Lori Goodson, Editor
Mary Hammel, Technical Editor
Name: TJ Slade
School district: USD 305
Salina South High School
City/State: Salina, KS
Class/content area taught: Computer Applications I, Computer Applications II, Computer Programming, Web Page Design, Graphic Design 2D & Graphic Design – Digital
What you are most excited about with your new career: The opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students inside and outside my classroom. This is the best job in the world.
What you enjoy most about teaching: I enjoy seeing my students every single day. The relationships that I have built with my students are awesome. I love providing opportunities to my students to reach their maximum potential.!
Ways your school/district has supported you: My district has provided me with multiple tiers of support as a first year teacher. At the beginning of the year, new teachers receive extra days of orientation. As well, I am currently participating in a mentorship program. My mentor provides me with tons of resources, feedback and information that I wouldn’t know without her guidance. Lastly, my district strongly supports professional development and has allowed me to expand my content knowledge through multiple conferences and workshops.
Ways KSU especially helped prepare you for your new career: KSU specifically helped me to prepare for teaching a variety of different level learners through accommodations and modifications, how to prepare lesson plans & units, and how to separate my personal life from my school life.
Specifics about your background that make teaching the perfect fit for you: Both my parents, my fiancé and, soon to be, my sister are all teachers. It is in our blood. My plan was to major in Computer Science, then Graphic Design but I decided that those careers wouldn’t give me the opportunity to make an impact in my community like teaching would. Therefore, I now get to teach Computer Science, Graphic Design and more. I could not be happier with my decision.
Suggestions/encouragement for new teachers: Do not be worried about finding your dream school your first year of teaching. If a job in your dream school is not available, use this time to discover what you want from your school, but get a job. You will not gain valuable experience waiting for that job to open up. In addition, you might be surprised that what you originally wanted in a school is no longer your top priority. You will change as an individual and as a teacher. You’ll learn so much during student teaching but not as much as a first semester teacher. Your first semester will be tough but just know how to ask for help. My greatest weakness used to be not asking for help but now I rely on the amazing individuals that surround me. As well, be flexible. I’ve had to change my plan a few times throughout last semester, but just know some days aren’t going to go as planned. Also, I have four different classrooms, so I’ve had to carry my classroom in a backpack but being flexible has helped. Lastly, use memes and Fortnite dances. The kids love it, and even it is embarrassing at times, it allows me to form stronger relationships with my students.Other thoughts: Get involved with your school outside the classroom! At Salina South High, I’m the webmaster, Business Professionals of America sponsor, assistant bowling coach and assistant track coach; for Salina South Middle School, I’m the assistant 8thgrade football coach. If coaching isn’t your thing, sponsor a club. If coaching or sponsoring isn’t your thing, find something. I have met so many different types of students from coaching and sponsoring. Not every kid that attends South High will take one of my courses, so it is awesome to meet other kids outside the classroom. Lastly, if you are reading this newsletter, there is a good chance you used Canvas for all of your K-State classes. CANVAS IS FREE FOR TEACHERS and I absolutely love using it in my classroom. I’m the only teacher that is using it for my courses, but it is such a great tool to have at my fingertips (especially the free part). If you have questions about it, feel free to get in contact with me!
We asked some of your favorite Curriculum and Instruction professors, “What do you think is most enjoyable about teaching this age level/content area?” We think you’ll find their responses provide you with a few smiles…and some motivation to keep up your good work in the classroom.
Dr. Brad Burenheide (Secondary Social Studies)— “Everything. The content, the kids, it is intellectually stimulating and enjoyable.”
Kaylee Myers (Elementary Education)— “The students, of course. They bring a smile to my face, especially each morning when they walk in ready to go and a new day has begun.
Cyndi Kuhn (Technology)— “I love technology, and there are so many options and always a new one. Embrace them.”
Dr. Sherri Martinie (Secondary Math)— “There are so many applications of the content to the real world. There are definitely opportunities to be creative teaching math. It is also very rewarding when students that have struggled with math start to make sense of things and enjoy learning the subject.”
Dr. Tonnie Martinez (Secondary Language Arts)— “I always loved when a student would say, “I hate English class.” I would tell them, ‘If you still don’t like it at the end of the semester, I’ll give you your money back!’ It broke the ice, and sometimes I was shocked when one of the “haters” came in during the last week of school and told me they didn’t want their money back and they liked English now.”
Dr. Tom Vontz (Social Studies)— “The honest and sometimes inaccurate and funny interpretations of the world that come from the mouths of little kids.”
Dr. Vicki Sherbert (Secondary English/Language Arts, Speech/Theatre, Journalism)— “We get to bring exciting literacy experiences to our students. Sharing our enthusiasm about books, authors, poetry, drama, etc. with our students is critical to help them develop their own literate lives.”
Dr. Sally Yahnke (Family and Consumer Sciences)— “I think the most enjoyable part of family and consumer sciences is the fact that the content really allows you to get to know your students, not only in class but through FCCLA. Class content is relevant to the students for the decisions they are making today and the decisions they will be making in the future.”
Dr. Phillip Payne (Music Education)— “The most enjoyable part for me is to see students developing their love and knowledge of music. They learn to take ownership of their musicality and to see that is immensely gratifying.”
We want to help beginning and early career teachers like you thrive in your career! Check out #WeAreEdCats for teaching tips and to stay in touch with the COE! Check out the website at coe.k-state.edu/edcats.
OK…this isn’t their normal attire, but the COE’s Curriculum and Instruction Department recently had its “Big Picture Day,” where faculty highlight key research and programs taking place. And, just so it doesn’t get too serious, they chose a “prom” theme. Here’s a look at just a few of the attendees. I think you might recognize a few.
It’s March—which means spring rain (maybe?), a much-deserved break (hopefully you were able to make a stop or two in the Little Apple), and assessments! While you may be putting in a few extra minutes in your classes reviewing material for the tests, it’s also a good time for you to consider the achievements your students have made—whether they show up on a test score or not.
As your students take the assessments, know that you have done your best. If you’ve kept a journal for reflection, now’s the time to spend a few minutes flipping through the pages and seeing just how far your students—and you as a teacher—have come.
Take time to reflect upon your teaching, how you’ve prepared your students for these assessment and, most importantly, for succeeding in your class and with your content. Flip through your past lesson plans and make note of what works and what didn’t, what needs improvement and what was successful.
As assessment results come in, make use of that data. Use the results to see how your students have progressed and to determine what general areas you may need to spend more time on or approach in a different way.
Do not, however, judge your teaching abilities based on assessment results. Assessments are only part of the picture regarding your students’ achievements. Ideally, testing would be an absolute way to judge your abilities to help students learn. But veteran teachers and administrators know other factors affect how your students do on the tests.
Why don’t you send us a photo of you at work in your classroom! Or, do you have a question about classroom procedures? A suggestion for a topic we should address in Before the Bell? Want to add your name to our mailing list? Or provide a different email for our list? At the very least, just email and say hi!
Early-career teachers, feel free to jump in and offer suggestions to those who are following your career choice!
We’d love to hear from you, so please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go, COE Cats!
Believe it or not, spring AND the final weeks of your school year are within reach! OK–it’s Kansas, so I can’t promise the spring thing, but I CAN promise that you only have a few more weeks for the 2018-19 school year.
We want you to make the most of those final weeks. To help out, here are some of the topics we’re going to be addressing in the April issue:
- The Home Stretch (that sounds good, doesn’t it?)
- Cool Things about Your Secondary Content
- Wrapping Up Your First Year