This article highlights part of an actual social problem and overparenting. We are living in a society where parents overprotect their children and want to make things for them much easier as possible. Is evident that they do it with the best intention and they are not aware of the negative consequences for their kids. We must deal every day with students who want to work less and less and get straight A’s or full credit with a minimum effort. Children grow up focusing on outcomes, not on how to reach those outcomes. They are looking for a false perfection that doesn’t exist. Parents sometimes advocate for their kids and justify missing assignments, absences and poor work in the classroom. They point it as a teacher’s fault giving all kind of excuses to support their children. Unfortunately, years later those kids hit with a different reality when they compete in the job market or college environments. We must help our kids to feel capable, growing resilient enough to face when they fail, learn something about it and keep going, keep trying to master a skill. Parents must raise kids mentally strong, only working again they will be ready to face all life difficulties. Overparenting contribute to young adults in risk of emotional deceases that expose them to fatal consequences as suicide. Jobs and education markets are getting more competitive every year, and as educators, we need to provide the parents the advice to help their kids at home supporting them and teaching them that from mistakes they also learn. Teacher conferences are an excellent opportunity to provide parents with advice and written information about how they can support their students. Sending informational flyers about different support strategies could also work or get involve school counselors to present a couple of support conference during the school year. Our students don’t need less work or fewer assignments; we need to keep elevating our education levels to make them able to develop their potential and compete out of the school. They need knowledge and at the same time to develop strong mental skills to face life.
My mentor teacher opens the cultural lessons narrating travel experiences around Spain, Mexico, and other Latin American countries. For grammar lessons, she connects the Spanish grammar with English grammar to facilitate its understanding. To introduce vocabulary she uses flashcards, mimics, body gestures and a good sense of humor that helps students to relax while learning the new language. During lessons, the teacher moves over the classroom and integrate all students in the lesson. She asks questions following the seating chart, so everybody has the same participation opportunity. If the student need helps to answer the question the next student in the row has a turn to help and so. To close the lesson my mentor uses written practice to keep students busy until the end of the period. If they don’t finish, they take it for homework and must turn in on the next meeting.
For transitions, I have observed that students have a sticker on their desks, three different colors, the teacher call students by the sticker color to collect their Chromebooks when is time to work independently on computers. The teacher assigns a written practice to work with while she calls students to present their dialogues. Students stay focused on the written practice while presenters speak to the teacher. Students work on written practice during the last part of the class. Five minutes before the bell rings the teacher asks them to clean up the area and taking the written practice as homework if they haven’t finished it. Then students unlock their cellphones from the Yondr pouches before leaving the classroom.
The seating chart is one strategy that I’ll be applying to my classroom. Changing seats every month helps students to know each other and to practice Spanish conversations with different partners during the semester. The teacher can make changes to the seating chart many times as needed to keep students engaged and avoid side conversations that will affect the classroom management. The cellphone-free zone is another strategy that I’ll integrate to my future classroom.
Both articles made me think and reaffirm my belief of the commitment needed for those who decided by the teaching profession. A teacher is continuously bombarded by the pressure of dealing with a system that insists on keep trying new instruction models, gathering data through testing (maybe too many per year) and follow the pace of the established curriculum. The truth is that above those all things every classroom is different, and every student is different, and nobody knows that better than teachers. Many situations are happening at the same time in the life of each student, and we need to keep the students at the center of our mission. We should have higher expectations beyond testing results or the unfair system. Talking to our students, knowing them better we can identify their needs. Helping them in other areas no necessarily academic has a positive impact on academics. As Jennifer Collins highlight, a teacher has so many hats and depending on her/his students’, she/he needs a different hat to wear. Sometimes it takes more time to teach a lesson and helping them to understand is also appropriate. Showing our students that they are important to us and we care about them makes a difference in their performance. For example, in my classroom sometimes we take extra time with the warm-up. I use the warm up to review vocabulary and verb conjugations from the previous unit, but if I notice that students are still struggling, I take the time to reteach the concepts. It helps to build confidence in them, and they will be more open to learning the next lesson. I don’t believe on rush teaching lessons just to follow a curriculum timing. We need to build a relationship sending them a message that we are available to help them to be successful. The classroom environment will turn more engaged; students will feel free to make questions and more open to learning about their mistakes. My experience with today’s students is they easily quit to those things they identify as hard or too complicated. It is essential how we project our belief in their capacity to try again to accomplish what they have seen as a challenge. I use positive reinforcement every time they participate and rewards for some activities. We are a role model for our students beyond teaching we educate for the future. Thinking about that we never can quit in our teaching commitment if we want to teach them never quit to give their best in their life.
Personalized learning provides different learning platforms, and students can learn at their own pace. It could represent an advantage for those students with advanced performance. Personalized learning represents more choices to show what they have learned and keep expanding their knowledge. But not necessarily is the same for students who are behind or struggling in reading, language or attention. This strategy becomes a challenge for these students. I think personalized learning is not for all students because some students need the structure of traditional classroom and instruction. For example, in my classroom, many students can work independently, but they don’t go beyond the assignment although they have the option to continue learning more. They also have free access to a language program to keep learning Spanish at home, and they don’t use it beyond those few minutes in the classroom. The same with vocabulary games, videos, and songs posted on Google Classroom. On the other side, some of my students struggle working independently. When they are assigned to work a lesson on the computer they don’t follow instructions and waste time visiting other websites not related to Spanish class as soon as the teacher is working with another classmate. There so many things that must be accomplished in conjunction with personalized learning. Students attitude to value the available resources and motivation to learn more new things. Maybe would be better if school districts were starting with some pilot groups and incorporate more classes gradually. Personalize learning strategy requires technology resources to be accessible for all students, school spaces to promote personalize learning and it is essential to verify that those variables are available before start experimenting a new learning approach with our students. On the other side, teachers need training continually, tools and support to implement personalized learning in their classrooms.
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It is unfortunate that young people who are pursuing an education to work and to better contribute to the economy and progress of this country are treated like criminals. That is the dirty side of politics. Public policy should not be used to push political party agendas that dehumanize individuals. Public Policy should respond to the social needs of the communities and the help of less fortunate people. The “Dreamers” who work or study are paying rent and utilities, they go to restaurants, go shopping and spend their money in their local communities. They are part of the economy motor and are trying to have a life in the country that their parents chose to raise them. I don’t see any reason to support a public policy that dehumanizes, criminalize and take advantage of people with an immigrant status in our society in order to promote racism and discrimination.
Hello everyone! I’m Jackie. I’m from Puerto Rico, and I have been in Alaska since 2011. My husband was in the military, and we choose Alaska as a duty station thinking would be a great adventure for us as a family! And It has been a great experience being living here, so we decided to stay. My husband is currently working as a music teacher in the school district. We have two boys, 13th and 10th years old.
Before leaving my island, I earned a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Puerto Rico, and I used to work as a social worker for the Department of Family.
In Alaska, I have been working with the Fairbanks School District as Spanish Interpreter and English Language Learning Tutor. Teaching has been ever one of my passions, so I decided to do my second masters in secondary education in this cold but peaceful place named Fairbanks to become a certified Spanish teacher. I’m currently doing my internship at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks. I’m enjoying sharing my native language with my students and their experience of learning a second language to expand their possibilities to reach more people around the world.
Best wishes to all. Have a great semester!