Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer Melt-alleviated through the use of Social Media

This spring, our HS alumni were asked to prepare to be peer mentors for the current seniors who were about to become graduates. Our graduates have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. The Facebook page was used for the post below.

"Peer Mentors for our class of 2013
Nationwide 40% of students intending to go college change their minds during the summer.(
As the new graduates begin joining this group, please reach out to them and encourage them-expecially if they will attend your college. Help them maneuver through the process of beginning college.
They will begin joining the week of graduation."

As is the spirit of our students, several chirpped right up to volunteer to peer mentor our graduates who would attend their specific university. Today, after reading "Summer Melt" in the Blog, I posted the article for our graduates, and reminded them to check in on their fellow graduates. Together, our graduates can prevent the dreaded summer melt by supporting each other. 
 While we won't know the summer melt statistics for our graduates until the fall, I know that by simply encouraging them to reach out and support each other we've taken steps that will help. 

Some colleges are extremely proactive regarding summer melt.Hendrix College  @hendrixcollege continually sends mail (weekly! sometimes with small gifts!) to incoming students and parents and invites the parents to attend orientation-all in a huge effort to alleviate summer melt.

What steps do your schools take to minimize summer melt? by Alejandra Ceja 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Let's help each other have "Grump Free" days


  This morning, as I was wrapping up my morning perusal of my PLN on Twitter, I read a tweet from +Darin Johnston, @anIowaTeacher. He was looking for a bit of positive inspiration to help him have a "grump free" day.  While I am not typically a cheerleader type, I am more analytical and want to figure out a way to solve the problems in life; I do see the value in helping each other through the rough spots.

     So, I sent Darin a Voltaire quote. "Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. " ~Voltaire   In retrospect, this quote is rather negative. It implies that life is horrible, but we must try to enjoy it.  LIFE IS GREAT!  We need to support each other!
In the movie For a Few Good Men, Colonel Jessup, a foul-mouthed Marine Commander posted on the Cuban border, played brilliantly by Jack Nicholson said, "We look after one another or we die. In the world of education, teachers don't literally die as soldiers do. They do choose other occupations. Supporting and encouraging each other is simply part of what we do. We commiserate; we attempt to understand and encourage.

     So, after thinking about my initial response to Darin, I sent a positive song by Chelsea Basham.  "I Make My Own Sunshine"
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Because, if a little snail named Turbo can win the Indy 500-we can make our own sunshine!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Prospective teachers-helpful hints

      Prospective teachers this summer are calling to inquire, sending their resumes, and approaching our doors to inquire about available teaching positions.  Applicants! Please know this. We want to hire you!
Now, it is up to you to prove that you desire/deserve to be hired.  We know that your are nervous. It is completely natural to be nervous in your first job interview. Please look through the tips and resources below

     Some helpful interview tips from tonight's #ntchat

Megan van Deventer @megvandev suggested  writing down your teaching strengths & weaknesses... memories, words or specific accolades so you don't forget under pressure.
Sit up & sit forward, be engaged in the conversation. Make appropriate eye contact with everyone in the room.

r suggests if there is a student and/or a parent in the interview, ALWAYS ask them about there perspective on the year and hopes for next.

s not all interviews have people with nametags. I write names down and refer to them by name when responding.

Join Lisa Dabbs @teachingwthsoul  for the New Teacher Twitter chat #ntchat on Wednesday
Visit her Evernote for a list of interview questions 

Visit     +Cybrary Man @cybraryman page for Teacher interview resources

Visit @Teachersnet article "10 Tips to Help You Break to the Front of the Interview Pack!"
By Randee Kallison 

     It is my desire to provide help and inspiration to educators. We need to kindle our flames so that together we can be mighty.  Feedback is always desired!

Suzanne Rogers
Suzanne rogers 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Together We Are Mighty!

     Together we are mighty! Yes, educators are mighty.   Amber Teamann,@8Amber8,  wrote about the importance of sharing and ended with "Blowing out someone’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter."   She is so very correct. It is easy to snuff someone's candle even without intending to do so. Educators need to band together, not as a union, but in simply understanding that we are our own best support.
     I included Sitting Bull's quote, as a reminder that together we are  mighty. When we keep ourselves separate in our own rooms and worlds, we are easily broken. There are so many connected educators who are worn out and seeking to be rechallenged this summer. Daisy Dyer Duerr, @DaisyDyerDuerr , wrote about reminding her husband about her passion, "I simply smile and remind him it’s not a job honey, it’s a Passion. -  It is this passion that keeps us in our chosen career. It is also the same passion that can separate us and easily lead to burn out. 
     By connecting with each other f2f or through social media, we can become mighty! We are more united as an educational force through CCSS. We now have common standards and can better unite and help each other. We can lift each other and help our students. Let's ignite each other's passion for education.
     If you are worried about sharing, Theresa Gray, @TheresaGray, returned to blogging after a year and wrote , "This time - no pressure, no worries.  I'll post about what I am reading or learning.", as she pulled away from the exhaustion of the year. We can support our passions and encourage each other through sharing.
     Thank you Amber, Daisy and Theresa for reminding us all to glow, rechallenge and recommit, because Together we are mighty!

Suzanne Rogers

Be Inspired by  Amber, Daisy and Theresa

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Edu-reform and the Opt-Out movement

         I viewed the July 4th proclamation purporting to reclaim public education. The organizers/administrators of the Unitedoptout movement  are suggesting that parents, teachers and students join together to stop what they perceive as the corporate takeover of public education. Please do not be swayed by the pathos of their argument. It is merely a fearful response to change.

     The administrators define opt out as 
"Def: (verb)To opt out is to take any and all actions to end corporate reform of public education.
Actions include: Refusing to participate in high stakes testing which is the life’s blood of the destruction of public education."  High Stakes testing is not new. Students in countries around the world take tests that determine their future. In the USA, students are blessed to be able to take the tests (ACT and SAT) as many times as they can pay the fee. Students in other countries are not so blessed.  The administrators of Unitedoptout see the annual state exams and next generation tests as a threat to public education. WHY? The data from these exams will now be used as part of the evaluation of teacher effectiveness.
    The education world is on its way toward a data informed model. If we want to be perceived as professionals, it is time to allow the data to inform our decisions. We need to value the data. More importantly, we need to make the changes necessary to provide a better education for all of our students. Running fearfully away from the data, encouraging parents and students to opt-out is not a professional reaction. Professional educators need to stand united facing the data and do the work of changing to meet the needs of our students.