Teachers These Days

Most of the time, when I’m about to write a blogpost, I have an idea where I’m going. In this case, not so much.

Through the magic professional learning available via Twitter, I caught the title of a book called Teachers These Days by Dr. Jody Carrington and Laurie McIntosh.

A wondering. The phrase ‘teachers these days’. I bet some might assume a negative connotation. As in, with a big sigh and an eye roll, “Teachers these days.” Well, no. This book ain’t that. By a million miles. And stop reading this post if you think about teachers that way. You’re wrong.

So that was something I was going to write a lot about. The assumptions some have about teachers these days.


I also found that with each page I read, I had more to think and write about. I was immediately zoomed back to being a middle school teacher. Standing outside my classroom door with my buddies Dave Hockman and Kirk Dodge. Welcoming, joshing with, and generally fooling around as kids came into our classrooms. I’ve long said that how the adults treat each other IS the school climate. I know this because I’ve lived this. And see it still.

A fact.

We didn’t greet kids at the door because of research that says that middle school kids so greeted increase academic engagement by 20% and disruptive behavior drops by 9%. We didn’t know about that research….or pretty much any research. We did it because it was fun, we loved our jobs, we loved each other, and we loved the kids. And they knew it and were drawn to our classrooms. Teachers These Days talks about light-ups. That reaction we had when we saw the kids. I received light-ups from one of my role models, Ken Edmonds, when I was a kid. Wrote about that. We created light-ups with kids and those kids, now adults, tell us about those light-ups.

So I thought I’d write about that. Light-ups.

But I didn’t know about lid-flips. And so I’m reading more closely now about lid-flips because I know this is an area with which Teachers These Days are in daily contact and the advice and strategies seem helpful to kids and teachers. How at the root of about every behavior a kid has is the fact that he/she/they have not been shown how to regulate behavior. Shown. Not taught. So I need to learn more about that.

Then I can write about it.

Oh and another part that I thought I might write about is the whole conversation around the fact that every person in a school is a teacher. The best schools have a person for every kid and it may not always be the kid’s teacher. It may be the custodian. It may be the bus driver. It may be the lunch person. And that’s not only ok, it’s a cause for celebration.

And here’s some truth telling. I’m only on page 57. This book is that good. I’ve only read that far and I am having this many thoughts. That must be a thing and probably a good thing.

I’ll check back after another 50 pages. In the meantime, thank you to the Teachers These Days.

And greet ’em at the door and light-up!

Author: Jnelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years. jnelson@fifeschools.com twitter.com/jeffnelsonTLI

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