Day 5: What is a R.E.N.E.W.E.D T.E.A.C.H.E.R.?

As we continue to learn what it means to be a RENEWED TEACHER in this series, we venture into the territory of the caretakers of our students.

As RenewED Teachers, we must always:

WORK WITH FAMILIES

This phrase is intentional. I purposely do not use the word parent. In no way, shape or form, am I throwing shade to parents. What I am attempting to do is value everyone that takes care of the children we encounter daily. Throughout my Day 5 (1)experience in the classroom, I have met my fair share of diverse families. I have met mom and dad; mom and mom; mom, dad, and step mom; dad and stepdad; mom and grandmother; mom and grandfather; grandfather and grandmother; foster mom and
dad; adopted mom and dad; siblings; cousins; aunts and uncles; fake aunts and uncles that are really close friends of the family, etc. Theses are real combinations of families I have met on more than one occasion during back to school nights, open houses, conferences, and other events that were held at the school.

Duh!?

Some of y’all are probably like, “Duh! I do try to work with them. These parents just don’t care.” And you know what? Because we have seen it for as long as we have been teaching, we actually believe they don’t care. Then we blame them for their children not being as successful as they could be in our classrooms. With those beliefs, come unfair ways in how we interact with and treat their children, and whether we contact the families throughout the year to communicate positive or negative events and outcomes.

What If?

But I urge us to think differently. Because as Ross W. Greene says in Lost at School, “Blaming [families] doesn’t help anyone at school deal effectively with… kid[s].” (p. 13)

What if we believed all families cared about their child? What do you think would change? I don’t think it would magically change anything, but because of our efforts, I believe it would change the way we communicated to our colleagues about our students and their families. It would probably change the way in which we communicated with our students. It would probably even change how often and why we communicate with families.

Families Are Our Biggest Allies

Teamwork.PNGI see families as allies. I don’t make families believe we are on the same team, even though we are. I show them. I tell them. I recruit them. I thank them. I support them. I invite them in my room at any given time. I value them. I let them know, upfront, that I cannot help their child be successful without their support and input. 

I send letters home to families prior to the first day of school. This letter introduces me, my experience, and my expectations. I also include the grade level, homeroom, and date for Back to School Night and first day of school in the letter. You can download a free template from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store by clicking the link.

In addition to the letter, I include an opportunity for families to share some positive thoughts about their children with me. This is my favorite part because I immediately have families thinking positively. In addition to this, I am able to get a bigger picture of who my students are. Of course I get information from former teachers, and usually it includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. However, I use the positive information to my advantage. On the first day of school, I have something to talk to them about. Later in the year, when or if a student is beginning to show behaviors that get under my skin (I want to say P. Me Off. LOL!), I reread these letters to help me see this child as their family sees them. Typically my response towards the child changes, and “just like magic,” their response is better. Let’s be clear. It’s not magic. It’s compassion and respect. (I am considering using a Google Form to collect Positive Thoughts this year to help shrink my paper trail. But you can access a copy of the form I send home to families in my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking here.) I have never received a Positive Thoughts form back from all families. So if you decide to include this idea in your back to school activities, I don’t want you to get false a false hope.  Each year, I make changes to get families further engaged. Technology has been helpful in reaching more families.

Leave your thoughts in the comments!

If you like what you see, let’s continue to learn and grow together. Subscribe to The RenewED Teacher Blog by clicking on Count me in on the left side of this page!

Until then, Happy Teaching!

Krystal L. Smith, The RenewED Teacher

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Day 4: What is a R.E.N.E.W.E.D T.E.A.C.H.E.R.?

Can you believe we are more than half way through the first week of the, ” What is a R.E.N.E.W.E.D. T.E.A.C.H.E.R.? series? Well let’s get started. On day two, we encountered the first of many E’s. So glad this is not a report card. Today we will learn what the second E stands for.

As a RenewED Teacher we need to:

EDUCATE OURSELVES

There! I said it. We all know that our districts cannot and will not meet all of our professional development needs. No shade to anyone. I am just stating as educators, we have varying needs. One teacher may need to earn an additional certification in order to not be furloughed. Another teacher may desire to become a reading specialist or Day 4.jpgprincipal. Budgets may be cut, and professional development in the district may suffer because of it. There are many different circumstances that cause districts to be unable to provide adequate PD for their teachers.

When this is an issue, it our responsibility to pick up the slack. Think of it this way, would you want to be under the care of an ignorant doctor or lawyer? One who said they didn’t know something because their hospital or practice did not provide professional development on it? I pray not.

Never the less, in this post, I am sharing five links that will give you access to resources on where you can find free PD to help educate yourselves when your district is unable to.

edWeb.net provides certificates upon completion!

http://home.edweb.net/upcoming-webinars/

Educational Week Professional Development Directory

http://www.edweek.org/tm/section/pddirectory/index.html

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) (Annual Fee)

http://www.ascd.org/professional-development/webinars/ascd-webinar-archive.aspx

For Teachers in PA

http://www.aiu3.net/Level3.aspx?id=400

http://pdc.pdesas.org/

This next resource is not free, but I highly recommend it if you are looking to grow, challenge yourself, and climb out of your comfort zone for a little while. I highly recommend looking into National Board Teaching Certification. If you take it through a cohort at a University, and your district offers tuition reimbursement, you can practically become certified for free! If your district offers a pay incentive, and the incentive is more than what National Board costs, it will still workout in your favor.

Remember what Napoleon Hill said, “Successful men, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business, or profession.”

I hope you enjoy these free PD resources.

While we are sharing, feel free to share some love by sharing some resources you are familiar with in the comments below! I thank you in advance, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say as we continue to learn and grow together!

Until then, Happy Teaching!

Krystal L. Smith

Day 3: What is a R.E.N.E.W.E.D T.E.A.C.H.E.R.?

Today is the third day of our series, “What is a R.E.N.E.W.E.D. T.E.A.C.H.E.R.?” What does the letter N stand for you may wonder? Well, continue reading.

As a RenewED Teacher, we never:

NEVER GIVE UP

This section is not apart of the original post I wrote, but I felt compelled to make an addendum. I wrote this post prior to yesterday’s events in Charlottesville, VA. What is happening in America, people? Are we time traveling or are people just no longer hiding? As a teacher of COLOR, I have biases and prejudices towards some students of color (as a matter of fact, all students that exhibit certain behaviors). I believe we all do, but it takes conscious and persistent effort for us to NEVER GIVE UP on overcoming these biases and prejudices to exonerate us of what is happening in America. There is apparent and blatant racism in our country. I cannot teach black, brown, and white faces and pretend everything is okay. It is unacceptable. As educators, I believe one of our roles is to work towards equity in education. That means no matter the “personal or social circumstances such as gender, ethnic origin or family background, are not obstacles to achieving educational potential (definition of fairness) and that all individuals reach at least a basic minimum level of skills (definition of inclusion).” (Center for Global Education)

ORIGINAL POST

NEVER GIVE UP

This has a lot to do with day 1 and remembering our why. If our why is always at the forefront of everything we do, then we should be working to do whatever it takes to see that it comes to fruition.

The Business of Our Why

As a teacher, I am in the business of helping all young children succeed, period. I Day 3teach to help them navigate, understand, and learn about the world in which they live. My hope is that they grow up to be world class, responsible and wise citizens. Everything else is secondary. I will not give up on my desire of seeing children of all races, genders, and every other dividing human factor become successful. I will not give up on making a difference.

What Makes Us Want to Give Up?

Now, I get it. I am in the classroom too. The test scores make us want to give up. The behaviors of some students make us want to give up. Some of the families make us want to give up. Administrators that don’t support us make us want to give up. Education policies make us want to give up. Small a** pay checks make us want to give up. Criticism from everyone that has never taught makes us want to give up. Feeling like we are not living our why makes us want to give up. But if we want our most struggling students not to give up, how can us giving up, help them? We chose this profession for a reason, and we must work until we see it come to fruition.

Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich,” puts it this way:

  1. “Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and perhaps some failure.”
  2. “Success comes to those who become success conscious. Failure comes to those who indifferently allow themselves to become failure conscious.”
  3. Dreams are not born of indifference, laziness, or lack of ambition.”
  4. “Successful men, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business, or profession.”
  5. When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal. If you give up before your goal has been reached, you are a ‘quitter.’ A quitter never wins –and –a winner never quits.”

I share these quotes to remind us all that we WILL fail as educators. It is inevitable. However, when we make failure a non-factor and push anyway, success is that much closer. Watch this video below to see why we should never give up. (Perhaps share it with your students too. :-))

As we continue to learn and grow together, will you share what you will NEVER GIVE UP on and why? I promise not to bite. Leave your thoughts in the comments! I cannot wait to hear from you!

Until then, Happy Teaching!

Krystal L. Smith

Day 2: What is a R.E.N.E.W.E.D T.E.A.C.H.E.R.?

In the second day of our series, ” What is a R.E.N.E.W.E.D. T.E.A.C.H.E.R.?, we focus on the letter E.

As a RenewED Teacher, we always want to:

EXERCISE OUR MINDS, BODIES AND SOULS

Exercise is an important part of self-care. According to GoodTherapy.org, “The term self-Day 2.jpgcare describes the actions that an individual might take in order to reach optimal physical and mental health… Self-care can also refer to activities that an individual engages in to relax or attain emotional well-being.”

In the field of education, the rewards are high, but it comes at an expensive cost, and I don’t mean student loans, even though it’s true for many of us. What I do mean is the rewards in teaching often come at the expense of our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Therefore, it is wise for us to dedicate time for self-care as renewed teachers.  

Self-Care of the MIND

Exercising the mind, to me, is usually reading a funny or thought-provoking book or having a stimulating conversation. In the Facebook Group, Teacher Book Club, we are currently reading, “Lost at School.” We are exercising our minds. Sometimes exercising my mind means doing absolutely nothing. Remember that song by Bruno Mars? “Today I don’t feel like doing anything. I just wanna lay in my bed. Don’t feel like picking up my phone, so leave a message at tone. ‘Cause today, I don’t feel like doing anything. Nothing at all.” Yep, sometimes we need one of these days to maintain our sanity.

Self-Care of the BODY

In my world, exercising the body means eating healthy and working out in any capacity. It works for me mentally and physically. I workout on average 3 times a week. This helps me look and feel good. I enjoy being out in the sunshine, getting massages, and sometimes soaking in a bath. I also do my best to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Beauty sleep is a real thing, y’all!

Self-Care of the SOUL

Exercising my soul requires that I do things intentionally for your mental/emotional state and the amounts of joy and pain I choose to feel throughout my daily life activities. Notice that I said, “choose to feel.” I choose daily not to let things I have no control over bother me at home, work, or anywhere in between. It is never easy, but it is always worth it. Laughing and turning life’s little annoyances or inconveniences into jokes makes life slightly more enjoyable. Both reading and being physically active add to exercising my soul. Not everyone believes in the power of prayer. I will tell you this, the next time you and your significant other get into a heated discussion, stop before it get’s out of control, and ask if you can pray. I willing to bet it works!

Let’s share! Whether you are a teacher or not, what are some self-care habits you live by? Drop your tips, thoughts, and ideas in the comments! I look forward to hearing from you all!

Remember, as we learn and grow together, we have to not only take care of each other and our students, we have to check in and take care of ourselves or we will be ineffective for everyone in all that we do, and we can start by exercising our minds, bodies, and souls.

Until then, Happy Teaching!

Krystal L. Smith

These resources have helped me become more mindful about practicing self-care habits. 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: What is a R.E.N.E.W.E.D T.E.A.C.H.E.R.?

To continue celebrating the one year blogivesary of the RenewED Teacher Blog, I intend to post for the next 14 days straight! In these 14 days, I will attempt to explain what it means to be a RenewED Teacher! Each letter will be represented! So let’s begin!

The “R” in RenewED Teacher

As a RenewED Teacher, we always want to:

REMEMBER OUR WHY

Why did we choose to teach?

Why are we still choosing to teach?

On those frustrating days when our students, their families, our colleagues, and our Day 1- Remember Your Why.jpgadministrators are irking us to death, let’s encourage each other to remember our why.

As we head into another school year, and we begin to develop uneasy emotions about the summer ending or learning about a new group of students we assume to be academic challenges and/or behavior problems, I urge us to remember our why.

Ask ourselves does our WHY still ring true today? It is my hope that it does. If it does not, it is also my hope that I can help motivate, encourage, and inspire us all to RENEW that novice teacher spirit within us all!

So tell me teachers, what is your why? Why did you become a teacher and why do you still teach? Leave your thoughts in the comments! I look forward to hearing from you all!

If you like what you see, let’s continue to learn and grow together, and subscribe to The RenewED Teacher Blog, follow me on Facebook or Twitter as well!

Until then, Happy Teaching!

Krystal L. Smith

 

Do You Know What Today Is?

Today is a special day! Not just any day!Happy Blogiversary

It’s the RenewED Teacher’s Blogivesary!

We are celebrating the one year anniversary of the blog’s launch, and the first published blog post. YAY! Click the link to read the first post on how to renew your passion!

To commemorate this special day, I began the Teacher Book Club group on Facebook!

 

We are currently reading the book, “Lost At School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them,” by Ross W. Greene Ph.D. Feel free to join us by commenting below with for Facebook name or searching for Teacher Book Club on Facebook and requesting to join!

Book 1

I have mine! Do you have yours?

The purpose of this blog is to motivate, encourage, and inspire teachers, and that is only so we can motivate, encourage, and inspire our students.

Keeping with the theme of this blog, I decided to begin a Teacher Book Club for the same reasons.

Here are my hopes from reading and discussing this book:

We will complain less and do more to help our students

We will learn to understand our most misunderstood students

We will model behaviors we expect to see in our students

We will support, motivate, encourage, and inspire each other respectfully

We will build each other up, even if we do not agree

We will continue to learn and grow together

We will try strategies from the book and share the good, the bad, and the ugly of what worked, what didn’t work, and what you can do differently to make it work better

and finally,

We will be renewed and happy teachers!

As we continue to learn and grow together, I would like to hear what you want to get from reading this book or Teacher Book Club. Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook Group!

Finally, to continue with the celebration, over the next two weeks, I will post short blurbs on what it means to be a R.E.N.E.W.E.D. T.E.A.C.H.E.R.! Don’t miss out!

Stay tuned!

Now it’s time get to reading!

Until then, Happy Teaching!

Krystal L. Smith, The RenewED Teacher

 

 

 

It’s Our Blogiversary

 

Blogiversary

Listen to this post by clicking here! Or feel free to read below.

__________________________________________________________________________________

This is a song…

Tomorrow will come and ya’ll I can’t wait it’s our anniversary,

Anniversary,

The first thing I’ll do is post on the blog, it’s our anniversary,

Anniversary,

It’s our anniversary, It’s our anniversary, anniversary
It’s our anniversary, It’s our anniversary, made for all teachers

And I’ve made some plans to renew the passions,
of many teachers, anniversary

The pleasure’s all mine ’cause I like to have a good time It’s our Anniversary,

Anniversary

The Renewed Teacher is dedicated at the end of the day
It’s our anniversary, Anniversary,

A tall glass of wine for teachers to drink it’s our anniversary

All I really want to say,
Is thank you,
Today is a special day,
To Celebrate,
I’ve written all these posts,
For you and me,
And you’ve commented, and you’ve followed me

_________________________________________________________________________________

Okay, yall! That’s the end of the song. This is Krystal L. Smith here, also known as the Renewed Teacher.

If you’re still listening, thank you for tuning in!

Many of you know me to be outgoing, and if you really know, you know I like making remixes, so hopefully you enjoyed this one. I just wanted to try something different for the blog, and this is what I came up with.

Speaking of the blog, on August 10, 2016, I launched The Renewed Teacher Blog and posted my first article titled, “How Teachers Can Renew their Passion,” where I share 5 tips on what teachers can do to up the ante if they’re feeling passionless about teaching. Tomorrow commemorates 1 year!  Yay!

If you follow The Renewed Teacher blog, thank you so very much. If you’ve shared my posts on FB or on any social media outlet before I joined, and you continue to share, I appreciate you more than you know. If you’re a virgin to my blog, then it’s time to change that. If you’re not interested, that’s cool too!

When it all comes down it, my goal with this blog is to motivate, encourage, and inspire myself and teachers everywhere to stay committed to the field of education. And this is all so our students stay motivated, encouraged, and inspired to do great things with their lives!

So with that people, stay tuned for more posts and exciting new things from this blog in the next 2 weeks and throughout the year, as I will post short blurbs on what it means to be a R.E.N.E.W.E.D. T.E.A.C.H.E.R., and content based strategies to help our students effectively learn math! You’re going to want to see these!

Have a great day everyone, and as always, let’s continue to grow and learn together.  I love feedback, comments, and conversations, so please be kind and share your thoughts!

Until next time, Happy Teaching!