Spoon Theory for Teachers

  This has been the most exhausting year of my career, and it’s barely half-way through. I’ve been teaching for 7 years, and I always thought I was in this for the long haul. Sure, there were days or weeks that were exhausting, days or weeks that left me feeling drained or irritable, but even those times had bright points. This year, however, no matter how hard I try to find the positive moments in each day, I’m left feeling empty. Despite the constant chorus of “You’re not alone!” and “We’re all in this together!” I still end each day raw and spent, generally crying on the kitchen floor as my partner tries to untangle me from various bags. I couldn’t understand what was making this year so much more unbearable compared to years past; 2020 was a difficult time for everyone, but I was feeling the strain in ways that my friends in other professions seemed immune to. All of this doubt, confusion, and oblivion left me feeling lost until a conversation with my sister-in-law over Thanksgivin

On the Matter of What Matters in Public Education

  Doug Wren has served as an elementary school teacher, a research specialist, and director of research & evaluation with the DeKalb County School District in Georgia, and as educational measurement & assessment specialist for Virginia Beach Public Schools.  He currently works as an author and consultant ; his latest book is Assessing Deeper Learning: Developing, Implementing, and Scoring Performance Tasks .  Doug’s website is at .  On the Matter of What Matters in Public Education by Douglas G. Wren, Ed.D. My original plan for this post was to focus exclusively on how teachers can assess deeper learning.  But that changed.  Before writing a piece, I google terms related to my topic.  Then I read what others have to say about the topic, which helps me refine my thinking.  For this post, I googled the phrase “measuring what matters” (in quotation marks) along with the word “education.”  Google rewarded me with approximately 100,000 hits, so I spent the

Launching: Pub Talks for Educators

 Pub Talks for Educators I like to talk. I sometimes say I do my best thinking while talking. I am also learning to listen. Listening has been a balm to me during these fraught months, learning what educators, families, students and communities need and want from their schools. Other than the live conversations I have organized with Edjacent contributors, my second favorite way to listen is The TeaTime Teaching's Podcast , hosted by my friend and colleague Mark Diacopolous.  Mark has been an educator for over 25 years. He has taught in middle and high schools both in the US and UK. An early adopter of educational technology, he has worked as a Technology Specialist and Curriculum Specialist in social studies for a large district in Southeast Virginia. He earned his PhD. in Curriculum and Instruction in 2018 and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership at Pittsburg State University in rural Kansas. He has a keen interest in how to best teach future

Lofty Suggestions From the Other Side of the Screen

Suggestions From the Other Side of the Screen  I am not generally a complainer. If I see a problem, I immediately want to solve it or find a better way. Remote learning has been taxing for me mentally and emotionally because I am constantly wondering what I could/would do differently or better if I were on the other side of the screen. It's a limited view, because I can only see through my own lens, but it gets wider every time I talk to a teacher, parent or educator willing to share a small piece of the puzzle. In that spirit, I humbly share the following lofty suggestions. Lofty Suggestion 1: Plan from what matters most. There's a reason the phrase " Maslow before Bloom " was on the verge of overuse in education, even before COVID-19. We must not only acknowledge the importance of basic needs before academics, we must also prioritize and plan from this understanding. I'd argue the continuum of need in remote learning/hybrid learning and safe return to school sho

Lessons From the Other Side of the Screen

 Lessons From the Other Side of the Screen Meghan Raftery, Freelance Educator After just over a month of online coaching and two weeks of monitoring my own sons' remote learning, I feel like most parents and educators I know: utterly exhausted. Six months of isolation, worry and fatigue are catching up to my optimism and blessings-counting and now I am just tired, irritable and often just plain mad.  I know what it feels like to facilitate virtual learning: it is isolating, hard work. You get limited feedback from the participants and, if you're like me, you sweat profusely and drink very little until the whole thing is over. It's  hard work for the teacher, but I did not fully grasp how much work it is for the students  (and the grownups who facilitate their learning) until this week. It's sweaty on this side of the screen too. I have seen some truly amazing teachers do the best they can. I have seen kindergarten teachers laughing and building relationships at all co