Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Black Friday: These Teacher Gifts Are Better Than A Dollar Store Mug

The holidays are upon us so I thought I'd publish the ultimate gift guide for teachers and educators.  Because let's face it ... a person can only use so many Dollar Store coffee mugs.


Visible Learning for Teachers by John Hattie

 From Amazon:

In November 2008, John Hattie’s ground-breaking book Visible Learning synthesised the results of more than fifteen years research involving millions of students and represented the biggest ever collection of evidence-based research into what actually works in schools to improve learning. 
Visible Learning for Teachers takes the next step and brings those ground breaking concepts to a completely new audience. Written for students, pre-service and in-service teachers, it explains how to apply the principles of Visible Learning to any classroom anywhere in the world. The author offers concise and user-friendly summaries of the most successful interventions and offers practical step-by-step guidance to the successful implementation of visible learning and visible teaching in the classroom.

Leader of Learning by Marzano and DuFour

 From Amazon:
For many years, the authors have been fellow travelers on the journey to help educators improve their schools. Their first coauthored book focuses on district leadership, principal leadership, and team leadership, and addresses how individual teachers can be most effective in leading students—by learning with colleagues how to implement the most promising pedagogy in their classrooms. 

Exploring Differentiated Instruction - PLC Series by Cindy Strickland

From Amazon:

Exploring Differentiated Instruction is your guide to creating a PLC to help further your understanding of how to use differentiated instruction in your school or classroom. You ll find everything you need to organize and run your PLC, including sample agendas, schedules, and the background reading for each of ten sessions. You ll get the chance to try out new techniques and to collaborate with your colleagues as you deepen your understanding of differentiated instruction. 

Change Leadership: A Practical Guide to Transforming Our Schools by Wagner 

From Amazon:

The Change Leadership Group at the Harvard School of Education has, through its work with educators, developed a thoughtful approach to the transformation of schools in the face of increasing demands for accountability. This book brings the work of the Change Leadership Group to a broader audience, providing a framework to analyze the work of school change and exercises that guide educators through the development of their practice as agents of change. It exemplifies a new and powerful approach to leadership in schools. 


Google Nexus - 7 inch Tablet 32g 

I'm an Android guy and I want one - 'nough said.

Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player

Stream your Android device to your TV all for only $35.00.  I want one of these too.

Apple Ipad Air

I know Apple fans like to have the latest and greatest so I'm sure this is on every teacher's wish list.

I'm A Teacher What's Your Superpower Mug

Just seeing if you're still paying attention.

So what's on your 'Educator' Holiday list?  Leave your ideal gift suggestion (or hint) in the comments below.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kid President

Kid President is making his way around the edublogosphere ... but I couldn't


Monday, November 25, 2013

7 'Uniquenesses" of the Teaching Profession

Teacher at Chalkboard

Teaching - Seven Uniquenesses of the Teaching Profession

By Graysen Walles

No One Can Do What You Do.

Who can do what you do? The reason a shortage exists in the field of teaching is simply because few can do what you do. The teaching profession is profoundly unique. In some areas of the country, a shortage is impacted by economics; other places are effected by geography and weather. For the most part, metropolitan cities have fewer issues in recruiting teachers than smaller, less populous locations.  Nonetheless, the field of teaching is unique and shortages prove that few have the calling and desire to do what more than 3.1 million public and private educators are already doing. Let's look at some of the reasons teaching is unique and why shortages are common across the country, specifically in specialized subject areas such as science, math, and special education.

There are seven ways in which teachers/educators are unique professionals:

First, we've already established the fact that teachers embrace the field of education as a calling not as a job. Let's face it, teaching is a very complex and demanding career that requires teachers to be managers of people, analyzers of data, and researchers of best practices and instructional methodologies-and these skills are utilized each day. In any other major profession that required the same unique qualifications, teachers would make significantly more money. Undoubtedly, the salaries for teachers must be reexamined and adjusted to reflect the uniqueness of the profession and provide balanced scales for all teachers, whether they work in a big city or a small town or country hamlet.

Second, teachers are also unique because the profession is now driven by so much data. Teachers must now be statisticians and researchers, fully accountable in some form or fashion for managing data in the areas of assessment, attendance, graduation rates, discipline percentages, and gifted and special education progress. The administrative responsibilities of the teacher have definitely increased, but the resources necessary to make the management of these duties efficient are minimal. The new demand for data is needed, and critical to enhancing results, but resources are likewise needed to help teachers be effective and efficient in collecting, examining, and utilizing the data.

Third, teachers are required to be learning and behavioral specialists and to be able to apply differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction is a newly celebrated philosophy, and a mandate for all teachers, that requires teachers to find effective teaching strategies that will meet the needs of students with different learning styles, all in the same classroom at the same time. Teachers must, then, be competent and active in enlisting the unique resources and skills necessary to meet the needs of kinesthetic, visual, and auditory learning styles. Additionally, the special challenges of addressing emotional behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and attention deficit problems-all in the same classroom-broaden the gap between teachers and managers. Today's teachers are practitioners, researchers, and change agents; but, none of these unique skills are recognized or rewarded.

Fourth, continuing on the same theme, teachers must work with every child, despite the challenges of that child. In nearly every other profession, management is able to pick out the bad product or the poor employee so that productivity and quality can be increased. Educators do not have that same luxury. Instead, public education demands that every child be given the resources and opportunity to succeed. This includes those students who truly want to learn and will become good "products" and those students who get energized from wreaking havoc and chaos in school by fighting, dealing drugs, taking part in gang activity, or constantly disrupting classes.

Instead of weeding out the bad students, educators are required to manage all situations, to provide alternatives to parents, and to somehow effectively guide troubled students through the educational process. And teachers realize that they must do so, regardless of social and economic situations and, in some cases, the lack of positive parental guidance that might influence the behavior of the student. What becomes most frustrating is recognizing that, if these challenging students refuse the positive alternatives, they may end up dead, in jail, or in a hospital or wallowing in a continuing cycle of poverty. No one gets into teaching to celebrate such a potential loss of lives and potential. Teachers get into the business to change and enhance lives-uniquely, and one by one, as needed.

Fifth, teachers are unique because the line of accountability in education has many levels and tangents. This accountability is not necessarily a bad thing, but it has added to the complexity of teaching. In one way or another, teachers are impacted by the federal government, a state department of education, the local school district, and administration at their school. What does this mean for teachers? It means that the results of classroom practices go far beyond the classroom, students, parents, and principals. I can't name another career field that has as many accountability variables and levels as does the field of public education. As a teacher-educator, be aware that your individual results in the classroom are data and will be analyzed as data and that those results will be evaluated in ways that are unique to the field of education. Your successes or failures in the classroom, as reflected in the data, will impact your longevity in the field of education.

Sixth, educators are unique in that no other professional group manages so many people and is so responsible for individual progress. Teachers work with up to one hundred and eighty students or more each day and are required to ensure that each of those students succeeds academically. Young people, from the ages of four to twenty, are instructed, counseled, directed, nurtured, motivated, inspired, and coached by teachers-a cycle that continues until high school graduation, in best-case scenarios.

You may be surprised to know that children spend more time at school than they do awake at home and that children are influenced by more adults in school than in any other social circle. That makes the public school system the single most influential force on children-more so even than church. Teaching, then, is a unique career that is faced with high liability and tremendous responsibility-because real lives are dependent on competent and professional adults. These demands are tremendous, and very few people can meet them successfully.

Lastly, teaching is unique because it is the only profession where the federal government has mandated absolute perfection. Specifically, the No Child Left Behind Act requires that all children-that's 100 percent-reach proficiency on state level assessments. Between the lines, this legislation essentially requires teachers to provide effective and rigorous instruction, which will hopefully translate into providing the necessary skills and information sets so that students can be literate and competent.   However, the mandate that all students be made to pass assessments is largely unrealistic because of unforeseen and calculable variables that prohibit the attainment of such a goal. Yes, the goal is lofty, but it is worthy. The expectation that teachers teach is warranted. At the end of the day, we all know that students must be able to think and apply their knowledge in real life. After all, primary and secondary schooling is a training ground with the ultimate goal of preparing young people to successfully navigate college, a profession, and the world of adults. But the attainment of such an idealistic goal as what is outlined in No Child Left Behind creates an all-consuming stress that has hurt and will continue to hurt the teaching profession if not taken in stride.

As this federal policy stands, I expect it to cause numerous educators to leave the profession-not one scientist or researcher would ever purport to achieve 100 percent accuracy on any research or experiment due to variables. Even 99.9 percent acknowledges the influence of some variables, even if it is only 0.1 percent. Yet, in the world of education, teachers must live with and comply to that unrealistic federal mandate or find a new line of business, which could be extremely detrimental to hundreds of districts across the country.

So, yes, teaching is unique, and it requires educators to be multi-faceted and multi-talented. It is my strong belief that very few professions demand what is required of teachers in the public sector. The demands are not necessarily bad, but they are indications of the complex nature of the teaching profession. Those who are cut out for this unique profession are called, often naturally skilled or highly and thoroughly trained, and committed to success. And, no, not everyone is cut out for a career in the most challenging occupation on the planet. It also requires an awareness of self. And, it is not for the weary. No, not everyone can do what teachers do. Join the movement - The Teachers Movement and make a difference.

Dr. Graysen Walles
Author, Reasons to Keep Teaching: The Greatest Career on the Planet

Article Source: Teaching - Seven Uniquenesses of the Teaching Profession

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

HR for Principals: FMLA

WWII: Infirmary, Franklin Square House

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law designed to protect an employee’s job while they are out under certain covered circumstances.  The act entitles employees up to 12 weeks (26 weeks in some cases) of unpaid protected leave.  To be covered the employee must have worked for the employer for the 12 months (does not have to be consecutive) and worked at least 1250 hours during those 12 months. The leave can be consecutive or intermittent.

Employees can take FMLA leave for a variety of reasons including: birth or adoption of a child, care for an immediate family member who has a serious illness, for the employee’s own serious health condition, or for a qualifying exigency regarding military call-up.  If they leave is to care for an injured service member the authorized time of leave is 26 weeks.  

In most school districts the employee will apply for leave through the department of human resources, though you may be required to sign a form acknowledging that the leave will be taken. Once approved HR will typically notify the building principal via memo.  

I get a lot of questions from principals regarding teachers on FMLA leave.  One of the most frequent is, “Can I make the teacher submit lesson plans or grade papers while they are out?”  The answer is always “no!”  On leave means on leave.  

Another frequent question has to do with the teacher returning to work and goes like this, “Ms. Smith has missed a lot of work, can I mark them down on their evaluation this year?” Again the answer is “no.”  The leave is protected for a reason, if you take any action against an employee simply because they took FMLA leave you could be guilty of retaliation and lose big time in court.  It is possible to discipline and employee on FMLA leave but it is a confusing process and you should consult with your HR department before doing so.

I know it can be difficult to deal with employees, especially teachers, who are on FMLA leave but it’s a good practice to just wish those employees a speedy recovery and welcome them back when they return.  I advise principals to never ask about an employee’s medical condition.  That’s what we’re in HR for.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Combating "You Can't Make Us" in 3 Steps

"You can't make me!"
My e-friend and PLN colleague Scott Osborn (@PrimaryPride139) posted this question on his Twitter feed a while ago, “#Principals How do we combat, “You can’t make us …” in our buildings?”

Not sure I have the definitive answer but I thought I’d offer a couple of suggestions.

Step 1 - Have a causal talk with the teacher 1 on 1.  Let her know your position and state in clear terms the ramifications of her actions.  I don’t know the whole story in Scott’s school but in a later tweet he shared with me the dispute was over field day.  So the conversation could go something like this, “Ms. Jones I know you don’t want to participate in field day with your students.  As you know this is a school tradition and the kids really enjoy it.  By refusing to participate you bring down student / staff morale and damage your own reputation with parents who think only a mean teacher would 
refuse to participate - can I count on you to do the right thing?”

Notice in step one you’re not asking Ms. Jones to clarify her position or speak her mind.  You’re simply stating in very clear terms your position and the effect of her behavior on the students and community.  This is not a debate on the merits of field day; this is a supervisor talking to a subordinate.  Be polite but firm.  

Follow up this conversation with an email that restates what you said.  

Hopefully this conversation has brought Ms. Jones on board and you can stop there.  But let’s say that Ms. Jones continues to refuse to participate in field day and raises her “you can’t make us” argument by complaining loudly to anyone within ear-shot, well then it's time to go on to …

Step 2 - Call Ms. Jones into your office for a formal conference.  State your position again and allow her to present her side (just on the off chance that she has valid reasons for her field day protest).  Follow up this conference with a letter.  In my district we call these letters ‘documenting letters’ or ‘conference summary letters.’  They are considered corrective rather than disciplinary in nature.  There are a couple of key points to put in this letter:

- be clear in the purpose, “The purpose of this letter is to document your recent conduct regarding field day.”  

- Restate your position and expectations.

- Include a synopsis of the teacher’s position on the matter.

- Include what those of us in HR call the magic paragraph, “I trust you will take this opportunity to correct your behavior and avoid adverse effects on your employment.  However, should you 1) fail to comply with my directives as outlined herein or 2) further violate school policy you may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.”

- Have the teacher sign a copy of the letter indicating receipt (not agreement).

I would also either complete an interim evaluation of the teacher or make a note to myself to ‘mark down’ the teacher in the appropriate area, i.e. professionalism.

Ok, you’ve talked  to the teacher … you’ve had a conference and written a letter.  At this point you’re cursing, pulling out your hair, and vowing to retire / quit at the earliest opportunity.  Ms. Jones is still refusing to cooperate with your field day.

Step 3 - Fire her a$$!

It would be difficult to move for dismissal or probation over a field day disagreement though these things may be warranted depending on the teacher’s history and performance.  My guess is that a teacher raising a stink over field day has other, more pressing issues.  My intuition tells me that this teacher likely resists new initiatives and techniques, skips meetings, doesn’t write learning plans, doesn’t contribute to her PLC or grade level, and has a myriad of other problems.  

At the very least, I would place the teacher on an action plan for performance improvement and increase my monitoring of her performance.  

So now you have to decide how far you want to push the issue - and whether or not field day will become a battlefield.

  Photo credit:  Floyd Brown - Creative Commons License 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Discussion with April about Teacher Job Fairs

Job Fair 2012 #5

The teacher job fair season is starting!  In fact, I'll be at the Virginia Association of School Personnel Administrators fair on December 11, 2013 in Williamsburg, VA - If you're in Virginia, come say hello to recruiters from all across the Commonwealth.  Information on the VASPA fair can be found here. 

This article will help teacher candidates prepare for job fairs - kind of a 'how to' if you will.

Feel free to ask any questions or share your experiences in the comments section.

????:  What kind of job were you seeking?

April: Ideally I was seeking a 10th grade Biology position. However I was open to teach any classes that I could with my credential! My credential allows me to teach 7th-8th grade science and any high school Biology/Life or Earth and Planetary Science classes.

????:  How did you find out about the job fair?

April: I found out about the job fair by seeing it under "Recruitment Events" on California's job posting site, The posting had a link that redirected me to CAEE's (California Association for Employment in Education) website where I found out more details about the fair.

????: Did you have to register for the job fair?  What did the registration entail?

April: I didn't have to register ahead however there was an application that I had to print off the web page and bring to the fair. The registration form had me include my basic contact information and also my credentialing. The website also gave me a list of schools that were going to be participating in the fair.

????:  What did you wear?

April: I wore a blue cardigan, white long sleeve button down shirt, long dark gray dress pants, black belt, black dressy heels, and a pearl bracelet. I also brought a nice leather brief case with a shoulder strap so that I wouldn't be bombarded with holding things! The briefcase had a opening on top that easily retrieve resume packets and put away information I collected from the schools, also I wouldn't have to bring a purse too since there was room for my keys and wallet!

????:  What did you bring with you?

April: I brought my brief case loaded with all the interview essentials! I put together 20 interview packets since I knew there would be several schools there and I didn't want to run out! These packets consisted of my cover letter, resume, 3 letters of reference, CBEST and CSET test results (since I did not have my credential finished at that ????e).

All the papers were color copies and held together by colorful metal clips (the type that has prongs that bend forward then snap back). I also brought my interview portfolio which ???? suggests making in this book!!! I also knew the list of participating school districts ahead of ????e so I did my research on the ones which I knew I definitely wanted to talk to first. I made notes about the different school districts so that I would have a game plan and reviewed them the morning of the job fair!

I also brought two friends of mine since they too were looking for teaching positions. Bringing friends could be a big negative when looking for a job if you cling to each other, potential employers could be turned off immediately and think you aren't serious so be careful if you decide to go with friends.

????:  What did you observe when you first walked in?

April: The fair was from 9am-12noon, I arrived at 9:30am. There was a long line of about 100 people waiting outside of the fair site. There was a registration table where I handed in the paper that I printed from online. There was supposed to be a $5 entry fee however when I got there they told me that the fee would be waived since some of the districts did not show up. I received a paper with the school districts which showed up and were located inside the building. I also received a ticket with a number and was told that I had to wait in the line and wait for my number to be called since there were too many people still inside.

While waiting in line I looked around at the other applicants around me to see what they were wearing. Most everyone was dressed nicely but it was very surprising to see some people wearing jeans! I think that jeans are inappropriate when a person is job searching, no matter how nice the jeans look! Also, I was shocked that some people didn't have anything with them (resumes) to hand out to the different schools. After waiting for about 30 minutes outside a group containing my ticket number was called.

We were lead into a conference room where we were instructed to write our name and credential on a name tag (there were different color name tags blue for Single Subject, red for Multiple Subjects, and gold for Special Education). As soon as we filled out our name tag we could walk over to where the schools had tables. The schools/districts were split into two large conference rooms. A list of what organizations were in each room was posted on the door, I took a look at which group seemed more desirable and then walked inside.

There were 8 schools/tables set up around the walls of the conference room. Each table had a table cloth or banner largely displaying the name of the school or district and a large spread of papers for information on their district. There were very long lines (30 plus people) waiting to speak to each organization's representatives.

Since I did come with two friends, this is where I was at an advantage since we immediately split up and stood in different lines. When we finished talking to a school district we told each other if that district mentioned they were hiring for science, math, etc. With this information I prioritized which tables I should visit and in what order so that I would not run out of ????e. There were some elementary districts so I knew that they would not be available for me to talk with, there were also some out of state and religious schools which I did not have interest in working for so these were also crossed off my mental list.

The conference rooms were very noisy and people were aimlessly wandering around, some were sitting down filling out paper applications they picked up from districts, while others were waiting in lines like myself for the opportunity to meet with these schools. While waiting in line I struck up conversations with other candidates to keep from becoming bored and this also help to keep my energy up for when I got to the front of the line!

????:  Approximately many school districts were there?  Since you were looking for science jobs, was it hard to find schools that were hiring for your particular subject area?

April: Approximately there were 15 schools/districts with tables at the fair. Some were individual schools with the Principal or VP at the table from a particular district, but majority were school districts with a HR person at their table. From the schools that did have 7-12th grade available in their district, it was not difficult to spark their interest when I mentioned that I was a science teacher. The impression I got was that they needed science teachers and that science jobs would probably become available once they found out their budget and which teachers were returning for the next year. The tables didn't have their openings posted on signs so I had to talk to each one to find out if a science teacher was a subject area they needed.

????:  When you found districts you liked, how were you instructed to apply?

April: Some did have paper applications on hand to fill out. However most of the tables directed me to fill out an application online through either their districts website or on (where California education jobs are posted). I think due to the ????e of year, school districts were still unsure of the openings so they were at the fair looking for people to add to their applicant eligibility pool. Knowing that many couldn't for sure tell me whether they had a science opening was somewhat frustrating however I still gave out my resume packets and filled out their applications.

????:  Were they doing any on-site interviews?

April: Not many districts we doing on-site interviews. Most of them were taking your information (resume) and letting you know about their district. However there was one district that was conducting on-site interviews and of course their table had the longest line. I knew that this was my best shot to secure a job lead or further interview so I waited and waited!

When I got up to the front of the line the ????e for the fair to be over was nearing so the Director of HR for that specific district told a group of 8 to come up around his table while he spoke with all of us. He collected our resumes and my packet definitely stood out since it was in color and had a clip which made it thicker than the average one sheeted resume. The Dir. of HR asked us to introduce ourselves and then tell him what our credential area was. Then he proceeded to talk about the district for a few minutes, then he stopped and said "Does anybody have any questions?"...people just looked around and said nothing until I chimed in and said "I know there is a high population of English learners in your area, what sort of special development programs are offered at the high school level?" He replied "that's a great question, we have..." Then he asked if there were any other questions, again, nobody said anything so I asked another question since I wanted to let him know I was very interested, I asked "what different technology and resources are available within your school's science labs" By that ????e he and I were in a one-on-one conversation and he shook hands and said good-bye to everyone else standing around the table. When everyone had left, he pulled my packet back out of his pile of resumes and started to flip through it, he said that he was very intrigued by some of the things that he saw (variety of science field credential authorizations and tutoring experience). We made small talk about the area I currently live in and then he said "you know what, I think you're spectacular and I really want to do another interview and I know that you live so far away and are still student teaching so I could meet up with you on a weekend, I'll have my secretary contact you to set up an interview date." Of course I was overjoyed, took down his contact information, then thanked him.

I followed up by sending him an email a few days later letting him know it was a pleasure meeting him and that I look forward to learning more about his district when I come in for my interview. Long story short I have had two interviews in that district due to speaking up and standing out at this job fair!

????:  How long were you at the job fair?

April: I was at the job fair from 9:30am-12:30pm (some schools stayed past the intended end ????e). I was inside talking to schools from 10am-12:30pm, this was enough ????e to visit all the schools that I was interested in talking with.

????:  Were there any people, situations, or procedures at the job fair that made you uncomfortable or nervous?

April: It was awkward talking to my first school. I was trying to listen to what other people were saying to this particular Principal and trying to think of something different so that I would stand out. When I got up to the front the Principal was very unfriendly and didn't provide room to for me to introduce myself. She started off by saying "Do you have a resume for me?" as I walked up to her table, I replied "yes, oh I see you're school is located close to where I went to college, I love that area" and handed her my resume packet. She didn't even glance at it, she simply threw it onto of a stack of others and then said "what subject do you teach?" I said "Biology and Geoscience", she replied "well, here's the thing, I'm not sure if I'll be hiring a science teacher this year, but I'll keep your resume just in case...NEEEEXT." I couldn't believe how the Principal completely controlled the conversation, I knew that I had to do better at the next tables or else I would be wasting this opportunity!

Also, it did make me nervous to see the hundreds of applicants at the fair that were eagerly trying to find a job just like me! But I felt calm knowing that "Guide to Getting the Teaching Job of Your Dreams" was my secret weapon that had prepared me in ways that would give me a competitive advantage over all the other people!

????:  Were you able to follow up on any of your job fair leads?

April: Yes, I was able to follow up. All the school districts had paper information flyers, business cards, brochures, etc so I collected all these and then wrote emails to follow up with the school that were of interest to myself. I also emailed that one particular school district Director of HR who said he wanted to set up an interview ????e. This was the email I sent...

       Mr./Ms. ______________,
       It was very nice meeting you at the CAEE Teacher Recruitment
       Fair this past Saturday. I enjoyed our conversation regarding the
       science teaching positions which may be available through your
       district and setting up an interview ????e!
       Feel free to contact me any ????e on my cell phone _____ or by
       email _____ for additional information you may need.
       I look forward to hearing from you soon.

       April H.

????:  What advice do you have for someone who is planning to attend a teacher job fair?

April: Have a game plan and strategy to make the most out of your ????e at the job fair. Many people waste their ????e be simply walking up to a school's table and handing their resume, collecting a business card, and then walking away to the next table. If you go with friends, don't cling to them, branch out and go outside of your comfort zone! Have thoughtful intelligent questions already in your mind to ask these school districts so that you have something to talk about once you get in front of a principal or HR personnel! Don't get discouraged if you feel like none of the schools are hiring for your specific specialty, if you're a good networker and leave a positive impression then you never know, these contacts could direct you to schools that need a teacher like yourself! Stand out by having something intelligent and interesting to say, you don't want to blend into the other 100's of people they talked to that day! Make your cover letter and resume stand out and flawless!!! I got many compliments on how mine were color and had bulk to them, they stood out in a positive way. These schools are there for a reason, they want to find good teachers like yourself!

????:  Anything else you'd like to share about your experience?

April: I was very surprised that many schools/school districts did not know what openings they had for the next school year. Many of them simply wanted to add to their eligibility pool so they would have a good selection when it came ????e to interviewing candidates months later. I found this frustrating since I wanted to feel like I was making progress towards securing a job. I believe that going to  job fairs can be a great way shake off nerves before going into the interview of your dreams. Good luck!!

For more information about getting the teaching job of your dreams Click Here!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Principal's 3 Most Important Tasks

Top 10 list?

Nope, 10 is too many.

From a purley HR perspective here are the top 3 job tasks for principals:

  1. Hire the right people,
  2. Honestly evaluate your people and help them improve,
  3. Get rid of the wrong people.
Do these three things and you'll be successful as a principal ... I guarantee it. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Best Ways to Master An Ipad

By Daniel Humphries

What's the best way to master your iPad? How do you know you're getting the most out of it?

We have very much become a visual society. Television, movies, YouTube, smartphones, tablets--receiving information through visual media has become the most popular, most effective, and most efficient means of information transmission and consumption. Memorizing and retaining facts and data can still be accomplished through reading and recitation, but learning a new skill or task is, most often, best accomplished by being shown how to do it and then repeating what you've just seen, or by being able to do it step-by-step alongside the other person in a video. It is typically easier to learn a new task or concept by watching someone else do it than it is to just listen to or read instructions and hope that you are interpreting them correctly.

Personally, as I learn more and more about how to research online markets, how to set up accounts, and how to learn new skills, watching someone else do those same things in video format has become invaluable. I don't have to struggle trying to figure something out on my own. I recently purchased an iPad for my wife for Christmas. Even though she is fairly computer savvy, it is much easier for her to watch a video tutorial on how to accomplish something or learn a new feature than it is to go to the help manual, read the instructions, and then try to match up what she read to what she is now seeing on the screen.

In the specific instance of learning how to use an iPad, several options currently exist to learn how to get the most out of it:

1. Read the online help manual -- dry reading; possibly hard to follow; covers basic features; may not include helpful tips or tricks that others have discovered that are quicker and easier than the factory instructions.

2. Have a friend show you -- good if the friend has already learned quite a bit; probably won't be completely thorough in addressing all functions; may include shortcuts and tips.

3. Attend a local class or workshop -- could be fairly costly; may not have enough time to address all functions; may not be able to perform tasks simultaneously with instructor; everyone learns at a different pace and may not be able to have the instructor repeat the task enough for you to feel comfortable before moving on.

4. Watch a free video that someone has uploaded to YouTube or other video service -- may not be of good quality; may not be a trusted source; probably doesn't cover all functions, so may have to find different videos to cover different tasks

5. Purchase a reasonably priced professionally made comprehensive instructional video tutorial -- shows you step-by-step, click-by-click, how to perform all functions in a clear easy-to-understand way; allows you to repeat lessons until you are comfortable; will stay updated with upgrades. (Editor's note - here's a program I like, it's a little pricey but well worth it CLICK HERE.)

Many people have turned to the last option to learn all the functions of their iPad. Being able to watch which buttons are clicked, what is typed into each box, and what shows up on the next screen makes the task at hand a piece of cake. And with visual learning, comprehension and retention is stronger. It takes away all the guesswork and possible misinterpretation of (and frustration with) the instructions, and it also allows you to repeat a step indefinitely until you have it down and you're ready to move on to the next step, which provides a better sense of confidence and accomplishment for you.

So, if you've just purchased or been given an iPad and are unsure of how to get started, or if you've had one for awhile and still don't feel like you have the best understanding of what it can really do, find a reasonably priced professionally produced video tutorial that shows someone walking you through every function and capability step by step. It will be the most efficient and most effective way to master your iPad and get the most out of it now and into the future.

Daniel Humphries is an internet entrepreneur who works with various internet companies in the marketing field. He has learned many skills through watching and learning and knows the value of learning new skills and implementing them to further his career and to help others.


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