We will miss you Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was a great role model for women everywhere. She was the epitome of grace, courage, and wisdom. I am saddened to hear of her passing, but I am confident that her words will live on forever.

Finding Balance: Reclaim Your Time and Live a More Fulfilling Life

Do you ever feel like you have too many things to accomplish in a single day?

Are you driven by demands at work all day only to come home to find more demands being made on your time and energy?

Do you feel worn out all the time, waking up just as tired in the morning as you were when you went to bed?

Is your life feeling less joyful and more like drudgery?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, I have something special to offer you.

I am launching my first FREE Webinar in just a few weeks.

Mark your calendars for June 24th and plan to tune in from 7:00-8:30 pm to learn more about finding balance in your life once and for all!

 Here is what you will learn:

  • What is Balance? Consider perspectives that will help you think about your own life and how you might create more balance in your day-to-day activities.
  • What is Work-Life Balance? Learn to create a dynamic relationship between achievement, fulfillment, and the factors that influence your choices and decisions in both your work life and your personal life.
  • What Does Work-Life Balance Mean to YOU? This program will demonstrate for you that your life is yours alone, and you don’t have to compare it to anyone else; nor should you be comparing yourself with others in order to create the lifeYOU want to be living. Work-life balance means different things to different people. Explore what YOUR definition of work-life balance is.
  • How Do You Rate Your Work-Life Balance? The activities included in this webinar will help you assess where you are right now on the work-life balance spectrum. You will learn that work-life balance is an ever-changing relationship that is constant need of attention if the balance is to be achieved and maintained.
  • What are the Consequences of Work-Life Imbalance…and What are the Benefits of Improving Work-Life Balance? There is no easy fix and creating work-life balance is a challenge for most of us, but this webinar will show you what the real world consequences of not getting your work-life in balance will be for you.
  • What Can You Do to Improve Your Work-Life Balance? In this webinar, you will learn the specific things you can start doing right away that will help to improve your own work-life balance.

Stay tuned for more information on how to sign up for this special event. I am excited about the prospect of bringing this important information to you, and I hope you will plan right now to do this for yourself.

 

A Good Perspective on Common Core and Teachers

I ran across this article that popped up because I have a strong interest in issues related to teacher transition, and this was offered through Google Alerts. The post starts with this paragraph:

“Common Core has certainly changed the K-12 classroom scene in its short implementation and perhaps the group that has suffered the most during the transition period is teachers. In many cases, educators are being asked to accomplish the impossible: prepare students for new test standards without the right training or curriculum to get there.”

Teachers have been asked to “accomplish the impossible” ever since No Child Left Behind came out in 2001, and policy makers have simply doubled down with every new reform and “tweak” to the current system.

I won’t be able to do justice to the article, so I invite you to take a look for yourself. The title of the post is “Teachers–The Greatest Common Core Casualty?” Please feel free to read and share.

 

 

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!

 

custom_board_education_books_14423

I love teachers. Not only was I a teacher for over 30 years, but I represented teachers as the president of the Virginia Education Association from 2008-2012, so I know first hand that teachers have the purest hearts of anyone on the planet. They are dedicated to their craft, they are committed to their students, and in my mind, they are truly the unsung heros and “sheroes” of our society.

Let’s face it, however…teachers have been getting a really bum rap lately, and I for one have grown really tired of it. From President Obama to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his various minions in the Department of Education…a pox on all your houses for every time you have uttered the phrases “failing schools” and “bad teachers” in your efforts to sell the country on the propaganda that all of the schools in this country are somehow going to hell in a handbag. Shame on all of those who seem to believe that children can be reduced to a single test score or that their teachers’ entire careers should hang in the balance based on the collective scores of their students using a flawed formula that proves nothing other than the guy who came up with VAM might just have some swampland he would be willing to sell in Florida to the next gullible buyer.

I have witnessed–and I have felt–the demoralization that goes with the negative rhetoric that has become part of the public perception around public education. It is true that a lie repeated often enough becomes accepted as truth. The media has certainly bought the negative rhetoric, and so we have false prophets like Michelle Rhee and others who are actively trying to undermine the very fabric of the country by undermining the public’s confidence in the public school system.

Are there problems with the current system? Of course there are. What would you expect when politicians are shrinking the resources that schools need and policy makers set such impossible expectations that there is no way to succeed? The trouble is that many of the problems with the current system are self-inflicted by the systems which govern what we do and how we do it. It is nonsensical, but it is a fact nevertheless.

What I want to say to my teacher friends and colleagues today, however, is that I hope you have had a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Day. I hope someone has stopped to say “Thank You” for all you do. I hope your students realized that this was a day to show their appreciation. I hope your administrators showed their gratitude. I wish I could wave a magic wand and get the media to do a better job of understanding what you do and why what they say is often untrue. But perhaps with enough of us standing up and saying “Enough already,” someone will start to take note. In the meantime, Happy Teacher Appreciation Day. I certainly appreciate what you do, and I wanted to say “Thank You,” myself.

More Common Core Controversy

I have stated on many occasions that I don’t have an opinion yet about the pros and cons of Common Core. I am aware of the controversy, and I know that I respect the opinion of those who are most concerned about the validity of the standards and how they are being used–or misused–as the case may be.

I have been interested in following the buzz that was created recently by Louis C.K. It all started, I gather, with a tweet that Louis C.K sent out on April 28. The tweet was this: “My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core.”

And that is just the beginning. Louis C.K. has also tweeted photos of actual questions, some of which seem to be nonsensical, and finally, he tweets this with regard to testing in general:  “It’s a massive stressball that hangs over the whole school. The kids teachers trying to adapt to these badly written notions.”

“Stressball” pretty much sums it up for the teachers and students that I know. I recall only too well the feeling of tension rising from mid-February through the end of the year because of the pressure created by a need to do well on the state-mandated and later the federally mandated tests that are presumed to be a measure of the learning that is taking place along with it being a test of the quality of teaching that takes place in each individual school. The problem is that the tests don’t do either. They don’t measure the quality of teaching OR learning. They only measure the effectiveness with which the teachers have taught the students to test well. Hours of preparation for the tests take away from real learning. Instead of learning for the sake of learning, students are taught both explicitly and implicitly that the only measure of them and their self-worth is what their SOL score reveals. It’s a travesty. It’s a tragedy. And it continues to go on with the silent compliance of teachers who know that the tests are not serving their students and is not a measure of their effectiveness as teachers. It also continues because of the silent compliance of administrators who know that the requirements that have been set for them are often meaningless if not ridiculous and the people “in charge” continue to set impossible goals, create impractical benchmarks, and the damage done to our children continues unabated.

I applaud Louis C. K. for saying something about the testing travesty. It’s about time someone spoke up, and given his stature and popularity, people are certainly paying attention. Those who think that testing is the only way to measure learning will probably scoff at Mr. Louis C.K.’s commentary, but I hope he will continue to make the point. If nothing else, it will make the teachers who are experiencing the feeling of being caught up in the “massive stressball” during the next few weeks feel like they aren’t the only ones who are concerned anymore. More parents need to speak up. Let’s not forget that we need to teach the whole child and that a child is not the sum of a single test score taken from a single day in the entire school year. That is a message that needs to be conveyed more clearly and more loudly to our policy makers. The drive to test everything and to spend so much time and money and energy on “the tests” takes away from teachers’ love of teaching and children’s love of learning. It’s time to stop and assess what we are doing to children.

Thank you Louis C.K. Keep up the good work.