Posted in In My Own Opinion, Uncategorized

Blogs for Teachers

There are many sources teachers can turn to for information or inspiration, and in the day and age of the internet it seems the online options are limitless. I am firm believer that the best resource for teachers is other teachers. However, that doesn’t always mean face to face conversations or structured PLCs. Many talented teachers have their own blogs or have created websites, and even more teachers serve as guest contributors. My friend (and a Utah teacher! Don’t be fooled by the Alabama in her bio, she recently relocated to Sugar House and is a Math Coach in Salt Lake City), Meghan Everette writes a successful blog series  for Scholastic. The teacher page on Scholastic  is a great place to find lessons, resources, and read about useful classroom tips from talented teachers (like Meg).  Her most current post is on “The What, How, and Why of Fidgets” This is a topic I can relate to as a parent and a teacher. Lately I noticed all the kids on my street playing with these spinner toys. My son of course “had to have one.” A few days letter my son’s principal sent home a letter to all families emphasizing that fidget spinners are not allowed in class. What is it with these things?

ME-Fidget-3-Spinner

Meghan has written a whole post about spinners and other fidgets, and I contributed an awesome low cost classroom fidget solution, but you’ll have to read her article to find out what it is.

So, what do you think about teachers writing blogs or contributing to websites? Have you ever thought of sharing your expertise with a larger audience? Any thoughts on fidgets? Leave a comment below so I can visits your posts!

Cheers!

Tabitha

Posted in In My Own Opinion, Utah Education Policy

Utah Teacher License Requirements

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There has been a lot of changes and discussion around the teacher licensing requirements in Utah. It has been a hot topic with many opinions coming from teachers, administrators, and policy makers. The state is opening up this highly debated issue for public feedback. If you have ideas about the teaching licensing requirements in Utah, now is your chance to have your voice heard. Please read the below letter from the USBE Educator Licensing Coordinator:

Utah Educators,

The Utah State Board of Education Licensing Task Force is currently working on redesigning the educator licensing structure in Utah.  The task force would like to thank all of the individuals that have previously provided feedback at stakeholder meetings.  In order to gather feedback from as many individuals as possible a survey has been created regarding the currently proposed revisions.

We would like to invite you to participate in this survey by going to this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JQYNJ8M .  A description of the current proposal is provided and there are 14 questions.  The survey will close at 10:00 am on Monday, May 15.  Please be aware that this survey focuses on general license structure.  Feedback regarding license areas and endorsements will be collected at a later date.

Thank you for your help in this matter.  Please feel free to share this link with others.  The Board would like to collect as much public feedback as possible.

This is a great opportunity to have teacher voice included in the requirements for our profession. Lets own it, and make an impact.

Cheers!

Tabitha

Posted in In My Own Opinion, Uncategorized, Utah Education Policy

Another Hoop for Utah Teachers

Have any of you read the article “Lawmakers consider creating board exam for teachers in effort to keep standards high” posted on KSL over the weekend? While I like the idea of holding all teachers to a high standard, it is seeming less and less like traditional teacher prep programs are valued. Having all teachers be board certified does make me feel better about the recent   Academic Pathway to Teaching rule, but it doesn’t increase the value of completing a college degree in education. With so many alternative ways to become a licensed teacher, getting a degree in education seem like a very pigeon holed emphasis that limits career opportunities. The newest generation of potential teacher candidates may feel it is a better use of their time, money, and effort to get their degree in a broader category, since they can always decide later to become a teacher by completing a 6 week program or passing a couple of tests.

I can speak to the benefits of becoming a Board Certified Teacher. In 2014, I pass my National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, and became a National Board Certified Teacher. I am a better teacher because of this process and would encourage any teacher to pursue National Board Certification whether it becomes a Utah rule or not.

The teaching crisis is real. We are in a drastic shortage of teachers requiring creative solutions such as the APT rule, yet at the same time we are expecting all teachers  to be highly effective and have struggled to find a consistent way to measure to teacher effectiveness. Attempts to measure teachers have come in the form of extensive evaluations, using student scores on standardized tests, teacher portfolios, and now additional testing and certification. Everyone is trying to find the silver bullet to fix the education system and right now teachers are the target. If teachers are tired of felling like rules and initiatives are happening to them, it is time to speak up. I know so many quality teachers who are effective! These are the voices lawmakers need to hear. These are the stories that need to be shared.

Cheers!

Tabitha

Posted in In My Own Opinion, Uncategorized

Presenting at an Educators Conference: just do it!

I have been teaching for over nine years year, and I still love it. However, I have found that simply being in the classroom is not enough for me anymore. I want additional challenges and I want to help more students than just those in my class. After completing my second year of teaching I had the opportunity to present at my first teaching conference. I co-presented with my Special Education Coordinator on the basics of creating a special education program at charter schools. It was a big success.The thing is, I didn’t have a PhD, I wasn’t presenting at the culmination of years of research, I wasn’t even sharing a ground breaking experience. I was speaking as myself. I was sharing my teacher voice and I learned that my story mattered. If you are a teacher, and you have ideas and opinions you want to share–just do it!

I have since had the opportunity to present at many webinars, professional developments, and other local conferences. In fact—I will be presenting tomorrow at the 4th Annual UMTSS conference. You should come. Because I tend to fall in the overly-ambitious category, I actually submitted two presentation proposals. Both were selected.

I will be doing a poster session in the morning and sharing the Hope Street Group report, “On Deck: Preparing the Next Generation of Teachers.” This report is full of data gathered by the National Fellows through in person teacher focus groups and online surveys. The report was created by teachers for teachers in regards to teacher preparation. I wanted my poster to by eye catching and easy to read. So instead of doing a typical scientific method layout, I opted for an info-graphic style poster. Hopefully it will draw some traffic.

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My afternoon session is an actual presentation. My co-worker and I will be sharing tips and tricks on using technology in transition planning. To keep the audience engaged we are keeping our session very interactive. It should be a riveting hour.

The point of all this rambling is: if I can do it, you can do it. Next time you see a “call for presenters” just do it! Submit a proposal.

Cheers!

Tabitha

Posted in In My Own Opinion, Utah Education Policy

Creating your first blog: the basics for a teacher blog

I am here working in Denver at a We Work office learning the basics of creating a teacher blog. Many of my amazing Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellows have incredible blogs, so I am a little late to the game.

First step to creating this blog- informative training from pro-blogger, Meghan Everett. I know not everyone has access to a successful scholastic blogger, but before you start your own blog, I would recommend doing research on how to be an effective blogger.

Second step- I had to pick a blog hosting platform. There are many to chose from, such as blogger, medium, square-space, but I chose to go with WordPress.

Third step- start designing. This is the fun part, but can also be time consuming. I spent far to much time playing with color choices and layout options.

Fourth step- write my first post! Yay me–this is my first post (thanks so much for reading).

Final step- create a plan for maintaining my blog. Meghan suggested I create an editorial calendar so I have an ongoing list of what and when I plan to post. She also taught me how to automate posts so I can write them in advance.

I can do this.

As I have spent the last year working on national and state education policy, I have realized that there is not a strong teacher voice in my state of Utah. I plan to change that. There are so many talented educators in this state, and I want their ideas to be heard by local policy makers. This blog is just one platform to help teacher across the state of Utah to connect with each other and learn about local education issues.

Thanks for following along as I work to elevate teacher voice in the beaUTiful state of Utah.

Cheers-

Tabitha