Topics for this week include consistency in education, how to handle defiant students, and end-of-the-year review games.

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TGIF Teacher Newsletter


Today's email is brought to you by caffeine and eye rolls.

Happy Friday!

This week, I've been thinking about the big picture. We only get one part of the story if we don’t take the time to take in all of the available information.

We were at the high school for a transition day earlier this week. If you observed for just a few minutes, you might have noticed some questionable behavior, but if you stuck around for the entire day, you would see a different story. My highlight for this week was watching high school students work with 8th graders to help set them up for a successful freshman year.

Leave enough time for the whole story to unfold, there's a win in there somewhere!

Have a great weekend!

The News

Here are some articles and resources that grabbed my attention.

  • Mediocre - In the relentless pursuit of perfection, we often forget to appreciate the value of consistency and dedication. In the world of education, there’s this constant push to be more. Whether it’s becoming the Pinterest-worthy teacher, integrating the latest technologies, or crafting revolutionary lessons, the pressure is real. Perhaps we should challenge the concept of 'mediocrity' by treasuring the small moments and consistently being there for our students in the teaching context.
  • Defiance - “Often teachers react defensively to obstinate behavior, creating a situation where teacher and student may become locked in a power struggle or an ineffective pattern of communication. So how does a teacher handle a student who openly defies rules, purposely tries to irritate the teacher, or has a pattern of hostile behavior toward authority?” This can be exhausting. When facing defiant behaviors in students, we can try strategies such as remaining calm, carefully selecting our words, and reinforcing positive behavior. It's important to understand the behavior's root cause in order to develop a structured plan to address it.
  • Showing Up - It’s not uncommon to have three or four students missing from my homeroom a few days a week. Rising rates of chronic absenteeism among U.S. K-12 students are proving deeply concerning, with personal issues like breakups and bullying playing a significant role. In the 2022-'23 academic year, 26% of students were chronically absent, a significant increase from the pre-pandemic rate of 15%. Schools are now prioritizing strategies to get students back in class, including personal conversations, mental health support, and flexible arrangements to accommodate students' needs. Attendance is a problem. When students are absent, teachers' workloads increase. This should be added to the discussion if we want to attract and retain teachers.
  • Resource - The end of the year presents a prime opportunity for review games. One of my all-time favorites is Grudgeball. It can get pretty intense, so use it sparingly. Here are more review game options I hope you find useful.
  • Panic Monster - If you haven’t watched this TED Talk by Tim Urban, now is the perfect time (to my AV-W co-workers reading this, please wait until I’m retired to start showing it to your students). We show it to our 8th graders each year as they prepare for their portfolio passage presentations. It’s been viewed over 55 million times.


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

  • RitualsRituals can influence your relationships and well-being. Building routines can become a powerful “driver” in your life, almost like a “cruise control.”
  • Throw it Away - A study in Japan has found that writing down negative reactions to an incident on paper and then shredding or throwing it in the trash can effectively eliminate feelings of anger. This can be a useful anger management technique, and it may explain the relief felt by participants in certain cultural traditions that involve physically discarding symbols of negative emotions.
  • Be Good To Yourself - Ditch self-criticism and embrace self-compassion to unlock your true potential. The way we speak to ourselves directly shapes our reality. Self-compassion, expressed through positive self-talk and self-affirmations, can boost resilience and well-being. Harnessing this power can transform perceived failures into growth opportunities, ultimately leading to success.


"If you do a good job for others, you heal yourself at the same time, because a dose of joy is a spiritual cure. It transcends all barriers." — Ed Sullivan.

Teacher Commuter Playlist - Free Fallin' by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Favorite Things

  • Born Today - Bob Dylan was born on this day in 1941. He's released over 40 albums since 1964. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2016.
  • Consistency - Success isn't always measured in milestones or accolades but in the quiet consistency of our efforts. Making it through the year, especially in this right frame of mind, is a testament to strength and resilience. It's more than enough. So, if you’ve ever felt like you’re just treading water, remember that sometimes, the real achievement is in the journey and the persistence.
  • Teacher Humor - This made me laugh.
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