Saturday, February 28, 2009

Red Ink--is it that bad?

I recently had some professional development that focused on ways to cultivate positive relationships with students, something that all teachers (ideally) value; it's always a fine line to both support students's ideas while at the same time maintain respect for the truth during class discussions-- as a teacher in the classroom leading a discussion, you'll inevitably get some responses that are way off and, no matter how you cut it, are just 'wrong.' ...navigating these kinds of classroom discussions is definitely a skill that improves with time and experience.

There was one point during the PD that I just can't buy: that students' self esteem is effected by using red pens to correct their errors... that the very choice of ink color (red) is a factor that can demoralize students. The argument put forth, as best as I could tell, was that since red has been used so often to correct students that this ink color is a psychological trigger for students, one both demoralizing and damaging.
I must say that I wholeheartedly disagree with this. I use red pen simply to distinguish the color of my remarks from the color of the student's ink. Oftentimes, the comments that I write in red are quite positive or neutral. In the end, I believe that a teacher's rapport with students is what will demoralize or uplift the students' response to your feedback, regardless of whether you use red ink, blue ink or pink ink.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Teacher Resources Reviews I : Math Resources

I wanted to take some time to write about quality resources for teachers and try to get the word out about some cool things I've seen that might help you in the classroom as much as it's helped me.  One of the coolest math teacher resources  that I've encountered is Drexel's Math Forum . It's one of the first stops for newbie math teachers. On the forum, you can find all sorts of threads relating to instructional technology, teaching methods, and even content based threads about math.  

Grade for this resource:  A-  (All right, all right I have high standards!)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Budget Cuts and Teacher Jobs

If you've got any sense of what's going on in the world, you know that the US and many other countries are in a recession, and you might be wondering if your teaching job is secure.  Interestingly enough, teaching is considered one of the more recession proof jobs  Nonetheless, even schools are tightening their belts and in some cases cutting down on their workforce.  From talking to teacher in other disctricts, the first jobs that are cut are, not suprisingly, the teacher aides, and some schools are also cutting down on the ranks of teachers. 

What does this all boil down to? If your the lowest person on the totem pole, especially if you don't have tenure, you might want to update that resume, to start networking with other teachers (A good place to meet other teachers is at --a social network for teachers!) 

When all is said and done though, we are in a much better profession than most during these tough economic times. My good friend, an investment banker, who for years has made much much more money than I... is currently unemployed.  If you're a teacher and looking for a job, here are some good teacher placement services--I've personally used Carney Sandoe, Independent School Placement and OlAS at one point or another (see previous link for more info).