Pointing to a surge in teacher job losses in the region, an article in the Utica (N.Y.) Observer-Dispatch highlights alternative career options for educators. It cites the example of a 20-year teaching veteran in the area who four years ago started her own business as a district professional development consultant. Some educators, the article notes, may find that, with a little reconfiguring, they may be able to position themselves for private-industry jobs as well. "The whole context of education has changed," says Patrice Hallock, chair of the education program at Utica College. "Our teachers who are coming out of ...


A new study out of the University of Illinois suggests that teachers may not always be well-equipped to respond effectively to students' emotional outbursts, according to a report on Psychcentral.com. For the study, researchers collected self-assessments from 24 student-teachers relating to their own emotion-regulation tendencies and their beliefs about students' emotional lives. The student-teachers were then periodically monitored in their classroom interactions with children. The study found that the student-teachers who had reported more developed strategies for mananging the own emotions—through situational "reappraisal," for example—provided more supportive responses to children's emotional flare-ups. Also beneficial was holding ...


The Washington Post's Emma Brown takes a deep dive into the proceedings surrounding a tenured Virginia teacher's fight against termination. The piece illustrates the complexity of defining what makes a good or bad teacher—especially in a district like Fairfax County, which has historically not taken any student achievement measures into account in making that determination. (That will change next year when Virginia follows many other states' leads in requiring student achievement to be a "significant" factor in teacher evaluations.) Violet Nichols, a mentor teacher with more than 30 years experience and a doctorate, was recommended for dismissal on the ...


Instructional technologist Bud the Teacher has some decidedly non-high-tech advice for writing teachers who want to streamline their grading process. Grade less: And that doesn't mean that teachers shouldn't ask students to write, and write often. But we don't need to grade everything that comes to us. In fact, we should grade very little of it. Heck, and I know this'll sound a bit weird, but we shouldn't even read all the writing we ask students to do. He goes on to contend that the assumption that teachers will read and mark up everything students write is at cross-purposes with ...


For the 2nd year running, our blogger Anthony Cody is among the winners of the California Teachers Association's annual John Swett Awards for Media Excellence. The award recognizes "outstanding achievements in reporting and interpreting public education issues during 2011." Say what you will about him—and people certainly do—he's a passionate and enterprising blogger who generates a lot of dialogue around big issues and initiatives facing the education field. I can also attest that he's exceptionally conscientious about his work and open to feedback—which (some might be surprised to hear) make him a pleasure to work with. Congratulations,...


Concerned that the teaching profession is rife with misconceptions about the connections between brain research and learning, a number of scientists and academics are advocating increased formal training for K-12 educators in neuroscience, according to an Education Week story. Some of the ideas mentioned certainly sound enriching and potentially constructive: Dr. Janet N. Zadina, a former high school teacher who is now an adjunct assistant professor in neurology at Tulane University, in New Orleans, said more cross-training of teachers and neuroscientists, including lab work for the teachers and classroom experience for the researchers, would help stop the "telephone game" of ...


Eleven-year-old Tyler Sullivan brought his teacher arguably one of the best excuse notes for missing class ever written: Mr. Ackerman— Please excuse Tyler ... he was with me! Barack Obama Rather than attend school June 1, Tyler had gone with his father to see the president give a speech at Honeywell in Minneapolis, according to The Huffington Post. The fifth grader was standing in the front row when the president shook his hand and chatted with him about school. Obama then pulled out his presidential stationery and penned the note to Tyler's teacher. The paper has yet to report whether Tyler's...


In a push to improve early childhood education for English-language learners, Illinois will soon require pre-K teachers who work with ELLs to earn ESL credentials, Maggie Severns writes in The Washington Post. The change in Illinois' policy regarding ELLs may serve as a lesson to other states, according to Severns, a policy analyst for the New America Foundation's Early Education Initiative—especially given the recent news that minority babies now account for a majority of all births in the U.S. "Training teachers who give immigrant children their first systematic exposure to English sounds like common sense—but in almost...


With more pressure than ever on teachers to demonstrate their effectiveness, professional development has become big business. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education gives districts more than $1 billion annually for teacher-training programs (and that's not including Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants funds), according to Beth Fertig and Sarah Garland of The Hechinger Report. But the era of accountability in education has not trickled down to PD providers themselves. The authors contend that there's been little reliable research on the companies, programs, and universities that are being hired to help teachers improve their practice. A ...


USA Today has an interesting article on the rise of Khan Academy, the popular and well-funded video-lesson provider founded by former hedge fund manager Sal Khan. As the article notes, Khan's success is partly responsible for the momentum behind the concept of the "flipped classroom," where students watch expert videos on their own time and then do "homework" or review with their teacher during normal class time. For investors and education reformers, the flipped classroom has come to represent a bold and much-needed new paradigm for instructional delivery in the digital era. But it is a source of divisiveness among ...


Two researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have created a robot teacher that can gauge students' level of attention and use some of the same techniques as human teachers to bring it back, according to the United Kingdom-based New Scientist.


Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews reports that a relatively under-the-radar Teacher Home Visit Program in Missouri is having a noticeable impact on student performance: A study by the St. Louis public school system last year of 616 home visits found that the third- to sixth-grade students involved had an increase in average math grades and that the grades of students not involved declined. A study of 586 home visits in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District showed students involved had better attendance. In the Missouri program, Mathews notes, the teachers are paid for the extra time they spend in ...


In a Wall Street Journal article, science writer Jonah Lehrer points to a growing body of research showing that spending time outdoors can provide significant cognitive benefits. A forthcoming study from the University of Kansas, he reports, finds that Outward Bound participants on an extended hike scored 50 percent higher on a creativity test than those not yet on the trail. Similarly, a 2009 study found that just taking a walk in an arboretum significantly boosted college students' performance on tests of attention and short-term memory. And a number of studies have shown that students with attention-deficit disorder exhibit improved ...


The New Haven Independent has a nice profile of a 7th grade teacher at a "turnaround" school in New Haven, Conn., who describes how the move from a small town to a big city forced him to reinvent his teaching style.


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed new legislation that would give local school districts or the chancellor—as opposed to hearing officers—the final say on whether a teacher accused of sexual misconduct is fired, according to a press release. Under the current law, outside hearing officers decide on the cases and impose binding penalties. A statement from the mayor's office, however, claims that the law has prevented the Department of Education from terminating teachers, even after an outside investigator concluded there had been inappropriate sexual conduct. The mayor's press release provides an example: [T]he Special Commissioner...


Memorial Day Weekend Special: A Washington Post article reports on the apparent gradual erosion of the teaching profession's most envied perk—the summer break. With the nation's economy still staggering and promised salary increases on hold, the article says, many teachers opt to take seasonal jobs, continue working second jobs, or teach summer school in order to stay afloat. Some also seek to bolster their prospects for those supposed salary increases by taking courses toward advanced degrees or special credentials. Then there are the ever-present—and, the unions point out, sometimes unpaid—lesson-planning duties, staff training activities, review sessions,...


The growing numbers of second-generation Latino students attending U.S. schools pose new challenges for teachers, according to a Fox News Latino report. These students are often fluent in English but use speech infused with Spanish accents, rhythm, and usage that they pick up in their Latino communities. By the same token, they struggle with the standard English that is generally needed to perform well on standardized tests and other school assignments. Fox News Latino cites a study conducted in Texas that looked at ways to raise these students' competency in standard English. Linguists who worked on the study argue ...


Worried that her students aren't ready for upcoming English Regents exam, the normally droll NYC teacher Miss Eyre finds herself coming a bit unglued: I freely admit that I'm not handling this well. I'm taking it personally, practically as an affront to me, that my kids don't seem 100% ready this close to the test. I'm comparing my students to the other teachers' student and blaming myself for them not measuring up. I'm making myself sick over it, wondering what I've been doing wrong all year, talking myself down from freaking out on whatever child or colleague happens to be ...


A news outlet in Ann Arbor, Mich., reports on a local educator—a former nonprofit professional in her 40s with an MA in education and an endorsement in learning disabilities—who has been looking for a full-time teaching position for seven years now.


Greg Limperis, supervisor of instructional technology in Lawrence, Mass., says current school data-system dashboards are too voluminous and static to meet the instructional needs of today's teachers. So he envisions an alternative that is more timely, interactive, and mobile: Imagine with me a day when a teacher can walk around the classroom connected to the intranet or Internet and speak a question that's automatically transcribed, assigned to a student, responded to, and relayed back to the teacher to help a student. With instant data collection, a teacher can pinpoint and diagnose student trouble points, know who lacks understanding in precisely ...


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