By Tricia Ebarvia
“What conference is it again?”
“Pic TELL ah,” I said more slowly.
“Really? That’s not a real conference,” my colleague teased.
All I could do was smile.
To the uninitiated, PCTELA―short for the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English Language Arts―might sound like something you would make up. Or, at the very least, just another one of the many educational acronyms in our lives: SAT, ACT, PVAAS, IEP, GIEP, RTI. I have to admit that until a few years ago, I had never heard of PCTELA either. In fact, when I first started teaching in 2001, I don’t think I had heard of many professional teacher organizations, if any. Or, if I did, they didn’t register with me. I was probably too busy just trying to stay afloat in the happy chaos of teaching.
Soon enough—and thankfully—other acronyms became part of my teaching life. NCTE, NWP, PAWLP—these were the acronyms that mattered. And now, of course, I can add PCTELA to that list. Read more
by Brenda Krupp
As I write this post I am celebrating a birthday, a birthday that pushes me closer to retirement, a birthday that makes me one of those teachers others approach and ask, “Was it always like this?’” That scares me, especially in light of this blog post topic: sustaining energy. I have to admit that it was not always like this. There were no SLOs, PARCC tests or PSSAs when I began my career. Teaching with “fidelity” meant something different. And, in the elementary school, children were children not cogs that needed to be prepped for the next, higher level. Teaching was tiring, but not energy zapping. So, how does one sustain energy in this era of teaching? On a recent evening, I got a glimpse of how. Read more
Thrive : 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching by Meenoo Rami
by Janice Ewing and Rita Sorrentino
During the winter months, teachers and students have more to cope with than just cold weather and icy roads. Deadlines, data-driven decisions, and daily demands of classroom life loom larger as testing schedules, teacher evaluations, and interim assessments fill up the calendar. Finding time to accomplish all that is required of a teacher, while keeping students’ best interests at heart, can zap the energy of the best-intentioned educators. Read more
With the holidays here, we hope that amidst the busyness of unwrapping presents and getting together with friends and family, perhaps you’ll find a moment or two to give yourself a gift… the gift of a good book. We asked some of our PAWLP Fellows for book suggestions, and below you’ll find a few of their responses. What could be better than a good book, some hot chocolate, and a warm fire? Wishing you and yours happy reading this holiday season! Read more
By June Shultz
Today, with all the requirements put on teachers beyond the classroom, i.e. testing, assessments, evaluations, public relations, communications with parents/guardians, etc… How does a good teacher remain a good teacher and meet the needs of all the students in the classroom?
As a classroom teacher of many years’ experience, beginning at the high school, moving to preschool, and then to elementary and finally to middle school, I have seen teachers “burn out” with all the stress of trying to “do it all.” One of the ways that I was able to overcome the stress of not being fully appreciated by administrators and sometimes colleagues was through my association with other outstanding teachers. Read more
By Molly Leahy
“We’re closed” I announced in rapid-fire snow chain speak. My student teacher’s disbelief and disappointment rang clearly over the phone. “Again? Ok,” she sighed, reminding me of someone I used to be.
I felt like saying, “Oh you have a lot to learn about snow days.” After teaching for twenty years, I love a good snow day to catch up on bills, sleep, and some cross-country skiing. There are closets to clean, tax papers to organize, and books to read. Sometimes a snowcation energizes me by restoring work-life balance. Other times, the snow day provides additional hours to respond to students’ writing. This feeling of accomplishment or just balance allows us to return to our very demanding profession with renewed vigor.
But what happens when snow days pile up, blocking the flow and rhythm of teacher and student energy alike? Read more