And identical to that … I am again to digital instructing

Dear SC,

Yes indeed! Having comfort items in your classroom is normal and helpful. Choosing a comfort object for work is a conscious way to relieve stress. I say bring your squishmallow to work! They already find it helpful and comforting. If you don’t want students to touch it, keep it in your drawer. And you can bring other comfort objects and experiences to TOO.

Some people have objects that evoke positive memories of people and places. I have a piece of coral that my father found on a beach years ago and gave me before he died. Holding my comfort object makes me pause, feel loved and be present. Others find it comforting to wear a favorite sweater, light up the salt lamp, wear special jewelry, hang photos of people and places they love, sip from a mug with a message, spread essential oils, listen to music, and to post inspirational quotes. All of these selected comfort objects and experiences are unique to the individual and help to convey a feeling of emotional security and psychological security.

You mentioned that you are struggling with a certain amount of fear. “Anxiety disorders are real, serious illnesses – just as real and serious as physical disorders like heart disease or diabetes,” writes the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder in our country. The National Institute of Health reports that one in five Americans has an anxiety disorder. Being human on the planet can be difficult! And being a big class teacher during a global pandemic is scary. If your stress flares up, what types of anxiety symptoms do you have? Some symptoms can include headache, racing heart, restlessness, trouble sleeping, and digestive problems. If you experience prolonged symptoms, it is worth making an appointment to speak with a professional for more personal assistance.

There are a few things you can try to make yourself feel calmer, more regulated, and more focused. Telling yourself to stop feeling anxious or to allow critical self-talk is NOT the best way to be comfortable. Having self-compassion and speaking to yourself in a friendly way IS. Try to speak to yourself in a gentle, supportive way. “Hey, I can feel these feelings again. My heart is racing. There’s a lot going on for me right now. Let me try to smooth my breathing and listen to my own breath. ”Consider using a mantra like,“ This too will pass ”. Realizing that your anxiety is transitory can help lessen the sensations.

Enjoy whatever you want to use to calm and comfort yourself. Little things can be powerful!

Dear WeAreTeacher:
Unpopular opinion time. I despise PLC time and find it absolutely useless! We meet regularly a couple of times a month as a class level team. I teach in an elementary environment and I leave my PLC meetings feeling like it was a total waste of time. We are all polite and compliant during meetings, but I’m so frustrated that we don’t have much time to plan. To be honest, I’m not sure what my team REALLY thinks about PLC time, and I’m nervous about bringing it up. Sincerely, I don’t want my school to think I don’t care, but PLCs don’t help my professional development. Maybe it has to do with organization and design? I can’t stand SPS anymore. How do I teach this to my team and my leadership? -Do not waste my time

Dear DWMT,

Nobody likes to waste time! And it’s even more frustrating for teachers as we need high quality planning time to do our job well. While it is difficult to express yourself, there are some ways that you can open a challenging conversation in a productive way. As you are thinking about how to start your conversation with your team and / or principal, think about the following: Consider your purpose for initiating the conversation. What results are you hoping for? Reflect on your intentions. What assumptions do you make? Are you triggered in any way? Some self-reflection will help bring clarity to your thoughts, feelings, and words.

During a difficult conversation, try the following:

Recognize. Share positive things about the context. You could say, “It is clear that our school values ​​cooperation as we have SPS twice a week. Planning with other teachers is valuable and helps us to streamline our work and plan more effective learning for the children. “

Be open and curious. Try to ask open-ended questions. “How are you with SPS? What works? What could we think about adapting? Can we talk about ways to ensure more planning time during the PLC? “

There is no doubt that a responsive educator requires conscious preparation. It sounds like the PLC structure and content you are experiencing needs improvement. Having a predictable structure for a PLC is essential. Start with a quick community building or check-in task. We do it with children, and interpersonal emphasis helps us adults too! You can communicate certain shout-outs through your students and colleagues. Or you could try quitting the command prompt, wish my co-workers knew …

After some relationship building, the heart of effective PLCs focuses on questions like: What should students learn? How do we know they are learning? What will be done to ensure progress for everyone? As educators ponder these questions, they analyze student learning using work samples and student reviews. It is important that teachers bring students’ work to the PLC table and not just try to remember from their heads. That really makes the SPS more personal. Next, we’ll set goals using standards and other initiatives and frameworks your school or district may use. Discussing ways to adapt practices to meet the needs of all learners together is an important part of a meaningful PLC experience. And then plan, plan, plan together. Share resources and lift each other’s spirits!

The idea of ​​collective teacher efficiency comes alive during the PLCs. John Hattie describes the collective effectiveness of teachers as “the collective belief that teachers have in their ability to positively influence students”. Not only is belief important, but an effort to measure our own evidence of the impact on class culture and learning is important. When teams at the grade level align with beliefs and impact, everyone wins. Collective teacher efficiency is considered to be one of the most influential influences on student learning.

Hopefully, if PLCs are run well and maintain a predictable structure, with a focus on student learning and collaborative planning, the experience will no longer feel like a waste of time.

Dear WeAreTeacher:
We’ll be looping with our kids this year. I have a ZERO wish to have the same group of students and their parents again. I just want a fresh start and I think that’s good for the kids and families too. And now I have to find new material and write new lesson plans for different standards. I hate it here! I fear the extra planning work. My headmaster and many colleagues think looping is a great idea and I don’t. How do I do this year? —Loop or non-loop


Deciding whether or not to loop with some of your students is a tough one. You raised legitimate concerns that other teachers have about looping with students. The planning burden for a teacher who has had students for several years is real. Your desire not to work with the same families is understandable. And the fact that it doesn’t sound like you have a big voice on the matter is frustrating.

If you have reasons not to work with a particular family anymore, speak to your administration about it. You could say, “I would like to talk to you about the composition of my class. There is one student who had problems with … I tried several solutions, including … Although there was some progress, I did not see the progress I was hoping for. Is there a way for us to give this student a fresh start with another teacher who can take a new approach? ”The looping configuration can be left intact, but you can make some compromises. So how are you going to put one foot in front of the other to tackle the year ahead? Let’s start with a few positive things that can come from having some of the same students.

Looping has many advantages and disadvantages. One of the benefits of looping is the strong relationships you build with students and families. You know your students WELL and can build a deeper level of trust over time. That trust is magical and meaningful and very rewarding to you and your families. You can also tailor the lessons to suit your students’ needs and make them more personal. Relationships are at the heart of your classroom culture and also have a positive impact on classroom management. The time you save by not having to find out about new students can be switched to responsive, needs-based support for already known students. You pick up where you left off!

In terms of planning, you’ll want to reuse some of your favorite lessons and texts and incorporate the other grade level standards. You will see that the standards are similar in many ways. Sometimes it is beneficial to use a familiar topic and text. The students can deepen the topic and broaden their perspectives. Imagine if you could step into more project-based learning to expand meaning with lessons you might revisit.

Parent communication is such an important part of teaching and learning, and it is ESPECIALLY important in a looping context. It is important to send communication home and share ideas at the beginning of school. Try this language with families: “Welcome to our class! We have a looping model this year, which means that I can work with you and your child again. I see this as an opportunity to build even stronger relationships. I understand your child’s needs very well! Yes, we will have challenges and I hope you will share your concerns with us so we can solve problems together. Please do not hesitate to contact us. “

I send you my best wishes for your new beginning with looping. Hopefully the positives outweigh the negatives over time.

Do you have a burning question? Send us an email at

Dear WeAreTeacher:
I was speechless and speechless when one of my seventh years looked me in the eye and said, “We’re not going to behave, so you might as well get over it.” It was so shocking, I just stood there frozen. At the moment I haven’t said anything. Well, this moment and a few others like this make me feel useless and insecure. I’ve been teaching for four years and lately I feel like I’m moving backwards. I don’t feel effective and I have run out of ideas. My coworkers don’t seem to have the behavior problems that I have. Any suggestions?

Comments are closed.