PCA

Can we talk??

From Our Executive Director, Jacqueline Hicks (March 2017 Newsletter):

One of the things teachers identify as a reason for leaving their profession is that they don’t feel supported by their administrator/principal. I choose to interpret this as a need for relationship – a better relationship between the Leader and his/her Followers. (Check out our ‘10 Things Principals Don’t Tell Their Teachers But Should’ blog post. )

I am remembering my experiences as both teacher (follower) and administrator (leader), and I can share how I felt in both roles. As a teacher, I wanted my boss to support me in fulfilling the agreements of my teaching contract and allow me to participate and contribute my gifts. I wanted confirmation about the things I was doing well, and help with the things that were challenging. As the administrator, I wanted my teachers to enthusiastically embrace my vision and help me realize my goals for our students. I wanted partners who would let me know when they thought I was veering off track, and who would add their efforts and ideas to our joint success. I wanted relationships with colleagues who would be responsible and hold me accountable. In my conversations with other teachers and other administrators, they have expressed desires for a similar kind of rapport.

Unfortunately, I found the opportunities to discuss, reflect and improve upon our joint efforts were few and far between. Both as teacher and administrator, the lack of opportunities was disheartening. It wasn’t just lack of time, but also lack of courage and, more importantly, lack of skill. It felt risky to attempt to have conversations about my and other people’s performances. It seemed to me that not only did my colleagues find speaking […]

By | March 22nd, 2017|Adminstrators, Congruence, Empathy, PCA, Teacher|0 Comments

Don’t Be Afraid of Betsy DeVos

From Our Executive Director, Jacqueline Hicks (February 2017 Newsletter):

Consider:

  • Much has been wrong about our education system, long before DeVos became our Secretary of Education.
  • Less than 10% of the money for public education comes from the federal government.
  • Best to focus on what WE ALL can do to make our local schools great.
  • Start by looking at what teachers, parents, and students know works and do that.
  • Think global and act local – start with your local school board and your school’s PTA.

My time as an education reformer began in 1997 with California’s Charter School Movement well underway. As a parent of a very unhappy 7th grader, my husband and I had to face the fact that our local public school was not meeting our needs or those of our young son. My husband with his lifetime California teaching credential had a very good idea of what makes a classroom a quality learning environment. Fortunately, we found a new, innovative, charter middle school that fit us to a T. I became a very involved parent and I learned what best practices, small class size, project based learning, field work, portfolios, understanding learning style differences, and integrating subjects around a yearlong theme could do for my son’s happiness and success in school.

Taking what I was learning at the charter school and combining it with my knowledge of and experience with the Person-Centered Approach (gained largely at the Center for Studies of the Person founded by Dr. Carl R. Rogers and colleagues), I developed a leadership curriculum for middle and high school students. I then went on to start, with my friend and partner Linda Reed, Cortez Hill Academy charter middle and high school. Our foundation […]

By | February 16th, 2017|Education, PCA, Teacher|3 Comments

A Teacher’s Point of View on the Current State of Education

Education Transformations received the following in an email from a teacher who found us online.  We thought it was so interesting, we got permission to share it.  We’d love to hear your perspective – do you agree, disagree, or how did this strike you?

I am Marco Franco, a fifty-nine year old high school teacher in Laredo, Texas, and I am planning to apply Carl Rogers’ Student Center Teaching, as well as his Humanistic Education theories, in my classroom throughout the Spring Semester, which begins [in January 2017].

For the past twelve years, I have been teaching English, ESL, Oral Interpretation, Practical Writing and mentoring college composition classes. Also, I made a brief stint facilitating leadership and team dynamics workshops at the local community college.

Nowadays the educational system is in crisis and rapidly deteriorating. When we learn about it in the newspaper or through the TV news, it just becomes another short-lived news clip to be buried again by tomorrow’s newest news. Witnessing the failure of the educational system day after day in the classroom, and going home knowing that we, teachers, cannot improve it becomes a daily frustration.

True teachers do teach despite all hindrances, while many others end up conforming to the state of affairs, resigning, or just teaching to the test. However, the elephant is in the room.

The gap between the academic curricula and the student population is widening every year. On one side we have the state education agencies enforcing End Of Course Tests (EOCs), assessing and ranking school districts according to their test performances, and complete school districts teaching to the test to get the coveted “Exemplary” status and more federal money.

On the other side, there is the student population emerging from dysfunctional […]

By | February 15th, 2017|Education, Empathy, PCA, Teacher|0 Comments

Circle Up with Empathy!

From our Sept. 2016 Newsletter, by Jackie Hicks:

Start the School Year with Circle Time

I’m hoping that you are starting the new school year with excitement, energy and enthusiasm, armed with fresh ideas, confidence in your curriculum, and eagerness to meet your new students.  This is the time of year when possibilities are abundant.  How you deal with the first two to three weeks is crucial in getting off to a good start with students and establishing your classroom culture.  If you are willing to invest in building relationships amongst you and your students as the priority for those first weeks of school, you will reap the benefit throughout the school year.  For that purpose, I suggest you provide regular time and guidance practicing CIRCLE TIME with your students, starting on the first day of school.

CIRCLE TIME can be extremely effective in establishing rapport among students and teachers, while also developing a classroom culture that teaches and strengthens social-emotional skills. Kindergarten is a good place for students to begin experiencing sitting in a circle facing each other as they get to know themselves and each other by listening and sharing their thoughts and feelings.  HOWEVER, Circle Time isn’t just for Kindergarten.  In fact, at every grade level there are important social and emotional developmental growth goals that can be addressed during CIRCLE TIME.  Parents, teachers and community members want to see children develop character, which is becoming more urgent as we see the lack of empathy, kindness, and personal responsibility occurring in our society.

What is CIRCLE TIME?  It is special and regular time when everyone in class (students and teachers) sits together in a circle on the floor or in chairs facing […]

By | September 28th, 2016|Education, Empathy, PCA, Teacher|0 Comments

One Exceptional Math Teacher!

This post was first published on Glennon Doyle Melton’s blog, Momasteryon Jan. 30, 2014. In less than a day it was shared more than 1 million times. It is inspirational, and we wanted to share it with you.

Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
Who doesn’t even know who to request?
Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down — right away — who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children — I think that this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of […]

By | December 10th, 2014|Bullying, Education, Empathy, PCA, Teacher|1 Comment

Education Reform: the Missing Ingredient…

For decades, there has been one educational reform movement after another.  Many of these movements even advocate similar best practices.  Mostly, however, these reform movements fail.  We think that is because there is one crucial piece that repeatedly gets left out of the formula.  This missing piece is the significance of student-teacher relationships and their impact on learning, and what’s needed to improve those relationships.  Adding in this key ingredient is what is necessary for our system to produce its desired educational result: all children receiving a quality education that prepares them well for college and/or career.

THE PROBLEM
In classrooms, a significant percentage of learning is dependent upon the relationship teachers have with their students.  People need relationships and connection; however, most people have difficulty with relationships, even finding them painful and stressful.  As children we learn to relate to others initially through our parents and families.  People often carry unresolved baggage from their familial relationships that affects their current relationships, both at work, as well as in their personal lives.

For teachers this can be highly problematic, given our understanding that much of the learning in class occurs through the student/teacher relationship.  Even the best teachers are faced with some students who are difficult to reach – a good teacher can reach all of their students some of the time, and some of their students all of the time, but it is a rare teacher who can reach all of their students all of the time.  And unfortunately, in their credentialing education, most teachers do not learn the necessary skills for building effective relationships with their students, parents and colleagues. Thus a gap remains between student and teacher, resulting in disconnection, alienation, class disruptions […]

By | October 2nd, 2014|Education, From the Staff, PCA, Teacher, Workshop|0 Comments