May 2009
Vol 6 No 5

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.5 May 2009

Cover Story by Matt Levinson
Schools and Facebook: Moving Too Fast,
or Not Fast Enough?
Schools can draw a line in the sand, with zero tolerance rules written into school handbooks, or they can shift with the changing sands of social networking and utilize social networking and Facebook to enhance teaching and learning.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Teachers Are the Greatest Assets
On the first day of school, the teacher across the hall commented to me that my students are "always so good!" It's not the students; it's the procedures that have proven to work. The First Days of School helps me to manage my class, so that I can be an effective teacher.

»Comedy Highlights from Room K-1! Sue Gruber
»What Will Your Students Remember? Leah Davies
»My Mrs. Krikorian Todd R. Nelson
»Discipline Is a Liberating Word Marvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five Marjan Glavac
»Help! Too Much Talk! Not Enough Work! Barbara Pressman
»Mayan Sites and Paris Easy on the Purse Josette Bonafino
»The Little Things that Count in Our Schools: Doing Something Different, Simple and Powerful Cheryl Sigmon
»Teacher Morale Matters Dorothy Rich
»Team Management - It’s in the Cards Rick Morris
»Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century Hal Portner

»The Document Camera: A Better Way to Present! Joe Frisk
»Need a Teaching Job? Here’s Where to Find One Alan Haskvitz
»Make Twitter an Ally in the Classroom! Alan Haskvitz
»Teaching Is... Bill Page
»Celebrating True Heroes Graysen Walles
»Digital Pens & Touch-Screens Tim Newlin
»12 Ways to Improve and Enhance Your Paraprofessional- Teacher Experience Susan Fitzell
»May 2009 Writing Prompts James Wayne
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VII Hank Kellner
»How to Increase the Number of Physics and Chemistry Majors Stewart E. Brekke
»Bibliotherapy Booklist for Elementary Students Lisa Bundrick
»8 Ways to Make Math Magical at School Steve Sherman
»5 Brainteasers Steve Sherman
»What Will You Do For Shy Kids? Marjie Braun Knudsen

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes Barb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration Ron Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Photo Tour: 3rd Grade Classroom
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Carol Goodrow's Kids Running Printables
»Dolch word activities, end of first grade test, first grade memory book, map and geography lessons for all levels, IEP progress, and graduation ceremonies songs
»Video Bytes; Are You Going to Finish Strong?, Antarctica, Ted Talks - Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?, How Big Is Will?, The Sling Shot Man, Styrofoam Cup vs. Deep Sea
»Live on Teachers.Net: May 2009
»New Teacher Induction Programs
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Matt Levinson

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Matt Levinson, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Cheryl Sigmon, Dorothy Rich, Rick Morris, Hal Portner, Joe Frisk, Alan Haskvitz, Alan Haskvitz, Bill Page, Graysen Walles, Tim Newlin, Susan Fitzell, James Wayne, Hank Kellner, Stewart E. Brekke, Lisa Bundrick, Steve Sherman, Steve Sherman, Marjie Braun Knudsen, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Rita Sheffield, Carol Goodrow, and YENDOR.

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Dorothy Rich

More Than an Apple
What Teachers Really Need to Survive and Thrive in Today’s Schools
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

Teacher Morale Matters
How Parents and Teachers Can Encourage Each Other
When students get to the point of saying, “What’s the use?” it matters little about which curriculum and which tests are being used.
by Dorothy Rich
Continued from page 1
May 1, 2009

The nicest thing a teacher ever said to me came in a telephone call when my younger daughter was in fourth grade. She had been absent from school for three days. Her teacher called to ask about her. “How is she? When is she coming back? We miss her.” This teacher knew how to make students and their families feel important. The other teacher did the opposite.

We do hurt each other. And it’s not just teachers ganging up on parents. As a teacher, I have seen a wide variety of parental anti-school behaviors. Among them:

  • Hard-to-please parents who march into the school office with a daily complaint. At the other extreme are the scared, “helpless” parents who somehow can’t bring themselves even to visit the school.
  • Parents who hope, even expect, the school to do for their child what it never did for them, or who expect it to do all the things their home is unsuccessful at. They grow increasingly bitter against the school with each passing day.
  • Parents for whom any change from what they knew as schoolchildren is threatening, whether or not they liked what they had. Some parents get upset when they see children actually having fun in the classroom. I think of this as the “iodine theory” of education – it has to hurt if it’s to do any good.
  • Parents who identify so closely with their children that they see themselves, not their children, walk into that school. These parents react to every teacher’s comment and every award won or lost, as if reliving their own school days.

All this isn’t to imply that parents should not criticize teachers and vice-versa. Constructive criticism is essential. But destructive attitudes are worth recognizing and discarding.

One step I would take right away is to get rid of those dull, computerized comments appearing on more and more school report cards. Computers may be more sophisticated that ever, but they don’t convey the human touch. Comments made by a computer count for very little.

Human comments can be off the mark, too. One year, when teaching a group of, as they say, “challenging students,” I made out report cards and added a comment to each one. I found myself writing on each card words to this effect: “This student needs encouragement.” I didn’t seem to know what else to say. The principal, reading over the cards before distributing them, suggested that I was the one who needed encouragement. She was right.

Words do matter. The beauty of this is that in this age of accountability when it is really hard to know for sure what we can be accountable for, we know for sure that we can be accountable for our own words.

Note: In future columns, I will identify six kinds of difficult parents I have faced and the solutions I have used.

©Dorothy Rich Associates, 2009. Based on the book MegaSkills®: Building Our Children’s Character and Achievement for School and Life by Dorothy Rich, Ed.D.

MegaSkills Education Center, 1500 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Wash., DC 20005 (202) 466-3633 ;

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About Dorothy Rich...

Dr. Dorothy Rich is founder and president of the nonprofit Home and School Institute, MegaSkills Education Center in Washington. She is the author of MegaSkills and developer of the MegaSkills Teacher Training Programs. For additional information:”

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