Talented teachers in West Des Moines Community Schools spiced up their convocation with a well-rehearsed flash mob, performing their own version of “One Day More” from Les Miserables.
The opening speech is very dull and illustrates exactly why teachers dread convocation. Skip to 1:24 for the good part. Use closed captioning (the CC icon) to catch all the lyrics.
Have you seen Les Miserables yet? If not, check it out! I really enjoyed the Les Misérables movie, but the Dream Cast in Concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall will always hold a special place in my heart. It features Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean. Lea Salonga is brilliant as Eponine, and Australia’s Philip Quast demonstrates how Javert’s songs are supposed to sound–booming and intimidating, full of fire and brimstone.
Anyone with glasses can tell you about that moment of clarity: seeing the leaves on the trees. Help your students experience that thrill. Watch for signs of vision trouble in students.
Of course, the classic sign of vision trouble is when the child can’t see the board. However, many students won’t admit that they have trouble, so parents and teachers have to watch for the signals that indicate vision trouble. Remember, vision trouble can go beyond nearsightedness to include lazy eye, crossed eyes, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
If you spot the following behaviors, notify the school nurse and call the parent. (I call home because some students won’t give parents the nurse’s note.) When speaking to parents, remember to describe the behavior you see and avoid anything that sounds like a diagnosis.
Correcting a vision problem can lead to quick and remarkable results. I have seen students jump an entire grade level in reading fluency and comprehension shortly after getting glasses.
Signs of vision trouble in children:
tilting books to read them
leaning close to books
turning the head to look at objects that should be in peripheral vision
covering one eye
avoiding reading or seeking out books with large print (not related to reading level)
In many ways, I have a closer coworker relationship with my students than I do with my colleagues. My colleagues are wonderful, and we help each other with teaching, classroom management, and meeting students’ needs. However, the coworker relationship is much closer with students.
In the classroom, I am the manager and the students are my team. Our task is to make sure everyone meets standards by the end of the school year. I set a plan for how to accomplish our learning goals, but the students and I adjust it as the year goes on.
How to treat your students like coworkers:
Cultivate the coworker attitude in yourself—it will show in how you approach everything.
Share with students the state and national standards, curriculum maps, and pacing materials from the district. This helps them take your perspective–and take your job more seriously. Seeing planning and accountability materials helps students understand the big picture and appreciate that school is about more than day-to-day assignments.
When possible, tell students your objective and give them the chance to help you determine the best way to accomplish it. You can do this for a day, a unit, a project, a grading period, or the whole year. Give the students experience with short and long-range planning.
Assign class jobs. Explain to students that the classroom requires certain tasks be done in order for each day to go smoothly. Teach students about man hours, efficiency, and management skills. This will motivate everyone to complete their jobs because they understand the true purpose. (Click here for detailed advice on setting up class jobs—including a FREE fill-in spreadsheet. Click here for advice on how to work as a team to maintain the classroom.)
Try to keep things between you and the student wherever possible. If you must involve an administrator or parent, move on after the incident is over. Try to get back to dealing with the student directly. If you can do this successfully, you’ll strengthen the coworker bond.