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?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What I've learned

Throughout the duration of this year of NTI I have learned so much that I can take with me in my teaching career. The main topics that I can use right away are the objectives that we can set everyday. Before NTI I had an idea what objectives were but I could never clearly put them on paper. However with the lessons we had from the NTI instructors and our handbook I now know how to use effective and clear objectives for everyday lessons. Something else that I can take with me is the use of "proximity" when my students are talking when they are not supposed to. This is a great way for me to keep teaching my lesson and not looking too obvious in terms of attending to the talkative student. Another lesson which I learned that I have used that has been effective is the "It may not be important to you," and the "It concerns me when." These are two ways that I can express my displeasure in a very professional manner. Students know that they don't want to disappoint their teachers and when they do, they don't want to hear a very un-professional lecture or speech. These two methods are professional and they will get my point across quickly. There were a lot of things that I learned about myself during this process. However the one thing that I learned about teaching is that I know that I can be a very effective teacher!! One thing about my teaching career is that I always worried that I wouldn't know how to be a teacher. Knowing the material that you are supposed to teach is not an issue, it's whether or not a teacher can get the information to the student effectively and clearly. That was the one thing which I struggled with, but after NTI, I feel a lot better! NTI has been a very helpful program. It showed me that planning and teaching can be in order and that it can be done in a way that it can be enjoyable for any teacher. My belief is that if a teacher is having fun, then the students will have fun!

what I have learned

I have learned so many things from not only Dr.Burns and Dr. Chillis, but also from my class mates. I have learned that classroom management is one of the keys to learning and teaching. Some of the best things I have brought out of NTI are the small things. I make my students repeat directions back to me, ask three then me, and the parking lot. These are just a few of the little things i have used since learning them in NTI. I have also discovered that not only did i not know how to make up a test, i didn't know how to grade it either. I have enjoyed this time getting to know everyone and gaining so much valuable knowledge. NTI was worth all the time and effort.

Monday, April 28, 2014

We have learned so many things......

We have learned so many things these past three semesters about teaching, students, CTE, etc. What is one thing you learned about teaching that has really helped you improve and grow? What is one thing you learned about YOURSELF as either a teacher or a student? One thing that I've learned about teaching that has really helped me to improve and grow is managing my class better, and not assume that all students are familiar with how to do things that I perceive as second nature. As for class management, I learned that by simply planning an engaging opener and not spending much time on lecturing can help create an effective learning environment. Another bonus for me, as simple as it may be, is having students repeat the directions after giving instructions on assignments. I didn't realize how much you can alleviate confusion, miscommunication and save time by having students repeat the instructions. It helps me to know whether or not they understand the directions and what's required. As a student at NTI, I've learned to put myself in my students shoes. For example, some of my students tend to be lethargic after lunch and need a stimulation to gear their minds to learn again. While taking classes last summer at NTI, we were given the opportunity of taking one hour lunches. Upon returning to class, I too at times felt tired and wanted to take a nap but still had to press into working on assignments. This scenario helped me to be more understanding towards my students who tend to work slower than others after lunch. I also learned how to have mercy on students who may need an extension on assignments. I didn't really give my students a lot of flexibility when working on projects. Giving strict deadlines to students was my way of preparing them for the real world, but negating the fact that life happens. I now have a different perspective towards students who need extensions on assignments provided they have valid reasons.

Growth and Improvements

We have learned so many things these past three semesters about teaching, students, CTE, etc. What is one thing you learned about teaching that has really helped you improve and grow? What is one thing you learned about YOURSELF as either a teacher or a student? I've learned so much about teaching it's hard to pinpoint the one thing that I learned about myself as either a teacher or a student. I'd have to say that I have a new sense of appreciation for teachers, especially being a teacher. In high school I was a horrible student… I mean HORRIBLE. I was always talking over the teacher, rude and disrespectful, and lazy as you know what. I have definitely changed my ways. I have learned that respect goes both ways and to appreciate a great teacher like Dr. Burns. I have seriously cared about my grades and projects. I have given my school work my everything. That's new for me. I think that it's different when you actually care about your profession and the studies that pertain to it. I feel extremely proud of myself and my accomplishments.

Settle for something less…?? Really

Lee Iacocca stated, "In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and highest responsibility anyone could have." Do you agree or disagree, and why? I have to beg to differ. Although teaching at times can be a complete honor, the paperwork and data collection has gotten out of control. Teachers are losing time to actually TEACH, which is the main reason we accepted the job in the first place. If I wanted to collect data or constantly do paperwork I would've gone into the business industry and I'd probably be making more money. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job and I love the kids but some of the other stuff is draining. I could be happy working in other careers but I wouldn't feel as rewarded as I do teaching. That is the best part. But I don't know that I'd completely be settling for less in another career. I can find happiness in anything I do. I loved being a graphic designer, I'd consider it again if teaching ever fell through.

Being a Student Again

When I accepted the job at my school two years ago, the first question they asked was, “Would you be willing to go back to school and get your certification?” I calmly answered “yes” but on the inside I was absolutely beside myself with anxiety. I remembered what school was like for me, and repeating that experience was not something I was looking forward to. Let me introduce you to young Taylor, the student. Her priorities, in order were: boys, friends, boys, extra-curricular activities, part-time job, boys, and making good grades. If you ask any of her past teachers how she was as a student, most of them would tell you she came to school to focus on her social life first, and her academic life second. I was never a discipline problem (except for breaking dress code), I made good grades (except for Chemistry Honors), and I was a pretty likable person. My biggest problem was memorization and test taking. I could finish worksheets, classwork, homework, and projects just as well, if not better, than any other student, but the second I had to sit down and take a test, I lost everything I had learned. When I was preparing for NTI I was so nervous that I was going to do poorly. I kept saying, “I am not smart enough for this”. I was afraid that because I struggled with some aspects of learning, I would have a really hard time teaching children. I also knew that I focused too much on everything but class, and I would face the same obstacles as college. I made a promise to myself when I started taking the class, and that promise was to do things the right way from the beginning. I was going to focus on my grades first, and all the extra stuff second. I learned that I am not a bad student at all, and when I put my mind to something, I can really excel at it. I learned how antsy I can get when sitting in a desk, and how much I crave hands-on projects, so I try to model my class after what I would want as a student. If I knew then, at my interview, what I know now, I would shoo away that anxiety and prepare myself for an amazing experience at NTI where I met some great friends and learned invaluable information that will make me a better teacher.

The Most Important Thing

This is really hard for me. We have learned so much this year. I think naturally I possessed a few skills that are important to being a successful teacher. I am organized and I think leading by example speaks so much louder than do as I say, not as I do. For that reason, lab and classroom management came easy for me. I am a hands on learner that needs step by step explanation so task analysis helped me put into words information I need to transfer into a skill set. I am pretty in tune to the affective domain of learning because I understand the need to feel safe in my work environment. If I had to narrow it down to the most important thing it would have to be writing assessments. I took for granted the tests that were provided for me were quality assessments. After all, they were written by professionals so they have to be good, right? I will be spending this summer creating assessments for each unit that I teach. There may be some questions I can use but the formatting will have to be changed. I also learned that essay questions do not necessary mean paragraphs and the ease of grading depends on a good answer key. The assessment piece struck a huge cord with me. I have been frustrated on more than one occasion after assessing a unit. Now I have the tool box to create meaningful assessments that will be a better judge as to my teaching abilities. As far as personal growth, I think this course has made me more well rounded. I don't have tunnel vision as much as I did before beginning NTI. The past three semesters have taught me to look for the big picture (teaching, informally assessing, remediating, and formally assessing in all THREE domains of learning).

April 22 Quote

Lee Iacocca stated, "In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and highest responsibility anyone could have." Do you agree or disagree, and why? I am not sure how I feel about this quote. There are too many factors that are not mentioned for me to have a definitive opinion. So with the info I have before me I am going to give it my best shot. Here goes. I believe society should have a higher regard for teachers than it does. Not only are we (teachers) charged with educating students in our content area, we are expected to "raise" them morally. I take the responsibility very personally. I treat my students as my children and hope I leave a footprint on their life that instills honesty, integrity, and a good work ethic. The part of the quote that bothers me is "the rest of us would have to settle for something less..." I don't think professions such as doctors, scientists, pastors, etc. is settling for less. Even those that do not hold a teaching certificate are capable of teaching. Most moms should have a "degree" with all of the skills they are responsible for teaching their children. How to get dressed, how to eat with a fork and spoon, tying your shoes. If children didn't get those basics, we would all be running around naked, shoeless, and messy faced. See how this quote has me torn?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What I have learned so far...

I remember my first day of school and that very first talk I had with my second period class. It was an amazing feeling to know I would be leading these young minds through an exciting journey. Little did they know that it would be an exciting journey for them and for me as well.

I have learned so much this past year. I am excited about where my journey will go from here. I have learned that every student learns differently and they are all at different levels. I have learned that each one of my students come from different backgrounds and different walks of life. I have also learned that my life experiences, my delivery of the content, and how I can connect with each one on their own level.

Most of all I have learned that I love my job. I absolutely love being a teacher. I know this is only my first year but it is my hope that I can only get better from here. I want to look back ten years from know and be able to measure just how much I have improved.

Mr. H

What I learned about me over the last 11 months.

The one overwhelming fact I have learned about myself over the past 11 months is about me as a student. Coming into this Georgia State/ NTI experience, I was seriously fearful of going back to school. Terrified is probably a better word.

My last experience with college was 20 years ago. It was July of 1993 and I was about to complete my final course. I still remember answering the final question of my last college final. I placed the pencil down on the desk and said to myself, “I will never do this again”! School was always a struggle for me. I didn’t really figure out how to study until I was a junior in college. On top of that, I was lazy and immature. Mix all that together and the cocktail you get is a stout serving of “terrible student”. Fast forward to today and now I know there was no reason to be fearful.

What I know about me the student now is I can succeed in any school setting. My years since college have taught me how to pay attention, pick up on important things, become the most prepared for whatever the situation and don’t settle for average achievement. The corporate world taught me that. I also know that success as a student is also highly dependent on the teacher. Dr. Burns taught me that! I don’t know if I will ever take another college level course, work towards a masters or even a doctorate. However, I do know as I put this “pencil” down for the last time in this class I am not scared to “do this again”.

"In a rational society"

Wow. How do I write a response to that Lee Iacocca quote without showing, at least some, bias? Let’s give it a shot. I agree with Mr. Iacocca, for the most part. Our society is continually replenished by our children and theirs. In this replenishment, our cultural and societal norms are taught, exhibited and refined. If the very best individuals from every possible professional discipline are charged with passing down what works and what doesn't work from one generation to the next, then society should continue to flourish. In “a completely rational society”, that is

We all know we don’t live in a world like that. By that I mean you may be great at something, but, you may not have the ability to teach it effectively. It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher. They must possess skills such as time management, human relations, excellent communication, mental toughness, stamina, content knowledge, patience and passion, just to name a few. Yes, the “very best of us” may possess many of those traits, but, that may not make them a good teacher.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Testing Failure

Suppose a parent of one of your students called you today to complain about his/her child's poor performance on your classroom tests. The parent concludes by asking you, "Just how sure are you the fault is in my child and not in your tests?" How would you respond to this parent? What would you think about? Justify your response. There are several things I would take in consideration here. The first thing I would do would be to look at the students performance on classwork assignments to see if the student was performing at a rate much higher that that of the testing. The second thing I would do would be to see how the grades of other students at the same level are performing on the same tests. I would also schedule a conference a meeting with the student, parent, and myself to get to the bottom of the problem. Kids may go home and tell their parents anything to cover themselves but face to face with both parties you are more likely to get the truth. The student could be struggling with test anxiety, I know as a teenager I hated testing more than anything else. It literally made me sick to my stomach. If the classwork grades are high and show understanding of the unit, and the other students in the class are struggling on test grades, I would definitely take a second look at my testing. I would have coworkers and maybe my supervisor take a look at the test as well to see if I was missing something. I would also ask the students what they are having trouble and see if I can correct the issue. After what I've recently learned, I do realize I may need to look over my tests and make many changes to better them.

Lee Lacocca

I agree somewhat with this statement because I don't believe that you can say that the best people would be teachers and the rest would have to settle for something less. I believe that there are some brilliant people who aren't teachers. Many people such as clergy, carpenters, business owners, coaches etc are brilliant people. I honestly take offense when he said that everyone else has to settle for something less. Mr. Lacocca is giving the impression that every other job is not as good as being a teacher. Without the "other jobs," teachers wouldn't have supplies and resources to be great teachers. I believe that is an unfair statement to say that all the rational people should be teachers. I do however agree that teaching and passing civilizations from one generation to the next is a very high honor along with being a parent. I take pride in teaching because it's the only job that I can think of that has more responsibility than any other job in terms of preparing the next generation.

The Importance of Teaching...

I agree with Lee Iaoccoa referencing teachers in high regard. However, I don’t agree with the part about everyone else having to settle for something less. I think we all came from different professions prior to teaching and I know, I for one, felt that I had a very important job serving and protecting citizens. I think there are many jobs that are often looked down upon because they don’t bring in the highest salaries or are considered esteemed such as doctors and lawyers. But too often, people forget that they entrust 13 years of a child’s life and the most impressionable ones at that, to a teacher and when they are in trouble, they need a Police Officer or EMT. No matter what we are called to do in life, I think we all play a valuable role in being productive citizens.

I also agree that teachers do not get the credit they deserve. This is by far the hardest job I have ever had. Teaching takes a lot of effort and time or blood, sweat and tears if you will and often for little pay and hardly any recognition. I salute all of us in the profession and recognize our importance in making a contribution to this generation in hopes that it will be passed on. 

Tests and Parents...

When considering this question posed by a parent, I would first look at the grades on the test for the entire class. I have given tests before and saw that the majority of my kids failed and I have gone back and did some re-teaching before re-assessing the students.  I know my students that really do well because they put forth the effort and are very conscientious of their work, so when they struggle, I know there is a problem and I use their performance along with the entire class’ scores to gauge the problem. If the result indicates that I may not have done a good job covering the material, I have no problem going back over the content. In addition, now that we have done the last few weeks lessons, I feel much more confident in my test development and I feel I would be able to support the fact that my tests follow research-based testing strategies. I can’t say I would have felt that way before. Nevertheless, I think I would be prepared to answer the parent’s question confidently at this point in my teaching career. 

Be the best and "raise" the best

I would say, for the most part, I agree with the statement "In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and highest responsibility anyone could have." My husband and I were just talking the other night about how much a responsibility teachers have to help mold generations. We were discussing the things our teachers were allowed to do, versus the restrictions on teachers now-a-days, and how we understand when our parents start stories with "back in my day..." When you really think about it, the vast majority of our students have limited access to adults: their parents and their teachers. Not only are we responsible for doing our job and teaching them the subject matter assigned, but we are also an example of how human beings should act. Think about it, if little Bobby only hears me, his teacher, an adult he spends several hours with per week, constantly complain about my job, gripe about low pay, use the phrase "that's not my responsibility", etc., then little Bobby will think that is how you are expected to act as an adult. This is especially true if his parents or other family members act the same way. It breaks my heart when I hear teachers counting down the days until the next break or until retirement. I firmly believe that if you don't love what you do, do something else. I have made my husband promise me that as soon as I dread coming to school and spending time educating these kids, that he better give me a good shaking and tell me to go do something else. I feel that I was selected for this job because I was among the best at what I do, and all teachers should be held to that same standard.

Lee Iacocca...

Lee Iacocca stated, "In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and highest responsibility anyone could have." Do you agree or disagree, and why? In general terms, everyone at some point regardless of their profession are teachers. You can teach by your lifestyle, what you believe in, or simply sharing words of encouragement. As a profession, I agree in the sense that holding the position as a teacher is indeed a honor. You witness the development of a student's mind that you actually took part of. As for the statement, "...the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and highest responsibility anyone could have", I totally disagree. Every job, profession and craft out there is necessary which benefits everyone. If we didn't have garbage men to pick up our trash which in my eyes is of the upmost importance in sanitizing our neighborhood, could that be viewed as settling for less? I beg to differ.

Suppose a parent.....

Suppose a parent of one of your students called you today to complain about his/her child's poor performance on your classroom tests. The parent concludes by asking you, "Just how sure are you the fault is in my child and not in your tests?" How would you respond to this parent? What would you think about? Justify your response. My response to a parent who is questioning my tests as a result of their child's failure would depend on the child's academic performance in class. If I had several of my well scoring students who failed the tests, then yes, without a shadow of a doubt, I would go back and revisit the structure and format of the test. However, if the student has not done well on any previous tests, does not participate in class, homework scores are down and so forth, then the student would be in question. In most cases, students test differently. It could be that the student needs another way of testing. Provided none of the cases described above pertains to this student, then I would out a solution with the parent to restructure the test.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lee Lacocca's quote revisited

Lee Lacocca's quote... I realize in my response to Trenton that I may have gotten a lot deeper than I wanted to. I can break down my thought process even more and say that this quote, in my humble opinion of a true pipe dream. Now before you get on the defensive, let me explain.

When I think about society and where it's priorities are in the current state of affairs I could easily tell you that it is not anchored in rational thought. When the best of the best of society are movie stars and musicians and athletes, where does that put the position of the teacher? While I believe Lee's quote is optimistic, it is far flung in this day and age. I mean how many times have you turned on the television and actually saw a special newscast or special report on amazing teachers? I can answer that one for you... Just last year I saw my FIRST ever news story that dedicated like two hours to the best of our struggling teachers. I find it funny how society only pays attention to it's most powerful trendsetters and innovators when there is violence in a school or a shooting.

Don't get me wrong, in the end, I agree with this quote from Lee Lacocca. When taken in the context of how it was stated...  "In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers".. That statement alone defines the barriers of what is being said. So until we become a completely rational society, teachers will be teachers, and athletes, musicians, and movie stars will be the heroes to the multitudes.

Mr. H

Lee Iacocca

In processing the quote from Lee Iacocca, I find myself a bit divided. I do agree with the statement, my biggest struggle falls between the "completely rational society" and "the best of us would be teachers". The first portion, about the rational society, we shall never live in a completely rational society, at least not without humanity evolving from unanimous spiritual and intellectual enlightenment. The second portion, the best of us would be teachers, I am torn on because I do believe that the best would be the ideal ones to pass along the knowledge to the next generations, but who would that leave to bring about progress and stability to this ideal society. I suppose if the society was "completely rational" we could use the "best" of the oldest generation, much like the tribal elders of past, that educated the generations of the ways of life. Now, after picking apart the statement, I would have to say that, overall, it is a very complimentary statement. I have pledged to myself to try to uphold my part to not only educate, but to expand curiosity and open thoughts and perspectives during my time as a role model. I hope to live up to Mr. Iacocca's statement, whether I'm one of the best or not and rational society or not, it is my obligation.

bad test

I would first have to see the percentage of pass and fail. If the fails where to high it may be the test, or I didn’t teach it well. But if this parents child the only one, or one of the few that failed I would have to say it was not the test itself. You would also have to know the student. We all have the students that want to play everyday and not pay attention. If this student fell into that group I would be happy to show the parent the class work ethics chart I keep. The parent could when and why the student lost points, and therefore was not paying attention. This is not to say that this would work every time but it certainly helps to have your bases covered.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Proper Testing or Student Performance

Suppose a parent of one of your students called you today to complain about his/her child's poor performance on your classroom tests. The parent concludes by asking you, "Just how sure are you the fault is in my child and not in your tests?" How would you respond to this parent? What would you think about? Justify your response. I would respond to the parent positively. I would be a little offended, but I am able to take criticism. It could possibly be my tests. Or it could be a combination of both my tests and the student. I would offer a conference to discuss issues in detail. I am already aware of all of my student's academics abilities, personalities, and peer interactions. I keep all of my student's work and I am able to show parents their child's work. I'd let the parent know I offer tutorials on Thursdays. I'd offer the parent to come sit in on a class session. I would try to the best of my ability to resolve the situation in a positive manner.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Am I at Fault?

Suppose a parent of one of your students called you today to complain about his/her child's poor performance on your classroom tests. The parent concludes by asking you, "Just how sure are you the fault is in my child and not in your tests?"

How would you respond to this parent? What would you think about? Justify your response.


This is a very interesting question. Two weeks ago, I would have been able to stand firm on the opinion that the fault was neither in my teaching nor my tests but in the child. After taking a look at the rules for creating effective tests, I realized that many of my small mistakes can affect the student learner. I haven’t always taken the time to outline the objectives that I will teach and match them up with the questions that I put on the test. My multiple choice answers were not always in columns. As I reflect upon this, I can recall students placing the wrong answer on the line or even circling the wrong answer. For many students, we just called it a “careless mistake” with my knowledge as the teacher that they knew the information. However, that mistake may have been the difference between a letter grade.


As far as a response to the parent, I will probably suggest that this be a conversation we have the student together. This will give me an opportunity to listen to the student’s feedback on their previous exams. It may be best to take an exam that the student did poorly on and go through the correct and incorrect answers while having the students to justify the incorrect answers. This would provide the student to explain any questions that they may not understand or acknowledge that they knew the answer but may have circled the incorrect answer. I would hope this will give me an idea of whether it’s the knowledge of the student or my exam.


Testing Conference

This is a very tricky topic just because there are so may angles that the parent, student, and teacher could debate. The one thing I would try to do as early as possible is to schedule a parent meeting with both the child and the parent(s) to see if all three or four of us can get a clear understanding of my expectations, the test itself, and a solution. One thing that I would assure the parents before the conference is that it is nobody's fault why the student failed the test, all of this would be discussed during the meeting. Once we figure out all of the factors which may contribute to the low grade, then we can start discussing what happened. One reason why I would want the student to be present is that if the student really struggled during the test, I would want his or her opinion of how the test could've been written differently so that the student can understand future tests better. Something that may happen that could be unexpected is that a child may have a learning disability to comprehend certain types of assessments and that might require further testing. In my opinion it's a win-win situation for everyone that is involved. The final thing I would do in this parent teacher conference is I would ask the parents if they understood the test as well. If the parents see the test, then they can get a better understanding of the structure of the test and what is expected. The bottom line is, I don't want to play the blame game, I want to come to a solution so that everyone involved is happy. I feel that there is too much blame going on now, and no solutions being offered. I believe having a face-to-face conference is the best way to come to a solution.

Test or student, who or what is at fault?

This situation has a lot of layers to it and should be analyzed before any decisions are made. If a student is consistently performing poorly on tests (notice this is multiple so there may be a pattern) I take a look at the overall performance on each test by the entire class. If the class performance closely mirrors the one student’s, then yes, there may be a problem with the test. However, if the rest of the class is outperforming the one student on the test(s) then, most likely, the problem is not with the test.

Hopefully, you have this information ready when you talk to the parent. I would be well prepared to communicate all details about that particular student’s efforts in class and how he or she compares to their peers. I would also have an action plan ready to suggest to the parent if they do not offer one first.

In the end, professionalism will be the most important factor in the teacher’s conversation with the parent. Being prepared, polite and proficient should allow the situation to be resolved easily.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Testing confrontations

I must say that I have not had this situation arise yet and I hope it never does. I have, however gotten a few parent phone calls and emails about their child’s progress in my class. I have more students that simply won’t do the work assigned to them than I have students who do poorly on tests. I do, however, have a robust plan in place if such a moment arises.

The good news is that by using a learning Management System called Edmodo, I am able to stay in direct contact with students (And their parents/guardians if they choose to sign up for a parent account)and it is a one stop shop for due dates, deadlines, study guides, helpful links, etc. This is by far, my biggest defense to such issues. Once a parent sees exactly what their child is doing, or NOT doing for that matter, this usually quells even the most protective of them. Once they can see first-hand that the fault lays with their child and not with me, then that takes the wind out of their wings so to speak.

As far as the testing results go, the good news is I adhere to ALL IEP and 504 accommodations , along with providing study guides and ample warning on the content of each test/quiz well before it actually occurs. It also helps that I always give my quizzes on Fridays nearly every week of the semester so there can be no confusion as to how or why a student did not do well on the test.

Mr. H

Who's fault?

Before my students are given a test or a quiz we review the entire thing the day before. I make it clear to all my students to pay attention to the review and to take notes. After the students take the test or quiz I count to see how many students passed. According to that number I am able to tell if the students understood me and the test. If majority of the students did not pass, let’s say 55%, then I will reteach the material and give them a different test or quiz.

Test Justification

In the event of a parent confronting me about a test grade and confronting me on the accuracy of the test, I would have to take a number of things into consideration. The first thing would be the percent of students that did pass the test. If the class has an overwhelmingly high number of passing grades (higher than 50%) then I would bring that to the attention of the parent. The next factor would be how long we had been covering the material for the test and if the students were given a study guide. If the test was over a topic that had only been covered for a short time and the student in question had been absent a lot, then I might be lenient with the allowance of a re-take. Also if the students had been given a study guide, often they are, I would not be as lenient with the allowance of a re-take. I also would explain to the parent that before each test begins I go over what each portion of the test is, the directions for each section, and what is expected for the format. Any student with a question is to ask at that time. I would always take any criticism openly and be flexible with students. I do make all of my own tests, and my students all know that I am not a person that lives a life with no error. So, I would take a parent complaint very seriously, step back, and evaluate my test and it's content.

Who's Fault is it?

I would say that overall I feel pretty confident that the material on my tests is covered in class, and as a whole we review for tests. I do not believe in trick questions, relying on the students to “just figuring it out”, or hanging my kids out to dry. There are a lot of factors that would have to play in to my response to the parent such as: the student’s effort on other assignments in my class, the student’s attendance record (which I never had a problem with before this semester), the student’s overall grade, and their note-taking during lessons. If all of those factors were in favor of the student, then maybe I would have to step back and re-evaluate my tests. I can also add, that in school I feel that I was always a good student when it came to classwork, homework, and projects, but I really struggled as a test taker. Maybe we could look into a possible pull out group for the student, or we could break the test down into sections so it wouldn’t be so overwhelming. So after all my rambling, I guess I would say my simple answer is that initially I would not put all the blame on my tests, but after ruling out other factors, I would consider re-writing my tests (which this unit is teaching me I already need to do).

Where lies the blame?

Before this unit on test writing I would automatically assume it was the fault of the student. Perhaps the little darling didn't study or slept during the review. However, after learning how to actually "write" a test and not rely on the ones supplied to me I would certainly have a different opinion. Maybe. If I had written the test and the child failed and the parent called here are my thoughts: 1. I would reflect on the child's daily performance and share his studious behavior or lack of studious behavior with the parent. 2. I would explain that we reviewed the material in class the day before the test (something I always do, usually in a game type format) 3. I would also show the parent the study guide the student had available for use in preparing for the test. 4. Lastly, I would explain that the test material represents the content taught and that modifications are made as necessary (IEP, etc.) If it was a hands on skill, it was a hands on test. If knowledge based, written test. In addition to that I would also show the parent the material I used to create the test so they understand I am not pulling random questions out of a hat.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quotes and Thoughts

After reading through the "open mic" posts I thought perhaps we should be philosophical with this post. I have selected two quotes, hoping you will gleen some inspiration. Please post what comes to mind after reading these quotes. "Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." (Dale Carnegie) "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." (Bill Gates) "Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." (Dale Carnegie) To me this quote almost makes me feel as if the failures and mistakes that every new teacher makes are okay, the mistakes ensure growth. We must take the failures and build on from there. It's not easy to look your failure in the face and say, "okay, I screwed up… but let me have another shot at it! I'll do much better next time." But in the event that you do take that discouragement and make it your motivation success is right around the corner. This can also be used to help motivate your students but my first though was how it related to me and my struggles. "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." (Bill Gates) To me this quote makes me feel realistic, to realize that success in one thing does not ensure success in everything you will encounter. But the success can get to your head, it can make you feel as if you can't be taken down, you won't lose. We all know that is unrealistic. You have to remember to stay humble and do your best in everything you do but not to get discouraged if you do encounter a failure. And to definitely not let the success get to your head. Stay real my friend. :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Philosophical Post

"Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." (Dale Carnegie) All the people who I consider to be successful have experienced failure. Those failures were a blueprint for them on how to gain success on their next attempt at whatever they were pursuing. Even if they decided to change what they were pursuing, they always used the previous failure to gain success at their next endeavor. When people attempted to discourage them, they used those words of doubt to steer them towards their next success. "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." (Bill Gates) I don't 100% agree with the quote. I personally think success without some failures can seduce people. I know that if I hadn't experienced some failures along the way I wouldn't be as cautious as I am with certain career and life decisions. I think both quotes can take on the perspective of what the reader considers successful.


I like both of these quotes, there is so much truth in them. To truly understand something, one must find it's faults and understand what doesn't work before understanding what does. That is a point that I try to drive home to my students. One of the first steps in engineering a product is failure. Only after evaluating and understanding that failure can you progress from it. I believe that is why so many students find my class "easy", not that the tasks are simple or the work is simple, but I feel that if they are putting forth the effort to learn they will pass. I understand that not everyone can be be completely successful in the numerous areas that I cover, so failure at the task does not mean a failing grade. I believe, failure is the true form of progress, that is why the saying is 3 steps forward, 2 steps back.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

It is okay to fail

"Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." (Dale Carnegie) "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." (Bill Gates) I love the fact that we learn from mistakes. I am always telling my students that it is alright to "fail" at something, because that's how we grow. I am a bit of a perfectionist (shocking, right?) but sometimes I enjoy when I mess something up in class, like spell something incorrectly on a Powerpoint, or tell the class how to do an editing trick that doesn't work. I enjoy making mistakes in front of them, because it shows them that I am human, and I hope it makes them feel better for their own mishaps when they see that I am messing up as well. If we always do everything correctly, and we always get exactly what we want, how can we ever expect to get better or improve? If we always succeed, the one time something doesn't go our way, we could be devastated. I agree with the quotes, that show us it is alright if we fall down, because we will learn how to get up and try again. Plus, life would be boring if we never had any roadblocks or obstacles to overcome.

Inspirational Quotes

The following quotes that you shared have inspired me in ways I didn't expect.

 "Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." (Dale Carnegie)

"Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." (Bill Gates)

 Both of these quotes made me feel better about my current situation as a teacher. I know I am new at this, but this week was particularly hard for me. I had two IEP meetings back to back and the first one was just so sad. I was in a room full of people, counselors, fellow teachers, psychiatrists, and the parents of this student. To see him so unwound and not willing to come to school really hit me hard and made me really see the side of one of my students I had no idea about.

The second IEP was polar opposite of the first. The second IEP meeting I had was one that made me feel really good about being a teacher. It was a student with definite reading issues but he is one of my best students. He is so respectful and a pleasure to have in class. Comparing him to the previous student was like comparing apples and oranges.

When I got home that night all I could do was think about the differences between the two students. It’s like it was in that moment I realized just how hard it is to be a true teacher. Understanding that this journey as a teacher will be filled with such difficulties and success make it bittersweet for me. And while I know I won’t reach every single student that walks through my door, maybe through my failures with them they will be my successes with those students I am able to reach.

Mr. H

"Success from Failure"

"Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." (Dale Carnegie)

I love this quote. I agree 100% with Mr. Carnegie on this philosophy. Dale Carnegie is one of the authors I most respect. His book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has guided me through my development as a professional in the corporate world and as a budding teacher in the world of education. In fact, this very book is still used by many companies to mold their leadership and management teams even though it was written in the 1930s. I have been through many of these classes and can attest to their immense worth.

The quote above is a restatement of the human fight or flight philosophy. What Mr. Carnegie is attempting to cast light upon is that people can improve themselves if they learn from their disappointments and allow them to motivate them forward to success. Some people will embrace the challenge of failure and use it to motivate them into becoming better at whatever they failed at. At the same time, some people will quit or give up when failure occurs. If you don’t quit after a disappointment, learn from it, then you should eventually be successful.

Everyone experiences disappointment throughout their lives. How you handle each situation helps shape you into the person you are. Are you going to let letdown change your direction (flight) or will you get up and try again with more experience under your belt (fight)? Dale Carnegie wanted people to be the latter of those two. In this philosophy, you become a more successful and influential person with each step forward after disappointment, especially if you learn from it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


"Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." (Dale Carnegie) "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." (Bill Gates) I can definitely adhere to Dale Carnegie's quote about developing success from failure. It's one thing to hear how failure leads to success and it's another to actually encounter it. I recall my first week of teaching an absolute flop and somewhat being a failure. However, without that first try, I wouldn't have been able to find stamina and courage to continue on as I eventually found some success. Success for me was being able to connect with the students as a human and not just a teacher, whereas the first week was primarily focussing on learning the career of education while learning about the students. I also agree with Bill Gates quote about success being a lousy teacher and the illusion it can portray of never losing. Well, I know as a teacher, it's not always a win win situation. You have your battles and you have your wars. I have simply decided to place my energy where it fits best and that's to see my students become successful.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Inspirational Posts

I can definitely relate to Dale Carnegie's most out of the two quotes. "Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." When you are discouraged about something that you are passionate about or love and it is not working out, I honestly believe that is when you find out what type of person you are. I believe that in life, the best lessons a person can experience is under adversity. How are you going to respond, what is your attitude going to be like, will you give up easily? Those are the types of feelings a person will have when failure happens and when they are discouraged. Over a period of time and life experience, a lot of feelings of disappointment and self-doubt won't be as prevalent if you learn to take that experience as a learning tool and to not sit in your own self-pity. The second quote is also a good quote because it talks about the people who haven't gone through much adversity. I believe this applies more to the person who didn't have to work as hard to get to the top because I believe that if someone sacrificed everything they had and struggled for their entire lifetime to get to where they wanted to be, so I don't believe that success is a lousy teacher. I believe that success is a great teacher if the person worked for whatever they want because I believe they would've experienced disappointments and struggles to get to where they had to. I don't necessarily agree with this quote.

Beauty from Ashes (or scrapped knees)

After reading through the "open mic" posts I thought perhaps we should be philosophical with this post. I have selected two quotes, hoping you will gleen some inspiration. Please post what comes to mind after reading these quotes. "Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." (Dale Carnegie) "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." (Bill Gates) As I read today's topic, I stand in total agreement. I have had many successes in my career but what has formed me as an individual are a few failures that taught me great lessons. You all know me well enough to understand that I like to be the best at what ever the assignment has been given. I am somewhat of a people pleaser and that side of me will not allow me to quit. My pawpaw used to say "aint no hill for a climber" when I would share my problems with him. I didn't quite get it at the time, but now I understand. He wasn't saying that my problem wasn't a big as I thought it was, he was saying if I am determined enough the problem is just the PATH to get me where I want to go. If I sat down when things didn't go my way, I would never get where I am going (total failure). If I pressed onward, the result would be all the more sweet (total success). There have been many times I have scrapped my knee getting up that hill but the view is breathtaking when you crest the horizon. If I never fell, scrapped my knee, and kept going I might have never seen the beauty that was waiting...