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Do School Uniforms Make a Difference?

Students in Uniform in Class

Many proponents of school uniforms claim that they reduce distractions and lead to less discipline problems. On the other hand, opponents of school uniforms claim that they violate the students' freedom of expression.

Secondary Education Spotlight10

Secondary Education

Helping Students Read Texts

Tuesday December 31, 2013

Students often have difficulty understanding how to learn from textbooks. Some approach them as if they are pleasure reading. Others just don't know what to look for. Therefore, it is important for teachers to directly teach how to best use the textbook for each chapter covered in class. The following article covers seven great techniques that you can use to help students better understand the material they are reading in their texts:

Good Luck and Goodbye

Tuesday December 31, 2013

After over 13 years and thousands of pages written for About.com, I've decided that it is time to hang up my Secondary Education hat. I am heartened to know that the pages I have written over the years have helped many of you as evidenced by my collection of thank you notes and kind thoughts. I hope only the best for each and everyone of you. Good luck and God Bless you in your teaching endeavors.

Why Movies About Teachers Inspire Us

Tuesday December 31, 2013

What makes a movie about a teacher who inspires their students to achieve so good? I believe that it refers back to the Sage archetype defined by psychologist Carl Jung. Jung believed that there were 12 archetypes that live within every human being's subconscious. One of these is the sage: the archetype that embodies the phrase "the truth will set you free." One of the archetypal stories that resonates so deeply with individuals across the spectrum is the idea of the 'hero' and their 'mentor'. The mentor helps the hero understand themselves until ultimately the hero is able to rise above and succeed on their own. This was one of George Lucas' inspirations for writing the Star Wars series.

In terms of teacher movies, the idea of a teacher who can look past the surface of each student and nurture the soul within is one that most if not all of us wish we could have had in our own school days. These teachers guide their students to their own awakenings. The best teacher movies and shows are more about this relationship than about the teacher's personal life. Sure Breaking Bad might be a fascinating show about a teacher, but is it inspiring? Of course not. Instead, we look to teachers like Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver or Louanne Johnson in Dangerous Minds or even Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid to find teachers that make a difference. In each of these cases, I believe that the teachers:

  1. Believe from the depths of their souls that their student(s) can learn.
  2. Express that belief through enforcing high standards on their students.
  3. Stand by their students when times get tough.
  4. Allow their students the freedom to achieve on their own merits.

There is much that I believe all teachers can learn from this list. We can try and embody each of these principles every day as we enter the classroom.

With all of this in mind, I have created my go-to list of 10 movies about teachers that I watch when I want a little inspiration. I never tire of watching the triumph of the human spirit. I hope that in a small way, these movies have helped make me a better teacher to my students.

Angry Parents And You...

Tuesday December 31, 2013

Have you ever had to make a phone call knowing that the parent on the other end of the line is angry at you? How about facing them in a parent-teacher conference? These are the moments that teachers dread. It is at these times that teachers need to keep their wits about them so as to avoid getting into a power play or increasing the animosity being sent their way. To help with this, I've come up with 9 strategies that you can use to help deal with these situations: How to Deal With an Angry Parent. In the end, remember that good listening skills and a desire to do what's best for the student involved can go a long way towards diffusing any anger being directed your way.

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