What Good (and Bad) Principals Teach Us About Teaching

Students complain about bad teachers.

Johnny comes home from school and complains his teacher plays favourites because his teacher praises only a few students and bashes the rest. Johnny hates when his teacher talks about him behind his back to other teachers and even students.

Maria complains to her parents over dinner that her teacher never has time for her and never answers questions.

Jason hates that his teacher is lazy—he sits and sips Starbucks and lectures behind his desk— while expecting only the best work from his students. “It’s hyporcritical!” Jason cries to his parents.  Another teacher takes days to reply to Jason’s emails and takes weeks to mark his work, yet expects Jason’s homework to be handed in on time. “It’s just not right!” moans Jason.

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5 Easy Vocabulary Games to Fill Extra Class Time (No prep)

It happens to every teacher.

Horror of horrors, you have finished your lesson and the practice and the students are getting antsy. The promise of cafeteria Jamaican patties and French fries make your students jittery.

With 10 minutes left in class, what is to be done?

On the rare occasion that your run out of things for students to do in class, you want to have something ready to throw at your students– something fun, educational, and no-prep.

All of these games are useful in almost any subject at the start of class to review yesterday’s lesson, at the end of class to check for understanding, or for test review.

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The Secret of Classroom Management

secret of classroom management

Walmart’s back-to-school pencil ads and our janitor waxing our classroom floors can only signal one thing: the start of another school year. Along with the right-of-passage teacher nightmares of missing photocopies and the classroom troublemaker, leaving us sweaty and vigilant in our beds, the new year that rises to meet us teachers offers a handshake—a truce, an agreement to do this year right.

Will you do this year right?

Looming large in most teachers’ minds is classroom management. Last year, the spit balls were too wet, the gum under desks too sticky, and the noise level in their classrooms too loud.

Ragged and resentful, these teachers decide: something must be done.

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The Happy Teacher Habits by Michael Linsin (Summary & Review)

Happy teacher habits
You too can be a happy teacher.

Do you feel tired and exhausted during the school year and not sure what to do about it?

Do you wish your lessons were better, but you just don’t have the time for late-nights planning at home?

Do you wish you had time each work night to enjoy family dinner and the hobbies that, prior to teaching, were once part of your life?

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13 Incredibly Useful Websites for Teachers of English

13 Incredibly useful websites for teachers of english

“What are still you doing here? It’s 6 pm.”

And so began most of my conversations with Jerry, the janitor at my previous school, in the first three years of my teaching.

Hunched over my keyboard, my red eyes peering into my computer screen, like a shipwrecked tourist searching for a chunk of floating wood, I googled endless combinations of words in search for the perfect worksheet, the lesson, the video, that would allow me a bit of rest and keep a group of teens pacified– and,  I dared to hope– interested.

Back then, planning a unit or even one lesson was a burden.

Today, with the sites I’ve discovered, the planning is much easier. Here are the 13 websites for English teachers I can’t live without.

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Would You Sign Up for Your Own Class?

Would you put an “X” for “yes” beside your own English class if you were a student with a course enrollment sheet in hand?

If you were a student today, would you choose to sign up to  your own class?

The answer to that question may well be the million-dollar question.

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This is Your Soul Writing. Don’t Waste Your Summer.

As a teacher, you pine for summer vacation like a fat kid pines for ice cream and a Big Mac. Don’t pretend for a second that isn’t true. I don’t mean to say you and I don’t love children, or  that we don’t love what we do. But the teaching grind–it grinds you down. And when the summer comes, all you want to do is put your ground up self in a hot tub and soak and become coffee.

You, teacher, want to be fully alive again.

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5 Simple Ways to Raise Academic Expectations in Your Classroom

In a post earlier this month, I went over the research showing that a teacher’s high academic standards and expectations result in student success.

I always knew high standards work intuitively. My best teachers—the strict-as-nothing English, music, and karate teachers—all pushed me to new heights. They expected and demanded new heights, and I jumped up to deliver.

Now that I’m a teacher, I teach the same way.

Through observation and the reading of research, I’ve found the five secrets of high expectations teachers that any teacher can follow.

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Stop Stressing About Teaching–It’s Never Worth It

 At my father’s funeral on a rainy day twelve years ago, the church was nearly empty and only two people cried.

My mom and I cried, and everyone else present stood dry-eyed, unperturbed, that a man who had lived 42 years on this Earth would be buried under mud.

But I don’t blame them. I know why they didn’t cry.

My dad was a man of integrity. But when he died in an accident, he was a shadow of his former self.

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