What Great Teachers Do Differently With Stress

stressed out photo: stressed out Stressed_out.gif

Aren’t there days you feel like that cartoon above?  Trying to cope with the amount of work that you have to understand the modules as well as teach the modules is a task that is arduous to say the least.  I am fully aware that most are you are only a day away from the next lesson, working long hours at school or at home to make your lessons fun and engaging as well as trying to change the way material is presented and taught.  

The stress is upon us, and we as adults have to watch what we are doing, saying and how we are modeling ourselves.  I had a discussion with a teacher yesterday and we were saying how easy things can be construed by parents differently than what is actually happening as well as how we also have to monitor what we are saying.  

These are stressful times, but we have to remember that we are here for kids and to help them through this, no matter what.  This is why I said last week to tap into your parents and bring them along, show them what is happening in the curriculum and bring them in to walk them through the work.  Also, take a step back and ask yourself “what does my classroom need to look like, sound like, and feel like.”  Candance Roberts from the Responsive Classroom blog has a great article about reflecting about how we set up our classrooms for our students called “Ask Yourself Why.”  

I am going to share with you, once again, what my friend Todd Whitaker says about teachers being the filters and remind you of “What Great Teachers do Differently:  14 Things that Matter Most.”  (Looks like a good book chat later with the author!)

        Teachers are the filters for the day-to-day reality of school.  Whether we are aware of it or not, our behavior sets the tone.  If students overhear us whining or complaining about something, it may be the talk of the school for days even if it was something minor.  By the same token, if we always approach things in a positive manner, then this is what the students reflect.  The most effective educators understand this and choose their filters carefully.
How Is Your Day Going?
        As educators, we hear this question many times a day.  Our response not only influences how others view us, but also affects the frame of mind of the person who asked.  What’s more, we have choices about how to respond.
        You can smile at a fellow teacher and say, “Things are great!  How about with you?”  Or you can respond, “That Jimmy Wallace is getting on my nerves!” – and all of a sudden Jimmy Wallace is getting on that teacher’s nerves too (whether the teacher knows him or not).
        You may be thinking that you could not do this because you would never lie.  Hmm:  So when the second graders ask if you like the mural they drew, what do you tell them?  How do you answer the question, “Honey, do these pants make me look fat?”  Again, it is always up to us to determine what gets through our filters and what does not.

What Great Teachers Do Differently

14 Things That Matter Most
1.  Great teachers never forget that it is people, not programs, that determine the quality of the school.
2.   Great teachers establish clear expectations at the start of the year and follow them consistently as the year progresses.
3.   When a student misbehaves, great teachers have one goal: to keep that behavior from happening again.
4.   Great teachers have high expectations for students but even higher expectations for themselves.
5.  Great teachers know who is the variable in the classroom:  They are.  Good teachers consistently strive to improve, and they focus on something they can control – their own performance.
6.  Great teacher create a positive atmosphere in their classrooms and schools.  They treat every person with respect.  In particular, they understand the power of praise.
7.  Great teachers consistently filter out the negatives that don’t matter and share a positive attitude.
8.  Great teachers work hard to keep their relationships in good repair – to avoid personal hurt and to repair any possible damage.
9.  Great teachers have the ability to ignore trivial disturbances and the ability to respond to inappropriate behavior without escalating the situation.
10. Great teachers have a plan and purpose for everything they do.  If things don’t work out the way they had envisioned, they reflect on what they could have done differently and adjust their plans accordingly.
11. Before making any decision or attempting to bring about any change, great teachers ask themselves one central question:  What will the best people think?
12. Great teachers continually ask themselves who is most comfortable and who is least comfortable with each decision they make.  They treat everyone as if they were good.
13.  Great teachers keep standardized testing in perspective; they center on the real issue of student learning.
14.  Great teachers care about their students.  They understand that behaviors and beliefs are tied to emotion, and they understand the power of emotion to jump-start change.

Put this at the forefront of everything you do, every day!  Have a great week!


  • Bus Duty for Oct. 7 – Oct. 18 Team 3:  Jessica Serviss, Teresa Kiechle  Upcoming Bus duty Team 4:  Jennifer Prevost, Marci Woods, Kathy Buell Oct. 21-Nov 1
  • Our next staff meeting is tomorrow, Monday, Oct. 7 @2:45 in room 31.
  • Don’t forget to sign-up for Oct. 11 Staff Development Day on MLP
  • Please make sure you are checking your emails.
  • Don’t forget to upload your goals to the iObservation program.
  • The administrative team is working to set a date to meet with grade levels to help you with SLO/LLO development per Mrs. French’s email.  We will be back to you for a date.
  • My friend Peter DeWitt asks if class size matters.  Check out what he writes.
  • Check out this blog about having Mindcraft in elementary schools.  Interesting.
  • Who Cares About Kelsey is a great documentary about an at-risk student and how her school brought her along.  Kim Hayes and I watched this our a summer conference and we are getting this to share with staff, as well as Including Samuel.  I wrote about Kelsey in my blog that you can check out here.  
  • Please check the East Side Announcement page for updated dates, announcements etc.  Lisa is updating this continually!  http://gouverneurcentralschool.org/esannounce/
  • What are the five things you are grateful for?  Make a list daily.  It does wonders!
  • Be the change agent for kids!  Be a champion for kids.  Every kid deserves a champion!
Other Items of Interest
This memo explains theCDOS Commencement Credential. Here’s a cheat sheet from the RSE-TASC.


The use of formative assessment can be the most significant factor in improving student outcomes. Thesession will focus on what and how teachers can use formative assessment and how to then revise planning. Registration is open for the October 21st session.


As you work on SLOs, don’t forget the lessons we learned from the process; that reflection is posted at theAPPR 2.0 page of the APPR microsite. Additionally, there are new SLO resources on engageNY.org, including revised guidance and examples.

The vast majority of teachers supports the Common Core (but is worried about the resources they will need to implement).

Field Trip
This study identified the concrete benefits to field trips to museums.
This analysis is close to a crosswalk of the 4Cs with the Common Core. And don’t forget NEA’s guide to the 4Cs (from a teacher perspective).

Did you read That Used to Be Us by Thomas Friedman – a book about America, the American Dream, and its future place in the world? No matter your answer, watch Friedman in this video.

A Touch of Humor

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