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3 Great Reasons to be a Teacher

June, July, and August!

Going on a little vacation, so no posts from me for a while.


Favorite subject?

I'm traditionally known as the Math guy in my school. I guess that has always been the case for me. I do enjoy all subject areas, some A LOT more than others, but to perfectly honest, I don't dislike any of the core subject areas.

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When I was in school, and having to do the load of work, I could not stand any Social Studies courses. It just seemed too repetitious, and something that was memorized, and forgotten the next week. That isn't the case anymore, and I find it fascinating.

Maybe the way I felt about these subjects was a direct reflection on how the teacher felt about them, or how they felt about teaching. I certainly have a lot more gusto and enthusiasm when my classroom is working on math problems versus something else. Not that I don't get involved in Science, Language Arts, or other areas, it's just that way with me and math.

An enthusiastic teacher can really do a lot of good things in a classroom though. I know for a fact that a Science class full of hands-on activities and labs excite students a lot more than a lecture/notetaking type of setting.

Have you ever had a teacher that was just outstanding, and made everything seem like a wonderful adventure? Have you had those teachers that drone on and on, making you want to cry, watching the clock tick slowly?

What was your favorite subject in school? Why was it like that?


The Numbers Game

Schools around the country are continuing to find themselves in a pinch. I know of many locally that are in financial strife because of the underfunded NCLB act, among other reasons.

In Michigan, each school gets approximately $6700 per student for finances, and lesser amounts from other facets. Smaller schools obviously get less money from the State in total. Add to tha
t the fact that schools are having to give statewide tests and not being funded to prepare students for the tests! That leaves many schools in trouble financially.

Schools are battling for students, but every year it seems like all the schools locally are losing enrollment. Families are growing smaller, and they are moving to metropolitan areas, rather than staying in smaller rural areas where work is limited. A logical move, yes, but it's hurting many schools.

Because of declining enrollment, schools are facing
the inevitable- cutting costs. Every circumstance is different, and often times this turns into a very politcal matter. The truest way to handle this is to put the kids first and start from there. In my district this year they announced that they need to cut $320,000. This was surprising to most people, because we've been operating with a surplus for the past ten years. Often the first thing you see being done is teachers being pink slipped. This doesn't always mean that they'll lose their job, but it does mean that they might.

What can be done to solve the numbers game? Parents- have more kids! That's a pretty silly solution. But really, what can be done? There are committees set up to analyze this very situation. How can schools survive with low enrollment? Is it possible?

How can schools survive and meet the standards when the funds they receive to operate do not allow them to purchase new equipment, books, supplies?

Unfortunately in the past ten years we've seen
a nation where there was supposed to be a boom of teacher hirings, beginning when I began, developing into a nation where schools are simply removing the position. Instead of seeing many openings for teachers in the past ten years, I've seen positions being cut. A neighboring school shut its doors because it couldn't make ends meet. Another nearby school is going to four day school weeks to save money.

There is no easy solution to this problem, whi
ch is actually many problems. I do believe that there is money for funding schools out there. State governments need to decide how important education is to the future of this country.

Cutting jobs is also taking away the enthusism of brilliant teachers. They are leaving the profession and seeking jobs in careers that aren't being tampered with by outside forces. I know of handfuls of people who would have been wonderful leaders in classrooms that simply gave up and sought other work.

The game continues to go on, but many are deciding to stop playing!



Life's full of choices... you'll be making choices until the day you die. We all have the opportunity to steer ourselves down the road. What branches will we take? That's the choice you'll have to make.

Some people sit – some people try.
Some people laugh – some people cry.
Some people will – some people won’t.
Some people do – some people don’t.

Some people believe and develop a plan.
Some people doubt – never think that they can.
Some people face hurdles and give it their best.
Some people back down when faced with a test.

Some people complain of their miserable lot.
Some people are thankful for all that they’ve got.
And when it’s all over – when it comes to an end
Some people lose out and some people win.

We all have a choice – we all have a say.
We are spectators in life or we get in and play.
Whichever we choose – how we handle life’s game.
The choices are ours – no one else is to blame.


Learning-Related Vision Problems

I was really amazed at how frequently problems with learning are linked with vision. It is also something that can be helped. I would like to give you some signs of vision problems that would interfere with school performance.

A major portion of all learning is done visually. Reading, spelling, writing, homework, work at the board. And now, with computers, even more of the learning is done relying on vision. Each of these vision skills asks the child to see and understand things that are within arm's length from the eyes.

Many childrens' visual levels do not meet the demands of the types of situations in the classroom. Which is where problems occur.

Clear vision and eyesight isn't all that we're discussing here. We're also talking about difficulties scanning, focusing and visual coordination skills for learning, and for getting meaning from reading. If these skills aren't developed, or are poorly developed, learning is difficult and stressful, and children will react in one or more of the following ways:

  • They avoid visual work entirely, or as much as possible
  • They attempt to do the work anyway, but with lowered understanding
  • They often experience discomfort, fatigue, and short attention span.
  • They adapt by becoming nearsighted, or by suppressing the vision of one eye

Vision problems don't cause learning disabilities, but poor vision skills can cause learning problems. Good vision skills provide a sound foundation for learning.

***Most school vision screenings test just the sharpness of distance eyesight, so many vision problems go undetected. A child with 20/20 distance eyesight may still have great difficulty doing vision tasks less than arm's length away.

Signs of Vision Problems

  • Holding a book very close (7-8 inches away)
  • Child, or adult, holds head at an extreme angle to the book when reading
  • Covering one eye when reading
  • Squinting when doing near vision work
  • Constant poor posture when working close
  • Moving head back and forth while reading instead of moving only eyes
  • Poor attention span, drowsiness after prolonged work less than arm's length away
  • Homework requiring reading takes longer than it should
  • Child occasionally or peristently reports seeing blurring or double while reading or writing
  • Child reports blurring or doubling only when work is hard
  • Loses place when moving gaze from desk work to chalkboard, or when copying from text to notebook
  • Child must use a marker to keep their place when reading
  • Writing up or down hill, irregular letter or word spacing
  • Child reverses letters (b for d) or words (saw for was)
  • Repeatedly omits "small" words
  • Rereads or skips lines unknowingly
  • Fails to recognize the same word in the next sentence
  • Misaligns digits in columns of numbers
  • Headaches after reading or near work
  • Child blinks excessively when doing near work, but not otherwise
  • Rubs eyes during or after short periods of reading
  • Comprehension declines as reading continues
  • Child fails to visualize (can't describe what they've read)

Eliminating vision problems can quickly change academic performance.

I have more information to share with you at another time if you're interested. Or e-mail me at and I can talk with you further.