An article in the September 2006 issue of Fast Company magazine called "How Many Lightbulbs Does it Take to Change the World" caught my eye. It describes what a difference it could make if we all used those new twirly bulbs -- compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). Those little babies use so much less energy and last so much longer than traditional bulbs that I am convinced they do have world-changing potential. Wow -- the power of one small thing.
An article from last month's Educational Leadership stated that high school students are highly dissatisfied with their guidance counsellors. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the ratio of over 700-to-one of students to a counsellor in Minnesota, Washington D.C., Arizona, and California.
But the larger reason is embedded in the term, guidance counsellor -- a term, by the way, being replaced with a new concept and phrase: professional school counsellor.
High school students need guidance in many areas of their lives, including choices of courses to take, career paths, the specific pursuit of jobs or higher education after graduation, and a whole array of personal choices (including friendships, peer pressure, relationships, and community engagement). A number of students also need counselling, which I would describe as more intensive, sustained, and personal intervention in any of these areas, as well as a host of problem behaviour areas students, might encounter.
Let's start with a question I've been asked on more than one occasion.
"I know my content and like my students, but sometimes it's hard to get them under control so I can teach my lesson. What tips for classroom management can you give me?"
My general answer is that you can never have too many positive, not punitive, classroom management strategies in your toolbox.
Obviously, there are serious student transgressions, including violence, where some kind of punishment is an appropriate response.
Some dos and don’ts for instructional coaches striving to help new teachers make a successful start.
Articles, books, and journals have been written about how to support our new teachers—guidance on lesson planning, suggestions for classroom management techniques, and support in professional decision-making are just a few of the many components our novice teachers need as they begin their academic journey.
For an instructional coach, it may seem daunting to coach the new teacher. Where does one begin to assist him or her in creating the best learning experience possible for students, parents, and colleagues?
Offering too much advice or the wrong kind of coaching upon that first meeting can cause anxiety and trepidation for the beginner teacher. The coach may believe that he or she is helping the new teacher by demonstrating how to use the school’s lesson plan or explaining how to utilize the standards-based grading procedures, or showing how to complete the reams of district forms. But in truth, this kind of help is not beneficial or necessary right away.
Covid-19 has meant a lot of loss for students of all ages—with more loss likely to come. Teachers can engage and support them in processing their emotions.
Educators often face challenges supporting students through loss and grief, in part because neither teachers nor principals are generally trained as grief counsellors. Yet in the coming weeks and months, many students will experience losses of loved ones and of ways of life, and schools are in a unique position to collectively engage and support them with compassion in the grieving process.