How to balance work and study as a teacher

According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 93 per cent of employees would stay at a company longer if their employers invested in their careers. Continued professional development (CPD) is something that a lot of employees, including teachers, are keen to invest their time and energy into.

CPD opportunities for teachers might include: :

  • Workshops, seminars and conferences
  • Online learning
  • Professional reading
  • Mentoring others
  • Formal study.

Going back to study while teaching can not only be fulfilling, but add sought-after skills and qualifications to your CV. Despite this, one challenge for those considering further study is the delicate work and study balance. To maintain this balance, there are some tips you can employ to ensure both your classroom work and study to thrive.…Read More

Secrets from the library lines: 5 ways schools can boost digital engagement

Once your school district makes the commitment to have a digital library, the next step is for people to understand how they can stay engaged.

In “Secrets from the Front Lines: How Schools Can Boost Digital Engagement,” Kelly Hladek, library media specialist and technology liaison at Morton High School, School City of Hammond, IN, discussed best practices for engaging students, teachers and the community in the district’s eBook and audiobook collection. In just one year of having a digital collection, checkouts from the district’s digital library increased by 184 percent.

Secret 1: Harness Visuals…Read More

Why keeping parents and kids connected in the early years is critical

In more than 60 percent of all two-parent households, both parents work, and in nearly all of these households, at least one parent is employed. This means that the vast majority of parents in our country experience regular and prolonged periods of time away from their children. Since parental involvement is one of the most influential factors in students’ academic success, the question then becomes how to help working parents stay abreast of what their child does when they are apart.

As a lead teacher at a YMCA Early Childhood Center, I believe children of all ages benefit from having their parents and teachers on the same page with their growth, health, and education on a regular basis. We offer care for more than 3,500 children (from infants through preschoolers) every year.

Being a YMCA facility, we teach kids to make healthy choices, as well as teaching them the ABCs, and other important life skills, like good sportsmanship and how to be themselves. We know that the values and skills children learn early on become the building blocks for their future lives.…Read More

Video of the Week: Make it easy for students and parents to sign up with Seesaw

Ed. note: Video of the Week picks are supplied by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to watch the video at Common Sense Education.

Video Description: Here’s a super simple way to get students and parents signed up with Seesaw. It’s best to get parents signed up right off the bat, at the beginning of the year, and luckily Seesaw makes this easy. With this tip you can make Seesaw–and/or any other platform you use — parents’ go-to place for class updates. You’ll be able to document students’ work and share feedback all year long, keeping parents in-the-know and involved. For more classroom management tips and tricks, visit this collection of resources to help make day-to-day teaching and learning run smoothly.

Video:…Read More

Finally, a guide to parent engagement that works every time

Parent engagement in their child’s education is key to successful growth, but consistently engaging parents is at the top of the list of teacher frustration. Teachers must establish communication with parents by figuring out what works best for them and showing that they are a team when it comes to their child.

Sarah M. Rich, lead teacher champion at Squiggle Park, presented creative ideas from her own experience building parent engagement in “Finally, A Guide to Parent Engagement That Works Every Time!

Start with Home Visits: Doing home visits at the beginning of the year can help to build early relationships with families. Not only do these visits tell the parents that you’re going to be working together for the success of their child, but they can also provide insight on the different cultures and home lives of your students.…Read More

4 ways to ensure a successful school culture initiative

A growing body of research confirms that school culture significantly influences student learning. Indeed, it’s in the culture that classrooms build their success. Yet, too many schools accept pockets of excellence. Why is it acceptable for some classrooms to implement best practices for students while others are allowed to opt out?

Culture is the collective beliefs and commitments that enable individuals, who might otherwise only be loosely connected, to rally around an effort. The importance of this cultural “glue” becomes clear when examining student behavior. The more consistent schools are with expectations, discipline, and celebratory rituals, the better students understand what’s expected and the better they become at meeting those expectations.

Conversely, individual, classroom-based approaches to behavior interventions are more likely to result in inconsistent student expectations and a lack of teacher-to-teacher conversations, leading to silos rather than overall excellence.…Read More

3 ways to build community in a multi-cultural school

As more and more ELL students enter the U.S. public school system, teachers are facing the twofold challenge of communicating not only with these students, but with their families as well. After all, non-English-speaking families have the same desires as native English speakers to know how their child is doing academically, emotionally, and socially.

I teach at Fort Sam Houston Elementary School, which is located on a military base in Texas. ELL students and families are very common at this school, because the military here has an exchange program with the surrounding nations, where military personnel can trade places with other personnel around the globe. The children of these foreign officers attend our school on the base, and as a result we have taught students from Germany, Mexico, Australia and South America.

This is a very important program and, as teachers, we want to help these families make a smooth transition into our community. Our particular situation at Fort Sam Houston Elementary may be unique, but the challenge of teaching non-native English speakers is one that more and more educators can relate to every year.…Read More

3 ways to use technology for amazing parental engagement

Involving parents in their children’s progress in the classroom has long been shown to significantly increase student outcomes. With parent engagement top of mind in many school districts–partly because the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires it–teachers can benefit from these best practices from peers for using education technology to get, and keep, parents engaged.


1. Tools within the LMS can Help Teachers with Outreach…Read More

5 reasons why every school needs to brand NOW

It’s woven in every aspect of modern daily life, but branding isn’t new to the scene. Archeologists found branded wine casks in the ancient ruins of Pompeii. The legacy brand, Quaker Oats, turned what was cattle feed into a successful breakfast staple. In the next decade, Amazon’s Alexa and her virtual assistant buddies, Cortina and Bixby are poised to be the homey brand face of Artificial Intelligence that will connect every aspect of our domestic lives. So, finally seeing the brand conversation bubble up in the education space isn’t a surprise. It’s actually a bit overdue.

If you are associated with a school in any way–as a leader, educator, staff member, student, parent, community member or potential co-business education partner–you need to be talking about branding your school now. Here are five reasons why:

1. No More Ivory Tower…Read More

How a sheriff’s department and a school teamed up for SEL

School has always been a place for learning math, science, history, and art, but now it’s also becoming the place for students to learn other skills that are crucial to their future success and happiness, no matter where they end up. Social-emotional learning (SEL) is not about grades, but about teaching students to solve their own problems, take pride in their efforts, and develop strong relationships within their community.

I am the principal of Chattahoochee Elementary School in Cumming, GA. When our district began the push towards SEL, each school chose a program to support it based on their needs and budget. At Chattahoochee, we chose 7 Mindsets, because it best aligns with our school’s goal to raise respectful, responsible problem-solvers.

Because the families in this area have very limited disposable income, fundraising in the community wasn’t an option, so Debbie Smith, the director of Student Support Services for Forsyth County Schools, asked our local Sheriff’s Department for help funding the program.…Read More

District’s parental engagement soars with new “Glow and Grow” practice

When my district, Charles City Public Schools (CCPS), created our strategic plan, we established “Community Investment in Public Schools” as one of our five core goals. As a small, rural school system with a staff of about 145 serving 719 students in two schools, we feel that strong relationships with our students’ families is essential to our students’ success.

Data Poor with Little Internet Access

Before we could set out to improve our community’s engagement with our schools, we needed to know families’ perceptions about the school division and their attitudes about engaging with their children’s schools. We realized that we needed baseline data collected through a family survey that is aligned with our strategic plan. At the same time, we also gathered feedback from students and teachers and staff using surveys designed to surface and understand their perspectives about school.…Read More

#1: The 7 questions every new teacher should be able to answer

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on June 13th of this year, was our #1 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2016 countdown!]

Not long ago, the leadership team of a school district I was working with asked me: “If you were going to hire a new teacher, what would you ask in the interview?” They were concerned that hiring teachers with the right skills now can save a district a lot of money in staff development later. Moreover, they wanted to hire teachers who would be open minded about changes to come. The problem is to balance the reality of today’s pressure for test scores and required teacher evaluation with the changes that can be anticipated during the next two decades.

As I wrote in my last column, the traditional skill we valued in teachers when paper was the dominant media—the ability to transfer knowledge of a subject—is becoming less important. Increasingly, a teacher’s knowledge can be found online and in various learning styles. As the internet drives down the value of a teacher’s knowledge, their ability to personalize learning with resources from around the world will increase. We will have more data generated about our students as we build out our online communities. We will need teachers who understand how to make meaning of this data to personalize learning for every student from a vast digital library of learning resources. Also of increasing value is their ability to teach students to be self-disciplined about how “to learn to learn.” Rather than losing overall value, teachers will be more important than ever.…Read More