The theme in The Lyons Den this year is Strength and Courage.
These two words embody the characteristics of a Lion (class mascot and a word play associated with my last name of Lyons). My students know how much I love lions and why that works in our classroom.
On Monday, I will begin my 4th year of teaching Middle School English Language Arts at Sacaton Middle School in Sacaton Arizona in the Gila River Indian Community. My classroom is known as The Lyons Den. For many students, I am known as Mama Lyons. I am honored to have this title.
This summer, I participated in the “Teaching Excellence” workshop series sponsored by the GRIC Native Youth Community Project Grant. I am grateful for this opportunity as it provided a wealth of knowledge to incorporate in my classroom which will accelerate my students learning for literacy.
This year, there will be much more engaging and impactful learning taking place in The Lyons Den! Although it may seem rigorous from the outside looking in, our students will step into the lessons engaged, feeling empowered, and willing to give their best effort.
It is my deepest desire to see my students succeed not only in high school but go on to attend college.
I take my role in this seriously – The Lyons Den is just the beginning. I look forward to an amazing school year!
Today the new bookcases arrived! They were ordered this summer. My students and I celebrated. The simple pleasures in the life of an educator!
As a mother, I feel fairly confident about preparing my teenage son for adulthood. I consistently warn him of the pitfalls that teens face which land them in adult situations too soon. I say, “You are 18 now, you can not date girls that are younger than you.” Another popular one, “No, you can’t drive without a permit or license!” Of course, I go on to explain why and what the consequences are if he chooses not to listen. Most importantly, I provide “real world” examples. Most times, he listens.
After reading and pondering the debate about teens lacking adult reasoning capacity, yet being held to adult consequences, I realize my responsibility to educate my students as I do my son. There are many ways I can do this; such as incorporating real world scenarios in my lesson planning which leads to having candid discussions when there is an opportunity.
Recently, a group of girls were planning to “jump” one of their classmates after school because of gossip and misinformation. I decided to get them together and facilitate a ‘sitdown’ meeting. I believe it was successful because of the level of awareness I brought to the table. We discussed their intended actions as well as the potential consequences. Given time to process it, they decided to work it out. Today, they are all friends and doing well. They continue to meet with me because they appreciate the opportunity to have an outlet.
It is researched and scientifically proven that the teen brain is not mature enough to help control impulses or respond rationally; which means they often make snap decisions or judgements and act on them to their own detriment. Parents, teachers, and other community members exposed to these teens are obligated to pay attention, be available if needed and continuously educate them about potential pitfalls.
Photo Credit: Marcos Gomes
Now sometimes you get a student who you think deserves to be taken down a couple of pegs, to be put in their place, and public humiliation might really teach them a lesson. But I believe it is only a skilled few who can accomplish this with enough finesse that they actually help that student become a better person. And isn’t that what our goal should be, ultimately? If we are true masters of our craft, shouldn’t we be able to effectively shut down a disruptive student and maintain our own dignity? Shouldn’t we model the behavior we want to see?
~Jennifer Gonzalez, Cultofpedagogy.com~
On my road to becoming the best teacher I can be -this reminder to be careful in how I respond to my students is essential to my success! To read the article this quote was excerpted from go HERE.
I remember what it was like in my adolescence to go to school with a heavy mind and heart. Anticipating the mysteries of adulthood – desiring freedom.
As a teacher, if I am worth anything, I must have EMPATHY for my students. On some level, I must be mindful and identify with my student’s feelings, thoughts, and attitudes.
All it takes is a bit of inquiry. It’s worth it.
Photo Credit: EKG Technician Salary
As a teacher, there is nothing more exciting than when your students “get it!” When you see their eyes light up because they have finally grasped the concepts you are so desparately trying to teach. It’s one thing to realize that the students are getting it and following along with you during whole group instruction, but what about when they are reading to themselves?
When they read aloud, you can kind of tell when they do not comprehend what they are reading. It’s their body language, pace, pitch, and what they do with their eyes. Sometimes they come to a word they do not understand and just – STOP reading. While they are uttering the words, they are lost in the meaning of those words.
My biggest win in the classroom comes when I can help my reading students improve their comprehension skills. There is so much involved in that process that it is tough to communicate in one post. It is, in my opinion, the foundation of reading literacy (comprehension really matters).
As I seek to help my students improve their literary comprehension skills, I will also grow in my ability to comprehend the needs of my students.
#A to Z Challenge
Photo credit: Pinterest
My least favorite phrase (especially while teaching) is, “I’m bored.”
Why? Because it is a red flag that as a teacher, I am not doing what I should be. There shouldn’t be a dull moment. Engagement is the name of the game!
As a new teacher, this is my number one focus – STUDENT ENGAGEMENT. I am always looking for anything that will help in this area. My students shouldn’t be bored! They should be on the edge of their seats inhaling knowledge. They should be so interested that they long for every word I speak and they look forward to participating every opportunity they can!
My goal is to become the best teacher ever when it comes to student engagement!
I wrote this post in November of 2015 in another education blog. I decided to close that blog and only use this one. I wanted to keep this, so I transferred it.
On the first day of school (my second year teaching), I told the students that the picture on the wall of the lion roaring at the butterflies was symbolic to our classroom. I stated, ” There will be times when I roar like a lion, but only to get you to transform from a caterpillar to a butterfly.” I could tell that some of the students really had to process what I was saying. Others got it right away! This is when I realized how passionate I had become about being in the classroom and teaching.
My students mean so much to me. At the end of my first year (May, 2015), I cried during the 8th grade promotion ceremony. I couldn’t help it. The song they walked to was that sad song played at the end of the most recent Fast and Furious movie where they pay homage to Paul Walker (the actor who died in the car crash). I love the Fast and Furious franchise because my son and I watched every movie as he grew up from 5 to 18 years old. Those movies created even more of a bond between my son and I.
“…How could we not talk about family when family’s all that we got? Everything I went through you were standing there by my side, and now you gonna be with me for the last ride. So let the light guide your way hold every memory as you go and every road you take will always lead you home…”
Those words in the song made me tear up even more. Where will they go? How will their lives turn out? I have been their classroom ‘momma’ for a year. The other teachers laughed at me. They told me I was a newbie and there would be many more students to come. Yet, my heart ached for those students. My first students – I called them ‘my babies’.
Why was I so attached? Well, I saw myself in them. I remember being that age and experiencing so much pain and uncertainty. I could see so much in their eyes. I wanted them to read and have experiences through literature that would expand their world, but they were simply in survival mode. We expect so much from this generation, yet life is dealing them some heavy blows.
As a teacher, all you can do is:
- feel their pain and press through daily to create a safe environment that fosters learning
- with passion – find ways to engage your students as they are distracted so easily
- walk with purpose in getting them to the next level as an educator
Above all else, this is my mission as a TEACHER!
Out for a whole week on a Fall break from teaching school. The timing is perfect! I have a number of projects to focus on. This blog is a BIG priority! My goal is to blog as I work through my Secondary Methods and Curriculum Development (EDU289) and US Constitution Courses (POS222). I believe blogging while processing the coursework will aide in my retention of the material. We hope so! At any rate, no socializing or vacationing for me. This week is all about grinding through lots of materials and completing assignments.
I welcome input along the way!