Duck Syndrome and Servant Leadership

Topics for this week include teen phone usage, the power of pre-tests, and authenticity.

Duck Syndrome and Servant Leadership
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TGIF Teacher Newsletter


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Happy Friday!

A few highlights from this week were learning from fellow educators at an area-wide teacher in-service, kicking off a Civil War project with my teaching team, and working with 8th graders to help them develop their mission statements (This means I get to revisit mine each year too).

One of the in-service sessions was about artificial intelligence in education. I can't help but wonder where this will lead in the future. On one hand, I was amazed at what some of the new AI tools could do, but on the other hand, I couldn't help but feel a creeping fear, hoping that the worst-case scenarios never become reality.

"A teacher's weekend is a sacred space, where reflection, rest, and rejuvenation pave the way for inspiration and growth." - Unknown

I hope you have a great weekend with plenty of rest and rejuvenation.

In today's newsletter...

  • Teen phone usage: How teachers can help establish healthy habits?
  • Pretesting improves exam performance and enhances learning.
  • Authenticity and consistency have positive impacts.

The News

Here are some articles and resources that grabbed my attention.

  • Bell to Bell - Teenagers are often overwhelmed by constant phone notifications, which can harm their attention span and cognitive abilities. Research indicates that teens receive numerous notifications each day, even during school hours and at night. Teachers can utilize this knowledge to raise awareness among students and collaborate with them to establish healthy phone usage habits. This includes providing guidance on managing notifications and encouraging focused attention during class time. Our school recently implemented a "bell-to-bell" policy, requiring students to store their phones in lockers throughout the day. This policy has had a significant positive impact.
  • Power of the Pretest - Pretesting, a technique less studied than post-testing, has shown promising effects in an authentic classroom setting. In a recent study, undergraduate students who were given pretests before lectures performed significantly better on final exams for both identical and related questions. I would suspect that pretesting would be beneficial at the start of any education unit. Pretesting can enhance learning by increasing attention, activating prior knowledge, and promoting effective study strategies outside of class. I’ve always wanted to be more organized with my pretesting and this research may be the push that I need.
  • Servant Leadership - Tom Thibodeau, a professor with 33 years of teaching experience, was the guest speaker at a recent professional development day. In his speech, he expressed gratitude for his job and emphasized the importance of service and leadership. He emphasized the power of words and presence in shaping classrooms and communities. I am appreciative of his support of teachers and the students in their classrooms.
  • Resource -Use the power of nature videos to engage students in science learning. The Explore Series offers lesson plans where students can learn about raptors, rank fat bears, explore the Pacific Ocean, and study orcas.
  • Resource - Thank you to @miachmiel for leading a great session on Artificial intelligence. Here are three of the resources she shared that look interesting: MagicSchool.aiDiffit, and AI for Education.
STRONG Teacher Toolkit
Here are some of my favorite resources, ideas, tools, services, and miscellaneous gadgets and goodies that keep me STRONG in both my personal and professional life.

Ideas, resources, tools, and free downloads to make your teaching life easier and more enjoyable.


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Duck Syndrome and Hustle Culture -Impostor syndrome and duck syndrome are common challenges for teachers in their personal and professional lives. These syndromes involve the fear of being exposed as a fraud and the pressure to appear competent and successful. Be wary of "hustle culture". It's not sustainable and can be unhealthy. You can find the antidote to these syndromes by embracing authenticity. Be yourself unapologetically; there is no such thing as normal.
  • Showing Up - Even though this article is written from the perspective of a runner, simply showing up has benefits that affect all aspects of your life. Consistency breeds self-confidence and the support of others. Pick your things and show up for them each day.
  • Book of Life - Life is another kind of school where we learn lessons, give gifts, and seek enjoyment. Wisdom becomes a precious commodity. We find it in the lessons from others, and we also earn it for ourselves. Mistakes become opportunities for growth and learning.
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"Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen." —Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection*)

Teacher Commuter Playlist - Dock of the Bay by Jorm and Curl - a twist on the Otis Redding classic. 

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