For everyone, but mostly teachers :)

One thing that my district does well is to support teachers in getting professional development from outside vendors. This week, I have been at the 31st Annual Effective Schools conference, and I have learned effective, innovative ways to approach teaching–as well as being reaffirmed that some of the traditional ways that teachers reach their students never goes out of style.

Here are some of the best quotes. I tried to choose ones that non-teachers would appreciate (some are exact quotes; others are paraphrased):

“Don’t confuse high standards with high expectations.” The presenter then went on to explain that standards that are too high might actually lower expectations. He tied it loosely in with common core and those “high” standards. He went on: “Mountains can be moved if there are high expectations, but not with high standards.”

As teachers, we can get more out of metaphoric hugs than metaphoric sticks. He then went on to say that the current educational “reform” movement is relying mostly on sticks–which means it won’t work.

There is perhaps no greater power than giving students (people, really) feedback as quickly as possible. To me, this was incredibly reaffirming, because those of you who know me well know that I spend almost every Monday and Tuesday grading essays–sometimes (often) getting up at 3AM to do so. I do this because I know how important it is for students to get graded essays back as quickly as possible. I try to get essays back within 24 hours, 48 hours at the longest.

The best question that teachers can ask themselves is this: “Would you want to be in your own class?” I would expand that to all areas of life: Would you want to be your own friend, for example?

“If you can’t say ‘no,” then saying ‘yes’ has no meaning.”

“When you insist, they will resist.” This one was geared at administrators and district personal. The speaker then went on to describe the value of getting volunteers to pilot programs. This, too, was reaffirming because I have been beating that drum for the past year to the powers-that-be.

“Hope isn’t a strategy.” I put this one in because it made me think. I am all about hope, so I sort of don’t like this one. I suppose that I have to admit it’s true, though. Maybe I could change it: “Hope isn’t a strategy, but it’s the best place to start.”

In order for real change to occur, behaviors have to be changed. The speaker then went on to describe Alcoholics Anonymous and how that organization is one of the few that he studied that was able to create lasting change in people.

The thing about conferences…they get people excited, and there’s more that I am excited about, but I am out of time! Time is almost always the limiting factor, isn’t it?

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