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Uncategorized   |   Mar 31, 2009

The Cornerstone Accolades: March 2009

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

The Cornerstone Accolades: March 2009

By Angela Watson

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This is a special “Voices from the Classroom” edition of The Accolades. (View the original post here for an explanation of how the accolades work.) In past months, I’ve noticed a big disconnect between the blog topics of out-of-classroom bloggers and those in the trenches. There is value in both, and a rightful place for each, but this month’s accolades are for the teachers.

Here’s what educators have been grappling with in classrooms across the nation during the month of March:

Administering standardized tests…

Test Day: DUM! DUM! DUM! by Learn Me Good. Really, you can’t make this stuff up. I once had a student whip out a PURPLE MARKER to take her standardized test. When I saw her bubbling with that stupid grape-scented thing I went momentarily blind with rage. Literally.

Looking for new ways to review material now that testing’s done…

Revision by It’s a Hardknock Teacher’s Life. Miss Profe’s trying out some review games from England.

Anxiously awaiting (or enjoying) spring break…

Wild Animals by Elbows, Knees, Dreams. You can guess what the title of the post refers to, no?

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day…

St. Patrick’s Day First Grade Style by Elementary, My Dear, or Far From it. Jenny’s got super cute photos of the activities her kids did.

Grappling with lay-offs and cut backs…

District Spokesperson Impacting the Lives of Students (as much as teachers do, according to an interview witnessed by Ms. Teacher)! Ms. Teacher responds: “We crave the energy and the enthusiasm that they [teachers] can bring to a classroom and yet, we repay them by allowing them to be faced with the possibility of being laid off every single year for the first five or so that they teach! Why would anyone go into teaching at this point in time with all of its uncertainty?”

Creating a safe haven for kids stuck in bad situations…

Smiley by PO’d Teacher. The Quality Review people may not like what’s happening in her classroom, but PO’d is doing what’s best for kids who are in desperate places.

Rehabilitating the kids who create bad situations…

The Good News and the Bad News by Regurgitated Alphabits. This a follow-up post about what Edna Lee did when one of her students mocked and bullied a…wait for it…blind child.

Recounting our successes to pull through the failures…

Let the Games Begin by My Own Personal Piece of Doom Cake. The encouragement in this situation came from a heart-warming student letter. Aww.

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Enjoying our students’ quirks and funny personalities…

“And Guess What, Teacher?” by Don’t Put Boogers in Your Neighbor’s Cereal. You may have guessed it…the boy in the drawing isn’t wearing any underwear!

Wishing our (female) students could learn to tolerate one other…

Ah, the Girl Drama! by Bluebird’s Classroom. Mrs. Bluebird writes: “As someone who came to education after 15 years in the corporate world – 15 years spent working, at times, with complete idiots that I didn’t particularly like or enjoy working with but I sucked it up because it was my JOB – it drives me nuts when a kid comes up and asks for a seat change or a schedule change because ‘I don’t get along with so and so’.”

Trying to prevent burnout when “everybody has serious issues”…

On Success, Part 4: I Still Want to Teach Forever! by I Want to Teach Forever. This is part of a great series of reflections on personal success and failure. I also recommend On Failure, Part 5: It’s Not About You.

Dealing with blame and the issue of personal responsibility when students fail…

Holding Teachers Accountable by A Teacher’s Education. Mrs. Chili is an English professor, and her stories are scarily similar to those of us working in PreK-12. [Edited to include: Mrs. Chili is looking for more insight on the topic from you all. Please leave her a comment with your thoughts!]

Confronting unreasonable expectations for teachers…

Boundary Issues by Confessions of an Untenured Teacher. The blogger asks, when is enough enough?

Getting angry at how some parents behave so inappropriately on campus…

Are You Kidding?
!
by Adventures in Super Teaching! Oh boy, can I relate. If my blog was anonymous, you’d get an earful from me on this topic. From parents cursing out students to making death threats against them, I’ve seen it ALL. And it’s infuriating.

Leaving conferences feeling helpless and overwhelmed by family problems…

Parent-Teacher Therapy Sessions by Peace in the Classroom. This teacher makes an excellent point: For many parents, conferences are the only time where they can talk about their issues in a private and confidential place. And on a semi-related note: Can you teach resiliency?

Conveying the heartbreaking news to strugglers that they’ve made zero growth…

Investment Fail by Miss Bennett in the Bay. This is a crushing story of a little girl who just can’t keep up with her peers. We all have at least one student like this, and it’s painful to see.

Lamenting the lack of a unifying vision in our schools…

And where is the VISION? from Peace in the Classroom again. Clearly I love this blog. This post focuses on those little daily occurrences that undermine learning and simply should not be tolerated.

Wondering why we’re so tired all the time…

Exhausted by Ranting Teacher. This anonymous UK teacher has a theory: “By the time I leave work, I feel like I’ve lived 3 days in one.”

Feeling like teaching is torture sometimes…

Could It Get Any Worse? by They Call Me Teacher. This post is brutally honest: “I’m scared I’ll forget how much I love teaching.” It inspired a response from Adventures in Super Teaching! called It Gets Bad Sometimes.

Validating our students for who they are in a system that doesn’t…

The “Right Way” by This Brazen Teacher. This is a beautiful, reflective narrative that addresses the issue of a one-size-fits-all “fix”.

Struggling to integrate technology (and not giving up during the learning curve)…

Trying to Make Podcasting Relevant by Happy Chyck Wonders. Kudos to Happy Chyck for trying podcasting and blogging about it: collectively, we can figure out how to make this stuff meaningful.

Retrying those teaching methods we’ve been told are outdated…

Is ‘Lecture’ a 4-Letter-Word? by Leading From the Heart. Tracy says: “I’m amazed at how my assumptions continue to be challenged by my daily practice”.

Experiencing the frustrations of ‘best practice’ when implemented in reality…

The Experts vs. The Teachers by Organized Chaos. How often do teachers enter into professional development feeling hopeful and leave feeling jaded and frustrated?

Committing to better our schools, one small act at a time…

Spring Forward by My Many Colored Crayons. Seeing that morale was in the toilet, Jane took it upon herself to redecorate the teachers’ bathroom. (How’s that for a metaphor?) What a commendable decision to improve her “little corner of the world”. Love it.

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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Discussion


  1. This is such a lovely thing you’re doing… because then we get to find new fun blogs- without having to navigate an ocean of mediocre reading material. Many thanks for including me this month.

  2. Hey, Angela.

    Thank you for the props. I really appreciate it.

    A nice round-up of all sorts of good things we on the front lines are doing to educate youth. 🙂

  3. Thanks for including me! I’m feeling a big disconnect in general, so I can’t wait to work my way through some of your recommendations. Looking forward to some good reads!

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