Tips for Educators

Losing Functionality: The Signs of Burnout

By on June 10th, 2014

burnout coverOver recent weeks my wife and I have been trying to sell our house. In an effort to have it sell faster, we purchased a dozen of these air-freshener warmer devices that you plug into your wall. If you haven’t used one, the way it works is that you plug it in and slide a glass jar of freshener into the warmer and set the dial to the level of scent that you want (from low to high). After two days of having the fresheners plugged in, I noticed that the smell wasn’t as tropical as it once was. I checked each one and all seemed to be okay. I left the fresheners plugged in for another week until I realized that there was no longer a divine smell of the tropics in the house. Upon inspection, I noticed that the glass bottles were completely empty and needed to be replaced. I had the fresheners on full blast, causing each one to deplete faster than I anticipated. Continue reading


Interview Tips: Knowing When to Stop Talking

By on April 11th, 2014

interviewYour palms are sweating. Your knees are shaking. You feel like you’re rambling. You probably are. STOP.

Job interviews can be incredibly intimidating. You sit across the table from high-level executives and try to prove your worth. In behavioral-based interviews, you are asked several specific, action-driven questions. Your interviewers want to know the details of specific instances when you applied your natural talents and learned skills to unite stakeholders, lead teammates, and solve challenges.

The first problem you face is you’re drawing a blank. Funny, I can’t think of a single time I ever spoke to a single customer or solved a single problem… Continue reading


Communication is Critical

By on March 7th, 2014

teacher communicationThe Importance of Effective Communication between Teachers and Parents

I have been teaching for almost nine years, most of that time being in the traditional classroom. When I came to FLVS last year, I was seriously impressed with the level of care and importance that is placed on effective parent communication.

Regular communication, however, does not necessarily equal effective communication. Whether meeting face-to-face, virtually, or by phone, misunderstandings can happen. I wanted to share with you some insights and tips I have found useful as a teacher to keep communication with parents effective: Continue reading


Everyone Needs a Coach

By on February 6th, 2014

coachI’m a Georgia Bulldog fan…I’ll just go ahead and say that. I’m not a huge football fan where I am glued to the TV on the weekends, but I do enjoy a good game and I certainly enjoy watching my team play. I am always fascinated by the week-to-week changes in a team.

Some weeks I think my team will make it to the National Championship game, and other weeks I wonder if this is their first game. And if anything has made it clear that you can never know what to expect from a team, it was last Sunday’s Super Bowl game!

But regardless of how the team performs, there is ultimately one person who is held accountable for the outcome: the coach. Continue reading


Finding Work Life Balance

By on January 23rd, 2014

work-life balanceAlmost a year into my career at FLVS, I would consider myself a work-life balance guru. That has not always been the case.

When I first came to FLVS in early 2013, I had no idea how important work-life balance would become. Coming from a brick-and-mortar school, I was used to working hard for eight hours a day and then walking away from my work once I left to get my daughter from daycare. Imagine my shock when I transitioned to virtual education where the work followed me everywhere.

The phone rang often, even after hours. My gradebook was never empty. At times, my VSA data and student numbers felt overwhelming. Sometimes I felt like the work was overtaking me and that it was overtaking every aspect of my life. And worse, I felt like I was not able to put the students’ needs first since I was so overwhelmed. Continue reading


Know Before You Go: The Power of Formative Assessments

By on January 14th, 2014

signA few years ago, not long after I first learned to drive, a family friend allowed me the opportunity to borrow his car.

The rule of the road was “if it has two digits, it goes around the city in a circle and you can’t get lost, it’ll always bring you back.”

When I began driving with my friend, I noticed I was a bit lost, but was fortunate enough to see the I-95 sign. It had two digits, the 9 and 5, so that must have meant it would loop around and I’d be back in no time. An hour later, I pulled off at an exit to ask for directions, to find I was now an hour and a half away from home.

Continue reading


The Real Win is in Losing!

By on November 19th, 2013

try againLosing is part of life.  In fact, it is one of the most valuable lessons one can learn.

We don’t get everything we want all of the time.  We can’t win every race.  Tasting defeat only allows us to savor victory and try harder the next time.  Learning how to lose teaches us how to win.

If a child knows they will automatically get a reward for showing up, what motivation is there to try?  If our students’ walls are adorned with ribbons and trophies for participation, we have done them a disservice.  We are teaching them that a promotion will be handed over on a silver platter, not earned.  Grades will be given based on attendance, not effort. Continue reading


A Good, Firm Handshake in a Virtual World

By on November 15th, 2013

We live in an ever-changing digital age where our interactions have become increasingly more “virtual” than face-to-face.

Today, most companies are turning to phone conference or webcam interviews to save time and money for incessantly busy Hiring Managers.  Job candidates are expected to answer complicated behavior based interview questions, supplying well-thought-out responses, all while making it perfectly clear why he/she is the right person for the job, often in 30 minutes or less.  So, how do you leave a lasting impression at the end of a phone interview?  You develop a good, firm virtual handshake. Continue reading


Learning Forward – Part 8: Lesson Study

By on October 15th, 2013

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

The lesson study process is one of the most unique teaching techniques available to 21st century teachers. During a lesson study, instructors present a lesson and uncover what makes it effective or ineffective.  Bringing several teachers together and using their combined knowledge to create, teach, and reflect on a lesson is one of the best teaching strategies for instructors. Teachers are life-long learners and are always looking for ways to improve their skills. Lesson study is an ideal format to observe what does and doesn’t work and make improvements.  Continue reading