Best Teacher Convention Ever!

If you have been in education for more than a day, I know that you have attended a teacher convention or conference.  I’m also certain that you have an opinion about such events, and like me, I’m sure you’ve attended some good ones and some not so good ones.  So, in today’s post, I’m begging and pleading (literally on my knees) asking for your feedback about teacher conventions.

Here’s what I’d like for you to do right now: in the comments section below this post, leave your short (think 1 word to 1 sentence) answers to the following questions.  It won’t take long to leave your answers, simply put the first thing that comes to your mind (as long as it is appropriate and kind).  No need to name specific conferences or people, just speak generally about specific things (does that make any sense?).

  1.  Think of the best teacher convention/conference you have attended: what made it so great?
  2. Think of the worst teacher convention/conference you have attended (if it’s one I organized, be kind): what made it so miserable?
  3. What is the most important part of a teacher convention/conference?
  4. What is the one thing lacking from most teacher conventions/conferences you’ve attended?
  5. How profitable have teacher conventions/conferences been to your professional development as an educator?

That’s all!  Five simple questions awaiting your comment!  Thanks for your participation!  

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

A Scent of Water (Greenville, SC: Ambassador International, 2012)

Written by FOCUS blog founder Edward Earwood and contributor Dr. Phil Suiter, A Scent of Water is a book that asks hard questions about the Christian education movement.  Earwood and Suiter provide more than trite answers; they provide well-thought solutions to the toughest issues facing our movement.  Simply put, anyone and everyone involved with Christian education needs to read this book!  We understand that we may be a little biased on that point, but nonetheless we recommend A Scent of Water to you.

Improving Employee Psyche

An important aspect of leadership is the development and protection of an employee’s psyche. By psyche, I mean the inner workings of the mind and soul of an employee. But why is this important?

© 2009 Torley. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#29).

© 2009 Torley. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#29).

One of the biggest problems that an employer faces is employee burnout.  Employees lose interest in their jobs and often either become ineffective or just quit and move on.  Employers invest too much in new employees to have rapid and unnecessary turnover.

Great Expectations

Recent Gallup surveys report that approximately 70% of respondents admit that they are not performing anywhere near their full potential. “86% of the world’s employees are not willing to go the extra mile for their employers. That’s almost nine out of ten people who won’t stay late, work harder, give you their best ideas, or go above-and-beyond for their bosses” (2005 Global Workforce Study from Towers Perrin).

© 2012 Gerry Dincher. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#28).

© 2012 Gerry Dincher. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#28).

Christian school teachers are to give their best because they are working for the Lord and His ministry. Use the following acrostic to help you remember what great expectations there are for teachers.

Incredible Free Software for Your School!

As the administrator of a small Christian school, I am always on the lookout for ways to cut costs for my school.  One of the areas that can become quite expensive is software-specifically word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet software (think Microsoft Office).  As I noticed how licensing fees would add up from year to year, I began to search for a different option, and I found it: Google Apps.

Even if you are not a part of a small Christian school, it’s hard to pass up something that’s free! When considering Google Apps for your school, let me assure you that the old adage “you get what you pay for” does not apply here.  Let me share with you a few of the reasons I like using Google Apps at our school.

Homework How-To

We’ve already discussed Taming the Homework Monster and giving homework for the right reasons:  review, reinforcement, and responsibility.  But, how can we give homework that most effectively accomplishes these goals?

© 2012 Hades2k. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#27).

© 2012 Hades2k. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#27).

In his book The Battle Over Homework:  Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents, Harris Cooper presents research data that supports the following how-tos of homework assignment.

12 Principles of Effective Teaching

In some of my recent research activities, I ran across a summary of research on what makes teaching effective.  Not all teaching is created equal.  Some teaching is clearly more effective than other teaching.  Jere Brophy, a professor at Michigan State University, summarized available research regarding K5 – 12 schools.

© 2014 Phillips Academy Archive. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#26).

© 2014 Phillips Academy Archive. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#26).

The focus of the summary list of principles laid out by Brophy was effective teaching.  How does your teaching measure up to Brohy’s standards?

Christian School Principal: Leader or Manager?

I am often confronted by school principals with this question.  Sometimes the question is synthesized into this or some similar format.  Others, the principal asks something akin to “should I spend my time here or there?”  or “which is most important—leading this group or managing this activity?”  The answer to the question is always the same.

© 2010 Veronique Debord-Lazaro. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#25).

© 2010 Veronique Debord-Lazaro. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#25).

YES!  That’s right.  Most Christian school principals are not managers OR leaders, they must be leader-managers.  These two activities are often juggled back-and-forth during any given school day.  Effective principals must learn to do both well.

The “I” Word

Research and educational literature acknowledge and define multiple dimensions of leadership.  Authors draw on the educational research to describe in great detail the nature of educational leadership and what it takes to create synergy in a Christian school.  Although the terminology is as varied as the authors, the dimensions of leadership they describe are very similar.

© 2010 Dragan Sutevski. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#24).

© 2010 Dragan Sutevski. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#24).

A careful look at these dimensions of leadership will greatly help Christian school leaders wishing to create a culture of excellence within a Christian school.  Significant change entails more than adopting new attitudes and practices.   Creating a new culture is a monumental task; it even goes beyond implementation.