4 min read

Pension Pac-Man and Ripples

Topics for this week include teacher pensions, using ChatGPT, and resources for creating a positive classroom environment.
Pension Pac-Man and Ripples
Photo by shark ovski / Unsplash

Happy Friday

T.G.I.F. Teacher Newsletter #81

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In today’s newsletter…

  • Teacher pension costs have tripled over the last two decades, but the increased costs have not led to better benefits for teachers and other school district employees.
  • Educators can use ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot, to help with lesson planning and back-to-school activities.
  • Resources for creating a positive classroom environment, building relationships with students, and personal and professional development are available for teachers.

The News

Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.

  • Pension Pac Man - A new report from the Equable Institute shows that teacher pension costs have tripled over the last two decades, rising from $21.8 billion in 2001 to $63.7 billion in 2021, and those increased costs have not led to better benefits for teachers and other school district employees. States have been systematically reducing the value of their benefits in response to the rising costs. This appears to be another area where teacher compensation is falling behind inflation. This is troubling, as a "teacher pension" used to be one of the most attractive features of a teaching career.
  • ChatBot Teacher’s Assistant - "Revolutionize your lesson planning and back-to-school activities with the help of artificial intelligence," suggests Kathleen Palmieri in her article on how educators can use ChatGPT, a generative chatbot from Open AI. With the ability to create prompts for text responses, compose emails, and generate activity ideas for the first week of school, ChatGPT can help teachers batch-plan lessons for the entire year. However, Palmieri cautions that it is important to be specific in the input provided and to carefully read through the responses generated. I’m looking forward to the day when AI can offer actionable feedback to students regarding their written work.
  • Ripples - Are you a fan of the Hardy Boys? Here's a story about the positive impact teachers can have on the lives of their students. As the school year begins, it's important to remember that all actions carried out with good intentions create positive ripples with exponential benefits that can never be fully known.
  • Back to School Resource - This first couple of weeks set the tone for the rest of the school year. Explore these resources for creating a positive classroom environment, building relationships with students, and personal and professional development. You’ll find some of my favorite go-to activities - Back to School Resources for Teachers: Tips and Tools for a Successful Start.

Growth

Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Beautiful Spaces - Workplace design can impact our performance and well-being. Research on environmental psychology shows that shaping your workplace can help you become your best self at work.
  • Just Do It - Karl Pilkington is a British television presenter, author, comedian, and actor. He is best known for his work on the Ricky Gervais Show and the travel documentary series An Idiot Abroad. He said, “You won’t get anything done by planning.” Some sort of plan is necessary to complete a project or achieve a goal, but it will never happen without “the doing”. There is something to be said for learning as you go.
  • Jam On - Music has the power to evoke wonder and awe in people by triggering the production of brain chemicals associated with pleasure and reward. Listening to music can synchronize brain waves, creating a sense of connection. Music can also reduce stress, deepen breathing, and lower heart rate, leading to a feeling of being more connected to others and the world around us.

Inspiration

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo

As I was driving to meet the rest of the Summertime Painters for work this week, "Every Minute" by JJ Grey and MOFRO started playing. The sun was shining and it reminded me of all there is to be grateful for.

Feels so good to be warm - in the sun
Loving every minute of living
So good to be warm - in the sun
Loving every minute of living

Favorite Things

  • Simplification - Over the years I have simplified my teaching wardrobe. It's turned into a rotation of outfits. Here are 10 reasons why wearing the same things often can simplify your life.
  • Support - I've sent out the T.G.I.F. Teacher Newsletter for 81 weeks in a row. I've started to develop a weekly routine that has helped me manage this Friday deadline. I'm very thankful to Joan, Wayne, Perry, Merry, Laura, Sherri, and Erin for their support. I currently use a service called "Buy Me a Coffee" which gives readers the option to support this newsletter. If you'd like to support the T.G.I.F. Teacher Newsletter click here and THANK YOU!
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