Rules For Posting To This Blog and Weekly Blog Question

1. Only use your first name (no last names, addresses, IM screen names, etc.)
2. Show respect and consideration of others when posting and commenting. This includes individuals, students, organizations, political parties, colleagues, etc.
3. Check all posts for spelling and grammar errors before posting.
4. Protect the privacy of others. Gain permission from other people before you write about them. Avoid sharing someone else's last name. Use job titles or pseudonyms when writing about experiences with your co-workers or students.
5. Watch your language. Use politically correct and non-offensive language.
6. Make sure you write about things that are factual.
7. Keep your postings education-oriented. Avoid discussing plans for the weekend, etc.

This week I would like you to use your imagination. You have just won the lottery and will leave your teaching post immediately to travel around the world. As you leave your keys you meet your replacement. You are asked to give this new teacher just ONE piece of advice. What would that be, and why? Enjoy your world expedition!

Blog Post - Week 7
This past week in my own teaching I felt a little disconnected which prompts my question to you, "What was the moment (or moments) when I felt most disconnected or disengaged as a teacher - the moment(s) I said to myself, I'm just going through the motions here?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 6
For the past couple of weeks you have experienced asynchronous online learning (doing modules by yourself). Previously this semester you have experienced synchronous online learning (all together in the Collaborate room). Which do you think is more effective and why do you think that? Which do you like better, and why?

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 5
This week we have what we call "open mic." You can write a post about anything related to your teaching that you would like responses from your classmates.

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 4
Here is this week's question: "What was the event that most took me surprise this week - and event that shook me up, caught me off guard, gave me a jolt, or made me unexpectedly happy?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 3
Please write a post about the following question, "In thinking about my past week teaching what is one thing I would do differently, and why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 2
Please write a post about the following question, " In thinking about my teaching activities this past week, of what do I feel most proud? Why?"

Fall Semester 2016 Blog Post - Week 1
Describe something you used in your program in the first weeks of school that you learned in the summer NTI program. How did it work? Did it get you off to a stronger start than last year?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

One piece of advice….
Should it ever happen that I did indeed win the lottery and then plan on a world cruise, I would tell my replacement to simply “Stay calm!”  With calmness comes clarity. Just as I teach my students the first day of CPR and First Aid – your first job is to stay calm.  They always try and convince me that they could not handle an emergency and remember all the things they are taught in this class but I assure them that they will. This holds true for teachers.  I have learned this from my own experience as a replacement teacher. Coming into a situation where certain rules (not necessarily your own) are in place and having to maintain them in your newly acquired class can be a challenge. Again, I say, by keeping calm your students feel that you are in charge or dare I say “control”! That is the hardest part of the setting the stage for your own class management skills. If a class is managed, then the learning proceeds.  So, to my replacement I say “Stay calm and pray my cruise waters do too!”

Monday, April 8, 2013

Maintain Structure

One piece of advice I would provide to the replacement teacher would be to always always try to maintain the structure of the class. To do this is to keep them occupied with a class activity or some type of written exercise. Structure your lesson plan down to the minute. When keeping the students engaged, it cuts down on discipline problems. It also helps to gain respect of the students. Maintaining structure helps to keep the students on task with little to no disruption. Things don't always go according to plan, but if you always have a plan b or maybe even c, it will keep the students' attention and help you maintain control.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Never smile before Christmas.....

A teacher and fellow high school friend of mine told me on my first day as a teacher......."Never smile at the students before Christmas!"  I asked him why and he said that it showed weakness and they would devour me by the weeks end.  He also told me that it would take me three years to stop looking for a new job and a doctor to prescribe a nerve pill.  This has been my third year and I haven't resorted to any of his advice.  I found a better way to deal with the little darlings when things get to me, I sing you are my sunshine.  If that doesn't help, singing Amazing Grace always works for me.  My advice to my replacement would be to remember that they are just kids......older kids.  Show them kindness and speak to them the way that you would want to be spoken to and they will listen, learn and respect you for it.  Remember, don't show favorites, don't give in to their big puppy eyes and never trust them to..."be right back with a hall pass!"

Just ONE piece of advice...

If I won the lottery, I would go on my trips during the summer!

Of course it is hard to pick advice with a limited amount of time. If I gave my replacement just one piece of advice it would be to "cover yourself". Although this advice is best for a permanent replacement, it doesn't hurt a temporary replacement to practice the same. When I had my first industry job, I was given this advice. At the time, I did not know how valuable it was. At any given moment, you may be called upon to prove anything. Having documentation can save you (or your student), your reputation and your job. I am a firm believer in keeping good records. On a softer note, it proves helpful with things such as homework status reports when a student refuses to do an assignment. Having their signature justifies any 0 you may have to give, thus, providing a record to the student, parents and your administrator. Besides, with all we have to do, having these 'reminders' helps.

Open Mic

The semester has flown by very quickly. As I reflect on how the Spring semester started, it reminded me of being on a ride at an amusement park. At first you are sitting still and then once you are strapped in, you are whisked away. The Career Tech Department at South Cobb is a true reflection of phrase, "hit the ground running". Not only were guest speakers and hands on activities infused into lesson plans the first few weeks, but there were various CTSO field trips and activities that allowed students to begin their foray into the Career Tech world. I am very appreciative of the fact that I have taken my NTI course at GSU. This course shouldbe a model acroos the state for other courses. It not anly gives new teachers confidence when the semesters begin quickly, but it also speaks to the need and marriage of public school teaching and vocational training. I could have easily felt that taking this course was just another hurdle to jump through, but I do rely on what I have learned to help me begin a quiclkly moving semester.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Magic Rock

You have just won the lottery and have decided to take a world cruise. You will have very little time to spend with your replacement. If you could give this new teacher just ONE piece of advice what would it be, and why?

I would give my replacement their very own magic rock and advise them to expect greatness from the students.


A couple years ago I was having a rough time, I was not sure teaching was where I was supposed to be. During summer vacation I took a trip and while returning I encountered one of my former students who was also on vacation, he gave me a rock and told me how much I meant to him as a teacher.This rock is not pretty, not gem quality or unique . Matter of fact it is a common piece of gravel, just like we run over everyday and think nothing of.

So how is this rock magic? It is a constant reminder of that ONE student and all the other students that blend in to our daily life. It is a conversation starter, I have simply placed it in my hand during classroom instruction and all eyes center on it. Immediately hands go up. Why do you carry a rock? Sometimes I explain how many rocks we run over on our way to our destinations and how our movements shape the rock.I explain that we have the same impact on others around us. I also ask why did you notice that rock? What made it special? Amazing what the answers are.

Besides the magic ability to start conversation my rock has many other magic abilities. It has stopped children from crying and put an end to arguments. Now I know it sounds strange, and maybe even corny but this common piece of gravel has achieved greatness in that it was a gift, has a message written on it, travels with me daily and is a symbol of what happens when you expect greatness.

So my final message would be to always expect greatness from your students and keep the rock to help remind you that someone really cares.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Take the world by storm

If I won the lottery  the 1st thing I would do would be to tell the administration that they have forgotten how it fell to be in a classroom with all the the hats we wear as teachers. The 2nd thing I would do would be quit  and be on the 1st flight to a exotic island so I can be pampered like a king that I am. If I had to give some advice to my replacement it would be to tell them do not recreate the wheel follow the plans that are here but put your twist to it. I would also tell them to do not smile until after Christmas break and stay firm but fair  on all rules.

Warning, warning....

If I won the lottery and scheduled a trip around the world I would be gitty all the way to Hartsfield-Jackson in my stretch limo.  If I had to meet with my replacement and give him/her one piece if advise it would be to maintain my management plan. Keeping a "tight" management style works well for a few reasons. First, it takes the onus off the students.  The rules are always the same for everyone everyday. They don't have to decide how I will react to something today vs tomorrow. It's always the same. Refer to the classroom rules as often as necessary. Being consistent also cuts down on discipline issues.  But I would issue this WARNING.... Be very careful because you may really love being their teacher!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

" Delta or Airtran"

If I won the lottery it will be a true blessing. I would definetly prepare myself and family for this wonderful journey that we are about to experience together. It will probably seem like a dream in the beginning, but I am positive that I will awake from it when the check hit Wells Fargo.

But wait, what about my Towers students and the replacement teacher? My advice to my replacement teacher is to establish an environment in the very beginning that is conducive for learning. Also make sure you cover the rules and procedures as often as it warrants. Additionally, my advice to the replacement teacher is to make the learning environment fun and a place where students loves to come.

Finally, my advice to my replacement teacher is to continue to encourage students to do their personal best. When a teacher can relate well with  student's the entire atmosphere changes and learning becomes engaging. Most importantly, I would tell my replacement teacher to tell all of my students that Mr. Atchison love all of them and continue to strive for excellence in all you do and I will see you soon!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hawaii Here I Come!!!!

Who doesn't dream about winning the lottery and taking a cruise, a long cruise! Well, I'm one of those dreamers and have the lottery ticket receipts to prove it! Well, after realizing that I'm now a multi-millionaire, and consulting with my command staff ie: CPA, Attorney, Financial Consultant and Security Team, I would then make plans to talk to my replacement. The advice that I would give to my replacement teacher is to set the ground rules and stick to them! In other words, when addressing the students, "Say what you mean and mean what you say". This in and of itself, goes a long way. I would ensure that all lesson plans were in order and go over each of them with my new replacement. I would also ensure that my replacement has everything he/she needs to include the assistance of my class leaders and other designated, responsible student helpers, to help make his/her job easier!

I'm going to travel!!

Winning the lottery would be a life changing event for most anyone and I am not an exception.  Taking this cruise around the world possibly would mean being away from the classroom four weeks.  I would request the school to contact a person with whom I have worked with.  I would cover lesson plans and attendance records with the replacement. Suggest as a reward for good class behavior students may participate in Service Day Fridays. This allows current studied activities to be performed on the shop floor. My advice to the replacement would be stay alert, firm and yet, be approachable.  The warning I would share with her; schedule self a replacement for days one current period comes to Salon Services J

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


My one piece of advice would be to ask for help - from anybody and for anything. At first, I was so overwhelmed that I didn't know what to ask. Then, I felt like I was burdening someone if I asked them to help me in some way. Get over it! Ask, ask, ask.  My faculty mentor thought she was doing me a favor by not taking the process seriously and that I could handle it on my own. I NEEDED the mentoring. It was not inconvenient or unwanted, and I had to learn to ask for everything I got. The worst that could happen is that your call for help goes unanswered, and then you are no worse off than if you never asked. I think most people don't know what you need and so they wait on you to make your needs known.  Figuring it all out on your own is the worst kind of martyrdom and will burn you out before you know it.

One Piece of Advice.....

If I could give my replacement one peice of advice it would be to set expectations and follow through! As with most humans, children/students operate more successfully if there is a plan in place. Students, especially teenagers are like "sharks" so they can smell new bait a mile away. If they see someone new and they feel that they can take control, they undoubtedly will take control of your class and you will never be able to get it back.  Speaking from personal experience I know what its like to feel helpless in a room full of loud, rambunctious teenagers, and it is not a comfortable place to be in.  I would urge him/her to remain calm, but set rules/expectations on the very first day and enforce them on a consistent basis.  Reach out to your administrators, because they are the disciplinarians in the building and they are there to support you.  Enjoy the experience as much as can, as I will be enjoying my long overdue vacation.