Building The Airplane While Flying

COVID-19 has changed our world in so many ways. The biggest change of all for me is the separation from my day-to-day responsibility of teaching my 7th/8th grade students in-person. Yes, I am one of those educators who have been challenged to build an airplane in mid-air while flying. I read this phrase in a blog post by Thinking Maps. It immediately resonated with me!

Building the airplane while flying is exactly what it has felt like for the last few weeks. I’m up in the air, trying not to panic. I miss my students. I only see a few of them. When we left for Spring Break in mid-March, I did not realize it would be my last time physically seeing some of my 8th grade students who will be promoting to high school.

In terms of this post’s title, I am convinced my teaching skills have improved exponentially. I have been stretched to teach in a remote learning environment. Google Classroom is my new best friend. Thinking Maps online is definitely a must. All I want to do is Zoom with my students in the classroom. Kahoot, Classcraft, and Quizizz bring levity and create a bit of FUN while enhancing engagement.

Social distancing due to this global pandemic seems to bring out the best in me as a teacher, entreprenuer and family member. I’m much more aware of and appreciative of everything and everybody in my space. I keep thinking about all of the wonderful things I will be able to do when I return to the classroom. Right now, I’m good with building while flying – more like, grateful to be soaring to higher heights.

Back 2 School BBQ

Today was our annual Back to School Barbecue to serve the students, family, and community. We raffled shirts, backpacks, and two bicycles!

Governor Stephen Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community made a surprise visit to encourage our students to have a great year by succeeding academically.

EDU270 – Lesson 4: …to be relational as a teacher?

One of my favorite movies is “To Sir with Love”.  In this movie, Engineer Mark Thackeray arrives to teach a totally undisciplined class at an East End school…He starts implementing his own brand of classroom discipline: forcing the pupils to treat each other with respect. Inevitably he begins getting involved in the students’ personal lives, and must avoid the advances of an amorous student while winning over the class.

Sir

I cry every time I see this movie because I love the relationships he develops as their teacher.  When I decided to teach, this movie came to mind several times.  I could see myself coming into a tough school situation and winning the hearts and minds of the students with a goal of improving their lives – not just academically, but all around.  It’s a tall order – but one of the most important jobs you could have.

It means the world to me to be relational with my students.  I work to have their trust and confidence while fostering their growth and development.  Yes, it is entirely possible to do this and still hold them accountable to stay on task and do what it takes to learn.  Not only do they need relationship, they need structure and guidance too.

While I’m no Sir…I love it when my students say, “Ms. Lyons…?”

Photo Credit:  IMDB “To Sir with Love” 1967

 

EDU270 -Lesson 1: Brain Architecture, Plasticity, and the Impact of Environment on a Child

After watching the videos: Brain Plasticity and Imaging/Development on the website: Changing Brains: Effects of Experience on Human Brain Development, I realized there is a lot more to teaching than standing in the front of the room and sharing lesson plans.  How am I impacted by this information as a teacher?

Our youth are fragile human beings that require a lot more than most realize.  Specifically, they require individualized attention in a collective world.  Because the child’s brain is continually developing and as a teacher I have a great deal to do with the sensitive periods during that development, I must be both deliberate and considerate in my teaching method.

I want to see each of my students grow and mature to a healthy adult life and way of being.  My greatest contribution as a teacher can only take place during the minutes I have them in my classroom.  For me, those moments are precious.  The deliberate actions taken must be positive and reinforce building a healthy brain.  The activities we do in the classroom, the conversations we hold, and what I expose them to all play an important role in building a strong foundation for their future growth and development.

 

“I’m BORED”

 

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!

A plan to keep up…

Rio-logo-reflectLast semester I cut it a bit close when it comes to delivering on my coursework.  I procrastinated and paid dearly for it in the end.  Sure, I can come up with many reasons why it happened, but none of those reasons matter in the end.  Just – get it done!

This is my 1st of the two remaining semesters and I will be finished!  Yay!!!

My goal is to stay on task and deliver assignments on time this semester.  Today is day one.  I have four different courses to maintain and a tremendous amount of work to complete to satisfy all the requirements of each.

I am blogging about this experience to hold myself accountable.  Even if no one else reads this – I will have to comply.

My courses are:

  • POS221 – Arizona Constitution
  • EDU256AE – Intern Certificate Student Teaching Lab – Secondary Education III
  • EDU270AB – Secondary Reading and Decoding Methods
  • EDU270 – Learning and the Brain

My plan is to read each syllabus tonight and review all of the assignments.  I will then calendar due dates and read text for this first week.  I am still waiting for a few textbooks.  This is going to be great!

Spring 2016 Semester

Today, I received a couple of the textbooks for my Spring, 2016 semester courses.  Tomorrow is technically the first day of the semester.  I am looking forward to the coursework.

This will be a busy time for me.  I am currently full-time in the teaching internship, supporting the Science and Robotics Clubs, along with after-school tutoring.

In addition to this blog, I also have www.davinalyons.com – currently I am focused on transforming my body into a healthier more efficient vessel.

 

P3 – Pain, Passion, and Purpose

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!

Fall Break 2015

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!

Why p3 Education?

I recently decided to change my career after working in Corporate America for 30 years.  It is my second year teaching 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts at Sacaton Middle School within the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) in Sacaton, Arizona.  I am still excited and feeling positive about my career change!  This year I feel much more equipped to make a difference in the academic lives of my students.  I have set the bar higher than last year to stretch my students.  They know what is expected of them and they are showing me significant effort.

My mission is to educate, motivate and support my student’s reading growth (vocabulary and comprehension skills) significantly by the end of the school year.

Also, it is my 2nd year as a student in the Teaching Internship program at Rio Salado Community College.  Although I previously earned a Bachelors and Masters degree in Business Management, I needed specific courses to be a certified teacher.  So I did what I needed to do to become provisionally certified until I successfully complete the pedagogy curriculum at the college.  I’m in an accelerated program that requires many hours per week in addition to my classroom teaching.  I decided to start this blog to capture and share my experiences and all that I am learning.

Why is this site named p3 Education?  Well, my life story has been about pain, passion, and purpose (p3). There will be more about that in subsequent posts.  However, I will say now that the students I serve in the classroom are fulfilling my purpose.  On many levels I relate to my students and I am passionate about helping them succeed.  I understand the challenges that many of them face today; I want to positively contribute to their lives.

I hope to connect with other teachers on a similar mission along the way.