This weekend I went to the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers in Kansas Conference. That is the longest name for a conference ever, so I had high expectations. Drew invited me to share anything of value I received, and while the conference didn’t blow me away, it did encourage me to take care of myself, and that was much needed.
Here’s a jumbled list of important takeaways:
- One of the important things we often forget is to take care of YOU!! Think Maslow’s hierarchy – you can’t efficiently teach your kids when you aren’t well yourself. The metaphor I heard was to take on tasks like cleaning your closet. If you add something, take something away. This is ridiculously simple, and caused me to create a list of 3 things I could drop so I could become a better teacher and wife. Basically, instead of doing more things half-assed, do a few things really well.
- A wonderful student from Washburn Rural High School gave a speech over how important educators have been in her life. Just remember that you often impact kids in ways you may never be aware of! Favorite quote from her talk, “You are not just teacher. You never were just teachers. You are future-makers.”
- You don’t have to get a Yeti brand water bottle, a lot of the knockoffs are just as good.
- After moving to a totally project-based learning curriculum, I have been struggling trying to keep up with grading, so I made it a goal at the conference to learn about a way to make it more efficient. Tomorrow I plan to invite students to meet with me one-on-one in the mornings or after school about a grade if they want to see it graded sooner. This will not only make my grading pile smaller, but it will also allow me to discuss my grading expectations and give time for them to reflect. I’m still looking for ways to design the projects with less… grading, so ideas welcome there!
Enjoy what’s left of the semester! I’ll try and come back here soon with a post on case studies, or Pokemon!
- Jessica Popescu, Seaman High School