From The Teacher's Desk

Leo Quilty
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Another school year is upon us

It’s hard to believe another school year is already upon us.

With the dawning of the new school year, each student draws his or her bow, if you will, and takes aim at the bull’s eye of high academic achievement. Of course, the measure of success achieved by the individual student will depend on, among other things, their willingness to focus on the task at hand and maintain consistent study habits for the balance of the school year.

American writer Frank A. Clark once said: “Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.” The successful students I’ve taught over my career have made it a habit to take care of the little things. In other words, they’ve paid attention in class, asked questions for clarification, completed all homework assignments, prepared diligently for exams and often read information beyond the required curriculum to enhance their understanding.

Along with the support and encouragement of the classroom teacher, the above habits will not only ensure a positive learning experience but will also help the student develop the discipline needed to continue with a life of quality after high school.

I suspect motivational speaker and author, Zig Ziglar, was also referring to students when he said: “We have to live our life as a meaningful specific and not a wandering generality.” It’s all about focus - about heeding the advice found in the wise saying: “Life is in session. Are you present?”

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. - Alexander Graham Bell

Mr. Ziglar’s advice can also apply, of course, to teachers starting the new school year. On Twitter, I recently came across an interesting compilation of more than 100 tips and tricks for new teachers (from Richard Byrne at ‘freetech4teachers.com’). The piece of advice that caught my eye the most was labeled as ‘best advice for new teachers’ (referenced from Dave Andrade at (educationaltechnologyguy.blogspot.com’).

Dave’s list was as follows: be organized; ask for help; use the curriculum as a guide, but be creative; ask for help; create a PLN; ask for help. What powerful advice for the beginning teacher – especially the part about asking for help!

Creating a PLN, or personal learning network, is definitely worth the effort, especially with the wealth of resources literally at the teacher’s fingertips. We’re now into the second decade of the 21st century. It’s an exciting time to be an educator as we prepare our students for the opportunities and challenges ahead.

In order to do that, educational consultant, Ken Kay, says that we need to “fuse the 3 Rs with the 4 Cs” - critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Sounds like a good plan to me.

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