Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Letter to a New Teacher

Laugh at yourself. Often.

There is a difference between being nice and being kind, and between being firm and being mean. Choose kind. Choose firm.

Pick your battles. The people above you will make decisions you don’t agree with, and it will happen often.  Ask yourself this question: “Does this issue significantly and inevitably impede my ability to teach and care for my students effectively?” If it does, approach the decision-maker with your concerns calmly and diplomatically. If not, do what you need to do to be in compliance and nothing more.

Glitter may seem like a good idea, but it’s not.


Be friendly to other teachers, but also be wary. Surround yourself with positive people, and try to set an example for the people who are always negative (the way you set an example for me during most of this past fall!). Do not offer an ear to the teachers who blame their problems on children.

Embrace your mistakes because they’re coming, my friend. There will be small ones, and there will be big ones that you will think about for years later. They will happen no matter how careful you are because we are human and humans are imperfect. But is much better to make mistakes and apologize for them than to resist them and make excuses (or worse, believe you are above making mistakes).

If you’re about to make 100 double-sided, 6-page packets and someone comes into the copy room needing to make 70 single-sided copies, let them go in front of you.

Be kind to everyone, but make a special effort to be kind to the people behind the scenes—librarians, receptionists, cafeteria and custodial staff, etc.

On the bad days, don’t be afraid to lock your door and turn off the lights during your prep period and sit under your desk and cry and eat candy that you meant to give to students.

On the really bad days, start making a list of all the awesome stuff you’re going to do when you leave, and leave right after school no matter how much work you have (it will get done!).

If you find yourself arguing with a student, you’ve already lost.

DEVOLSON (the Dark, Evil Vortex of Late September, October, and November) can destroy you if you're not careful. Awareness is half the battle.

Feedback is so unbelievably important. Grade and hand back every assignment, even if you know it isn’t going in your gradebook.

Go to the school dances and make a dancing fool out of yourself. 

Create posters for athletic games and fine arts performances and yell your heart out.  

Arm wrestle your students. 


Sing LOUD.

Oh, and remember you will do stupid things.

This is one of the most important, most rewarding, most incredible, and most terrifying jobs in the world, and you are ready. Your future students are lucky young men and women indeed. I can say with certainty that it has been an honor and a privilege to pass my teaching torch to you.

Now, go!

Run fast and run boldly in the direction of greatness!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

2nd Annual Indian Education Summit

The 2nd Annual North Dakota Indian Education Summit will be held in Bismarck, July 7-8, 2015, at the North Dakota State Capital.  This Summit is open to all educators and has been designed to provide quality professional development and best practices in Indian Education.

All educators (present and future) are welcome to attend the two day summit.

This summit is sponsored by the Department of Public Instruction - Indian Education Unit and the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.

If you are interested in attending this conference, please contact Jen Heid. The CEDAR grant will cover the $125 registration fee for you.

Portfolio Spot Checks

The semester is over - another step closer to fulfilling your goal of becoming a teacher!

We will be checking your portfolios this next week. If you have any last minute artifacts to upload, I suggest you do it now. Those of you with complete porfolios are going to get a sweet reward!

Stay tuned...