Back to School: Community Building Starts Day One

Relationships Matter More Than Rules

Community building in the classroom starts on day one. Try these strategies to begin forging strong relationships.

Learning doesn’t happen without relationships. In the classroom, rules matter, but as many of us have learned after a few years teaching, relationships matter much more. One way we can deepen our relationships with students is to share a bit about ourselves with them, and create opportunities for them to share with us—and each other.

Of course rules, routines, and policies are crucial to outline for your students on day one so they know what to expect. We learn early on in our careers as teachers that being firm and clear about classroom expectations from the start will make all the difference for the kind of year we will have.

But after sharing rules and expectations, how about transitioning into sharing a few slides and artifacts that tell students about you? There’s general information you can share (details about your family, where you went to school, jobs you had before teaching, etc.), but you can add a few more vulnerable glances into your life:

  • What struggles did you have growing up? As a student?
  • What do you value?
  • What do you love to do?
  • What would you change about the world if you were able?
  • If you knew it would work out, what are some risks you would take in life?

How about sharing some artifacts? A few of your all-time favorite books? What was your favorite at 12 years old? At 16? At 20? Bring copies of those books to show your students. Bringing in photos from your life is always a hit as well.

Why share yourself in this way? Showing our humanity to students allows us to be people and not just The Teacher. And in my observations and experience, to be loved by those whom you teach, you have to show vulnerability, at times reveal who you are, your feelings, challenges, hopes, cares, and dreams. We ask students to write essays and poems and speeches in which they share vulnerable aspects of themselves. As teachers, as members of a classroom community, shouldn’t we do the same?

STUDENTS LEARNING ABOUT EACH OTHER

Once you’ve presented aspects of who you are, invite students to do the same. You’ve set the stage, showing some vulnerability and openness with them, so they see that this matters to you and that as a group you’re a class not simply of teacher and students, but of people.

Here are a few worthwhile activities for students to get to know each other and begin building relationships:

Good Things: Ask students to pair and share a good thing that happened for them or something that they’re looking forward to. It doesn’t have to be anything major—it can be something as simple as, “It’s taco night at my house tonight.” Perhaps someone’s sister just got married or someone’s birthday is in a week. Start each day or class period with Good Things, and as students get more comfortable with it, expand the groups to four or five students to help forge more community connections. You share too.

Create an “All About Me” Bag: Provide each student with a paper lunch bag. Ask them to decorate the outside with words or images of things they like or what others can easily see about them. Have them place several objects in the bag that represent or symbolize things not easily known about them (e.g., a pet toy that belongs to their cat, a photo of them playing soccer, etc.). If you make one yourself, you can share it in your introduction—it can serve as a model. Give class time for them to share with a partner and in small groups.

Just Like Me: An oldie but goodie, this community-building strategy allows students to see those students they have things in common with, or with whom they share similar traits. The teacher makes a statement, and those students it relates to stand up. For example, “Pizza is my favorite food,” “I’m glad to be back in school,” or “I am the youngest in my family.” After making a statement, ask students to look around to note those they have this in common with before sitting down. (You can do this activity over several days or sporadically, with new statements and ones that may go a little deeper.)

Artifact Sharing: Just as you might bring in some of your favorite childhood and teen books, invite students to bring in artifacts from their lives—photos, books, and awards—and share one-on-one, in small groups, or with the whole group.

Student Information Survey: Create a survey with age-appropriate and subject-appropriate questions. Have students complete it. Share with them that this is for you, the teacher, to get to know them. Before collecting it, however, ask students to choose two or three responses they’d like to share with others. Provide time for them to pair up or get in groups of three and share, for example, their favorite music, food, and subject in school.

Meaningful relationships matter for learning. The rules and policies you enforce are important for keeping a well-managed class. But rather than emphasizing control over your students, developing community and connection is a surefire ingredient for a good school year for all.

Post via Rebecca Alber / edutopia

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Educator’s Ally is a highly personalized placement agency that connects teachers and administrators with independent day and boarding schools. With New York roots and a national reach, EA’s dedicated approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike since 1975.
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ATTN Educators: 6 Non-Teaching Summer Reading Books

A book promises the chance to escape the noise and busyness of our daily lives. In its pages we are never alone, yet we are also shut off, shut off from the thousand decisions and distractions that attack us at any moment. When we open ourselves up to a book we are embedded in the preciousness of ideas, growth, and mindful stimulation.

Few modeled this better than Abraham Lincoln. Amid the chaos of a nation divided, Lincoln always found time to read widely and deeply. It began in his childhood. Late at night he could be found reading by candlelight. He borrowed books from whoever he could. As president, he had the habit of waking up early in the morning to spend quiet time reading alone.

And it wasn’t historical or philosophical treatises on war and conflict that dominated his reading. If you look at the works that occupied his time as president, you will see more poetry and fiction than anything else. There was lots of Shakespeare, as well as Pride and Prejudice, Paradise Lost, and the poems of Browning, Byron, and Burns among so many others.

What this demonstrates is that, as teachers, we need to not solely read professional books to grow. When we are caught up in the madness of writing lesson plans, grading papers, department meetings, and parent phone calls, we can escape it all with the certainty of a good book. We can nourish our spirit with words and ideas when so many forces seek to drain it. As Lincoln validates so comprehensively, it need not be within our discipline or profession. We can achieve a more-perfect union of our individual self with our teaching self if we just find great books whose ideals speak to something foundational in all of us.

Here are six non-teaching books that offer something dignified and beautiful that will impact your teaching and your spirit.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Van Gogh: The Life

Steve Jobs

Leaves of Grass

The Giving Tree

The Last Lecture

Post via Brian Sztabnik / edutopia

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Educator’s Ally is a highly personalized placement agency that connects teachers and administrators with independent day and boarding schools nationwide.  EA’s dedicated approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike since 1975.
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Wait! Do These 8 Things Before You Leave School for the Summer

Congratulations! You made it to the end of the school year. Whether you sailed across the finish line or limped over it, you should be proud of the work you accomplished with your students.

Before you completely check out for summer, try these eight action items that will help you reflect, unwind, and even get a little bit of prep done before (I’m going to say it) back to school. Then when August does roll around, your gigantic to-do list will already have a few items crossed off.

1. Grab a notebook and reflect on what went really well this year.

I recommend having an entire notebook dedicated to reflection and teaching ideas. I personally use the note pages in my teacher planner to keep track of things that worked and didn’t work each month.

Try to list at least five things that were amazing this school year. A specific lesson? A book you read? A student breakthrough? Or maybe you accomplished a personal goal, like packing lunch every day or setting your clothes out at night. Big or small, your successes should go on the list.

2. Ask yourself what you want to focus on improving next year.

Was there a lesson or story you really wanted to teach but didn’t get a chance to? A specific strategy you wanted to try out with your students? A skill or content you want to learn more about? Maybe it’s about gaining more work-life balance or getting more sleep. Or developing soft skills, like communicating better with parents or keeping a cool head in a student power struggle. Add it to the list.

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#NAISac 2019 Highlights: Viola Davis and Presenting on Women Seeking Leadership

2019 NAIS Annual Conference Highlights c/o www.youtube.com/user/NAISDC

From listening, in awe, to Viola Davis share her hero’s journey with a room full of educators, to presenting with a group of powerhouse females on women in leadership in independent schools – to a packed audience, we might add – #NAISac did not disappoint.

Viola Davis

In a blog titled, “With Gratitude to Ms. Viola Davis“, LaShawn Springer, Director, Community and Multicultural Development at Phillips Academy, beautifully sums up her experience hearing Viola speak:

“It’s taken me awhile to process Viola Davis’ stirring opening keynote…When folks trust you enough to hold their stories, it is an incredible gift and the reason why I will be forever grateful for Ms. Davis.

That she allowed a group of educators that work in independent and private schools, that each are working through their own commitment to equity and inclusion and the ways that privilege shows up in our schools, to receive a story that holds so many truths and contradictions and complexities about a young black girl who loved school, had a fierce imagination, and an inclination towards acting and theater, who wanted to be and do better than what others imagined for her, who willed herself to escape the invisibility of poverty and the realities of a home where domestic violence and alcoholism reared their ugly heads, where she emerges a hero and has claimed that term for herself, is a true sign of how she has committed to speaking truth to power and her willingness to bare it all in the event we hear in her story the story of one of our young people.”

#NAISac Workshop

Together with Nanci Kauffman from Castilleja School (CA); Jennifer Zaccara from Vermont Academy (VT), and Aléwa Cooper from Greens Farms Academy (CT), EA President Lisa Lovering, co-presented a workshop titled, ‘Tearing Down Walls: Building Leadership Capacity for Women.’

Of the many important issues addressed in the presentation, there was one commonality – courage. As professional women, we must have the courage to envision a future for ourselves and stand up for it, the courage to seek out mentors, to ask for what we deserve and, most critical of all, the courage to believe in ourselves and lead with confidence.

To watch the full presentation, click here. To access presentation resources gathered by the presenters, click here.

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Educator’s Ally is a highly personalized placement agency that connects teachers and administrators with independent day and boarding schools. With New York roots and a national reach, EA’s dedicated approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike since 1975.

 

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10 Reasons Why Marrying a Teacher is the Best

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, the Educator’s Ally team thought we’d share a little-known secret about teachers – people who marry them are the happiest.

Why? Our friends at THINK ALOUD break it down for you.

Take a look at 10 wonderful reasons why marrying a teacher is the BEST.

Teachers are patient.

They can listen carefully for hours. Sometimes, they are explaining something for the tenth time without getting annoyed. They are the most patient and understanding people around for sure. And they will always offer people the support if they need. So, in their relationships, they are going to give time and attention to their special person. Teachers will never make you feel silly or embarrassed.

Teachers are selfless.

They can’t help this, but they will always put their students first. They are willing to sacrifice their time and energy to help and support their students. This means that they will miss their lunch just to explain one more time to students something they didn’t understand.

When it comes to their relationship, teachers will go above and beyond for their partner just to make them happy. They will always take care of you and be there for you.

Teachers always see the bright side.

They are always positive, no matter how awful their day was. They will be able to smile like nothing is wrong. Teachers can forgive and forget and put any disagreement behind. Each day they begin refreshed and from an uplifting perspective. People who marry teachers continually are around positivity. That’s why the happiest people end up marrying teachers.

Teachers are pros at handling crazy situations.

They have seen it all, from bathroom fights to broken noses. In order to avoid any disaster, they jump into action and get things shifted and perfected. They can keep everyone from panicking because they know how to stay calm in chaos. Marrying a teacher means having someone cool, confident, and always ready to take care of business. They will try to make everything okay. And they are really good at it.

Teachers are responsible.

The happiest people end up marrying teachers because they married someone who had their shit together. They are well organized and know they’re supposed to do what is their response. Teachers are super responsible. They will make sure to never be late and never leave anything until the last minute. Their partner is always their priority. Even if they’re busy, they will always make time for someone they love.

Teachers know how to communicate well.

Communication is everything in a relationship. And teachers have a natural knack for this. They are great listeners and they can spend hours with their partner talking without interrupting. What is really awesome is eye contact and the encouragement they give to their loved ones. Teachers aren’t afraid to express their feeling and thoughts, so their partner will always be sure where they stand. In their marriage, there will be no communication issues. Instead, there will be continual openness.

Teachers push the one they love to be the best that they can be.

They want to ensure their loved ones have a better life than they have. They are fixers who love and support their partners. Teachers challenge them to improve and pick up the slack when they need help. The happiest people end up marrying teachers because they will always have someone believing in them and will never give up on them.

Teachers are passionate.

They aren’t just teaching a subject, they are teaching kids and young adults who they can be what they can amount to and shape future generations simply by believing in them. When it comes to their marriage, they are giving their best. They are always trying to make the right decision. They are always trying to find a solution to any problem. Teachers will always try to challenge people to be the best type they can be.

Teachers know how to have fun.

They know how to enjoy and relax after a long day. They are extremely hard working, but they also know how to kick back and relax. Actually, people like to be around them because they totally indulge in their free time. For their loved ones, it will never be boring.

Teachers know how to love.

They care deeply about people. Their job is their passion. Teachers are loving and giving. They are filled with passion and energy. They know how to appreciate their partners. And most importantly, they love hard.

Source: https://thinkaloud.net/

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Educator’s Ally is a highly personalized placement agency that connects teachers and administrators with independent day and boarding schools. With New York roots and a national reach, EA’s dedicated approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike since 1975.
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6 Tips for Your Job Search

With the 2019 independent school hiring season in full swing, the Educator’s Ally Team wants to make sure you feel as prepared as possible for the opportunities ahead.

Here are 6 tips for a successful private school job search:

  • Get in touch with Educator’s Ally.
    • To get the conversation started, apply here with your updated resume.
  • Why work with EA?
    • Our services are free for job seekers! Whether you’re looking locally or nationally, EA can help.
    • Since 1975, EA’s highly personalized approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike. With New York roots and a national reach, EA represents and recruits for day and boarding schools across the country.
    • EA gets to know each of our candidates and supports them throughout the search process.
    • From proofreading cover letters and resumes to providing interview tips to negotiating an offer, we’re here for you.
    • Just as we get to each candidate, we know our schools and what makes each one unique. With this knowledge, we work hard to find our candidates the perfect job at the right independent school. To get a feel for the EA difference, visit our website to read testimonials from candidates and administrators who’ve worked with us.
    • Read more about EA services for job seekers here.
  • Update your resume.
    • Don’t procrastinate, do it! Be sure to add any new responsibilities and titles you’ve assumed, as well as any professional development opportunities you’ve taken advantage of since your last search.
    • Use bullet points. School administrators are busy, and you want your experience to stand out at a quick glance. More details can be filled in in a cover letter or in an interview.
    • Keep your resume simple in terms of font, design, and formatting.
    • Your EA Placement Manager will be happy to review your resume and provide feedback
    • Click here to upload your resume and apply for EA representation.

  • Be responsive.
    • Check your email and voicemail frequently and respond to schools within 24 hours. We know you’re busy but responding even if just to thank the school administrator for their email and to let them know when you’ll get back to them can make a huge difference.
    • Make sure your voicemail is set-up (and not full) and that your greeting sounds professional.

  • Do your homework. 
    • Every school is unique. Search committees want to know you’ve taken the time to get to know the school. In preparation for an interview, familiarize yourself with the school’s mission and philosophy and be ready to speak to why the school and position appeal to you – use specifics!

  • Be punctual. 
    • Make every effort to arrive a few minutes early for an interview.
    • Use Waze to predict how long the trip will take with traffic and set an alert that will let you know when to start driving.
    • If you’re Skyping, make sure your computer is set up and Skype is open several minutes prior to your call. Make sure you are in a quiet (and clean!) space where you won’t be interrupted.

  • Dress for success. 
    • Whether it’s a Skype or in-person meeting, always remember to dress neatly and professionally for your interviews.
    • Not sure what to wear? You can always ask your EA Placement Manager for some ideas. Here are a few go-to options:
      • Dress slacks and a blouse
      • Navy jacket, tie, and khaki pants
      • Neutral colored suit
      • Knee-length dress or skirt and a blouse

  • Be yourself. 
    • Take a deep breath, have fun, and be yourself! The best interviews are those that feel more like a conversation than a Q&A so try and relax.
    • You can always reach out to your EA Placement Manager with any questions before or after your interview.

 

Want more help on how to conduct your search? Read our other blog posts, Tips for a Successful Private School Job Search Part 1 and Part 2.

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Educator’s Ally is a highly personalized placement agency that connects teachers and administrators with independent day and boarding schools. With New York roots and a national reach, EA’s dedicated approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike since 1975.
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#NAISPoCC 2018

We’re still not over #NAISPoCC 2018.

Being in Nashville, surrounded by a community of educators championing equity and inclusion in our schools was – as always – incredibly inspiring. We cannot wait till next year.

Thank you to all of our incredible friends, old and new, who spent time connecting with us in The Hub, and at our not-so-little reception 😊at Barlines on Thursday night!

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Educator’s Ally is a highly personalized placement agency that connects teachers and administrators with independent day and boarding schools. With New York roots and a national reach, EA’s dedicated approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike since 1975.
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Caine’s Arcade – The Power of Cardboard!

Caine Monroy was just an average kid who hung out at his Dad’s used auto parts store in Los Angeles before a chance encounter with filmmaker, Nirvan Mullick, who discovered and showed the world that Caine was anything but average.

Using boxes from his dad’s store, Caine built an entire arcade out of cardboard, complete with a “Claw” machine. But what Caine created was more than just fun games, it sparked a Maker Movement!

Having now participated in Ted Teen Talks, Caine was also the youngest entrepreneur to speak at the USC Marshall School of Business and his arcade was highlighted in Forbes and Fast Company as a project that can be applied to developing businesses.

Click here to check out his arcade for yourself and let us know what types of cardboard making projects your students are creating.

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Educator’s Ally is a highly personalized placement agency that connects teachers and administrators with independent day and boarding schools. With New York roots and a national reach, EA’s dedicated approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike since 1975.
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How to Engage Young Alumni Today

alumni relations, educator's ally, job search, hiring

 

Did you know that Educator’s Ally helps schools with hiring for Advancement searches? It’s an area of growth for our schools and one we’re being tapped for help with more and more.

To that end, we’re excited to announce the hire of Susie Delaporte, the newest member of the EA Placement Team. Susie joins us from The Angeletti Group, where she was Director of Client Partnership and Executive Search. Working alongside EA Placement Manager Margaret Cissel in support of Advancement/Development placement, Susie promises to be an invaluable addition to the EA Team.

With this in mind, we asked Susie to share her thoughts on alumni giving and stewardship. In our conversation, Susie referenced a CASE article that reflects on how schools once engaged with alumni:

“In the past, alumni relations, or engagement, tended to be treated as a stand-alone activity divorced from fundraising and other advancement activities. Indeed, some alumni associations were entirely independent of their parent institutions, and whilst their members interacted with each other, they had very little interaction with the institution.”

Today, it is common knowledge that alumni have the potential to be a school’s most valuable ambassadors. Through the group’s social and professional networks, alumni can serve as a tremendous vehicle for word-of-mouth marketing. Still, cultivating a lasting and fruitful bond between a school and its alumni calls for a great deal of planning and stewardship.

Many schools will begin stewarding future alumni during their senior year. School leaders and advancement officers do this by reminding their students of the opportunities their (soon to be) alma mater has provided them, and educating them as to the importance of supporting the school after graduation.

 

beautiful campus, flower walkway, independent school, educator's ally, hiring, job search

 

In the words of Patrick F. Bassett, former president of NAIS and past president of ISACS,

the first inquiry can and will, if handled properly, develop into a decades-long, generations-deep, resource-laden relationship as parent, student, alumni, grandparent, and beyond the grave (as the school benefits from estate planning). Thus, the trick at hand is to devise conscious and sustained strategies to develop and deepen the relationships and to pass them on at successive stages to successive contacts at the school. Handled well, the school will become the life-long “virtual home” for its families.”

In summary, schools are faced with a difficult task when it comes to alumni donors. And that is: keeping them engaged over time, and especially through staff changes. If relationships are handled thoughtfully, alumni will be more likely to make a lasting impact long after they have graduated.

For more ideas on how to engage your young alumni, click here.

 

educator's ally, young alumni, graduation, throwing cap

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Educator’s Ally is a highly personalized placement agency that connects teachers and administrators with independent day and boarding schools. With New York roots and a national reach, EA’s dedicated approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike since 1975.
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The Importance of Sharing with Students

 

 

With the start of a new school year upon us, teachers are busily preparing their lesson plans for the first few days of school.  Both students and teachers are likely eager to share their summer adventures, so why not incorporate those stories into a first lesson?  Studies have shown that performance increases when students feel engaged and connected with a teacher.

This article details one teacher’s tradition of starting the year with a slideshow that paints a picture of why he’s a teacher and encouraging his students to share their own meaningful pictures with each other.  As the article mentions, “students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Start the year off on a positive and fun note by sharing these meaningful, personal anecdotes.  By encouraging a class culture of connectedness, you may find students more engaged, motivated, and happier to come to class.

Are you a dedicated educator who enjoys connecting with her students on a personal level?  Have you been thinking about pursuing a new teaching position in independent schools?  Apply now to see if Educator’s Ally can assist you with your job search.

 

 

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Educator’s Ally is a highly personalized placement agency that connects teachers and administrators with independent day and boarding schools. With New York roots and a national reach, EA’s dedicated approach to recruiting has been valued by schools and candidates alike since 1975.
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