An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘teachers

The only ENTJ in the elementary lounge?

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According to the folks at Typealyzer (via the Cool Cat Teacher Blog) this blog exhibits traits of an INTP thinker:

Educatorblog Typalyzed

Educatorblog Typalyzed

Brain Activity

I’ve received an ENTJ score on the MBTI since I was 16 years old. TypeLogic says:

ENTJs have a natural tendency to marshall and direct. This may be expressed with the charm and finesse of a world leader or with the insensitivity of a cult leader. The ENTJ requires little encouragement to make a plan.

ENTJs are often “larger than life” in describing their projects or proposals. This ability may be expressed as salesmanship, story-telling facility or stand-up comedy. In combination with the natural propensity for filibuster, our hero can make it very difficult for the customer to decline.

TRADEMARK: — “I’m really sorry you have to die.”

It is estimated that ENTJs compose 3% of the total population, 4.5% of the male population, and 1.5% of the female population.

ENTJs

Personality tests can’t fully describe my presence on this planet but my friends and family tend to agree that I’m bold, decisive, ambitious, and dominant. A charming bully, so to speak.

When I told my parents I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, they were shocked. Stereotypically, elementary school teachers are not ENTJs. They are the nurturers…the “touchy feely types”. Their leadership styles and professionalism exude emotional insight. I’m not a robot, but I don’t think about problems or communicate with others in the same way.

Maybe tests like the MBTI are misleading – we all have multiple identities. I’m an ENTJ in my academic and personal life and an INTP on this blog. What am I in my professional life? It’s hard to tell – I wish they had a typealyzer for teachers. I do my best teaching when I’m authentic – true to myself. My master teacher in my 2nd grade student teaching placement said that I have a “common sense, down to earth” style to my interactions with students. Student teaching 2nd graders expanded the bounds of my teaching persona – I did read alouds in multiple voices, had alter egos in the form of puppets, had crazy dance parties, learned 3 new knock knock jokes per day, and enjoyed hugs from students. Now, I’m student teaching in a 5th grade classroom. Although humor (knock knock jokes to puns and sarcasm), content (doubling to algebra), and many other variables have changed, I think my “common sense, down to earth” persona remains the same.

Can you identify personality common personality types in your staff lounge? Does it differ by the age group of the students taught, subject matter, or position?  Does your persona change between teaching periods? Does these things impact our school or online communities?

Written by TeacherC

27 February 2009 at 2:06 pm

Carnival of Education (178th Edition)

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Welcome to the 178th Carnival of Education – Teacher Ed Edition

Whether you are reminiscing about your days as a student teacher, attending a few professional development courses, or enjoying the many perks of grad student life (including but not limited to Top Ramen Wednesdays), you will find great minds blogging about fascinating topics.

At the social justice center, listen to a passionate lecture entitled:  A Broader, Bolder Approach To Education by Larry Ferlazzo (Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day for Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL). Bill Ferriter posts The Kids I’ve Failed. . . via The Tempered Radical, saying, “In this post, the Tempered Radical wrestles with the realization that failure in education means leaving children behind—and wonders whether or not he can continue in a profession with such significant consequences for poor performance”.

Brush up on your statistics skills and debate the issue of evaluation in education. Use Teach Thyself posted at Kim’s Play Place as inspiration. Diana of The Core Knowledge Blog evaluates jigsaw activities in  On Teaching: Where Jigsaw Misses the Picture. Sarah Weisz presents Academic Capital posted at Teaching Excellence Network, saying, “Entry refers to a study of Illinois schools, but the concept is nationally relevant.”

Listen to Scott Walker of The English Teacher present dissenting views about The Tyranny of Technology during his technology and instruction course. Wisconsin Union Blend asks his professor: Blogs and discussion boards – What’s the difference? Neelakantha of Teaching Tips presents 50 Must-Read Up and Coming Blogs by Teachers.

In the auditorium, listen to a free concert and The First Ever Music Education Blog Carnival conducted by Joel at So You Want to Teach?. Mark Monaghan of eLearning presents hosts a talk about Musicovery.com. Elona Hartjes of Teachers at Risk talks about her support of music in the classroom in her 2006 September 23 : Teachers At Risk post.

In the library, Darren of Right on the Left Coast discusses the plight of a Teacher Suspended For Year and a Half because of a book they chose to read in the classroom. Joanne of Joanne Jacobs puts books on hold. Read her post about books that school libraries have Deselected.

Sara Von Donge of CSTP Teacher Bloggers hosts a seminar about Language Instruction at the international student center. Kristie presents The Top 10 Free Resources For Learning Languages Online posted at Norway – An American in Oslo.

At the admissions office, Amanda Dixon of The Daily Planet confidently answers the “are you going to college?” question with To Go To College Or Not!

The school of education hosts a panel discussion involving many educators. Susan Gaissert of The Expanding Life brings together the intelligent comments of many educators in An Educational Conversation. At Build a School, Jeff presents his ideas about teachable moments in There Is Nothing New Under The Sun. Mrs. Bluebird practical advice about shoe-buying in A Teacher’s Best Investment posted at Bluebird’s Classroom.

After a pick-up game of basketball at the fitness center, Alvaro Fernandez of SharpBrains presents Physical Exercise and Brain Health.

At the coffee shop, Denise of Let’s Play Math! presents a guide to Math History on the Internet. Heather Johnson presents What’s Your Idea of an Ideal Teacher? posted at Information Age Education. Pat asks Are My Students Fender Benders? at Successful Teaching.

Stop by the financial aid office to turn in any missing paperwork. Money Answer Guy presents Should You Pay for Your Children’s College? posted at The Money Answer Guy. Matthew Paulson of American Consumer News shows us many Inexpensive and Ideal Learning Experience for the Whole Family. Sally Thompson presents 101 Scholarships Just for Teachers posted at Teaching Tips.

In the media lab, Mister Teacher of Learn Me Good presents My very own infomercial!. Diana Costello posts the video A special prom for special kids on The Hall Monitor.

In the campus newspaper, Caleb Knox writes an opinion piece about experimental schools entitled Give me Liberty or give me learning? (posted at Onward and Upward). John Holland of Circle Time covers a new study about preschool education and believes that it doesn’t matter how rich your kid is. In the editorial section, Lorem Ipsum presents Let’s Get Rid of All the Teachers. Marjorie of Life Without School reflects about the education and pop culture experiences of her husband in History Sucks.

On your way to your student teaching placement, you hear Carol Richtsmeier talk about Audit Reports, Teacher In-Service & How Bozo Ended Up in Dante’s Circle of Hell (posted at Bellringers) and NYC Educator relate stories about coworkers in a post entitled People Will Talk (posted at NYC Educator).

During a curriculum and instruction course, Melissa B. talks about a few ideas for Summertime Lessons (The Scholastic Scribe). Woodlassnyc argues against abstinence-only education in When ignorance trumps logic in Under Assault: Teaching in NYC. Heather Wolpert-Gawron gives educators professional development tips in Top 10: How to Take Control of Your Teaching posted at tweenteacher.com.

In Child Development 101, OKP discusses end-of-year drama in a post entitled Long Story Long via Line 46, saying, “Just a little end-of-the year grade drama, prompting me to wonder if this kind of drama is going to increase year after year!”

I hope you enjoyed your day on-campus. There were many entries – if yours was not included on the midway, please try the next edition. The 179th edition will be hosted at Scheiss Weekly. Submit your blog post using this carnival submission form. Check out The Education Wonks for information about future carnivals.

Written by TeacherC

2 July 2008 at 2:17 am

Call for Entries: 178th Carnival of Education

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I’m hosting the 178th Carnival of Education. The midway opens on July 2nd. Submissions are due Tuesday, July 1st by 5 pm (PST). You can use this nifty submission form or email me your submission (educatorblog at gmail dot com).

I can’t wait to see you on the midway!

Written by TeacherC

26 June 2008 at 8:44 pm

Sleep 2.0

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I’m exhausted. I had no idea that my cert program would be this rigorous. Nietzsche says “When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago”. In semi-consciousness and sleep my mind is riddled with questions about education policy and my career as a teacher. I miss the dreams of my former self (even the cinematic-style nightmares involving 70s cartoon characters and bears).

I will publish these posts on Saturday:

– Microeconomic Life Lessons: Externalities

– A piece about blogging and informal markets for professionalism and digital justice

– Something for the race and diversity series (+ comic)

– Something for the TFA series

Next week, stay tuned for the Carnival of Education.

Written by TeacherC

26 June 2008 at 8:40 pm

An Educator’s Guide to Opportunity Cost and Rational Choice Theory, or “How I Learned to Continue Worrying but Advocate for TFA Reform (Instead of Total Dissolution)”

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This post is inspired by every blog post, newspaper article, peer reviewed journal, nonprofit organization, website, message board post, speech, coalition, informal conversation, formal debate, radio show, expose, and TV news hour that advocates or opposes an education policy. The issues of opportunity cost and mutual exclusivity are either ignored or misunderstood.

I attempt to answer these questions:

  • How should our understanding opportunity cost influence our decision-making about education policies?
  • How do we define mutual exclusivity in education?
  • How do these issues apply to our debates about TFA?

Opportunity Cost and Cost-Benefit Analysis

The concept of opportunity cost is important to all decision-making processes The opportunity cost of a course of action is the forgone benefit from an alternative action. In order for a benefit to be forgone, the chosen and alternative actions have to be mutually exclusive. This means that one cannot do both actions act the same time. Our lives are made up of choices about mutually exclusive actions, from deciding to go to college instead of working full-time for four years, to choosing between coffee and tea during a quick break. Opportunity cost can be computed in terms of anything – including money, ice cream cones, love, life experience, friendship, and “achievement”. The concept of opportunity cost reflects the scarcity of our resources – especially time and money. When we integrate opportunity cost into our decision-making, we ensure the most efficient use of our scarce resources.

In order to figure out the true value of any decision, a decision-maker does a cost-benefit analysis (often subconsciously). We must account for the “up front benefits” of an action and factor in forgone benefit. The forgone benefit is subtracted from the “up front benefit”. I define “up front benefit” as the difference between the value of an action and its price: the tangible value that a decision-maker receives from their choice. Although this is most often computed in monetary terms, it can be computed in terms of anything: from nutrition to abstract feelings of happiness. To find the true value of any action, subtract forgone benefits from “up front benefits”:

Computing the True Value of an Action

Here is a more complex example:

Maggie can choose between working at a job that pays a $30,000 salary or raising her initial income potential 60% (to $50,000) by attending a 4 year institution. In her case, maximum earnings potential without a college degree is $35,000, and $75,000 with a degree.  The institution costs $10,000 per year to attend (after scholarships and aid).

From these examples, we see:

  • We can maximize the true value of an action by minimizing costs (both “up front” and forgone).
  • Cost-benefit analysis are influenced by time. Time can add value (example: appreciation of the value of antiques, interest from the bank, job promotions) or decrease the value (example: depreciation of a car).
  • It is not easy to calculate cost and value. Maggie might have had non-monetary value or costs. For example, the university might be far from home and prevent her from seeing family. Most of the time, forgone costs is are not monetary. There are also issues of commensurability: how do we weigh the monetary versus the social costs of an action? (My former debate coach asks “Which is larger? A horse head or a furlong?” to help debaters understand this issue.)

Applying Opportunity Cost to Education Policy Debates

During a debate about TFA JR Atwood and I had on his playthink blog, we discussed the opportunity cost argument against TFA:

Educatorblog: The cost of the TFA program is so high that there is a huge opportunity cost. TFA is not cheap to run (I read an article that said that when you calculate finders fees, the recruitment process, salaries, etc – it costs more than $125,000 per year for each placement). I’m tired of the ‘what we’re doing is better than doing nothing’ argument – if we took the money that the government and private donors send to TFA each year and invested it in programs that help veteran teachers adapt to new populations, other recruitment programs (like Oakland Teaching Fellows, New York Teaching Fellows, etc), reforming teacher preparation programs, etc – we could get more bang for our buck. In education, getting more bank for our buck translates into better education experiences for underserved students.

JR Atwood: …..I do not agree, however, that if we were to take the money from TFA and invest it into other teacher prep programs that we — or our children — would necessarily be better off. First, the money spread among various educational initiatives is not zero-sum. Just because TFA gets some money does not mean that, absent their existence, another program would. This is like saying, “Instead of spending all this money on the Iraq war, we should spend it at home.” Sounds good and I agree with the spirit of the argument. But if we stopped funding the war, its current budget would not necessarily be distributed among domestic social service agencies.

Touche, JR. A successful argument about opportunity cost has two components:

A. An explanation of why actions are mutually exclusive.

B. An explanation of how one alternative is better than the other (this is the subject of our debate and my (obligatory edublogger) TFA post).

Showing the negatives of TFA isn’t enough. I have to explain how dedicating resources to TFA forfeits the supreme benefit of other policy solutions.

Mutual Exclusivity in the World of Education Policy

The world of education is not like a child with $5 in a candy store – opportunity costs are not clear. Although the scarcity of resources is a primary factor in decision-making and there are tangible consequences, it is hard to figure out how the adoption of one policy precludes the implementation of other policies. We’ve erected the concept of “achievement” to help us quantify how students experience the consequences of our policies – but there are many other ways to understand costs and values (the list goes from concrete to abstract):

  • Time (could go at the top or bottom of the list)
  • Money
  • Physical safety
  • Achievement
  • Social services (health care, sex education, college and career consulting, etc)
  • Learning
  • Fair distribution of social and economic opportunity
  • Rights promotion
  • Community-building and local support
  • Emotional and mental stability
  • Happiness and fulfillment

None of the items on this list are mutually exclusive. Physical safety goes hand in hand with emotional stability. Students aren’t happy unless they feel like they are apart of a larger community that values their perspective. It takes money and time to achieve all of these goals.  Policies – both nuanced (example: a school’s decision about uniforms) to sweeping (example: No Child Left Behind) – influence each other’s execution, benefits, and costs. For example, clauses about science-based researched reading interventions in NCLB have precluded the adoption of interventions that are not scripted (as of now, the only interventions that are deemed “well-researched” by the government are scripted learning programs). NCLB’s requirements have changed the dynamics of instruction – from time spent on subjects to how students are taught. A nuanced policy can also impact other policies: a teacher’s behavior management style influences physical safety, achievement, learning, and community-building.

JR is right about money – although money and time represent large costs, it is nearly impossible to say that taking funds away from one program will automatically lead to the funding of a better program.  Revolution has a substantial failure rate. Lawmakers and voters might not understand how to spend the money more effectively. Also, there is the issue of private money in education. Private donors can call into the same traps as lawmakers – especially when dealing with the distribution of public goods.

Most of the time, the question of mutual exclusivity is really about how a particular policy disrupts the implementation of policies that are already in action and have proven results. When people think of “failing” schools, they imagine a situation where everything is wrong – the teaching methods, environment, curriculum, etc. In reality, there are things that work  and things that don’t. In troubled schools, the consequences of models that don’t work outweigh the consequences of models that work. Sometimes, it is a wise policy decision to expand or fully-fund working elements instead of trying to create a whole new paradigm (this argument is used for NCLB). Also, it is rare for lawmakers to dismantle programs and more likely that new interventions will exist on top of old ones. There is also political mutual exclusivity: does the presence of TFA stop lawmakers and schools from undertaking better reforms?

Dismantling TFA is not a direct path to the reforms we want to see (better pay, institutional support, better teacher education programs, etc). We need to ask ourselves: how can a reformed TFA help us meet our  education reform goals?

Since before TFA’s inception, at-risk students have been subjected to an endless stream of substitute teachers and emergency certified teachers. Most of the time, these teachers have little experience or preparation. lf these substitutes and emergency certs have less experience with children than the average TFA recruit, is it a sound policy to place TFA teachers with these students? In studies where the uncertified teacher pool had less experience  than TFAers, TFAers outperformed their uncertified counterparts. Many make the argument that TFA increases the propensity of school districts to choose uncertified teachers over certified ones – if this is true, then TFA must be dissolved (we should do studies about how budget cuts and shifts in the availability of ‘cheap teachers’ influences hiring and firing). TFA should meet the same fate if it is a ploy by lobbyists to decrease public spending in education (no matter the true cost).

Can a reformed TFA make the transition from stop-gap measure to adaptable reform model? A reformed TFA could function alongside teacher education, certification, and incentive reforms. In fact, it could even lead reforms (adopting a the best training models, creating a new paradigm for institutional support of teachers, etc). Not all teacher recruitment programs should focus on “elite college students” – what if positive elements of the reformed TFA model spread to other programs? For example, all teacher education/certification programs would benefit from high levels of institutional support for teachers. TFA has the support of the public, private donors, and schools. TFA should harness the political and economic support it already has and change the terms of agreements it has with schools and recruits in unity with broader reform goals.

This may all be a pipe dream. What are your thoughts? Is there mutual exclusivity in this situation: Can TFA coexist with other models of reform? How should we assess mutual exclusivity and determine the opportunity costs of education programs? Does the very presence of TFA eliminate the positive consequences of existing policies or make decision-makers less likely to undertake reforms? Political, economic, and social models for revolution are (always) welcome.

Dr. Strangelove cover

(Image from Wikipedia)

Daystreaming Allowed.

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On the Moodstream (Getty Images) website, students can create their own visualizations using many different settings (image via the Moodstream website):

//moodstream.gettyimages.com/

After students choose their mood and style (happy or sad, humorous or serious, black and white or color, nostalgic or contemporary, etc.), the website streams continuous video, still images, and sound. If students see or hear something that they like, they can add it to a Moodboard and find out more information from the Getty Images website.

Uses I think of right now involve language arts, social studies, and art inspiration/writing prompts. Students can create a stream and then do projects inspired by the stream (poetry, short stories, reflections, artwork, research, etc).

Can you think of other ways to use this tool in the classroom? Have you streamed today?

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog (Don’t Worry – It’s the Blog High Talking)

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This blog has had 951 hits and between 10 (Feedburner) to 18 (Google Reader) subscribers since June 2nd. I’m pleasantly surprised by these numbers. I understand that I’m no edublogosphere Goliath and that this blog (and I) will continue to mature.

Most popular post: An Educator’s Guide to Post-Modern Authorship and Literacy in the Classroom

Least popular post: Seattle Schools are Resegregating

My favorite (relatively) unpopular post: When washing their mouths out with soap isn’t an option.

Most commented posts (11 comments each): Do Teachers Influence Blackness? and Diversity 2.5.1 (BETA)? (Comic)

My teacher ed program begins on Monday. I won’t be as prolific as I am right now (multiple posts on some days) but I will update this blog a few times per week.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to debating with you soon.

Written by TeacherC

18 June 2008 at 4:25 pm