Workshop

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

What makes a Teacher Exceptional?

When you observe an exceptional teacher’s classroom, one of the first things you notice is how engaged the students are, how well everyone seems to be getting along, and that the students would probably do anything for that teacher!  Think about your favorite teachers. Chances are they were passionate, fun, knowledgeable, as well as fair.  And you knew you were important to them!  If they made a mistake, they admitted it, and if you made a mistake, it was easily forgiven.  In fact, mistakes were simply viewed as learning opportunities, and nobody was made “wrong.”

Exceptional teachers are often inspired by the teachers they admired from their past.  For exceptional teachers, teaching isn’t just their job, it’s their calling.  And because they are creative and inventive with curriculum, they are able to engage and motivate their students.  Their classrooms are welcoming, safe places to learn.

In speaking with teacher of the year award winners and nominees, one key element of success that they all mention is how important it is to have great relationships with their students.  Likewise, when students are asked what qualities they love about their favorite teachers, they say, in addition to being fun, knowledgeable and fair, that they have “real” relationships with these teachers, and that they are treated with respect, and as a person with unique qualities.

At the end of the year teachers are evaluated for their performance. Exceptional teachers are self-evaluating and reflective of their own performance.  They are able to acknowledge themselves for the things they did well, and to set goals for improving the things they want to do better.  They seek feedback from their students, parents, colleagues and administrators to continue improving and growing.

We offer our workshop […]

By | September 1st, 2014|Education, Teacher, Workshop|0 Comments

7 Deadly Signs of Teacher Burnout

Have you “lost that lovin’ feeling” for the very job that is your passion and your calling? Do you find yourself engaging in the following signs of burnout?

  1. Taking shortcuts with lesson plans.
  2. Arriving late and leaving early.
  3. Engaging in sarcasm and hostile humor.
  4. Avoiding staff meetings and parent meetings.
  5. Frequently calling in sick on Mondays and Fridays whether real or not.
  6. Hanging out with the whiners and moaners complaining about students, parents, and the administration.
  7. Blaming students, colleagues, parents and administration for what’s not working at school.

Sometimes teachers find themselves hating the job they used to love without seeing it coming.  All of a sudden you find you are experiencing signs of burnout.  The causes of burnout are cumulative. We can all recover from a few bad days.  However, when feelings of dissatisfaction about our own or other people’s performance begin to take hold and go unaddressed, we start to isolate ourselves from others.  We feel overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, unappreciated for our contributions, and powerless to change what is not working in the system. Lack of respect and lack of acknowledgment from students, parents, peers and administrators leaves us uncertain about the future of our jobs and careers.  Conflicts with students, parents, peers and administrators that remain unresolved build into feelings of failure, negative self-talk and even depression. Perhaps you are a teacher who is chasing your own tale.

There is a way back and you don’t have to do it alone.  Start by remembering when you loved being a teacher:

  1. Make a list of all the reasons you became a teacher in the first place.
  2. Start hanging out with teachers who are enthusiastic about their students and encouraging about their work.
  3. Make time for yourself—exercise, meditate, pamper yourself, eat healthy foods, […]
By | June 16th, 2014|Education, Teacher, Workshop|1 Comment

“A Taste of Transformation!” Workshop Launched!

The first day of our six week mini-series is in the books and wow what a great group we have. The focus on this first meeting was empathic listening.

Active, or empathic, listening comes from the theories of Carl Rogers’ person-centered-therapy. This type of listening involves a person listening to another person, and then responding to that person using techniques such as paraphrasing. In this way, the listener restates what has been said, which demonstrates empathy, and shows that he/she was listening and understanding what was being said. This is very useful when a person feels they have something meaningful to say, because they will feel much better about, and be more likely to share it with you if they feel you are actively listening.

Overall the first day of this series went great, as the participants shared many useful things they had gotten from it. We look forward to the next 5 weeks as we explore even more ways the Person Centered Approach can be used in schools.

By | February 3rd, 2014|Empathy, PCA, Workshop|0 Comments