Thursday, October 30, 2014

new teachers...

Forty to 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession in their first five years. ( 9 1/2 percent leave their first year.) So why do they quit, and why do some stay?

My own family has had a number of dedicated teachers. My mother was a kindergarten teacher, and my sister Mary and her daughter both teach in Lincoln, Nebraska public schools, and have passed the 5 year mark with my sister having passed that mark many years back.

My daughter Lucy is a new public school teacher in the New York Public School system. And so the question arises, how do we make teaching stick, so that the investment we make in teachers is a good one? Certainly, for new teachers, mentoring is an important thing. And being in a school where one's ideas find appreciation is another.

We know that money isn't everything, and that jobs that offer a sense of creative fulfillment, and in which one's efforts are shown to matter are the jobs that offer the greatest sense of non-monetary satisfaction. Non-monetary rewards like that of being respected in one's work can be just as important as the money when it comes to lasting employment.

Lucy called on Tuesday as excited as could be. She had planned an exercise of her own design in the study of material properties in which her students would be property brokers and sell each other on the material properties of the substances assigned. They made posters as though they were selling real estate to each other, and made sales pitches, and the level of enthusiasm in the classroom rose to such a point that another teacher passing by, had to come in to see why. The students took her on a tour of their "properties."

Fortunately, Lucy was hired by a New York City School in which the administration was looking for her kind of creative engagement, and they are allowing her creativity to blossom in the classroom.

Yesterday at Clear Spring School, we had our annual harvest party. It was a phenomenal success. In the woodshop we made button toys with pieces of wood and strings. To make one, drill two holes near the center of a piece of flat wood. It can be round, octagonal or square. Run a loop of string through the holes, and then hold the string by the fingers of each hand. Wind the toy up by flipping it round and round as you move your hands in a circular pattern,  then pull. As you move your hands in and out, and with practice, the button will spin one way and then the other.

Make, fix and create...

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