Remembering My Own Advice: Student Growth Takes Time, Patience, and Care

I have spent some time on this blog this fall lamenting about the state of some of the employability skills of my intern students. At the end of this past week, I received an email that put my concerns in perspective and reminded me that change and growth are directly tied to time. There are times we all find ourselves ignoring our own best advice and understandings of the human nature. I speak often and candidly to teachers early in their careers about how it may take a semester, a year, or years to see the caring work we put into a student to pay off or to show dividends. While it took a long and at times arduous semester, this small part of the email response below reminded me why I believe what I do about students, and why I give the advice I do to other teachers:

“I promise I will! You’ve been so helpful through me having my first job and giving me advice. This program has given me a real look into real life working and I appreciate it!”

To provide some context, this is in response to a final plea from me via email to follow through on a series of assignments and paperwork required for the course. Essentially, this student had been ignoring much of the work and my outreach for nearly two months.

Now certainly, the student’s words speak to the ego I think all teachers have, but what I admire most–or want to believe the most– is how the student speaks to how the program has given the student “a real look into real life working.” That, my friends, is what it is all about.

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Updates: Developing the Work Force through Work Based Learning, Researching Peritext, & The Studio Reunion II Rescheduled (Finally)

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So it’s been a month.

The culmination of a busy season at work, being a dad, writing chapters for books, and conducting research really pushed blog posting to the very back of my to-do list. I have a few interesting pieces I hope to get up on the blog shortly, but in the meantime, here are a few updates in which I think a few of you might be interested. Continue reading

GCTE Here We Come!: Sharing Innovative Approaches to Teaching ELA

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I realized the other day that I had not posted for nearly a month. While I intended to share my latest attempt at supporting my work-based learning students a few weeks ago, a scheduling conflict caused me to cancel my workshop with them, meaning I have been working with most students one-on-one through their resume-building process. I do intend to have a real update there, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some great news and hopefully drum up some interest of fellow ELA teachers in the state of Georgia.

Last night myself and several of my colleagues found out we were approved to present at this year’s GCTE (Georgia Council of Teachers of English) Conference in Athens, GA on February 9-10!

What makes this particularly special this year is rather than going solo as I have in many years past to present, I invited several of my ELA colleagues to join forces with me to put in multiple proposals that showcase the extraordinary work we do with students on our campus. A sincere goal of mine this year was to bring my school to the foreground of what innovative and best practices look like in the modern high school setting, and I was so thrilled to see my colleagues to accept my invitation. Because of their leap of faith, Lanier High School will have 7 ELA teachers represented in 4 great presentations during the weekend. I do sincerely hope fellow ELA teachers in the state can join us. The topics we’ll be exploring include:

  • “Exiting Through the Gift Shop: Enhancing Non-Fiction Instruction through Banksy, Documentary, and Memoir”
  • “Formative Assessment with Seesaw
  • “Innovating Shakespeare: A Collaborative, Technology-Rich Approach to Introducing the Bard”
  • “Transforming Teaching Through a Blended Classroom”

We hope to see you there!

Preparing Work-Based Students for the Interview & Seeking the Value of LinkedIn

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A few weeks ago I met with my work-based learning students to address some of the concerns I shared in two recent posts about their current skill set in concern to communication and professionalism. You can find those original posts here and here. When we met as a class, I did not admonish them or use the time to berate them due to my concerns. I wanted, instead, to have them actively engage in the process of working on those communication and professionalism skills. To help in this endeavor, I enlisted the help of Taylor Rogers, an account executive for Randstad and a former mentee of mine when he was in high school. (Have I really been teaching that long already?!) Taylor, in kind, enlisted the help of friend of his, a financial guru and serial entrepreneur, Alexander Brown–who most recently launched the start-up app Draw My Hunt.  Continue reading