Teacher Inservice Day

So this year we have two inservice days in the middle of the year. They were actually interesting today, too! We looked at math across the curriculum, well, problem solving really, and writing across the curriculum.

As a school this year we don’t have time to waste. Every minute of the school day needs to include instructional work. Every minute of faculty meetings, department meetings, inservices, etc. need to be involved with preparation to do a better and smarter job of working with our kids. A friend just sent an article that really puts the onus on me as a teacher and takes away any excuses I might have for lack of performance from my students.

Results of a Recent Study. We live in an era of unprecedented academic and neuroscientific research. I just finished doing a study on twelve high poverty schools from three time zones and five states. Every one of these schools had 75% or more students from poverty. But, half of them were high-flyers, with school achievement scores in the top 25% of their state. The other half of the schools struggled; their scores were in the bottom 25% of their state. The demographics were identical. The two cohorts of schools (low and high performers) also shared many of the same values. When I offered statements such as, “I believe in my kids,” both school staffs said, “I strongly agree.” So, what was different?

It’s not poverty that makes the difference; it was the teachers. The difference was that the high-performing teachers actually “walked the walk.” First, the classroom and school climate was MUCH better at the high-performers. Secondly, the teachers at the high-performing schools didn’t complain about kids not “being smart” or being unmotivated. They made it a priority and built engagement, learning, thinking and memory skills every day. In short, they didn’t make excuses; they just rolled up their sleeves and built better student brains. I show you how they did it in my new book on poverty, but first a preview.

I have always believed this, actually. I just don’t know how well I live by the principles stated here. I need to keep focusing on students and student engagement. How do I get kids so involved that they don’t want to leave? And that is the everyday issue before me…and ever single one of my colleagues.

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