Tuesday, January 22, 2019

'Lighting of a Fire'

In 1963, a man from the north side of town bought a brand new Wheelhorse garden tractor. He would use the tractor every summer to mow his lawn and every winter to plow his driveway until he passed away. At that point, the man’s son took ownership of the property and continued using the garden tractor until the summer of 2013. The sunny day was a great day for mowing until the tractor caught fire in the middle of the yard. The owner was able to subdue the flames without much damage. However, the mechanical issues were too much for the owner to repair. The tractor was parked under the back porch as the newly purchased mower zipped around the yard cutting grass. Randomly the owner and I had a conversation about antique tractors and he informed me of this old Wheelhorse he had parked a few years ago. I bought the tractor and replaced a few parts to get it up and running. There is not much grass to mow around my house in the woods, but there is plenty of snow to plow from the Ohio winters. Early last spring, I covered the tractor with a tarp and connected a solar trickle charger to the battery as I parked it until it snowed again. As the flakes fell last weekend, I opened the choke, turned the key and listened as the engine chugged until it fired up. I maneuvered the plow up and down my driveway until I had cleared away the snow.

When I think about leading a successful school or classroom, I believe that some of the tried and true practices from long ago still have a place in the schools of today. I do not believe all practices from the past are still relevant, however, being connected with and listening to professionals in our field is a practice that has allowed many educators to become better at teaching and administrators become better at leading. During my first year as an assistant principal, I sent Matthew Willis, principal of Hinkley High School, an email to discuss his experiences and implementation with restorative practices. I wrote almost five pages of notes from that conversation.

I started the SparkCast podcast to share the conversations that I had with professionals in the field of education. I wanted others to hear the knowledge of the guests instead of leaving the wisdom on a sheet of paper in a notebook or an idea in my head. I have produced an introduction message and four interviews for the ‘Lighting of a Fire’ episodes of the podcast. Episode 2 is with Associate Professor Katie Hooper discussing a hands-on Tropical Field Biology course that she teaches. Episode 3 is with Dr. Jim Harris discussing Anti-Social Discipline and the Alternatives. Episode 4 is with Trevor Muir talking about how he is using project-based learning for the real world in his classroom. And Episode 5 is with Superintendent Travis Jordan discussing social emotional learning from his current and past experiences.

I have been able to learn a great deal from the first guests of the podcast on topics that I find to be helpful for being a teacher and school leader. After reflection of the technical mishaps from the first four episodes, I have learned how to refine the process for producing better episodes in the future. I am looking forward to this journey and I hope you are able to come along.

The Spark Educational Services podcast can be found on Apple iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify. The video version of the podcast can be found as a playlist on YouTube. Webinars for aspiring school leaders can also be found on the podcast channels. Those webinars were produced in collaboration with Jodie Pierpoint of Dream Big Mentorship. The second year of the Aspiring Leaders webinars can be located on the website for Dream Big Mentorship.

I am greatly appreciative of the time that the guests of the podcast have given. I have posted the contact information of each guest in the show notes for any person interested in connecting with them. I am planning and will be posting future episodes on the channels as each is finished. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Biology Connections

Biology Connections
by Paul Bailey

Microscopy, Osmosis, Cellular Respiration, and Tropical Field Biology…..sounds more like a science class. However, last year I collaborated with Katie Hooper, Associate Professor at Zane State College, to create Biology Connections for an Algebra I course that I taught. The collaboration was an excellent method for cross-curricular project-based learning and for students to gain an insight into a college course.

"mathematics was involved with the learning objectives of the science"

Ms. Hooper and I had many discussions about her lab activities and how mathematics was involved with the learning objectives of the science lessons. Throughout the Fall semester, Professor Hooper and I recorded six videos for the Biology Connections program. The first video was an introduction of Ms. Hooper and the classroom in which her courses completed the lab exercises. Then, during four lab days and one trip abroad, Ms. Hooper video recorded the activities and had student volunteers explain the science that was occurring. Data from the lab activity was shared at on the video or through a shared file.

"students in my class were fascinated by the video"

After obtaining the video files, I would edit a 2-4 minute video of the lab to show to the students in my Algebra class. I would have another discussion with Ms. Hooper to understand the Biology involved, the process of the lab, and the data obtained. The students in my class were fascinated by the video. They would sit quietly, watching the activities, and asking questions. I created learning objectives to fit into our Algebra curriculum for the lessons. Some of the mathematics of the lab fit right into the Algebra standards. Students found the Microscopy lab exciting to look into the cells of organisms. We were able to discuss cell reproduction and Sickle Cell Anemia throughout the lab. Students used their ability to solve equations to determine the minuscule size of the cells they were viewing. For the other labs, I needed to mold the mathematics to match the Algebra curriculum. Students thought the Tropical Field Biology lab was filmed in an aquarium as the tropical fish swam through the coral reef. The Algebra students used the data collected to graph scatter plots and write equations for trend lines.

"watching the intrigue and wonder on the faces of kids throughout the lessons"

Biology Connections was an excellent catalyst for students to learn science in the Algebra class. The best part of the projects was watching the intrigue and wonder on the faces of kids throughout the lessons. Even though I did not explicitly state the Scientific Method to the students, each project required them to work through the process to understand. The Biology Connections program was a fantastic project-based learning math unit that initiated an understanding of life sciences.  

Monday, May 21, 2018

Experiential Learning with Zane State College's Honors Program at Forfar Field Station

I have been dabbling with videography over the last two years. I have recorded mostly the outdoor adventures I have taken with friends. While teaching at Foxfire High School during the 2017-18 school year, I taught a Technology Media Class. We took photographs, published a slideshow for the lunchroom television, and produced videos of school-related items.

I utilized my videography skills to collaborate with Associate Professor Katie Hooper from Zane State College to create Biology Connections. More information on the Biology Connections will be shared in a future blog post. Through this collaboration, Professor Hooper asked me to chaperone a Tropical Field Biology course at Forfar Field Station on Andros Island in the Bahamas. I loaded up my GoPro Hero 5 and recorded much of the trip. The students completed field research on the trip and gave a presentation to the administration and professors of Zane State College, family members, future students of the college, and guests from the community. I shared the completed version of the video at the presentation. I wanted to share the video with you through the lens of an educator thinking about the real-world application of learning whether you call it problem-based learning, project-based learning, or experiential learning. There are three parts to the video. Part I is an explanation of each day at the Field Station, part II is short clips for each research project, and part III is the students' final thoughts on the trip.

If you would like more information on our trip, you can contact me through email at atmrpbailey@gmail.com . Professor Katie Hooper is available to provide information about Zane State College, the Honors Program at the college, or her experiences at Forfar Field Station. The International Field Studies  can be contacted for details about utilizing Forfar Field Station for your own trip and research.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Incorporating Technology into the Classroom

Incorporating Technology into the Classroom
by Paul Bailey

Jon came up to me slightly upset that he received a 60% (6 out of 10) on his summative assessment. He knew he needed an 80% or higher to move on to the next section, so he planned to retake the assessment. He explained his mistakes on two problems, informed me that his friend helped him with one problem, and asked me to assist with the fourth he incorrectly answered. I felt that at the moment, Jon truly understood how to use all of his available resources to learn. This is one of the defining moments that I will remember that teaching students to ‘learn how to learn’ can be achieved by every kid.

Using technology in the classroom was like pushing the accelerator to floor….the accelerator of a large sized family car or full-size pickup truck, not the supercharged sports car though. I say this because the supercharged sports car will instantly push you back in the seat and make it difficult to breathe, maybe even feel your insides move around sharp corners. A full-size car will accelerate quickly and get to cruising speed rapidly, with the zero to fast experience being comfortable. For the first time in my teaching career, I felt like every kid in my class was learning the foundational math that they would need for future mathematics courses.

My first few years of teaching were traditional...lecture, assign homework, grade homework, repeat. I felt that if kids did not learn, it was their fault because they did not study, do their homework, or stay after school for tutoring. This is the way I was taught in my high school classes and college courses. Even though we may have been exposed to differentiated instruction in our education courses, successful implementation was never really dug into deeply.

Students were passively ‘learning’ in my class, and most were not truly learning. Many students told me they did not understand the homework and no one was at home to help. So, the assignment was not attempted. Many parents in conferences would say to me that they either did not understand Algebra or even take it when they were in school.

At the time I was struggling internally with teaching. The level of learning that needed to be achieved by students at the time was to learn the academic standards set forth by Ohio. There were the Ohio Graduation Tests for tenth graders. However, I was teaching freshman and the test results were a culmination of learning from 8-10th grades. I struggled because I focused on the struggling students and felt that I was doing a terrible job in teaching. I had become a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of kids. I wanted to help that ‘light bulb’ go off in their head as my former high school teacher, Mr. George Koncar, told me while observing him during my undergraduate coursework.

I realized that if I wanted every child to learn, I would have to do something different. I signed up for Modspar with Dr. Greg Foley in the summer of 2011 on the campus of Ohio University. Modspar was great because it was professional development for high school math teachers. From the first day, the learning was hands-on and active. We drew on an orange and compared it to Earth using a globe. Our discussion of Spherical Geometry did not seem like we were learning. Many new and useful technologies were utilized during the two weeks of learning. Each participant was provided a TI-CAS calculator by Texas Instruments and Ohio University. Learning exploded for me those two weeks and my outlook on teaching greatly changed.

One moment of Modspar a U.S. News article was shared about Aaron Sams (@ChemicalSams) and Jon Bergmann (@JonBergmann) teaching Chemistry through online lectures. The teaching style was called the flipped classroom. Students watched their lessons at home and returned to school the next day to ask questions, complete in-class assignments and lab activities. At the time I did not put much thought into the flipped classroom because I was overloaded with modeling and project-based learning ideas from Modspar. However, in the first few months of the school year, the assistant superintendent, Tom Musgrave, emailed the same exact U.S. News article to the entire district. I began my research in the flipped classroom. I watched every YouTube video and read every article. Sams and Bergman had been in most publications, along with Karl Fisch (@KarlFisch), a mathematics teacher. The more I thought about the idea of the flipped classroom, the more I realized it was great for learning.

I dove into the flipped classroom by recording video lessons using the SMART board, uploaded the lessons to YouTube, and posted the links to my teacher website for the district. I focused on Algebra that year, recording video lessons on Sunday mornings and over winter and spring break. For students that did not have an internet connection, I made DVDs of my videos.

I worked with the technology coordinator to use old desktop computers for the learning lab that I set up in my classroom. My past experiences setting up and repairing computers were helpful with keeping the oldest computers in the district working well enough to use the flipped classroom.
Learning had transformed from passive to active with the flipped classroom. No longer could students sit in class listening, or not listening, to a lecture of examples. No longer could students sit in class writing examples, or not writing examples, of the problems I completed. No longer could students not complete the assigned homework.  Not learning was no longer an option. The students were actively engaged in learning Algebra.

In my flipped classroom, students were assigned to watch the video lessons and takes notes in their math notebook. The next day in class, students would arrive with the assignment written on the board. While students were completing the assignment, I was observing their work and providing feedback. If students struggled, I referred back to their notes for a guided example. Student desks were organized together so they could work with each other to answer questions. Answer keys were provided to students so that they could check the accuracy of their work. Students tried to identify and correct their mistakes. Sometimes they would need to ask a classmate or me for assistance. After a few days of formative assessments, students would complete the summative assessment.
I felt that the flipped classroom was an effective model for every single student to learn at their ability level. I was able to engage in deep and enriching discussions with some students. I was able to provide step by step assistance for students, or small groups, that needed help with the basic ideas of the lesson.

Throughout the next few years, I began to add to my curriculum. Implementation mastery learning and use of Canvas, a learning management system, for summative assessments became the norm. I added more computers to the classroom and implemented note taking during class time. The building administrators did have to field phone calls from parents about their concerns with the teaching method. Therefore, an introductory video explanation of the flipped classroom was provided for parents. Also, for a small additional fee per month, I opened one more line on my cell phone plan connecting it to an old device. I provided parents and students with this number to contact me at any time for assistance. This proved useful on a few occasions for students and helped parents to stay in touch. I added video lessons for Algebra 2 and some Geometry lessons. Those new videos were chunked into shorter segments than my Algebra I videos.

Collectively the scores of the students in the Algebra I class were in the highest level on the Quality Core Algebra I End of Course Exam as reported on my yearly student growth measures. More importantly, the flipped classroom allowed me to meet with every student each day for a discussion. Some discussions were about mathematics, note-taking, and other discussions were about their life. I was always moving around the room monitoring student work and enjoyed those discussions learning about students while reviewing their work. The flipped classroom and incorporation of technology allowed students to move through the course at their own pace. It was amazing to hear students tell me that they finally understood how to do math. I have always taught at schools of high poverty and felt that teachers were always great at teaching to the middle while differentiating for students with lower ability levels. However, with the flipped classroom, two students in my Algebra 2 class finished the year two chapters ahead of all other students. The flipped classroom made learning possible for all students.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Workforce Development Center

Paul Bailey

“We have openings for technician level jobs in [West Virginia] but cannot find employees who routinely show up for work, pass a drug test, and can possess a positive work ethic,” states a business/industry report by the West Virginia Department of Education. One major goal of a secondary education is to prepare students career, not a job but a career. Acquiring job skills during the educational process will allow students to have the ability to obtain a job until a career is identified and obtained.  

Throughout all years I have been in education, I have worked with at risk students through online programming due to credit deficiencies from course failures and/or high absenteeism. With online courses I have known 
  • many students that memorized the material long enough to pass a test but never retained the information. 
  • a student that burrowed inside his bedroom for 4 days to complete one online class. 
  • many students that find ways to beat the multiple choice lessons, quizzes, tests, etc. without even reading the questions.

I believe that an educational system should utilize technology for learning. I implemented a flipped mastery classroom with great success to teach students more Algebra in a school year than I had instructed previously using the traditional lecture method.

From my experiences I believe that online learning can be beneficial for the students to have flexible learning opportunities both online and in person. The learning opportunities will be designed to provide students with pride and satisfaction of learning and for the community. The local community will grow as students learn to become productive members of society and provide helpful change to the area.

“Shared ownership drives positive culture
dedicated to ongoing improvement.”
Big Picture Learning

Many students I have interacted with that complete learning online have little sense of community. Online learning has individuals focusing on completing personalized courses at the pace of each student. Many job skills are not learned through online learning such as learning to work with others, meeting deadlines (or missing a deadline but working diligently to get the job completed), and caring about  job well done for the neighbor or friend. In order to give back to the community, local members would need to provide assistance to students. The local community would provide students with mentors, career advisors, internship opportunities, community services projects, and support with physical and behavioral health.

Denzel Washington stated, “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living – if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing you the way. A mentor.” Mentors would be selected by each student to provide guidance throughout the remainder of the child’s secondary education.  The mentor could meet the student for lunch or drop in for a few minutes of conversation during the school day. The mentor and student would complete the large class community service projects together to continue building their relationship.

“It takes a caring community to raise a child
that will be a whole person and a contributing citizen.”
Jessye Norman

Local entrepreneurs would participate on the career advisory committee for the online learning class. The local businesses would create and/or identify unpaid internship opportunities that the student could participate in for credits towards earning a diploma. The internship opportunities would provide students with an understanding of the type of career he/she would like to pursue, but also, and maybe more importantly, the type of job that is not satisfying. Ideally the student would complete multiple internships throughout the year in a few different vocations to identify the field of interest or with a few different businesses to gain a variety of experiences in one field.

“Small acts,
when multiplied by millions of people,
can transform the world.”
Howard Zinn

To complete the sense of belonging, students in an online environment would complete community service projects. “Without community service we would not have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person who serves, as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop,” expresses Dorothy Height. Individual and whole class community service would be completed. The individual student project would be determined based on personal interest. The whole class would discuss various community needs and determine the community service that would be completed by the entire class. The whole class project would be a larger scale project that would include mentors, parent/guardian(s), and other members of the local community.

“Every kid is one caring adult
away from being a success story.”
Josh Shipp

Students at risk of dropping out of school can have his/her life greatly affected by one caring adult. Building relationships with students by mentors, career advisors, teachers, school administrators, and other members of the local community will greatly increase the likelihood of at risk students graduating and graduating in 4 years. However, involving parent(s) and guardian(s) in the educational process for at risk children would be a great benefit for the child to earn a high school diploma. Conducting frequent parent/guardian meetings will create a relationship between the teacher, parent/guardian, and student. During the meetings online learning progress, internship reports, and community service efforts will be discussed. Parent/guardian(s) will be invited to participate in the large scale community service project.

Involving students at the local career technical center would be beneficial for students to obtain specific job skills. Career technical programs can be utilized during the school day to provide students with hands on learning, collaboration with peers on projects, and learn how to communicate and interact with clients and customers.

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important 
keys to a healthy body,
it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”
John F. Kennedy

The physical education requirement for graduation should be completed either in a classroom or through independent study. Online physical education class provides the theory behind being physically fit. However, online physical education does not increase heart rate or burn very many calories. Many kids are consuming foods and drinks that are harmful to the body. Many studies have shown that overweight or obese children have a higher risk for Type 2 Diabetes and other health concerns. Routinely showing up to work requires people to be in good health. Schools that choose to teach habits for a healthy lifestyle, provide students with the knowledge to be in good health and the opportunity to be physically able to go to work every day. The physical education requirement for online learning should be in busting out reps in a workout facility, stepping over fallen trees on a hiking trail, pedaling fast enough on a bike to feel a cool breeze hit the face, stretching and sweating on a yoga mat, and/or many other possibilities.

A mastery approach to grading would be utilized for earning credit for online courses. Skills learned early in the school year would continually be assessed for retention of knowledge. If a student masters the skill early but fails to obtain mastery later in the year, the student would be required to relearn the material, complete a reassessment opportunity, and retain mastery of the skill throughout the entire online course.

“Test scores and measures of achievement tell you where a student is,
but they don’t tell you where a student could end up.”
Carol Dweck

Teaching students to ‘possess a positive work ethic’ involves students to possess a positive, growth mindset. Involving the local behavioral health agencies to teach strategies to students for managing social, emotional, and behavioral health will be beneficial for students. Students that live in poverty and/or have had one or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) will benefit from learning positive and healthy coping mechanisms to prevent or decrease the possibility of disease, disabilities, and social problems.

“The only thing worse than training your employees
and having them leave
is not training them and having them stay.”
Henry Ford

The school day for online learning would also emulate the workplace. The name of the online learning facility would have ‘Workforce Development Center’ or other similar phrase added to the title. Every time the name of the facility would be said it would highlight that the main goal would be to develop students for the workforce. Students would complete an application process that would include a cover letter, resume, references, and an interview process. The interview team would involve a combination of career advisors, current students, teachers, and/or administrators. Students at the Workforce Development Center would be required to wear uniform clothing and participate in drug testing. The drug testing would be required to enter the Workforce Development Center as required by most jobs and random drug testing would occur throughout the remainder of the child’s education at the online learning facility. If a student has a negative drug test, then the student will enroll in drug counseling with the cooperating local behavioral health agency to stop using drugs. The students enrolled in the Workforce Development Center would be separated in an organizational structure of small teams. Each team will be led by a team leader and assistant team leader. Each student and team will have progress goals for online assignments completed, skills learned at the internship, hours of community service completed, attendance rates, and behaviors. The students will create a portfolio that will include an updated resume, certificates earned, and letters of recommendation and evaluations from internships. The portfolio will be a guide for each student to monitor his/her progress towards being a career ready graduate. Mentors, parents, teachers, and school administrators will use the portfolio in discussion with each student.

“Developing skills is as important as training.
A larger effort is needed to create a skilled workforce
with employment potential.”
M.M. Pallam Raju

Given that learning can be completed online, a flexible schedule would be utilized to provide students with opportunities to learn necessary job skills. For example, online learning can occur four out of the five weekdays with the fifth day being utilized for an internship opportunity, whole class field trip for physical education, community service, or to explore a workplace environment. Any students interested in an educational opportunity at the Workforce Development Center would plan to complete the requirements of the program five days a week for all 52 weeks during the year. Students would have the opportunity to earn ‘vacation time,’ ‘sick leave,’ and ‘personal days’ similar to those earned at local employers. Traditional brick and mortar schools occasionally have days off due to inclement weather, teacher professional development, parent teacher conferences. However, each student at the Workforce Development Center would be provided with a personal device, therefore, online learning, internships, and community service would occur even if local schools are not in session. National holidays would be observed by the Workforce Development Center.

The Workforce Development Center would strictly be utilized to develop job skills for students. The facility would not be used by schools as a disciplinary consequence for inappropriate behaviors in the traditional brick and mortar school. Students that struggle to follow the procedures and policies of the traditional brick and mortar school would have the opportunity to apply for enrollment at the Workforce Development Center and complete the application process as positions (or seats) became available.

Through the collaboration of school, community, and family, every child can learn the skills needed to be a responsible and productive member of society that will grow and give back to the community and future generations of children in the neighborhood.   

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Stay off the Escalator!!!!

Stay off the Escalator!!!!
Paul Bailey

It is easy to step on the escalator, ride it to the top, get off, and move on to your destination. However, when managing behaviors, stay off the ‘escalator.’ While interacting with kids, there is no easy way to move on to a destination once arriving at the top of the ‘escalator.’

“An escalator can never break; it can only become stairs.” 
Mitch Hedberg

It was a mid-morning class and Jimmy had told me that he did not have his assignment from the previous night. Jimmy had frequently not completed his assignment and I began to question him about the incomplete assignment even though I already knew what his response would be. I asked him a few questions that escalated the situation to the point in which he decided to give me the middle finger. Immediately I sent him to the office and I moved on with the lesson.

Over the next few days in which Jimmy was not in class, I began to reflect upon my actions that day. I came to the conclusion that I could have prevented Jimmy’s actions that day. I did not have to prod him with questions about not having his homework assignment. If I had just accepted his response of not having the assignment and moved on, then, the situation would have never escalated to an action that led to suspension. I completely understand that there were two individuals involved with this situation. However, I have control over my actions and frankly, I was supposed to be the adult in the situation. After reflecting upon this situation, I realized that my actions as an educator, as a colleague, and as a person have a profound effect on the individual(s) I interact with daily.

“What we do does not define who we are. 
What defines us is how well we rise after falling.”
Bob Hoskins

After that dreadful method of dealing with a student, I began a concentrated effort to make better use of my communication skills when speaking with students. I have collected some ideas from Todd Whitaker about communicating with students. Todd mentions that teachers should not scream, use sarcasm, or tell kids to shut up. I would also add that teachers should not use profanity with students. It seems simple until one day in a class full of students, one student is defiantly choosing not to do as have requested. Physiological changes begin to occur in the body, heart rate increases, sympathetic nervous system kicks in the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism, and the teacher utilizes the actions, whether productive or not, that have been used in his/her past. However, if teachers would practice, yes I said ‘Practice,’ communicating with everyone in their life without using sarcasm, screaming, profanity, and shut up, then, it becomes easier to speak with students in the same manner in a heated situation.

Screaming, or even raising your voice, at students who never are spoken to by parents in that tone will most likely get the requested behavior from the student. Otherwise, when an adult in a school yells at a kid who is frequently yelled at by his/her parents, the teacher is ‘running up the escalator.’ The student will immediately retort with a raised voice and most likely using profane and vulgar language. As educators we immediately believe this is disrespectful. However, when viewed from the student’s perspective, yelling is part of his/her everyday communication with an adult. Not yelling will help to keep stress levels down for the teacher and students without removing students from class for disrespect.

The type of language used towards students has a profound effect on their reactions. Many students frequently use profanity in their everyday communication with friends and parents. Some students would need to call their parents from the privacy of my office. The language that I overheard being used with a parent was similar to the language in which the student was sent to the office for using in class. When teachers use disrespectful and inappropriate language in a classroom, students that frequently use that type of language will reciprocate with similar language. Profanity from a teacher demonstrates that students can use the same type of language. Use of the phrase ‘shut up’ from a teacher demonstrates that students can use the same level of disrespect. Sarcasm by a teacher expresses that students can use similar demeaning comments towards others.

“Great teachers have high expectations for their students, 
but even higher expectations for themselves.” 
Todd Whitaker 

As adults in a school, we can also unknowingly disrespect students. Without forming relationships with students and completely understanding the student’s background, educators can easily become disrespectful towards students.  As an assistant principal I spoke with students about their inappropriate interactions with a teacher. Many times the student would begin by telling me that the teacher was disrespectful to him/her and so the student chose to be disrespectful in return.

One student came to speak with me about a situation with her teacher. After discussing the situation, we came to the understanding that her reaction was excessive for the situation. During the discussion, she shared with me that the teacher was ‘in her bubble.’ She explained that the teacher had stood next to her and quietly addressed her individually to remain on task. However, the student felt the teacher was in her bubble and, at that moment, the student became defensive and responded angrily. The teacher was only subtly redirecting behavior without singling out the student in front of the class, which is how we[educators] have been instructed as best practice. After providing the student with strategies for handling responses when people enter her ‘bubble’ and providing the teacher with an explanation for the student’s reaction, both individuals better understood each other for the remainder of the school year. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Doors Open at Seven

Doors Open at Seven
Paul Bailey

Last week I began applying for administrative positions for next school year. After reviewing my career portfolio, I reminisced over my transcripts. I reviewed the courses I took and remembered the professors. I thought about all of the lessons I learned throughout my K-12 education, as well as in my dad’s garage. My learning became more career focused throughout my post-secondary education to lay a solid foundation for becoming a lifelong educator. Then, I transitioned into thoughts of the exponential amount of learning that has occurred since my first year as a math teacher at North Charleston High School. One of my favorite memories of all time hit me at this moment…….

Last Sunday as part of my continual research on poverty, I came across a study from the Pew Research Center (2004).

I was stunned by the rising percentage of high school graduates in poverty throughout generations. I was disheartened that the college graduates in poverty have escalated. However, I realized that 6% is significantly less than the 15% for two-year degrees and 22% for high school graduates. Then, I began to ponder whether being a college graduate has bolstered my earnings above the poverty line. I came back to one of my favorite memories of all time……

One of my favorite memories of all time is the entrance I walked through every day at North Charleston High School. (I never remember the front gate being closed though.)

“Education is a possession of which man cannot be robbed” is the quote that always comes back to me. While reviewing transcripts, I remembered the quote and was thankful for every piece of information and skill I have learned. While pondering if the cost of my education was worth the lifetime of earnings I will achieve1, I remember the quote and realized that no matter what happens I will always have the lessons and learning that has culminated into college degrees and a wide array of experiences.

I am grateful for my educational experiences and will never regret any learning I have ever achieved.  Jean Piaget stated, “The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things.” I look forward to teaching kids the value of a high quality education so that each student can grow into productive leaders of their community.

1. I know that the cost of my education was a minimal fee compared my earnings that are priceless. I get to make a difference in the lives of kids every day in an effort to improve our community, country, and world.


Pew Research Center. (2014). The Rising Cost of Not Going to College. Retrieved from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/02/11/the-rising-cost-of-not-going-to-college/sdt-higher-education-02-11-2014-0-04/