The New Quest Begins (3.0)

The third times the charm?

Is that the saying?

I hope it is

For I once again        Image result for school supplies clipart

Re-boot the blog

Only now with a twist

Is it really a twist?

Or just a new look?

Maybe a little of both!

Whatever it is

And whatever it

Morphs into…

Here is the new beginning!

Welcome to ” You gotta Teach”  the site that has to do with all things school related.  The goal  is to be a bit though-provoking and maybe a little humorous, along the way!  We’ve all been to school, so hopefully each blog will make a connection with someone!

SL  Smith

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With a Few Rhymes, Let’s look for Some Reaon… ing

The school year has begun, and it is a crackin’

Teachers and students we came back refreshed, but some of us are already stressed. The planning and paperwork have started with a fury. Oh and testing? Don’t fret it is back don’t you worry. We have been back for a little less than two full weeks and the “window” has opened, so let’s take a peek. I haven’t much time, it’s true I do waste it. But now here’s a bit . Come in and taste it!

Here are three quick glimpses to start the new year.


 We have been back

  For  4 whole  Days

 Guess what the calendar says?

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The window is open!

 What does that mean?

A gauge of Summer slide

 We must gleam!

 A what of the huh,?


just like that

Testing is here, 

you have nowhere to hide

Now,  we welcome you back

 with high fives and good cheer!

 Then we hit you with this

  Testing, yes testing!

 Aren’t you glad you’re here? 

The Slide

 “ You wanted me to pick up a book?

 The teacher smiles, with a teacher look

 She says,  “ I was hopeful, perhaps I was wrong”

 Do subtitles count ‘cuz I read along?

 “Subtitles on what?”  the teacher does ask.

Subtitles on Netflix. they move fast!

“ Perchance, did you read anything else?”

 “Yeah!   Instagram, Snapchat, and pics of myself! “

A Day in the Life

 You write out your plans

 Write down your objectives

 Visualize order,

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 And kids acting as expected

 You practice procedures, 

 Then practice some more

 Each day they walk in?

  Who knows what’s in store !

We are off to the races I hope to post more often. Thanks for your indulgence !

The Best of Intentions

Every summer I think I am going to do a million things.

As the saying goes, “Time and tide wait for no one.” The tide part doesn’t really resonate with those of us here in the Midwest. But time? It truly waits for no one. If I had more time, I could make good on my intentions. We have all heard the saying about good intentions. I mention this because today is Labor Day, and as we all know Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. And I intended to do a lot more this summer than I actually did! See more time, and I may finish or make good on my intentions!

The wall of summer reading intentions.

Every summer I think I am going to do a million things. I can never wait for summer to begin! The list in my head of things I will accomplish is enormous! The reality as history continually proves, is that my intentions far outnumber my accomplishments. So this past summer I thought I would narrow my real intentions to a few things. Oh sure there were other things on the list but these were the imprtant ones: read lots of books, for school and pleasure, make amazing lesson plans to be used the next school year, and third make more content for a blog.

The actual books that were read! Not quite mastering the goal!

I would like to say, two out of three ain’t bad. But I can’t, because I didn’t do any of the three! I started to read books, I even stacked them in my room, like a wall, to be torn down with each one I completed. I read about six books, maybe seven, but none that made up that wall. And more importantly, none that had anything to do with school! Those lesson plans? No books, no plans! Then last but not least, the blog posts were less too.

I fulfilled none of my intentions! I am sure there is a very good explanation as to why I can’t get things done. I mean after all of the podcasts I have listened to over the summer, I think there is some deep meaning behind my lack of production. But as I am not an overly deep person. I blame it on summer. It’s plain and simple. Summer steers me astray!

Summer is just the best! I can’t say it enough. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way. In fact I am sure that there are millions of teachers and students across this nation, or even the world who had the best of intentions to read more or disconnect more or improve on something over the summer. But they didn’t, and that’s okay. You know why? Because summer trumps intentions. Summer is a state of euphoria. It is carefree days with a mindset of endless possibilities and plans. It is long hours of sunshine warm, fresh air and fun!

If summer didn’t play out that way for you, I am sorry. But there is always next summer! That’s another great thing about summer, there’s always another one. In less than a year! We can dream and plan and before you know it we will have another shot.

As we all know, time waits for no one…

So imagine what you can do! Summer will be back before you know it!

Goodbye Summer

“And so we say goodbye to the summer…”

That song has been on a loop in my head tonight. Tonight is the very last night of summer for me. Tomorrow it is back to work. A new school year awaits! And I am not fired up about it.

black Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses on beach sand

Normally, I am pretty excited to go back. Can’t wait to see my friends, hear what they did over summer and get back to work. Okay, I am never excited about the work as much as I am about getting back to getting a paycheck. But this year it’s different.

I have been teaching online all summer . I am a teacher with the company VIPKid. You may have seen their ads all around social media. Or maybe you have traveled to China and seen thier orange logo? Anyway, since I have been teaching all summer and getting a paycheck, my two big reasons to fire me up for returning to work, are gone.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching and can’t think of a job I have ever enjoyed more. (And I have had a bunch of them). So usually this time of year I am just itching to get back to it. But not this year. I haven’t even bought school supplies or decorations. I have successfully avoided all back to school sales and haven’t even scoured over the advertisements announcing where I could save another dime off of notebooks! It is unreal to me. It’s akin to skipping Christmas shopping.

(Case of 12) Beistle Back-To-School Sign

I am not tired of teaching, or of kids or anything like that. I believe I just really love summer! I mean what is not to love? Summer is just the best! There is little to no stress. There is time to slowly drink coffee, and read books with no social significance. It is a time to avoid the news of the day and just be.

Days are long and the weather is the best. Sure some days are hot and sticky, but not for long. Remember polar vortex and twelve hours of darkness in the winter? Who cares about a little heat and humidity? That is why there are pools and lakes. And let’s not forget sprinklers. I love playng with and in a sprinkler, still! Playing with a sprinkler on a hot day never gets old! Try it! You will feel young again. I dare you!

Summer has sounds that make you feel great. Birds chirping in the morning. The sound of the breeezes in the mornings. The sounds of breezes anytime of day! I don’t have central air, so my windows are always open. And that’s another thing. Open windows. Oh my Lord, the best feeling ever, is fresh air. It blows out bad mojo, air and moods. Summer! The smell of a storm coming and the smell of the rain after it falls. Fresh cut grass and the hum of mowers. OMG~ I could go on!

In the summer, the night has a soundtrack all its own. Right now I am listening to the buzz and humming of a whole lot of crickets. Or maybe they are cicadas. I don’t know what they are saying to each other, but they are earnest. The ringing they create is background noise and the others chime in and out. I believe they are telling me that summer should not end just yet. I couldn’t agree more.

But end it must, and so I say goodbye to the summer. It is with a heavy heart, becasue this summer has rocked and I think that is the biggest reason I don’t want it to end. This was a summer of fun, relaxing, full of family and I still was able to teach. I am crossing my fingers that the upcoming school year will be half as fun! For then it will be a great year!

So long summer ! You most definitely will be missed!

Summer Lovin’

Whenever I think of summer and how much I love it, the song “Summer Nights'” from the movie Grease, pops in my head. You know it, heck you’re hearing it in your head right now. “Summer lovin’ had me a blast. Summer lovin’ happened so fast…” You know the rest, or at least enough. I loved that movie, I loved the soundtrack, I acted out all of the scenes in my living room as a teen imagining I was friends with Rizzo! I played the album so often and so loudly I am surprised I didn’t wear out the grooves and my neighbors ears. I loved it! Simple songs, simple fun. Remember, this was before cable or walkmans, ipods and earbuds!

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I don’t want to write about Grease, though I do love the movie, the actors and all things that went with it. I want to write about summer. I love it. This is the time of year when people are envious of teachers. My summer vacation is entering its fourth week. Fourth! I want it to slow down. People who are not teachers or who do not work in the field of education tend to be a little envious of those of us who do for many reasons, not the least of which is our long vacation. Think about it teachers and all who work in schools, we get to go on an 8 to 10 week vacation without having to ask! And if that weren’t cool enough, our job is waiting for us at the end of the summer. We don’t have to re-apply or anything. They just welcome you back! Amazing!

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My thoughts exactly!!

Now I didn’t start my career as a teacher, until I was 38. So I know very well how people feel, because I was one of those people who looked at teachers in June, July and August and was like,”Dang they got it easy!”

I was naive, I didn’t know. I didn’t know what the average school year was like, and I didn’t know how important summer is to educators and all who work in the field of education. I figured summer was just this super cool perk that teachers got that I didn’t . That’s why I and many others were and still are envious. But once I entered the field as a teacher, a classroom teacher, I realized that summer is necessary. It really is.

It is necessary because it helps educators and those in the field, especially classroom teachers, recharge, regroup and have their memories fade. Much like that nirvana period new moms experience when they see their newborns for the first time. It’s like the early years of childhood where the mother forgets the pain and trials of childbirth and agrees to have another baby. Mothers experience the joy and that wipes out the pain. That’s what summer is, at least for me.

Does that sound convoluted? In my head it all makes sense. I am not sure I am making my point clearly, but I hope you understand. Summer, while the cause of envy for some, is oh so necessary. If teachers didn’t get it,( much like the joys of motherhood wipes out the pain of delivery), our species wouldn’t survive, much less get educated.

If this doesn’t make sense, just sing “Summer Nights’. The first two lines are the truest to my thoughts on summer, “Summer lovin had me a blast. Summer lovin happened so fast”

Now I know the summer lovin’ they are singing about is different than what I am talking about. I just LOVE summer and all it entails.

The close second in my thoughts, and the launch for my next post…

“Summer sun somethings begun, oh oh the summer nights…”

Summer nights are the best part of summer, or as the song closes;

“... but oh those summer nights”

Until then, recapture the joy of summer and feel good watching this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW0DfsCzfq4

“Summertime, Summertime, Summer, Summer, Summertime”

The word summertime is such a great word. Who doesn’t love summertime? The word makes me smile. You know you are singing the song as we speak. The song and the word conjure up so many images. Bare feet, sand between your toes, hot sun, warm breezes and popsicles, are just a few. For teachers the images are those and more.

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For this teacher, moi, there is the abililty to enjoy leisurely mornings, sipping coffe and peeing whenever I want. A seriously overlooked privilege of the non teaching world. There is the joy of reading any book I like and it doesn’t have to have anything to do with education or school! Bingeing on Netflix is a treat, I can stay up past 10 pm if I am really into a show, and I don’t have to feel bad! But the best part of summertime is the feeling of FREEDOM.

It starts with the first night of summer vacation. If you run into a group of teachers on the night of the last day of a school year, you will meet the personification of bliss. It may not last a week, or even a day, but on the night of the last day, teachers feel such relief and happiness. They are in a state of bliss!

It doesn’t matter if their year was good or bad, they are just reveling in bliss. I don’t write this to brag or opine, I write this because I just realized it. After finishing my 17th year of teaching, I have finally put a finger on a word to describe the feeling of the last day. I would like to say I discovered this on my own, but it was brought to my attetion by a close teacher friend as we were chatting at another friend’s retirement party. My friend had finished school a week or more prior to me. Our friend who was retiring had just finished this school year at the same time as I did. It was a chilly, breezy, beautiful Friday, and my friend said, “Isn’t this the best feeling ever! The feeling of your first night of summer vacation is just the best!” The look on her face was bliss!

I thought about that as I walked away. And I have continued to think about it and replay it in my head for the past six days. Teaching is an awesome profession and job. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. The profession is filled with dedicated people who work in ever changing situations, with ever changing demands. The job is also the only job I know of where you can get ten weeks off, without asking, and have your job waiting for you when you come back! How amazing is that?!? That nugget adds to the bliss of the first night. And that first night?… Leads to

” Summertime, summertime, summer, summer summertime!” and all the images, joys and lazy hot days ( if it ever warms up).

To everyone, and especially those who work in education, ” Happy summer, let the games begin!”

The Finish Line Approaches

For many educators the school year has already ended. They are sleeping late, leisurely enjoyng mornings, and recharging after a long year. They are enjoyig the perks of being able to drink coffee without having to worry if or when they will get a bathroom break. It doesn’t matter if you had a good year or a bad year, every educator needs to recharge. Every person who works in schools, needs to recharge. Working with kids all day long and trying to keep their attention for 9 months, wears a person out. Young or old, education is a grind. A great gig, but a grind nonetheless.

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For a great many of us, school lasts just a little over one week more. We can see the finish line, but it appears to be moving forwards and back a little each day. Kids are wacky this time of year. And we teachers? We are not too far behind! You know the end of the year is near, because it is very hard for both teachers and students to filter their thoughts and words.

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These final few days are dangerous territories. Teachers have run out of strategies to offer students. If the student hasn’t understood the expectations of the class or the school by now, no amount of counseling or re-direction will help. If they haven’t figured it out in the first 170 days, chances are. they are not going to master it in the last 10. Sarcasm and exhaustion are a dangerous combination this time of year for all involved.

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I find myself biting my tongue and checking myself constantly. Thankfully, most teachers and students do too. But there are some…

So. as the end looms ever nearer, I like to think back on the year. I like to marvel at how quickly every year passes, even when it seems a slog. I try to remember what the kids looked liked on that first day of school and how much they have changed and grown. I also like to remember the enthusiasm we all had for a new year. With all of that, I think this sums it up best:

Things You Hear in the Hallways

You guys look amazing!

It so good to see you all here!

What a great job!

I like how ________ is doing!!

What are our expectations?!

Quiet please!

Do you want to move your clip?

What are the PBIS rules!

We will move when it’s quiet!

Put your bubble in your mouth!

I think you will need to flip your card.

Hands behind your back!

Brown and Yellow

Brown and yellow

Do you need a phone call home?

Do you want me to call your mother?

I know it must be a full moon!

Is it a full moon?

There must be a storm coming!

Well, you should have thought of that before!

Don’t touch the bulletin boards!

What if that was your work hanging up?

Break can’t come fast enough!

Hands, feet and objects to yourself!

Who’s the teacher?!

I think you need a phone call

Try me, just try me!

Wait until we get to the classroom

Put your bubble in your mouth

Where should your eyes be?!

If you need to use it, now is the time

Don’t ask me later

Save some for the fish!

We already used the bathroom!

Why didn’t you go then?!

I don’t care if you learn nothing else,

You will learn to follow directions

We’ll wait…

We’re almost there!

How many more days?

We survived!!

Happy summer vacation clipart clipartfest

Is This the Best Practice?

Stop the Insanity!

With apologies to Susan Powter for using the same title as her most famous book and workout program, I begin.

It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.  The origin of the saying is unknown, although the saying is well-known. According to Merriam-Webster.com, one of the definitions of insanity is,” extreme folly or unreasonableness; something utterly foolish.”  Yep , that about sums it up!

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I bring the word insanity and its meaning up because I can’t get it out of my head. No pun intended.   I can’t get it out, because I administered another round of district reading assessments this week. “ Big deal, schools and tests, what do I expect?  What does that have to do with insanity?”

Well, funny you should ask.  It is an act of insanity because I am administering the test to children with learning disabilities.  No that’s not the insanity, you are right. What is the insanity is that many of these students are scoring in the one percentile, and have been for years, but with this last test of the year we are expecting them to score in the 11th-12th percentiles.  Or for the visual learners out there, we want our “reds” to move to “yellow”. Yellow is not as urgent a need as red. So yellow is the goal. A worthy goal, but as the children grow, so do the scores and cut off marks to achieve a “yellow”. The expectation is to move colors, regardless of ability, or in this case disability.  As a colleague of mine has stated, “It’s like asking a blind person to not be as blind as they were the last time they took the test.”

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See, what I mean about insanity ?  All students test scores count for a district’s report cards.  Legislators use the test scores to show constituents how well or how poorly a district is doing.  They never tell you the demographics or background information of those taking the test. They use the scores as they see fit.   I understand the need to gauge children’s growth. But testing a child with a learning disability, who can’t read well, for the 6th time in a year, with tests that do nothing for their report card?  It is wrong. No wait, doing all of that and expecting different results, that is not just wrong… It’s INSANITY!

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I wonder if people really understand how often we test, why we test and how much time is taken out of our days for testing? Maybe we could ask the legislators? Maybe we can ask the students how it impacts their lives. Or maybe we could work together and ask, “Is it really necessary?”


                          To repeatedly test a child,

    Who can’t read?

    Is to expect a legislator

                           To put your’s,

     above  their

     NEED !

    ** STOP the Insanity