Archive for the ‘Teaching Tips’ category


10 Ways to Discover the Teaching Job You’ve Always Wanted

Teaching is one of America’s most prized careers. After all, teachers shape our nation’s youth. They prepare students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the real-world. And they’re darn good at it.

Have you studied to become a teacher?

Thousands of young people have made it their life’s passion to teach. Whether it’s music, social studies, pottery, or wood shop, teachers are in short supply. If you’ve studied to become a teacher and sat for your teaching license, congrats. It’s not an easy feat.

But once you’ve graduated and passed your boards, you’ve got the ever-challenging job hunt ahead of you. And for most young teachers, it’s hard to find a teaching job, in your subject, in your area. Basically, a veteran teacher has to retire for a spot to open up.

How do you find the teaching job you’ve always wanted?

The internet. Yes, while full of cats and really funny GIFs, there are useful websites out there. And here are 10 of them to help you find a teaching job before you have to move back in with your parents:

1. SchoolSpring

In over 30 states, international, and online, SchoolSpring is definitely a go-to source to find your first – or next – teaching job. The site is easy to navigate and comes with several drop-down selections to narrow your search. Plus, you can opt-in to get email alerts when new jobs you’re looking for get posted.

2. The US Department of Education

If it’s anyone whose looking for amazing teachers to fill America’s classrooms, it’s the US government. Packed with resources to find jobs in charter schools, colleges, and even libraries, it’s a wealth of information to help you land a great job in education.

3. Education America

Filled with domestic and overseas teaching jobs, Education America is a great site to quickly find the teaching job you’re looking for. There’s a prominent search on the homepage as well as latest jobs posted. And, there’s even a regional search just in case you don’t want to move too far away!

4. Indeed.com

Known for finding a job in any category, anywhere, Indeed can be used to find teaching jobs across the country or in a specific location. What’s great about it is it searches tons of other career websites for teaching jobs to give you all the results in one place. You can also get new jobs by email, too.

5. Teach.org

This sleek modern-looking site lays out jobs nicely. They’re easy to find, read, and apply to. Another benefit if  you’re looking out-of-state is Teach.org has licensing and certification information for any state right in their sidebar. How about that? All the info you need in one place!

6. Jobs4Teachers.com

As the site says, Jobs4Teachers.com finds you jobs. And they have a list that out-numbers this one! With great resources like state-specific teaching sites, Jobs4Teachers says it best: “Your complete source for all information that will help you find a job as a professional educator and teacher”.

7. GetEductaed.com

This site helps you find adjunct online teaching opportunities. While specific, it’s a way to teach without having to physically be in a classroom. Adjunct teaching, while mainly done in higher-ed is perfect for people who are looking at teaching as a new career, a second job, or they just want to experience college dining one more time (ok, I’m kidding :p)

8. GoOverseas.com

Easily the best resource to find teaching overseas, GoOverseas lays out jobs in a nice visual format. They also allow you to apply to teaching jobs directly on their website. A quick glance led to finding jobs in Vietnam, China, and even Colombia. What a fun way to explore the world and make a difference at the same time.

9. ESLJobFind.com

English as a Second Language is wildly popular. I’ve not only had many friends participate in programs across the globe, but they’ve become a changed person because of it. ESLJobFind shows you a map on their homepage. You get to choose which area you want to teach in. There are country guides, other teacher’s experiences, and more. It’s worth a look if you’re up for some globe-trotting.

10. Your personal network

Don’t rule out who you know. Your parents, friends, and family may be able to get you an interview in a local school system. The best part is you’ll come with a glowing recommendation. No pressure 🙂

See? There are tons of ways to land the teaching job of your dreams. Now go browse a couple of the websites for jobs. But remember — be flexible. The job you’re looking for may be a few towns over or even out-of-state. Embrace a new experience!

What about you? Where did you find your teaching job? Let us know in the comments below.

 


10 Reasons Why Every Student Should Have a New Year’s Resolution

It’s just about 2014. And that means it’s time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished in 2013 and what you’d like to tackle in the new year.

Resolutions help us create and stick to goals throughout the year. While sometimes cliché, they truly do help many people accomplish great things.

And that’s exactly why your students should create them, too.

Students don’t normally set goals until much later in their school careers. But, they should be setting goals from the second the step into their first day in kindergarten. Here’s why:

1. Start goal planning early

There are some adults who simply don’t goal plan. And it’s because they never did it when they were a kid. What you do and learn at an early age is imprinted in who you become as an adult. No goal planning as a child means no goal planning as an adult. If you start early, when students are in elementary school, they’ll be goal setters for life.

2. Work on being focused

When students come home from school, there are one thousand things they could be doing. Maybe they eat a snack, read 10 pages in their social studies text book, or toss the football around with their older brother. This is is great, but it doesn’t create an overall focus for the year. One large goal can be broken down into smaller daily goals that require focus to complete. For example, if your students want to read 100 books this year, how does that break down into books/month and pages/day. Focus helps goals become attainable.

3. See a project to completion

“I never seem to get anything done.” It’s the classic line you’ve likely heard from adults and students a like. There simply isn’t enough time, they never complete anything, etc. By setting a goal, and giving your students a year to complete it, they’ll finally see a project to completion. Once completed, they’ll likely be motivated to set another goal. Completing one project is great. Completing three is better.

4. Show them anything is possible

If you put your mind to it. While dry and motivational, it’s true. Having been part of trying to motivate students to get things done in businesses classes throughout Vermont, I’ve seen first hand how discouraged some students get. They simply don’t attempt what they want to accomplish. Get them to set smaller goals. As these goals are met, they’ll see that anything is possible if they put their mind to it. And when things start going their way, not only will they set more goals, but their entire outlook on life changes. And that’s where the real magic happens.

5. Support each other

It’s a lot more challenging to make something happen by yourself. With a team, you’re able to strive towards a common goal and work through challenges together. Let your students create team goals. Partner with a couple other students – or even the whole class. Pick a goal that everyone is excited about. Watch how each student works together, motivating each other through the time times and celebrating the high points.

6. More experience working in teams

Teamwork is the crux of any organization – whether you work at a small business on main street or a large corporation downtown – a horse farm or an airplane – everyone works as a team. And school is one of the best environments to reinforce teamwork. As mentioned in the last list item, setting class-wide goals is the perfect alternative to individual resolutions. For example, if every students gets above a B for the semester, you’ll have an ice-cream social. While it may not be the best motivator, you’ll get to see how students work in teams to make each other successful. When one student is down, another is there to pick them up.

7. Failing is a learning experience

With New Year’s resolutions set in stone, there’s one thing left to tell your students: They may fail. They may not accomplish what they wanted to. In essence, they failed. However, this is one of my favorite learning opportunities. When students fail, they get discouraged. But, it’s what they do next that is their shining moment. Take the opportunity to show them who else has failed in history and let them know one of my favorite quotes. Those who have succeeded have fallen seven times, but have gotten up eight.

8. There’s no “coulda, woulda, shoulda”

I should have done this. I could have done that. These regrets plague successful goal setting. Don’t let your students fall in a sea of regret. Let them venture out into the un-known. Let them find out what it’s like to experience something different. If they don’t, they’ll simply be stuck saying “I coulda, shoulda, woulda…”

9. Show them the value of taking action

Don’t let your students slouch over in their desks, painfully waiting for the bell to ring. Motivate them to take action. It’s the true difference between winners and losers. Those who take action are successful. And if they fail, like in reason #7, at least they learn from their experience and take action again. It’s one thing to plan. It’s another to execute. Show them how to execute.

10. It’s fun

Goal setting, while often written off as boring and useless, is actually quite fun. For students who are just getting their first taste of goal setting, it can be daunting. But, let your students create any goal they’d like. And the set them free. Watch them work with themselves, other students, and maybe even you to show them how much fun it is.

There are many people who view New Year’s resolutions as something that’s ripe for failure. Sure, a lot of New Year’s goals fall through the cracks, but what about the successes? The people who have changed their lives for the better, done something they never thought was possible. This is why people set goals – to crush the barriers between them and success.

Get your students on the path to success by setting a New Year’s resolution that’s specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely – because, well, that’s the smart thing to do to.

Have your students made New Year’s resolutions? How have you turned it into a fun and engaging lesson plan?

 


The Best Funny (and Inspirational) Teacher Videos of 2013

The holiday break has started for many of you. With much of higher-ed closing down the dorms and heading home, you should be all cozy and comfortable on the couch by now. It’s time to relax, sip your cocoa, and put on fuzzy slippers.

That’s also why we’re making this week’s blog post a little light-hearted. We know you can’t get completely away from your classroom over break, so rather than write about how you can engage your students or games you can play at recess, I thought I’d list a couple teacher videos I found funny this year (and a few inspirational ones, too). Here’s a look:

1. Said no teacher ever

2. Make Science fun (not funny, but entertaining)

3. An Elementary School Teacher tries his hand at stand-up comedy (at least some of it’s funny!)

4. KidSnippets (Art Class)

5. Hip Hop Algebra Teacher (More Stand-up from a former teacher)

6. Sometimes Children Inspire Teachers

7. Every Kid Needs a Champion

8. The Lollipop Story (not 2013, but I just watched it and I love it)

9. “Don’t Stop Good Teaching”

10. (MY FAVORITE) Kid President’s Message to Teachers and Students

Do you have any videos to share with us? Let us know in the comments below. Plus. since it is two days away from Christmas, have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year! See you in 2014, teacher-friends!


10 of the Best Gift Ideas for Teachers

You only have a couple weeks left to get everyone crossed off your Christmas list. And one of those people is probably your son or daughter’s school teacher.

What are you going to get them? Another candle? Or maybe some markers? No way! Here’s 10 ideas any school teacher would love to receive for the holidays.

1. Fresh-baked goodies

I’m pretty sure all of America loves chocolate chip cookies. How could they not? If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to say thank you, cookies, brownies, and cupcakes, go straight to the front of the line. And if you burn the house down whenever you turn the oven on, feel free to purchase goodies from a local bakery.

2. A gift card to Staples

Classroom supplies from pens to pads of paper and even binder ring supporters – they’re in low supply when many teachers are footing the bill for supplies. Give them a gift card to Staples or Office Depot so they can get what they need for their spring class.

3. A gift card to the grocery store

People either love or hate grocery shopping – just like cooking. But, everyone has to eat. Make it easier on your kid’s teacher by giving them a gift card to the grocery store. Then, they’ll be able to get that filet mignon they’ve always wanted!

4. A couple months of a useful K-12 web application

Technology is making a positive impact throughout the entire classroom. Encourage the use of it by purchasing a couple months of a popular web app. How about giving QuizBean a shot? I hear it’s pretty stellar at quickly assessing students. Start at QuizBean.com

5. One big gift from the whole class

Have all the students put a hand-print on a poster or sign a platter. One gift from the whole class means a lot to teachers because it serves as a memory for that year. Get a couple parents together and start brainstorming ideas!

6. A 90-minute massage

Love massages? Teachers do! When they work 60-80 hour work weeks, there’s no time for relaxation. Give them the gift of massage and you’ll be their favorite parent for years to come. And yes, it works for both male and female teachers!

7. Gas card

Everyone has to make it to work. And that means gas money. Get your son’s teacher a gas card for a week’s worth of gas. If they don’t want to use it on gas for commuting, there’s always an end-of-the-year road trip!

8. Bouquet of flowers (for the ladies)

Flowers simply brighten your day (when they’re not plastic). Find a local florist or drop by your neighborhood grocery store to find the perfect bouquet. Get them delivered, too — it’ll be a great surprise on a dreary winter day.

9. A gift card to AC Moore or Michael’s

If you head into any craft store from the end of July into August, you’ll find it packed with teachers who are buying supplies (likely out of their own pocket) to decorate their classroom before their students come. And they’ll do it several times before the year is over. GIve them financial relief and pay for decorating their classroom. After all, your kid is there 180 days a year, right?

10. A nice restaurant in your town

Teachers don’t often spoil themselves when it comes to food. The teachers I know mak a lot of meals at home, bring their lunch to school, and don’t enjoy the fine restaurants in town. Help them out. Give them a gift certificate to the finest place in town. That way, they can take their best friend, partner, or spouse on a night on the town.

What ideas do you have to give teachers for the holidays?

 


7 Ways to Keep Your Students Motivated Until Christmas Break

I’m writing this post from sunny Orlando, Florida. I’m on vacation for Thanksgiving week with my family. It’s actually kind of cold here — a whopping 40 degrees this morning, but I’m happy to be on vacation.

However, my mind is simply on my next vacation — Christmas break. And I’m sure your students are super excited for Christmas, too. But, you’ve got to get through a couple more weeks of school. With sugar cookies, christmas presents, and family coming in from out-of-town, things can get crazy.

Luckily, here’s 7 strategies to keep your student’s eyes on the board and acing their exams, all the way through the holidays.

1. Reward your students

It’s just a short couple of weeks between the two holiday breaks. So, putting a reward at the end of the three weeks will motivate your students. The rewards could be anything from a popcorn party to a cookie party or inviting parents in for a hot chocolate throw-down.

2. Use arts and crafts to teach lessons

There are so many craft ideas during the holidays – reindeer, dreidels, menorahs, christmas trees — you name it.  Get your craft supplies out and make holiday cards, reindeer masks, or construction paper menorahs. Teach your students stories about the history of all holidays to make it educational.

3. Let students share stories from the holidays

I love story time. Get out the wide-lined paper and a pencil, plus some crayons and have your students draw and write stories from holiday time. Keep the stories PG of course. Some prompts could be, tell me about the best place you’ve travelled for the holidays, draw your whole family around the holiday table, make a list of what you love about the holidays, etc.

4. Make lessons holiday-oriented

Math gets more exciting when it’s about cookies taken from the cookie jar, how fast Santa’s sleigh is going, or calculating the speed of a dreidel. Incorporate the lessons into holidays to get your students excited.

5. Extend recess – let those kids run!

When it gets colder (in much of the nation), students often don’t get outside enough. And when you have pent up student energy, it’s got to be released somehow. Recess is the perfect way for students to unwind, play with friends, and be creative. And in the winter, I don’t think there’s a problem with extending it a couple minutes to get the “wintry mix” out of your student’s system.

6. Calendar count-down

“10 days until holiday break!” Can you picture your students screaming for joy? Here’s one way you can make it even more exciting: have a holiday reward on each of the ten days (or month-long calendar if you can make it that long). Maybe it’s a joke or show and tell. Or, you could give your class candy canes on the last day of school before break. Each day, your students will be excited to see what the countdown calendar has in store!

7. Make gingerbread houses

Personal favorite, right here. Gingerbread houses were awesome to build as a kid. We would take old milk cartons (not the crates), coat them with white icing, and decorate them with random candies. They would harden and we’d take them home. Do the same thing with your students for an afternoon before they go home — it works the creative side of their brain and well, it’s candy so what’s wrong with that?

How do you keep your students focused and motivated for a few weeks before holiday break? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


8 Reasons Teachers Should Blog

I’ve come across hundreds of teacher’s blogs – from edtech, to teaching kindergarten, becoming an art teacher, curriculum design, and more. Maybe it’s because there are so many of you, but I’m blown away by the sheet number out there. And they all have their own niche!

But, there are still teachers who haven’t joined the technology band-wagon and started blogging.

Now is the time. It’s easier than ever before to get started. Heck, this blog was started in about 15 minutes. And you don’t even need your own website address. You can get something setup at Blogger or WordPress in even less time – and for free.

If I’ve got you interested, read on to discover 10 more reasons you should be putting pen to screen and writing your own blog.

1. You connect with teachers across the globe

One of the most amazing benefits of writing on a consistent basis is the people you meet. From teachers to school administrators, press to principals. You’ll meet a ton of people. And they won’t just be located at the middle school down the road. Teachers are global. Your blog is global. Just through the QuizBean blog, I’ve met teachers from France, Canada, England, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands. etc. Do you want to meet them, too?

2. You build credibility and trust

Think you’re an awesome teacher? That’s for the web to decide! Starting a blog builds credibility and trust. It says you know what you’re talking about. It means other teachers seek you out for knowledge. Start a blog. Take what’s in your head and put into posts. Add pictures and an email sign-up. Then press go. Watch as the world explodes in-front of your eyes.

3. You can be a role model to your students

There’s almost always one aspiring writer in your classroom – and maybe more. By you writing your own blog it may inspire your students to write their own blogs, get creative, and find their own online following. And if they get hooked, blogs are one of the best tools for them to build their personal brands.

4. You get better at writing

No matter how long you’ve been writing, there’s always room for improvement. Writers who have been crafting paragraphs for decades are have their eye on improving. When I started writing, I was horrible. Now, I kind of actually get the hang of it. And internet writing isn’t your run-of-the-mill research paper. It’s fun, light, and personal. This is probably writing you haven’t done in a while – that’s why it’s such a joy!

5. You can write about anything

Passionate about curriculum design? What about teaching new math strategies for 3rd graders? Your blog’s topic is up to you. Someone out there will find it valuable. And you’ll build a following. Oh, you don’t want to write about teaching? Then start a cooking blog. Or a travel blog. Or, just write for he sake of writing.

6. You have something to put on your resume

Hiring managers and principals love to see personal websites. Why? Because it not only shows how you communicate, but it shows your thought process. It puts a human-touch to your resume and gives you a leg-up from the competition.

7. You get your thoughts off your mind…and on paper

As a teacher (or, really any working professional), there’s a ton on your mind. You’re constantly thinking about your students, grading exams, lesson planning, packing lunch (we all know cafeteria food is sub-par). What if you could get those thoughts out of your head? You can with blogging. Pick a word-count, say 500 words, and start typing. There. Is that better? You’ve gotten something off your chest that upset you about the school day. You wrote about how you made a difference in a student’s life. And hey, you don’t even have to publish it. But you should.

8. It’s fun (isn’t that reason enough?)

Who ever thought writing could be fun? Well, if you start a blog, it will be. It’s fun to see your blog posts on the first page of Google. It’s fun to connect with teachers across the world – and even teachers in your own school. Plus, if it ends up not being fun, you can always take a break – you know, like a summer vacation!

Do you have a blog? Let me know why you blog and include a link to your blog, too — I’ll bookmark it!

 


7 Resources to Help Students Figure Out What They Want to Do

When I was in grade school, I wanted to be a pharmaceutical salesman. Why? Because they made a lot of money and played golf all day. Then, after I realized I couldn’t play golf well, I moved on to culinary school. But, that takes years to climb up the food chain – no pun intended. After culinary school, I was interested in becoming a graphic designer. Now, I do online marketing.

I jumped around because I never quite knew what I wanted to do.

The same is true with your students.

They are only exposed to so much throughout their middle school and high school years. They have no idea certain career paths even exist. And that’s a problem. We need to help our students explore everything – from plumbing to architecture, cooking to biology.

That’s why I put together a list of tools I found online that’ll help your students explore different career options while they still have time to decide. Let’s take a look:

1. O-Net Online

This treasure trove of a website has all the information your students will be looking for when they start to explore their career options. You can search a myriad of different ways. One of which sorts careers by the amount of preperation needed to enter the industry. That can be beneficial for students who may not want to gain a lot of post-secondary education.

2. MyMajors.com

If you’ve got high school students, send them here. They have detailed info on every major you can think of. And if your students are stuck, take them through a career test to see what the crew at MyMajors.com recommends. I wish I had this tool when I was in school.

3. Science Pioneers

When it comes to career prospects, students looking to dive into math and science should browse this website for job postings and descriptions on what life is like as scientist. And yes, we do need more of them, so encourage your students to take a look.

4. CareerKids

Not only does this site provide job descriptions, it’ll give your students salary information (so they make sure they’re in a job that’ll pay for the big yacht they want :P). When they find a job they’re interested in, CareerKids has articles to help students figure it all out. Plus, there’s a section to help craft your student’s first resume.

5. WordPress

Yes, it’s not a career website, but I firmly believe your students should start to make an online name for themselves as early as possible.  Do this by simply starting a blog on WordPress (this blog is hosted using WordPress). Once students start writing and ranking in Google searches, they’ll be well on their way to developing their own career.

6. 25 Tough Job Interview Questions

It’s great if your students know what they want to do, but what about landing a job in their chosen industry? They have to get past the interview! And they’re not easy when you’re 15 or 16 years old. This resource from the Huffington Post provides a list of questions your students should be ready to answer.

7. 9 Amazing Teen Entrepreneurs

Many students think they have to follow a traditional career path. Not so! Teen entrepreneurship is on the rise and this article highlights 9 amazing teen entrepreneurs who started their own business – and they’re successful. Don’t let your students count it out quite yet.

Does your school have a career services department? Do the counselors help your students identify what they may be good at? Truth is, your students could switch jobs and industries several times in their lives. Just this past week, I met a Sales Manager at a cookie company whose background is in engineering. You never know. But, with these sites, your students will have a better idea of what they want to be when they grow up.