Category: News

Blog #6: Suicide and the Pressure of Perfection

The New York Times article “Suicide and the Pressure of Perfection’ discusses the enormous stresses placed on high academic achievers to compete with each other to reach even higher, as they move on to college and graduate school.   It can be disconcerting for the valedictorian of a small high school to move to a place where everyone is valedictorian and his/her prior straight-A’s become “below average’ based on the intensity of new curriculum (it was disconcerting for me); but this effect has existed for as long as the concept of college.   Two additional recent factors, however, have exacerbated this effect: helicopter parents constantly explaining to their children how to solve their problems (or “lawnmower parents’ clearing away administrative obstacles) and the artificial public displays of social media, where posts and images only show other students at their best.

My current teaching position is a college-like environment already, as students move away from their parents and are suddenly self-responsible.   Moreover, the schools throughout Alaska have such wide variation in curriculum that many of the high achievers in each town suddenly find themselves completely in over their head.   I’ve learned techniques to disguise the different paces of learning, and to enable students to compete with themselves rather than noticing how fast anyone else is doing: worksheets and quizzes too hard for anyone to turn in within the allotted time (but graded on a curve); fill-in study guides with the answers on the back so students are memorizing as they flip back and forth; Password-style trivia where the students pair up and quiz each other so the class is not competing as a whole.   Hopefully these methods can show that learning is an unending process, and give the high achievers a sense of the pace of college without demoralizing them.

The start of next year, I’ll need to teach the meaning of responsibility and how to manage tasks without adult supervision.   (The fact that I will have a better classroom management plan of my own should help with organization, and show students the nature of responsibility by example.)

Blog 7 – CM Plan ( very rough) Draft


NOTE: This was copied and pasted from a word document, some of the figures do not show up in this document. (In particular one figure that shoes a diagram of the classroom safety information located around the classroom in the safety section). The formatting is completely off, a lot of the work done was in the formatting of the document, but that will be seen in the final draft.  

Thank you  



Classroom Management Plan






Triston Nyquest

EDSC 658

Classroom Management Plan

December 8th, 2018










Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Preparation before the School Year starts
  3. Routines & Procedures
  4. Rules & Policies
  5. Safety & legal requirements
  6. Planning & Conduction of Instruction
  7. Student Diversity
  8. Engagement
  9. Differentiation
  10. Collaboration & Communication
  11. Cultural & Community Resources/ Connections
  12. Summary
  13. References









  • Document why CM is important (3rd person). Cite current research on CM.

Effective learning takes place when students feel safe and are willing to take academic risks. In order to facilitate this type of learning, a comprehensive classroom management plan that benefits all students is needed … (You may use previously written material in our course; include citations, APA).

  • State your personal view of effective CM in your subject area and how your CM plan aligns to your philosophy of teaching.


I teach to positively impact students by giving them the tools and support they need to learn and rise to life’s challenges. Teachers should be a caring advocate that holds to boundaries, and has the ability to challenge and motivate students to do their best. The purpose of education is to give students the basic tools they need to accomplish their goals in life, and to be productive, courteous members of our society. The essentialist view point is most congruent with my own, but I believe in universal truths, so I also align with aspects of the Perennial ideology as well. I believe there is a basic moral and social standard in which all people should understand for our society to function. There are a diverse and ever-increasing number of different identities, perspectives, and ideologies in our world, and I respect students as young adults, people with varying opinions, ideas, and cultural backgrounds.

The importance of letting students discover on their own often gives us a set of diverse pathways to a single solution, and this is why diversity is so valuable. I have an expectation in my classroom that all of my students should be proud of where they come from, each with unique cultures, ideologies, and identities. I believe that all students should have equitable access and opportunities to an education, and that right should not be determined by gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, or race. I bring non-gender biased science learning to my classroom in which females or other specified genders are believed to be as equally capable of doing science as males. I believe that diverse cultural perspectives, such as our native subsistence culture in Alaska, is important to draw from and share with our students. Curriculum is like a unique pathway that teachers choose to get their students to reach a certain goal. Differentiating curriculum to include culturally relevant topics, like King salmon population dynamics on the Yukon River, give students a more personalized learning experience. Technology is one of the tools that can be helpful in creating a differentiated pathway, so that students can learn in a way that best fits their needs. Technology is a great tool, but it has to be balanced with traditional face to face instruction, it’s not always the answer.

Learning is being able to take the information given to you and applying it. If you can’t apply something that you know, it is questionable whether you really know it at all. I use interactive materials, hands on labs, group work, and book work to help students see information through more than one medium. I prefer to have a varied assessment style with written tests, verbal and oral presentations, as well as skills based labs where students apply their knowledge. Students that struggle will always be able to come to me for help. I constantly observe my classroom to ensure that if students don’t want to come to me, that I make myself available to them. If I am unable to assist them through alterations in assignments, breaks, communication, or any other various interventions, I will equip them with the proper tools and resources they need to succeed.



Preparation before the School Year starts

  • Organizing your classroom and materials (Section 6)
  • Getting off to a good start (Section 6)





Routines & Procedures

  • Beginning and ending of the day
  • Transitions, use of materials
  • Group work and teacher led activities


Rules & Policies

  • What rules / procedures will you establish in the classroom, why, and how will you enforce them?
  • Management at the school level


Students will see this list posted over the teacher’s desk, but the students will be able to discuss the rules with the teacher and give their opinion of the rules, if they think they are applicable to the classroom or not.  The class rules will be discussed and reviews at the beginning of the year.

  1. We will respect our elders
  2. We will respect our peers
  3. We will respect our time
  4. We will respect our resources
  5. We will show mercy


  1. We will build up our peers







Safety & legal requirements (Section 2, 7)

  • Discipline an consequences (Section 2)
  • *Safety rules and procedures in place at your school/ school district (7) (Fire safety, lab safety, code yellow….) * this is an extension to the section before



Crisis Management Plan

The Crisis Plan is put in place to assist in procedures during an active medical or behavioral emergency. The crisis plan is located near the door, pinned up on the wall at eye level. The crisis plan packet also has a current list of all class rosters and allows the teacher to take role in a situation and determine if there are students missing. In the case of an emergency that requires the other students to be evacuated from the classroom they will exit and proceed to the pit, (the commons area in front of the library, students know where this is). If that area is occupied then they will go to the Library. As students are exiting the teacher will assign a student to go to the office and give a red card stored in the crisis packet to the secretary or principle, (the office is only a few seconds away from any high school classroom in Nenana, it is a small school). Under the teacher’s desk there is a bucket of snacks blankets and board games for students to keep themselves busy that the last student out of the room will bring, (there is more of these crisis materials stored in both the library and the office). The plan will be practiced and reviewed at least once a month, and will be acted out at least once a semester, or twice annually. The first week of school will include a short lecture on the importance of the plan, and will introduce it to the students.







Classroom Arrangement

Material Supply
























Planning & Conduction of Instruction

  • Teacher student relationships, Maintaining Appropriate Student Behavior (Section 3)
  • Withitness and emotional objectivity


  1. Students will receive tasks or responsibilities if they show responsible behavior throughout the class.
  2. Students will receive public individual praise.
  3. Students will make quarterly goals for themselves.
  4. Students will be given freedom of bathroom breaks if shown to be trustworthy.
  5. Students will be given extra credit when they go above and beyond on an assignment.
  6. Students will be in the running for a student of the month/quarter/semester (depending on the number of students) that the teacher will decide and then praise in front of the class and make a call home to parents about how the student has been performing in class.


 Student Diversity

  • Cultural diversity
  • Special Needs students




  • Personal interest in students, Engagement strategies



 Differentiation (Sections 3, 4, 5)

  • Differentiation need and strategies


Replacement Behavior Menu

  1. Instead of getting frustrated and quitting on an assignment, raise your hand or come to my desk and ask for help.
  2. Instead of putting down your peer, think about how you would like to be treated and give them the respect that you want others to give you.
  3. Instead of bragging about how well you did on the test when your neighbor didn’t do so well, wait to celebrate with someone else in a more appropriate time.
  4. Instead of determining someone’s character based upon their looks, wait to get to know them
  5. Instead of procrastinating, just set a goal for yourself and take one step at a time instead of trying to do the whole assignment all at once.
  6. Instead of interrupting the teacher and disrupting class, write down your question if not called upon and ask the teacher later after they are done speaking
  7. Instead of sleeping in class, try to get to bed sooner tonight so that you aren’t so tired
  8. Instead of shutting down and pouting, remember that it’s what people do in times of struggle that really show their true strength of character
  9. Instead of wearing your earbuds during instruction, listen to instructions and then listen to music while you work
  10. Instead of texting during instruction, take advantage of your time to learn and then text on a break or at the end of class



Collaboration & Communication

  • parents
  • educational stakeholders


Cultural & Community Resources/Connections

  • Working with parents and community. List of five community resources (e.g., classroom speakers, museum, organizations that support education, field trip possibilities). Include a 200-word paragraph describing how you would work with parents and how to use community resources to enhance instruction and create interest in learning.






  • Summary about how you will utilize the CM plan
  • Formative evaluation strategies that will be used to inform updates and revisions to your classroom management strategies











Blog 6- Suicide on Campus

from  nytimes_Suicide on Campus2015-1.pdf

“Citing a “perception that one has to be perfect in every academic, co-curricular and social endeavor,’ the task force report described how students feel enormous pressure that “can manifest as demoralization, alienation or conditions like anxiety or depression.’

Gregory T. Eells, director of counseling and psychological services at Cornell University, believes social media is a huge contributor to the misperception among students that peers aren’t also struggling. When students remark during a counseling session that everyone else on campus looks happy, he tells them: “I walk around and think, ‘That one’s gone to the hospital. That person has an eating disorder. That student just went on antidepressants.’ As a therapist, I know that nobody is as happy or as grown-up as they seem on the outside.’

Instead of thinking “I failed at something, these students think, ‘I am a failure.’’

These cultural dynamics of perfectionism and overindulgence have now combined to create adolescents who are ultra-focused on success but don’t know how to fail.

Eventually she came to view her students’ lack of self-awareness, inability to make choices and difficulty coping with setbacks as a form of “existential impotence,’ a direct result of a well-meaning but misguided approach to parenting that focuses too heavily on external measures of character.


As a mom, I see how the internet has affected my oldest daughter’s perception of herself.  My husband and I made the choice to take away her cellphone because of the time she was spending on instagram comparing her life to the lives of kids that she knew.  Explaining to her that they are editing their life to make it look beautiful wasn’t enough…  She had to actually see the difference between reality and edited beauty for herself, and she still struggles with this.  I HATE how easy it is to make your life look perfect on line..  Perfect food, perfect attitude, perfect beauty, perfect makeup….  I understand deeply how this obsession with perfection is damaging to my daughter.  I struggled with depression in high school, and I only had what I saw in classes and after school activities to compare my life to…  I didn’t have images from the internet in addition to what I saw in class and after school.  I am thankful I didn’t have to deal with the internet during high school.  I wish my daughter didn’t.  As much good as the internet does, it also has made kids today incredibly anxious and perfection-driven.

I get the hovering of parents.  I hold the fear of high school and mall shooting in my heart. I try not to let it change the way I interact with my kids.  I want them to succeed on their own, without my interference or ‘hovering’.  I want them to be able to fail without fear, and succeed without pressure.  SO HARD as a parent to juggle those two desires.


Blog 4- creating a safe and engaging learning environment t

from https://what I wish my professors had told me_EL201605.pdf

Be empathetic and take care of the needs of your students. That is the unwritten (and most important) role of the teacher.

“The kids will learn in spite of all the mistakes you make.’

When students know you care, they will work hard for you and will be more willing to accept your redirection when needed.

from  Let’s care shine through_edleadership201609.pdf

Care is in the eyes of the receiver. Care doesn’t exist unless those being cared for truly experience it.

In Pedagogy of Hope, Paulo Freire (2002) explained, “I do not understand human existence, and the struggle needed to improve it, apart from hope and dream. . . . I am hopeful, not out of mere stubbornness, but out of an existential, concrete imperative’ to transform the world.

Research has demonstrated that when educators focus on assets, rather than deficits, student success increases (Rios-Aguilar, 2010).

However, they recognized that focusing on academics alone wouldn’t be sufficient to prepare their students for flourishing lives; learning to respect another’s perspective, communicate in different social settings, and persevere in the face of challenges were just as significant as academic performance.

These culturally responsive 5th grade teachers held high expectations and assisted students in reaching them. While refusing to accept anything less than students’ best efforts, they provided supports.

The teachers in our study insistently communicated–through their attitude, tone, and demeanor–that what we’re learning is important.  There’s not a second to waste. This sense of urgency didn’t stem from  a desire to control or dominate students.

As these teachers’ practices show, culturally relevant critical teacher care is more a verb than a noun. It’s tied to concrete action–not simply feelings or words.


When I read these articles, they get me excited to teach well, and with my whole heart.  I am reminded of what my acting teachers would talk about- “Commitment is the key”.  The best actors commit 100%, they throw their whole mind and body into the role they are acting.  They do not consider the audience an evil critic, but a partner in the game of imagination.  When an actor attempts to watch themselves, they are thrown out of the world they are creating, and it becomes fake…  The audience may not realize what is going on, but they are aware that something isn’t quite right- that the actor hasn’t given their all.

I think there’s a truth that is carried over to the realm of education- your audience is the class, and if students sense you holding back, critiquing yourself or them, they are unwilling to give their all as well,  To a small degree, a classroom is a world that the teacher and students create together.  Some students hold back because of fear, some hold back because they don’t understand the world being imagined together. Some hold back because their body or mind is so tired they just can’t participate in holding that world together…

I particularly appreciated Jennifer Collins’ reminder that there are no perfect lessons.  I know this is true from my own experience- sometimes the lesson I planned for a day doesn’t work because the students had an earthquake over the weekend, or an emotional earthquake, or they just didn’t sleep right last night.  Sometimes the lesson doesn’t work because I had an idea that I can’t adequately develop yet that needs more work.  Sometimes the moon is full, and monsters are on the prowl…

Here is a website with some excellent management tips:

Blog 3 Personalized Learning

Of course, there are benefits to personalized learning, but definitely consequences.  The benefits I see are the ability to allow students to progress at their own pace, meeting them right where they are whether that is ahead of other students or behind them.  I love the idea of tailoring education to fit each specific student so that it is not a “one size fits all” approach.  Most of the US education system is built around the middle road and getting everyone to walk along that road together. The consequences are that it is SO MUCH work for the teacher…  Meeting every single student and finding the right road for them?  I can’t even begin to imagine trying to do that for every student in a 30 person class, much less a 300 student school!
I can give one example of a successful program for a specific student- Tanana Middle school is trying a program called Synergy.  For two days a week and about 3 hours each day their students work on a project they have dreamed up on their own.  While some students had no idea what they wanted to do, my daughter knew exactly her interests and goal.  She is working on learning how to use a computer animation program coupled with a WACOMM tablet.  The tablet allows her to directly draw into the computer program so she is moving her own characters and creating short animation videos.  They are amazing- first steps in what I expect to be a long process for her.  She has struggled with making them do exactly what she wants, and she loves the struggle.  Last year she hated school and fought us every morning.  Now she goes even if she feels bad.

So, I can’t say that recreating every aspect of school to create an entire personalized learning education for every student would be the right choice.  However, I can say that adding elements can harness the creativity and energy and interests of my student.  I like that it has been introduced slowly, and not taken over the entire curriculum.

I thought this article had some good ideas:

Blog 2 DACA

I’ve had a hard time processing this material because it makes me so upset.  As someone who worked in Fort Worth Texas with English Language Learners, I worked with students who I’m sure had family members who were not in the US legally.  I didn’t hear many stories from my students about where they were from, or where their family was from…  I had one 16 year old pregnant student who was staying with an aunt so that her baby would have US Citizenship… She was smart, hopeful, and had made some bad choices.  She wanted to stay away from the dangerous elements from back home in Mexico, get her high school degree, and be a good mom.  She believed that her future had to be away from her home town.

I don’t have a good solution for this problem.  I wish I did!  I wish I could wave a magic wand and just fix this for all the kids and their families…  Some of them should stay here, and some of them should go to their parents’ home country…  I don’t think it is fair for children who grew up with the US as their home to be permanently punished for their parents’ choices, even if they were illegal choices.  I think this is a way more complicated problem than a lot of people with simple straightforward answers believe it is.  Most of the dreamers are so afraid of getting caught and being deported that they rarely broke the law, or got noticed at school.  Their goal was to hunker down and just pass through the system without any ripples.  However, there are always students who mess up and make bad choices…

I read an article about a woman who is teaching in Houston- she has a secondary education degree from a university down there and has been teaching for a few years, maybe 3, and she is one of the dreamers.  She is afraid to tell her students that she might be forced to leave.  One of her co-workers who is also a dreamer already left because he didn’t want to be forced to leave.