Sometimes It’s a Struggle to Write

It's a misleading picture given the nature of the post... this is the book that's set to come out by the end of December. Very excited for that.

It’s a misleading picture given the nature of the post… this is the book that’s set to come out by the end of December. Very excited for that.

It’s easy to empathize with students who struggle to start or those who can’t finish. This weekend, I find myself unmotivated and uninspired. 

Two things I hardly ever can call myself.

It’s difficult and challenging for me when something I gather so much joy from is simply absent. Instead there is a vacuous void of dissatisfaction with the flow of words or even what to write about.

So this is what you get…

Me writing about not knowing what to write about or why.

Sometimes personal struggles impede the creative process, fogging up the glass of clarity and mock me.

Right now I’m being mocked.


Are you ready for the lesson?

IMG_7301_2.jpgAre you ready?

Ready for the learning?

I said, “Are you READY?”

Yeah, that’s about how it goes… but not like I’m standing on stage screaming to my adoring fans.

I’m shaking up the room right after lunch, where the students have inadvertently slipped into a food coma just prior to returning to class.

So I have to fight the seven layers of boredom and tryptophan and pitch my learning goodness with all the patience I can muster.

Pushing my passion for the subject just past the normal level of excited with the hope that they will catch my enthusiasm.

My post lunch journalism class, is a low functioning ICT class for which I don’t have a special educator counterpart. Because the class is considered “elective”, someone decided it’s the one period a day where the kids don’t require more help. (more…)

Turning Feedback Into Progress

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 1.45.50 PM.pngIt’s a widely agreed upon fact that students (and teachers) require and deserve regular, specific feedback to help them develop as learners, yet not everyone does it.

Or I should say, not everyone does it well.

Giving feedback is an art and in the same way we hope to teach students to improve, each of us as teachers needs to work to improve, not just the quality of feedback we provide, but the manner in which we use that feedback to progress our students in their learning. (more…)

When is it time to unplug?

unpluggedWhen connecting with myself and others it certainly had become increasingly more challenging to cast off my devices.

It’s hard to enforce quiet, no tech time for my son as I can be a terrible role model.

While reading The Zen Teacher, I’m reminded of the necessity to power off from time to time and really be present in the here and now.

Rather than just slow my guilt to eat at me like a cancer, it is essential to change my behaviors.

And even now as I’m writing this blog post from my phone, in my car in front of school, this could be a great opportunity to enjoy the quiet as I often do.  (more…)

Humility Often Comes With Aging

simpler times, my brother and I as young children

simpler times, my brother and I as young children

Watching my son turn 10 and knowing I have been in the classroom for 14 years has recently made me very nostalgic.

Going through old pictures and assorted memories, trying my best to see things as they authentically were rather than through the misty, often airbrushed nature of time.

If age has helped me understand anything it’s that everything changes and the more flexible we are around our surroundings the better.

Unfortunately, flexibility can be challenging for me as it pertains to my environment at home. The older I get the more I realize I may not be as flexible as my earlier self…

but I’m trying. (more…)

There’s a Canyon Divide That’s Hard To Leap For Students After High School

IMG_0896.JPGIt’s fortunate that I’m able to take my seniors to the college library a few times a year to help them acclimate and learn to use the valuable resources that will be available to them in the near future.

Recently while we visited the local community college, it became evident that students are in for a world of change once they leave high school.

We can all agree that education needs to change, but it isn’t enough for primary and secondary learning to shift if postsecondary and graduate doesn’t.

Too often, we make major reforms on the secondary level which only broadens the divide between the seemingly stagnant world of higher education. (more…)

Awaken The Beginner’s Mindset and Experience the Awe of Learning

IMG_0891.JPG“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki

In part 2 of my discussion of The Zen Teacher, we journey into the beginner’s mind.

As I read this chapter, I instantly thought of the concept of the “growth mindset” and how we try to instill this in ourselves and our students.

With each new opportunity that is presented, we are exposed to an endless world of possibilities if we allow ourselves to experience those situations with an open mind.

Too often, I’ve fallen victim to my own “expert mindset” where I’ve gone to a conference feeling like I know everything being presented. Rather than indulge this thinking, Tricarico reminds the reader that there is always opportunity to grow if we allow ourselves to. (more…)