane topic more interesting.

22. Successful educators teach holistically

Learning does not happen in a vacuum. Depression, anxiety, and mental stress have a severe impact on the educational process. It’s crucial that educators (and the educational model) take the whole person into account. You can have the funniest and most innovative lesson on algebra, but if your student has just been told his parents are getting a divorce, you will not reach him.

23. Successful educators never stop learning

Good teachers find time in their schedule to learn themselves. Not only does it help bolster your knowledge in a certain subject matter, it also puts you in the position of student. This gives you a perspective about the learning process that you can easily forget when you’re always in teaching mode.

24. Successful educators break out of the box

It may be a self-made box. “Oh I could never do that,” you say to yourself. Perhaps you promised you’d never become the teacher who would let the students grade each other (maybe you had a bad experience as a kid). Sometimes the biggest obstacle to growth is us. Have you built a box around your teaching methods? Good teachers know when it’s time to break out of it.

25. Successful educators are masters of their subject

Good teachers need to know their craft. In addition to the methodology of “teaching”, you need to master your subject area. Learn, learn, and never stop learning. Successful educators stay curious.

About

Julie DeNeen has her bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of New Haven. She spent several years working for a local Connecticut school at the district level, implementing new technologies to help students and teachers in the classroom. She also taught workshops to teachers about the importance of digital student management software, designed to keep students, parents, and teachers connected to the learning process.

25 Things Successful Educators Do by Julie DeNeen (16-20)


Dear Readers,

Here are the next 5:

16. Successful educators welcome change in the classroom

This relates to the above tip, but in a slightly different way. Have you ever been so bored with your house or your bedroom, only to rearrange it and have it feel like a new room? Change ignites the brain with excitement and adventure. Change your classroom to keep your students on their toes. Simple changes like rearranging desks and routines can breathe new life in the middle of a long year.

17. Successful educators take time to explore new tools

With the advance of technology, there are fresh new resources and tools that can add great functionality to your classroom and curriculum. There is no doubt that the students you are teaching (far younger than you) probably already have a pulse on technologies you haven’t tapped into yet. Don’t be afraid to push for technology in the classroom. It is often an underfunded area but in this current world and climate, your students will be growing up in a world where technology is everywhere. Give them a headstart and use technology in your classroom.

18. Successful educators give their students emotional support

There are days when your students will need your emotional support more than a piece of information. Connecting to your students on an emotional level makes it more likely that they will listen to your counsel and take your advice to heart. Students need mentors as much as they need teachers.

19. Successful educators are comfortable with the unknown

It’s difficult to teach in an environment where you don’t know the future of your classroom budget, the involvement of your student’s parents, or the outcome of all your hard work. On a more philosophical level, educators who teach the higher grades are tasked with teaching students principles that have a lot of unknowns (i.e. physics). How comfortable are you with not having all the answers? Good teachers are able to function without everything tied up neatly in a bow.

20. Successful educators are not threatened by parent advocacy

Unfortunately, parents and teachers are sometimes threatened by one another. A teacher who is insecure will see parent advocacy as a threat. While there are plenty of over-involved helicopter parents waiting to point out a teacher’s mistakes, most parents just want what’s best for their child. Successful educators are confident in their abilities and not threatened when parents want to get into the classroom and make their opinions known. Good teachers also know they don’t have to follow what the parent recommends!

25 Things Successful Educators Do by Julie DeNeen (11-15)


Dear Readers,

Here are the next 5:

11. Successful educators are reflective

In order to avoid becoming the stuck and stubborn teacher, successful educators take time to reflect on their methods, their delivery, and the way they connect with their students. Reflection is necessary to uncover those weaknesses that can be strengthened with a bit of resolve and understanding.

12. Successful educators seek out a mentor for themselves

Reflective teachers can easily get disheartened if they don’t have someone a bit older and wiser offering support. You are never too old or wise for a mentor. Mentors can be that voice that says, “Yes your reflections are correct,” or “No, you are off because….” and provide you with a different perspective.

13. Successful educators communicate with parents

Collaboration between parents and teachers is absolutely crucial to a student’s success. Create an open path of communication so parents can come to you with concerns and you can do the same. When a teacher and parents present a united front, there is a lower chance that your student will fall through the cracks.

14. Successful educators enjoy their work

It is easy to spot a teacher who loves their work. They seem to emanate contagious energy. Even if it on a subject like advanced calculus, the subject comes alive. If you don’t love your work or your subject, it will come through in your teaching. Try to figure out why you feel so unmotivated and uninspired. It might have nothing to do with the subject, but your expectations. Adjust them a bit and you might find your love of teaching come flooding back.

15. Successful educators adapt to student needs

Classrooms are like an ever-evolving dynamic organism. Depending on the day, the attendance roster, and the phase of the moon, you might have to change up your plans or your schedule to accommodate your students. As they grow and change, your methods might have to as well. If your goal is to promote a curriculum or method, it will feel like a personal insult when you have to modify it. Make connecting with your student your goal and you’ll have no trouble changing it up as time moves on.

25 Things Successful Educators Do by Julie DeNeen (6-10)


Dear Readers,

Here are the next 5:

6. Successful educators expect their students to succeed

This concept is similar for parents as well. Students need someone to believe in them. They need a wiser and older person to put stock in their abilities. Set the bar high and then create an environment where it’s okay to fail. This will motivate your students to keep trying until they reach the expectation you’ve set for them.

7. Successful educators have a sense of humor

Humor and wit make a lasting impression. It reduces stress and frustration, and gives people a chance to look at their circumstances from another point of view. If you interviewed 1000 students about their favorite teacher, I’ll bet 95% of them were hysterical.

8. Successful educators use praise smartly

Students need encouragement yes, but real encouragement. It does no good to praise their work when you know it is only 50% of what they are capable of. You don’t want to create an environment where there is no praise or recognition; you want to create one where the praise that you offer is valuable BECAUSE you use it judiciously.

9. Successful educators know how to take risks

There is a wise saying that reads, “Those who go just a little bit too far are the ones who know just how far one can go.” Risk-taking is a part of the successful formula. Your students need to see you try new things in the classroom and they will watch closely how you handle failure in your risk-taking. This is as important as what you are teaching.

10. Successful educators are consistent

Consistency is not to be confused with “stuck”. Consistency means that you do what you say you will do, you don’t change your rules based on your mood, and your students can rely on you when they are in need. Teachers who are stuck in their outdated methods may boast consistency, when in fact it is cleverly masked stubbornness.

25 Things Successful Educators Do by Julie DeNeen (1-5)


Dear Readers,

Since I have the time in summer, I read, read, and read some more. That’s how I found this little gem by Julie DeNeen of inform(ED). To make it easier to digest, piece by piece, I will break it into five parts. Here are the first five:

1. Successful educators have clear objectives

How do you know if you are driving the right way when you are traveling somewhere new? You use the road signs and a map (although nowadays it might be SIRI or a GPS). In the world of education, your objectives for your students act as road signs to your destination. Your plan is the map. Making a plan does not suggest a lack of creativity in your curriculum but rather, gives creativity a framework in which to flourish. Continue reading

We Are Family???? Part 3


Ok, Dear Readers,

I’m back. I’ve been so underwhelmed this year by my passion for teaching. It just wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened, but I just didn’t have it. It seems like I was only able to bring my “B” game this year. Not bad, but not good. It’s barely above average, and average is not an adjective I want to ascribe to myself.

So, I’ve had a little time to think about this “being a family thing” that I’ve been wrestling with. My philosophy has been to make my class a family, so they will love and respect each other, stick together; especially since Special Education students are usually outcasts. I wanted them to always feel safe in my class. That’s why I instill confidence in my students. No students come into my classroom and leave the same way. Only two times has it been bad, and both times have been this year.

Let me explain, two of my students, who I’ll call Rachel & Lorena, have been more than a handful all year. One student, Rachel, has been my student since last year. She was the sweetest little girl. Now, this year, she’s been quite mean; so unlike herself. Last year she didn’t speak English really well and was a little self-conscious. I kept working with her and built up her confidence. She made friends with the other girls who didn’t accept her, at first, and absolutely blossomed. Her English improved and her people skills, arguably, got better also.

All of this made me upset. Here I am trying to help her and she turns around and bites my hand. So, I was talking to my friend, Danika, and she made me feel better. She said that you can only know what people show you. Apparently, it took her a while to show her true colors. When she did, she did.

I have since stopped beating myself up about this. I will meet my new students & decide what to do from there. I’ll keep you updated. Bye for now!