Archive for February, 2011

February 28, 2011

How to Put a Smile On a Teacher’s Face

In a time when public schools are facing constant scrutiny find a way to brighten a teacher’s day.  It lifts my spirit when I put a smile on a child’s face. Let a teacher know how much you appreciate them.. We have to balance keeping up with teaching academics and managing a classroom. Watching thirty plus students is not easy and that can keep a teacher’s adrenaline running all day. A teacher’s day is not over when children leave the school building. We spend our time looking for ways to individualize lessons so that everyone gets it. So take the time to let a teacher know your appreciation.

February 24, 2011

Highly Paid Teachers

Are you sick of highly paid teachers???

by Jacob Moore on Monday, February 21, 2011 at 11:29pm

Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit!  We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations. LET’S SEE… That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My TI-85 calculator needs new batteries).

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage, $7.75 per hour. That would be $7.75 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $272,025 per year.

Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here. Yes, there sure is!

The average teacher’s salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

Make a teacher smile; repost this to show appreciation for all educators.

February 24, 2011

Abraham Lincoln’s Wisdom

Abraham Lincoln said “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.” This quote rings so true. I am committed to developing this site to empower teachers and I’ve decided to reach out to educators all over the world with the goal of uniting us. This blog is available to teachers whether in Chicago, Atlanta, or even Rio deJaneiro, Brazil because we all face very similar issues. While educators in Wisconsin are fighting for their benefits and pensions, I can’t help but think of what’s next for Chicago Public School teachers. While I can sit around and fear what will happen or complain about the issues present in our education system, I want to approach this problem with a more positive attitude with the hope of encouraging others to do the same. SpecialChalk.com is an opportunity for teachers all over the world to communicate and support each other. Through this blog I encourage teachers to post articles about current events that matter to them, lesson plans and comments. I am determined to succeed with your help and I will post as often as possible until the day that I reach teachers all over the world. Continue to check back for updates.

February 22, 2011

The Busy Teacher’s Power Breakfast

As a teacher I need energy to get through the day and be available to my students mentally, emotionally and physically. Therefore, I don’t ever leave home without having breakfast. I take two trains to get to work and so every morning I’m rushing to get out the door, but I always make time for a bowl of oatmeal. Eating a bowl of oatmeal with a teaspoon of honey, raisins, almonds and a banana is a great way for me to start the day because it gives me the nutrition my body needs. I exercise about four times a week so I make sure to have a snack by the time I arrive to work so that I can make it through to lunch. I constantly hear co-workers and other fellow teachers talk about how they’re just not ‘breakfast people’ or don’t have the time to eat in the morning and I’ve observed that these same people are overweight. I probably sound very critical here, but I make these observations because I notice how much my fellow teachers sacrifice to be there for children and are not taking care of themselves at the same time. It bothers me to see how these wonderful teachers are not more health conscious. Good food choices affect our well-being. I can’t stress enough how we need to take care of ourselves and not lose sight of the fact that we should be in the best of shape so that we can service children. I hope teachers visit my blog to get health and nutrition tips which will soon be available.

February 21, 2011

Voting in a New Chicago Mayor

This week we will be voting in a new Chicago mayor. Policeman, fireman and teachers are most interested in what the future mayor will bring in terms of budget strategies. As a teacher, I’m especially concerned about what concessions will be agreed upon including healthcare and our pension. With the entire country and school districts having to deal with budget deficits, I understand that sacrifices will need to be made and I believe that we should approach reality with this mentality. While we make these sacrifices that are inevitable it’s important that teachers seek out support in these difficult times. So what are we to do? Rather than sit and hope thinks will change or stay bitter about the compromises we’ll have to make as teachers, I encourage teachers to join a support group or lead one. This can be done online or through a meetup group. Send me your email so we can discuss ways you can impact education through a support group for teachers.

February 20, 2011

Instead of Criticizing Natalie Munroe…….

There’s a lot of controversy over Natalie Munroe’s blog and whether her comments as a teacher are protected under the Constitution. She has recently been suspended  for her negative comments. I don’t agree with Munroe’s decision to publish her thoughts about her students, although I’m glad that this issue has brought attention to the fact that society should become more concerned about the emotional and mental well-being of teachers. Munroe found her blog a place to vent her frustrations as a teacher. Venting to her husband was not enough so obviously teachers like Munroe need some kind of outlet or place to turn to when the demands and other frustrations of the job become overwhelming. Instead of criticizing Munroe I prefer to encourage teachers to seek  positive options for managing stress. Teachers need to be heard by others that won’t criticize and instead offer solutions and other advice to living with the demands of teaching.  When we can’t change our circumstances we should look within ourselves. Visit this site to check on developments for managing stress.

February 17, 2011

Teachers, Sinus Infections, and Sick Days

Although we enjoy teaching children, being surrounded by them for more than half the day puts us at risks for colds. Colds can make us more prone to sinus infections and as a result we’re calling in for a sick day. As teachers are under attack all over the nation, taking a sick day is frowned upon by administrators. School leaders fail to recognize that sinus infections can be pretty painful and debilitating. “Take care of yourself” is easier said than done. What happens when you are taking vitamins, ginseng and other nutrients, but none of it works? As educators we need to take more precautions when it comes to protecting ourselves from colds, the flu and other sicknesses. One suggestion is keeping  a disinfectant, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes in the classroom. Opening the classroom windows helps to air out the room. Children also need to be taught better hygiene or at least they need to be reminded to use a tissue and turn away when coughing. Not only are we responsible for teaching academics, but we also take upon ourselves to teach hygiene.  SpecialChalk.com will provide information about methods for keeping us, teachers, healthy. It is crucial that we make our health a priority. Catching a cold and developing a sinus infection can keep us from doing what we love, and that is teaching children.  Schools should also do their best to ensure that teachers and other staff are healthy. Healthy teachers are productive teachers. Support your fellow teachers and share what you do to avoid or treat colds, sinus infections, etc.

February 15, 2011

Retiring Teachers and President Obama’s State of the Union Address

So often we hear how school systems look for opportunities to retain teachers and how to ‘support’ them. Often times the support offered include more paperwork and demands on teachers such as mandated meetings led by poorly prepared staff members and the loss of preparation periods. Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado wrote “Presidential Teacher Corps: Building a 21st Century Teaching Force”, featured in the Huffington Post, and how he has helped to prepare 100,000 teachers to serve children in high need schools. This program was created in response to President Obama’s call for young people to enter the teaching profession and replace retiring teachers. Senator Bennett mentioned several times that these teachers would be accountable for results and would receive ‘support’. What kind of ‘support’ would these teachers receive? For a long time public school systems have been discussing ‘support’ but I’ve yet to hear a description of the plan to help teachers.  Have these programs defined support and how they plan to provide it?  There are various forms of support such as emotional, mental, financial support, etc. Many programs have failed to provide teachers with the guidance they need in the first years of teaching and therefore research continues to say that teachers leave within the first five years of teaching. Support can come in many ways and SpecialChalk.com aims to be an advocate of teachers. SpecialChalk.com will offer several sections of interests for teachers such as informative posts, support groups, and a section for teachers to share their thoughts in a written post or video. Stay tuned!



February 13, 2011

Teachers and Obesity: Are We Role Models?

Teachers can play a critical role in fighting obesity in children. However, many times we don’t follow the nutrition lessons we present to students and more importantly we need to be more conscious of obesity within ourselves.  I myself am guilty of snacking on chips and cookies and other foods with no nutritional value.  However, I am very conscious about what I prepare for breakfast, lunch and dinner because my goal is to stay healthy and live a long life.  I understand that the work day does not end at 2:30 and so we get caught up grading and preparing lessons while snacking and watching TV. While working as a full-time teacher and completing several degrees I gained weight. I made very poor choices because I thought I didn’t have the energy or time to prepare meals. I used being ‘too busy’ as an excuse until I finally told myself that I had to take control of my eating habits. Sometimes as teachers we stretch ourselves thin trying to provide extra tutoring and other services when we should be taking care of ourselves too. What really motivated me to return to exercising and eating right is when I began to gain weight around my waist,, I knew then that it could lead to heart problems. Many teachers are unaware of the health risks we put ourselves in. My health is a priority and eating right helps me to stay positive and more available to my students. Support your fellow teachers by giving some ideas about what you do to make the right choices when preparing lunches and snacks or even how you curb your cravings in healthy way.    According to a recent article published in The Telegraph, five women were denied teaching positions because they were considered obese. The Department of Public Management in Sao Paulo said “there are cases in which obesity can be considered an illness, according to the standards of the World Health Organisation” and that those entering public service work must enjoy good health. What do you think?

February 10, 2011

Stories of Inspiration: Adjusting the Sails

All teachers have stories of inspiration to tell that keep us motivated. You are invited to write your story or share it through a video.

Here’s my story:

As I was running home from work the other day I ran into a former student. She shared with me that she chose to take an Advanced Placement Chemistry class this school year. She went on to say that she remembered a lot of the material I taught and felt very confident to take on an AP chemistry class. Her huge smile indicated that she felt pretty proud of herself and I felt the same way. After saying our good-byes, I asked myself, ‘what could I have covered in a sixth-grade chemistry unit that would have prepared her for an AP course?’ A few seconds later I asked myself a more important question, ‘why can’t you just give yourself a pat on the back?’. With everyone scrutinizing public education, it can be difficult at times to see the good that we do. Many of those that criticize education are not even teachers or in schools and have never worked with children. This is why it is so important for teachers to support each other. I invite teachers to share their stories and join our support groups so that we can encourage to continue in our plight to educate public school children. As Jimmy Dean said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” I hope you share your story.