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judge it as misbehavior. I was reminded of management techniques I implemented within my teaching strategies over a period of time, and found myself adjusting to assist the learner, or so I thought. Te book offered lots of alterna- tive ideas to help with classroom management. Te chapter on “Valuing your voice” helped me understand why I’m so oſten vocally fatigued and how I can adjust my speaking voice within the classroom. Te chapter highlighted healthy ways to use my voice in the classroom. Less speaking is more effective and maintains a healthy voice.


Reading these topics caused me to think about areas of instruction that I’ve struggled with—“Te toll of disrup- tions”; “Leave it!”; “Te art of reprimand”; and, “Pitfalls of assuming”. I found useful insights in the author’s discus- sion that help me review my perception and assessment of situations in the classroom. Tensions caused by those situations have had a negative effect on my wellbeing. Op- pressive assumptions can snuff out my vitality. Inspired by the author’s ideas, I will go forward giving myself permis- sion to let things go and move on. I found helpful strategies to reprimand students artfully and positively rather than harshly and with negative consequences for my relationship with students. I sometimes get caught up in the everyday attitudes and habits I use in the classroom environment. Reading and implementing the positive ways the author identifies to correct behaviors will increase my vitality! Teaching with Vitality is a teacher’s “how-to” book, like a cookbook with recipes for success! I highly recommend this book for ALL teachers, new and veteran!


Michele Cotton-Stanfield teaches at Durfee Elementary Middle School in Detroit, Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Music Edu-


cation/Performance degree from the University of Michigan, and a Master in Secondary Education degree from Wayne State Univer-


sity. She has taught 29 years in Detroit Public Schools Community District.


………………..


Since the moment I decided to go into education as my career path, I have done so with an intense passion that has dominated how I live my life. Early in my career, I was advised by a close confidant that if I give everything I have to my job, I will have nothing leſt to give to myself, my fam- ily and my friends. Aſter 13 years of teaching, these words continue to echo in my mind, but I find myself once again finishing a third consecutive 60-hour work week, having done very little to care for myself as a person first and fore- most, and an educator second. Te crux of the issue is there are things that come up every day in the field of education that are new and exciting, but also can be confusing and challenging. As educators, we have very little extra time to contemplate their importance to our day-to-day lives. I chose to read Peggy D. Bennett’s new book, Teaching With Vitality: Pathways to Health and Wellness for Teachers &


27


Schools, hoping to find tools to help me tackle this prevalent problem I continue to face in my day-to-day life.


Bennett’s book is a resource that gets to the crux of why many teachers in the school system experience burnout, fatigue and lack of motivation to evolve or improve their educational craſt. As I began reading this resource, I was concerned it might turn into stories where teachers are venting frustration, and the author would provide alter- native advice on how to handle a situation. I was quickly taken on a different journey, one that encourages me to contemplate a variety of approaches to dealing with several commonly prevalent situations found in a level or subject of education. Trough the 101 short chapters in this book (about 2 pages each), the reader is immediately put in a place of empathy and understanding of what the author describes in general terms, while offering practical solu- tions for working through some of these commonly found “thorns” in our day.


Without providing extraneous content that jumbles the core of the message, this resource asks the reader several open-ended questions that provide an opportunity to con- template all sides of an issue, reflect on the importance of the issue, and ultimately provide some tools for the educator to establish a perspective and path to understanding of an issue.


A chapter that stood out to me is 87, “Interpreting Behav- ior”. Young teachers oſten read certain behavior in our stu- dents as something that is a sign of disrespect or defiance. I have found that most of the time, students are not doing these behaviors with the purpose of showing disrespect, but rather because something else is of concern to them that may or may not even be related to the context of the class- room activity. Ms. Bennett asks us to consider a three-phase process to structure our interpretations of an action (or inaction) by a student. She encourages us to take a moment to observe the behavior, which can help us broaden the view of the behavior. She then encourages the reader to interpret the behavior, asking ourselves, what else could this be? Fi- nally, she encourages us to respond with an inner calm and firmly address the student and the behavior. Te process of evaluating behaviors to me has become much easier as I have gotten older, but having a three-step process like this in my mind as a younger teacher could have truly helped me avoid explosive and unnecessary responses.


In my subject matter as a high school orchestra director, I have found that the job, if given the power to do so, can define for us who we are. Tere is always another project to do in my job, and in 4 years when the students graduate, we get to do it again, this time, adapting for the current trends in education. As Ms. Bennett’s book discusses in chapters


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