Thursday, October 3, 2013

Progressive Learning Conference!

Expand your view of education!

At the Progressive Education Conference – Play Hard: the serious work of keeping joy in learning!

The 2013 National Conference is right here in Los Angeles, October 10-12 2013!

This is a great opportunity to find out what progressive education is all about if you don’t know and to improve your practice if you already are a believer.

The speakers (Erin Gruwell, Madeline Levine, Angela Davis, Stuart Brown, Bill Ayers, Deborah Meier, Paul Cummins, etc.) and 90 workshops (conducted by teachers from across the country) will be dynamic and galvanizing, calling for a creative re-imagining of the terms and conditions under which most students are schooled in this country.  Please go to the Progressive Education Network web site for more information.

Though educators have been challenged in agreeing upon a single definition for progressive education, consensus builds around these defining principles:

Education must prepare students for active participation in a democratic society.

Education must focus on students' social, emotional, academic, cognitive and physical development.

Education must nurture and support students' natural curiosity and innate desire to learn.

Education must foster internal motivation in students.

Education must be responsive to the developmental needs of students.

Education must foster respectful relationships between teachers and students.

Education must encourage the active participation of students in their learning, which arises from previous experience.

Progressive educators must play an active role in guiding the educational vision of our society.

Check it out and let us hear all about it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday Teacher Feature: Rita!

Meet our substitute, Rita Oliver, for this month's Tuesday Teacher Feature! When you're talking about a 'pro,' you're talking about Rita! Read on to find out why!

TOR: How long have you been substitute teaching with TOR?
CD: At least 2 1/2 years.

TOR: What do you find most rewarding about substitute teaching?
CD: I like the work I do with the students, the variety of schools and meeting new students with whom I feel I can make a difference.

TOR: What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out as a sub?
CD: The advice I can give is not to fear them, be respectful, be fair but 'no nonsense.'  Students want limits as to what they can and cannot do with a sub. Remember you are not their friend, you are their teacher. They will test you. 

TOR: When you're not subbing, what might we find you doing?
CD: I read, go for walks, spend time with my sister, and talk to my children and grandchildren on the phone.  I  like jazz so I may go to a jazz club with my friends.  I also have my spiritual practice that helps me to stay calm and focused.

TOR:  What is your 'go-to' classroom management trick?
CD: I like to set the tone with the students and let them know that it is in best their interest to get the work done that their teacher left for them to complete.  You don't need to be mean just firm and helpful when needed.

TOR: What do you find most rewarding about substitute teaching?
CD: It is always interesting when the students want you to be their "regular" teacher.  Two reasons they give are that I am able to control the class so they can learn and you don't mind trying to help them find the information they need to complete their assignment for the day. 

TOR: What is the most important thing you've learned as a guest teacher in different schools?
CD: Students want a teacher that is not afraid of them and is willing to help them with the work they are doing. Even if the sub is not sure but is willing to try to get them the information they need. You also must be willing to enlist the aid of the students, they like to be helpful.

TOR: Did you have a teacher that was particularly influential to you? Why?
CD: Yes, Mrs Williams, my 7th grade math teacher.  She was 'no nonsense' and saw right through my playfulness.  She put me in check in a way that allowed me to hear her. After that, I was more focused.  I watched how she interacted with the students and saw no fear.  As a teacher you must be fearless.