Topics for this week include helping students build skills for life, remembering why you started teaching, and technology use in education.
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T.G.I.F. Teacher Newsletter #66
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In today’s newsletter…
- Learn to think of education as an infinite game, not a competition
- Determine your values to make life decisions easier and lead to fewer regrets
- Improve your listening skills by focusing on emotions, posture, speech patterns, and body language instead of just words
Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.
- Infinite Game - As a teacher, you want to help your students succeed in the long run. Try thinking of education as an infinite game instead of a competition. This means focusing on skills that will help them throughout their lives, like being employable, knowing how to manage finances, and being good at problem-solving and working with others. Could be the most important things they need to know can’t be taught using a canned curriculum or standardized test.
- Know Your Why - Teaching is a demanding and rewarding profession. The increasing workload can get in the way of appreciating the great parts of the job. As teachers, we have the power to make a positive difference in the lives of our students by inspiring self-belief, expressing creativity, building relationships, and being change-makers. As you reflect on your journey as a teacher, what inspired you to become one in the first place?
- Digital Dilemma - Is technology making education worse? Antero Garcia, a professor of education, argues that while digital tools have transformed classrooms in positive ways, they might also be harming students. Garcia suggests that platforms, which collect and analyze large amounts of data, might make students feel like they are being reduced to numbers, while also causing harm and sowing disinformation. When looking back, we might find that we took off with technology a little too fast without studying the impact it would have on its users. Balanced use and continual reflection should pave the way forward.
- Tiny Wow - This site offers a variety of digital conversion tools and a collection of AI generators, which can be found at https://tinywow.com/tools. These tools allow you to remove backgrounds from images and convert PDFs to JPEGs. In addition, you can use AI tools to rewrite paragraphs and generate images from short descriptions. Many tools are available, and you could easily spend a good amount of time exploring them. Special thanks to Steve Wick for sharing this resource. I've been following him on his 30-day blogging journey.
Personal Development and Wellness Resources
- Values - Determining your values can help make life decisions easier and lead to fewer regrets. They become the things you rely on in both the good times and the bad. The process involves figuring out what matters most to you and attaching behaviors to those ideals. To get started, ask yourself questions such as what has made you happiest in life, what you are most proud of, and how you would spend your time if you could start over. Find someone who will ask good questions to bounce your ideas off of. This is also a good exercise to try with students.
- Slow It Down - Do you feel like you're always rushing through tasks and under pressure to finish quickly? Tara McMullin, a baking and running enthusiast, shares her own journey of discovering the value of slowing down and being patient. Through the practice of baking, she learned to enjoy the process rather than just focus on the end product. Develop your resistance to societal pressure to be productive all the time, and instead, embrace a slower and more mindful approach to life.
- Say What - True listening involves noticing all the different ways people communicate, from micro-expressions to the cadence of speech. To improve listening, focus on emotions, posture, speech patterns, and body language instead of just words. Another way to improve listening is to pause and reflect on what the speaker is saying, rather than formulating your response right away. Adding depth to your listening skills can increase the strength of your relationships.
"Don't just learn, experience.
Don't just read, absorb.
Don't just change, transform.
Don't just relate, advocate.
Don't just promise, prove.
Don't just criticize, encourage.
Don't just think, ponder.
Don't just take, give.
Don't just see, feel.
Don’t just dream, do.
Don't just hear, listen.
Don't just talk, act.
Don't just tell, show.
Don't just exist, live."
— Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)*
- Game - Can you escape?
- Defining Moments - What is a defining moment in your life? My Answer - Deciding to be a camp counselor for just one summer. One summer turned into five. I was going to school for business, but my camp experience changed my mind and I switched over to education. Many of the best things in my life stem from that defining moment. What's yours? [Three Things]
- Poetry - Check out the Sims Library of Poetry. Poetry makes the world a better place.
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