July 2009
Vol 6 No 7

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.7 July 2009

Cover Story by Lawrence Meyers
Is There Such a Thing as "The Great Teacher"?
You can make up all the checklists you want. You can take advice from your mentors. At the end of the day, what lies behind one's teaching style is what matters. A "Great Teacher" is the right teacher at the right time, at the right place.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Teachers Are the Difference
Now in her sixth year of teaching, Melissa Dunbar has helped her students achieve a pass rate of between 92% - 99% over the years, with her ESL and Economically Disadvantaged students achieving a 100% pass rate this past school year!

Writing for Educational Publishers – Inside Secrets Sue Gruber
Self-Injury In Children Leah Davies
The School of No Knocks? Todd R. Nelson
Using Imaging to Move or Change Behavior Marvin Marshall
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five Marjan Glavac
Substitute issues: What to Wear & Too Much Love Barbara Pressman
Student Travel Topics: “Staycations” Expose Students to Other Cultures & Packing for Safety Josette Bonafino
Making The Case to Parents for Broadening, Not Narrowing, The Curriculum Dorothy Rich
Red Basket & Problem Solving Forms Rick Morris

The No.1 Ladies Detective Series Writer - Interview with Alexander McCall Smith Tim Newlin
Teachers and Technology: A Field of Dreams? Matt Levinson
Resources for Teaching Students with Autism Alan Haskvitz
Applying Bloom’s Taxonomy to Questioning Techniques in the Classroom Panamalai R. Guruprasad
Tips on Maximizing High School Physics Teaching Stewart E Brekke
The Most Cost Effective Approach to Improve Teacher Education Edward Strauser
Merit Pay Problematic, Money Is Not the Ultimate Motivator for Teachers Marion Brady
Launches an Online Degree in Special Education Drexel University

Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes Barb Stutesman
Today Is... Daily Commemoration Ron Victoria
The Lighter Side of Teaching
Video Bytes; Assume The Position, Lost Generation, Bathtub IV, Walk On - ESPN Video, Funeral, Heal, and At Home with Mrs. Hen
Teacher Blogs Showcase
Printable - Sweet Rules for the Classroom
Featured Lessons, Wisdom from the Chat Achives, and Timely Printables Especially for July!
Getting and Keeping the Attention of 3 & 4 Year Olds
Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


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Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Lawrence Meyers

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Lawrence Meyers, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Dorothy Rich, Rick Morris, Matt Levinson, Alan Haskvitz, Tim Newlin, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Panamalai R. Guruprasad, Stewart E Brekke, Edward Strauser, Marion Brady, and BattleShip Ron.

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Todd Nelson

The Principal Learning Curve
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

The School of No Knocks?

Are we going too far with efforts to eliminate conflict between kids? Should we be sending kids to the school of No Knocks? Does it make kids expect that the playing field will always be leveled for them? Does it prepare them for the mean people who will not alter their behavior to spare their feelings. Does it give kids coping skills, or false expectations?
by Todd R. Nelson
Continued from page 1
July 1, 2008

In steps the school to take control. “Some schools are adopting rules that force children to play with everyone, even kids they don’t get along with,” says the article. “Known as ‘You Can’t say You can’t Play” policies, they essentially forbid a child to say “no” if a kid asks to go out and play. The idea is to prevent feelings of rejection...The object of all these policies is to dismantle the Darwinian order of the classroom, creating a schoolyard utopia where no shy child sits alone at the lunch table and no kid with glasses ever gets called “four eyes.”

Should we be sending kids to this school of No Knocks? Does it make kids expect that the playing field will always be leveled for them? Does it prepare them for the mean people who will not alter their behavior to spare their feelings. Does it give kids coping skills, or false expectations?

Rather than play without competition, a new kind of competition set in: My kid will never feel the stress and hurt that I did on the playground. In other words, little Timmy’s childhood is being placed in competition with his Dad’s. Nor is it good to have the inverse: “When I was your age, we had fights behind the gym every day. Toughen up. Be more like your old man.” Dad –2.0.

The point is that many parents throw their adult egos and professional skills into the playground. Many a school administrator can attest to mediating between grown ups battling within their parent cohort over that “garden-variety nastiness” little Timmy experienced at morning recess.

I feel their pain. My wife and I have also experienced seventh grade from the perspective of a daughter—twice. It ain’t pretty. When my kid is the lonely one in the lunchroom, my heart breaks. But when that same daughter, now a happy high school senior, came home the other night and vented about a friendship dilemma, I felt glad that I had shown restraint during her seventh grade turmoil. Even though I was ready with problem-solving ideas, she cut me off.

“Dad! I just want you to listen,” she said. “I’m not looking for a solution.”

So how do we resolve the tension between our desire to make childhood nicer, and the desire to allow our kids some negative experiences to promote the long term, positive outcome of self-efficacy? My daughter knew: Protecting children from childhood is not the same as supporting them as they navigate its rigors.

Todd R. Nelson is principal of the Adams School in Castine, Maine. He worked in independent schools for 22 years.

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About Todd Nelson...

Todd R. Nelson has been a public and private school English teacher and administrator for 29 years, in schools in Cambridge, San Francisco, Chicago and Maine. He is principal at the Adams School in Castine, Maine, a 54 student K-8 school on the town common in a little town on the coast, where he gets to play four-square at recess, play his bagpipes, and write musicals for the all-school play.

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