Author: jeberhardt

The End of the Beginning

In order to be a successful instructor, all prospective teachers need to have a solid understanding of the importance of classroom management. All students who have observed a few classes as part of their practicum for their education courses have witnessed various teaching strategies and forms of classroom management. However, it is probably safe to say that not all of these practices are effective, or even noteworthy in any positive regard, and as such create a difficult learning environment for both student and teacher.

It is ridiculously important to be able to manage a classroom effectively and within said room, contain a high level of control in order to instruct a seemingly large group of students. I like the strategy of implementing a set of classroom rules at the beginning of the school year, as well as constructing a detailed syllabus with a list of assignments and expectations for the course. Characteristics of a good teacher include excellent organizational skills,  mastery of  subject matter, relaxed personality, passion for teaching, and approachability. All of these traits help to contribute to the creation of a wonderful teacher and all must be the leading foundation in order to develop a successful classroom management plan.

I hope that when I am in control of my own classroom and am finally placed within the career of my choice, that I will be a good teacher and be able to make a mark on the lives of students. I know that, going into this profession, I am not out to change the world and that trying to do so would only lead to disappointment. All I  want to do is change the outcome for students and give them the opportunity to be prepared as much as possible for their lives. I don’t want to just make a difference or make a student learn how to write a five-paragraph essay…I want to teach a kid how to be productive, how to make the best of their life, and how to enjoy it while they can.

Mr. London Needs to Wiggle, Too!

The Barbed Wire Model of Classroom Management

In this blog, the author compared the activity of untangling barbed wire with the (sometimes) difficult task of managing a classroom. He took an interesting approach on the topic and organized his views accordingly. He compared barbed wire in terms of “coiling the classroom” with the purpose of untangling the isuses that may be present and wrapped everything up with the importance of focusing student energy in order to be successful.

Education World: Classroom Management Tips

This site offered valuable tips on classroom management. Each tip had a link that would take the reader to another page that would go further in-depth in terms of the topic at hand. Through these links, detailed information could be found, which I thought was very helpful and a much more organized way of presenting a lot of information.

Life is Good in Room 305

Admittedly, this is not the most highly-esteemed video out there and I probably could have found something more productive, but it was a
very cute little song that had a catchy little tune. However, it does still offer helpful advice for prospective teachers by reinforcing the
importance of having a plan in the morning, having fun with your students, and being sure to try to schedule in some wiggle time now and

The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Teachers

This one was good, too. 🙂


Cuique Suum

Generally speaking, I feel that societies should be left to their own devices, so long as no one is being harmed within those societies. I am embarrassed by the concept of the white man’s burden and feel that during this day and age, such concepts should be completely deserted. The article used examples of native groups that had been controlled by their dominating societies, with those societies realizing many years later  the negative impact that their control had.  I feel that this is a practice that we should continue now and that in general, communities should be able to decide what type of aid or education they receive.

I see no problem with a community  choosing not to have a school, or any formal type of  educational requirements for their children.  Societies have  survived  without the influence of the white man, so I see no need  to interrupt the process. If a village, or an individual, wishes to seek a formal education, such as is provided  in cities such as Fairbanks or Juneau, then  children should be able to choose to  do so. Some kids, native or not, don’t feel that a classroom education is worthy of their time and deication, so why force  it upon them?

I agree with the concept of place-based education. In some communities, understanding how to build a webpage or learning that Hemingway was a lonely drunk are not beneficial pieces of information. However, learning how to do something practical, like hunt and fish, is extremely benefical and will directly contribute to a person’s most basic needs for survival.

Teaching Alaskan history and the history of native communities is something that is already in place at a highschool level, and is something that seems to be moderately beneficial to the students. Perhaps it is because it is a new subject that hasn’t had all of the kinks worked out,  or it is because teachers are already so limited in time, but  most of the information being presented in the classes feed into stereotypes of the native people and Alaska and offer little education. If this is a concept that is going to continue to exist within public schools, then the content and its delivery needs to be re-evaluated in order to provide a more accurate portrayal of this type of history.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Although I have sat in on his class before while working with one of my students, I couldn’t help but spoil myself last week and sit in on his class again. I am referring to Greg Kahoe, an amazing  science teacher at WVHS. Kahoe has some serious withitness in his classroom and is, in general, an all-around quirky and nice guy. He and his wife have goats (his wife makes/sells beauty products at the TVFM  made from their goat’s milk) and sometimes, Kahoe will bring in some of the milk for the purpose of his  teaching.

Kahoe runs his classroom smoothly and effortlessly although  he doesn’t always employ the classroom management techniques that we have learned so far. (As a side note, for anyone  looking  for a visual of Kahoe…yeah, he looks like Bill Nye the Science Guy – only with shorter hair. And yes…he wears bow ties). I believe that Kahoe has such smooth operations in his classroom because the students simply adore him – he is fun and strict, goofy and  informative, sloppy and organized…he has a way with the students that not everyone can really grasp.

His class starts off with him walking about the room checking off  homework (he assigns homework every night) while the students talk  quietly amongst themselves. Some take this  time to rush and finish their work, but for the most part, everyone has it completed ahead of time. After checking the work with his initials and a point value, he goes to his computer, calls  each student out by their name, and has them recite what score they got on the homework. The whole process takes about 6-7 minutes and is surprisingly  controlled and quiet. His lessons vary, but usually involve him giving a short lecture based on a well-organized  PowerPoint  (students are required to take notes), followed by  directions for the assignment, then students begin the  assignment. Class  wraps up  about a minute  before the bell and in the end,  it feels as though no time is wasted.

Kahoe has no need for disciplinary action nor does he ever get  rudely interrupted during any course of the class.  He has  complete control of his classroom,  although he never makes any motion to instill rules or discipline, even during periods of time when students are “free” from his control or sight. His transitions were smooth, although it is relatively difficult to pinpoint exactly when they took place. It seemed as though  just when  students were finishing one  thing, he was ready with another. I think that this eased the processes of the classroom very  efficiently; so efficiently that I never really noticed a gap in-between activities.

Watching Kahoe, and other great teachers, is completely helpful for the development of my future career. I like to think  that one day I will have  a routine set  with my students and that  when prospective  teachers  come into my room for classroom  observations, they will admire and learn from  me as much as I am from the wonderful teachers that I have observed so far. I hope that they  will see my  lessons and demonstrations and try to mimic them in their own future classrooms.

Show Me Your War Face!

In order to succeed in my classroom, I need to enter each and every period with a prepared and active mental set. In general, every day brings new challenges and events that have to be met and handled thoroughly. I like to think that whenever a new set of students walk into my room, I  will be  ready to brace whatever moves they throw at me in order to maintain the professional and fun setting that I imagine for my room. I need to be able to walk into various scenarios with an open mind, a sense of reason, and a back-up plan. I will need to understand that not every minute detail can be controlled, but that it is important to to do the best I can.

When I first interviewed for the school district, I was asked what types of activities I do   in my free time. At the time, I thought this was a little strange, but now realize the importance of the question. I never realized how stressful a job could be until I began working as an aid in the IR room at LHS and how desperately I needed to vent at the end of the day. I began to ski, bike, run, drive around screaming the lyrics to my favorite songs that were blaring on my speakers….anything to let out the stress and get myself back to reality. This idea of breaking down my emotions and just “letting it all out” was the best medicine for a life full of stress and is one of the most valuable tools that a prospective teacher can use in order to succeed. It is so unbelievably important to learn to leave work at work and to regain a sense of self outside of work at the end of the day. As a result of all my screaming and yelling at my speakers, I learned how to control my stress…and developed a pretty  mean war face.

Instruction Does Much, But Encouragement Does Everything.

In our society, it seems essential to be able to develop  connections between students and teachers. In order to gain respect, understanding, and to establish a fun learning opportunity, both student and teacher must have a mutual understanding of one another.

It is hard to try to create such a relationship  later on in  the school year  and  it is essential to start doing so from day one. I have seen many teachers waste this learning opportunity on the first day of class by going through the routine syllabus (that the kids are barely paying attention to) and going over the district’s policies (which the kids already know, but mostly ignore) when instead the time could be spent building the foundations for the classs. Don’t get me wrong, a syllabi is crucial to classroom structure and  establishing ground rules, but doing so in a moderately unconventional way could potentially be more effective. By standing on the top of desks, shouting sporadically, doing classroom exercises that make students think…all of these are ways that could help begin to establish the classroom, and an effective student-teacher relationship,  and make for an incredibly interesting year.

Students spend approximately 6 hours per day, 5 days per week, 9 months per year with teachers. Doesn’t it just make sense that the relationships that they have with their teachers are positive, effective, and have meaning? I believe that having fun in the classroom is a stepping-stone to developing good classroom management skills and building firm student-teacher relationships. I also believe that trust needs to be established and incorporated during every class meeting. Students know when their teachers are putting on an act or when they are sincere, and as a result, teachers need to constantly check themselves to make sure that what they are doing is truly within the best interest of their students.

Improving Students’ Relationships with Teachers to Provide Essential Supports for Learning

You Don’t Have to Burn Books to Destroy a Culture. Just Get People to Stop Reading Them.

I feel that I need to apologize for  sounding so anti-technology. Yes, I have an iPhone, I use a laptop on a weekly basis, and my car has power windows. But in my world, everything needs to be balanced. I don’t rely heavily on one thing and lack in another and I wish that others could do the same. And yes, I know that everything I say could be debated since I leave a lot of gaps in my typed form of thinking, but I also know that I’m not willing to dedicate a whole lot of time into defending my personal views in a blog devoted to a class of five other students.

I completely  agree with the tidbits (and Sanna) that teachers need to have passion in order to be successful  and I  feel that they are completely hopeless without it. ‘Nuff said.

I also was surprised to see the Batman quote. It’s corny, it’s not that creative and   is  a cheap spin-off from  profound things that have been said by others, but pushing all of that aside…I totally dig it. Whenever I feel really down, I like to think that I’m learning something from the experience and that in and of itself picks me back up. I think that as a new teacher, this level of thinking will be very helpful to myself as well as my fellow newbies. It is comforting knowing that there will be others out there floundering and gasping for air just like me and that there are different systems put in place to be able to connect.

Every now and then I am blown away at how many resources are readily available within our society, both through technology and social interactions. However, on that same page, I am a bit wary about the advice that was offered through the Edutopia article. Fifty-percent of the tidbits involved using the Internet as a resource. Is this okay? Is this what it has come to? I suppose I am just afraid of technology (maybe I’ve read Fahrenheit 451 or 1984 too many times?) and where our world is headed with it, but this seems a bit extreme. I think about my day (starting at 6:00 AM and ending at 11:30 PM 7-days/week) and I wonder: when the heck am I going to find time to do any, even if just one, of these things? I have a hard enough time staring at a screen as it is, yet the advice I’m being given is to stare at it some more?

At this point, I feel that education is relying too heavily on technology as a teacher and that some core values need to be instituted before a teacher can really start to do their job well. A person needs to be educated before they can educate. They need to know the basics, which sometimes need to be established in basic ways like reading, communicating or researching. Exploring these things on one’s own is the best way to learn and weed out what is or isn’t important. Is is too difficult to try to do something practical or hold something real in order to learn? There needs to be a balance between the real, attainable information and the information that is floating around in Cyberspace. I feel that this  tidbit article  was based on technology.  What about the day when the Internet is down in the school? Or the electricity  goes out? What then, smartypants?