Inside Avoiding Teacher Burnout
Careers Through STEP Nauticus’ Summer Camps Tidewater Teacher Magazine
MAy • june 2008
Tidewater Teacher Magazine
MAy â€˘ june 2008
Letter From the Editor
Fellow teachers, A tradition of most high school senior classes is to choose a class song. While there are many worthy choices available today, my all-time favorite is Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.” The lyrics are very poignant. But the most powerful message for me is the chorus:
Dear Read ers, As a n would other scho for yo like to tak ol year com Since ur continue e this opp es to an e incred starting T d support ortunity to nd, I dedica ible teacher idewater T and encour thank you and to tion to the s and edu eacher, I agement. our co profess cation p have m et som artner mmun ion, to I am s i t . y t h e stud Your e never local so thrilled e c n e a t s you ses to succes educators a to be able s a m a z e me. erve, sugge s stories. nd suppor to provide te stions I my w encourage rs to share a venue fo As T ay. R r i emembyou to keepdeas and look f idewater T er, thi s is y sending yo you. orward to eacher con our m honori Your enth meeting mo tinues to g agazinur usiasm ng all row, I re and e! t h h m o a o l t Yours you d ds me s re of in edu o! En teadfa cation j o y y our su st in , mmer!
“And when your get the choice to sit or dance, I hope you dance.” Soon thousands of high school and college students all over Hampton Roads will be graduating and facing the choice to “sit or dance.” Unfortunately, in this fast pace, competitive world, there is no time to be a “wall flower.” But there is no need to panic. As conveyed in this issue of Tidewater Teacher, the choices for graduates today are more varied than ever. Metaphorically speaking, graduates can choose from ballet, to hip-hop, to Irish river dancing. And if they don’t care for any of those choices, who is to say that they can’t create their own style of dance?
Furthermore, you don’t have to be an expert to dance. All you need is resilience and a spirited heart. Consider all the contestants on the television hit show Dancing with the Stars. At the beginning, each has no experience in ballroom dancing. Yet after just a few weeks of extensive practice, one can hardly tell the difference between the amateur and the professional. And even if the contestant doesn’t completely master ballroom, he or she always has fun on the dance floor. Which brings me to the third reason why I love Lee Ann Womack’s song: when you are dancing, you are happy.
So to all the 2008 graduates, including my oldest son who graduates from James Madison University and my daughter who graduates from Great Bridge High School, I wish you much success and prosperity. But most of all, I hope you dance! T
- Editor and Publisher
Table of Contents About The Cover
Hampton Roadsâ€™ students take education to the next level
Keeping the torch for teaching burning bright
Careers through STEP
Nauticusâ€™ Summer Camps
High school seniors gain new insight with on the job training
Instilling lifelong scientific curiosity in students
College Bound 8 Getting into college today is tougher than ever. Find out what it takes from a few of Hampton Roads’ “Teens at the Top.”
Partners in Education 12 AAA: helping elementary and middle school students fulfill responsibilities regarding traffic safety.
Teachers’ Health 14 Sun safety tips for summer and beyond.
Lunch Room Topics 16 Are teachers today on fire, fired up or just burned out?
Old School vs. New School 18 Students discover future careers through STEP: Senior Transition Education Partnership
Making the Grade 20 Whole Faculty Study Groups: putting students first.
Beyond the Classroom 22 Nauticus’ summer camps: providing a gateway to learning
Life’s Lessons 27
Plus : 7 Calendar Guide 24 Field Trip Guide 26 Continuing Education Guide
Elementary school teacher encourages comrades to “hold on for dear life.”
Class Reunion 28 Chief R. Stephen Best Sr., Deep Creek High School, Class of 1974
On the cover: Congratulations to the Class of 2008!
Tidewater Teacher Magazine
MAy • june 2008
Phyllis Johnson lives in Chesapeake with her husband, Don and their two daughters, Jessica and Julie. Her latest book, “Being Frank with Anne,” a poetic interpretation of Anne Frank’s diary, by Community Press, (www. communitypresshome. com) is being requested by Holocaust museums across the country. This is her second book of poetry. Her work also has appeared in Woman’s World, The Sun, Candor and The Piedmont Writer’s Report, The Virginian-Pilot among others. Through her work as a teacher assistant at Western Branch High School, Phyllis enjoys helping teenagers improver their writing skills. She also hosts poetry workshops and open mic nights through Russell Memorial Library, belongs to Chesapeake Bay Poets and Chesapeake Romance Writers.
After more than thirty years in education, you will still not find Judy Gulledge far from a classroom. These days, the classrooms belong to colleagues as Judy works to provide teachers with the assistance and opportunities needed to promote their professional growth. With experience ranging from elementary through high school and across most content areas Judy brings a broad and deep perspective to her role and purpose as Granby High School’s instructional specialist.
Brandy Centolanza earned a Virginia Press Association award in education writing during her time as a reporter for the Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg. Now a freelance writer, she writes for several local publications, including The Daily Press, Hampton Roads Health Journal, and Williamsburg’s Next Door Neighbors. This is her first contribution to Tidewater Teacher. Brandy lives in James City County with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing her own efforts in the classroom, including the Disney American Teacher Award, the U.S.A. Today All-Teacher Team and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Dory Suttmiller Production and Design Roy Brubaker Client Relations Michael Mann Writers Brandy Centolanza Judy Gulledge Pyllis Johnson Shawn Hinton Bud Livers, PhD Regina Narcisi Joan B. Sechrist, MS, RD Printer Jones Printing Service, Inc. Mission Statement The mission of Tidewater Teacher Magazine is to inform and inspire educators in Hampton Roads by providing current and relevant information on career development, educational enrichment and personal growth. Disclaimer The views and opinions of writers and contributors that appear in Tidewater Teacher Magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Tidewater Teacher Magazine’s publisher, editor, staff and affiliates. The information in Tidewater Teacher Magazine is provided as a service to the readers of Tidewater Teacher Magazine for information purposes only. Tidewater Teacher Magazine is not responsible for problems arising out of reference to the included material. Information on a commercial product or service does not imply an endorsement by Tidewater Teacher Magazine. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. All photographs are property of and credited to Tidewater Teacher Magazine, unless otherwise noted. Advertise To advertise or to obtain a current rate card contact Michael Mann at 757.282.1359 or via email at MMann@tidewaterteacher.com. Editorial Submission Tidewater Teacher Magazine accepts news releases from credited organizations. Submit material for editorial consideration to email@example.com. Extra Copies For extra copies call 757.620.2631. Tidewater Teacher Magazine 325 Flax Mill Way Chesapeake, Virginia 23322 Phone 757.620.2631 Fax 757.410.0783 Web www.tidewaterteacher.com
May 23 to May 25
Remember the Music - Remember the Heroes Virginia Beach Ocean Front Spend Memorial Day Weekend at the oceanfront for this special tribute to our military heroes! It’s a Star-Spangled Spectacular as local and national acts play music from various decades in a rousing salute to the Armed Forces. There’s something for everyone, from big bands to rock bands. Travel the “Heroes Walk” along the boardwalk and immerse yourself in the history of our nation’s involvement in military endeavors throughout history. 757.491.SUNN May 31 and June 1, 7, and 8
“Wild Days” Animal Events with Jack Hanna, Julie Scardina and Virginia Busch Busch Gardens, Williamsburg Here’s your chance to interact with amazing animals from Busch Gardens and SeaWorld parks. Plus, meet world-class animal ambassadors, including Jack Hanna, Julie Scardina and Virginia Busch. This all-new event for 2008 runs for two weekends, May 31 – June 1 and June 7 – 8, at Busch Gardens Europe. Get up-close with dozens of exotic animals like penguins, alligators, and wild cats. Learn how you can take action to help protect them and their environments. The whole family will enjoy these animal events featuring “animals from around the world” attractions and various dining opportunities with Jack Hanna. Admission fee. 800.343.7946 or email firstname.lastname@example.org June 6 to June 8
North American Sand Soccer Championships (NASSC) Virginia Beach Oceanfront North American Sand Soccer Championships (NASSC) is the world’s premier beach soccer festival with 9,000 youth/adult players of all skill levels. Originated in 1994 as a charity venue in the emerging sport of beach soccer, the event now includes in excess of 50 seaside sand fields on over a mile of premier resort oceanfront. Attracting 27,000 from 20 states and several countries, the festival is additionally viewed by approximately 50,000 daily visitors on the famed Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Over 1,500 matches are held during the event. Other beach sports attractions include beach wrestling, beach coed football, and beach rugby. NASSC is also affiliated with the city’s annual “LatinFest” food and music celebration, staged adjacent to the tournament’s pro/am beach stadium. 757.368.4600 or www.sandsoccer.com June 14 and 15
Virginia Regional Festival of Flight Suffolk Father’s Day Weekend: Come view hundreds of homebuilt, antique, classic, military, light sport, ultralight, and powered parachute aircraft at the Suffolk Executive Airport during the largest aircraft “Fly-In” in the Mid-Atlantic. See Radio Controlled aircraft on display. Examine all the aircraft up close; talk with pilots and builders. Visit the Youth Tent for hands-on activities. Kids and parents, come fly Control Line Models with an instructor! Attend aviation-related forums and participate in “do it yourself” workshops. Admission fee: $15 for 14 years and up. www.virginiaflyin.org
Tidewater Teacher Magazine
MAy • june 2008
College Bound By Phyllis Johnson
It’s spring and there are lots of students walking around with senioritis. Minds wander. Those who are ordinarily good students even contemplate cutting class. For those lucky enough to be in a classroom with a window, gazes fixate on the outdoors. Some minds have fast forwarded beyond the halls of high school academia and onwards to college dorms, fraternities, sororities and a bright future. Of course there are hurdles to jump through in order to get to the college of your dreams. Exactly what is expected these days to get a student into his or her favorite college? With 800,000 more high school graduates trying to get into colleges now than there were
Program Coordinator/Advisor Cheryl Jones with students at Maury High School in Norfolk
a decade ago, the process is not easy. Says Barbara Gill, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Maryland, “Some families have become so frightened that their children will be shut out, they are applying to many more schools than in the past.” Some students apply to as many as thirteen colleges, hoping to get in. What are college admission offices looking for in applications now? Eighty-eight percent of schools lean heavily on SAT scores. Bonnie B. Sutton, President and CEO of the ACCESS College Foundation says, “They want a grade point average that is competitive for that college. It’s also important to be involved in extracurricular activities and volunteerism. Mentioning obstacles they have overcome is a plus and what they’re passionate about.
Expressing why the student wants to attend that college is important too.” According to the Princeton Review, “The most successful applicants put together compelling applications - it is as simple as that. And the most distinctive feature of an outstanding application is its cohesiveness. Each aspect of the application should complement all the other parts, leaving no holes in your argument for poking, and should lead to the same logical conclusion - the conviction that you would be an asset to the school.” When writing essays for college admission, students should not be timid about adding some emotion. One student who wanted to get into the College of William and Mary
wrote in her essay that as a young girl, she was influenced by the fact that her American Girl doll, Felicity, represented the colonial city of Williamsburg. This student was bright and had many good things going for her. Having the nerve to mention the doll added a very personal touch to the essay. This student has since graduated from William and Mary and is now attending law school. Students also need to keep a lookout for college fairs. Recruiters target high school graduates based on a wide variety of criteria. High school guidance counselors can offer helpful tips and advice on knowing which college best fits each individual student’s needs. Apparently, students are being recruited successfully. Virginia’s rate of graduates with bachelor degrees has risen to 62 percent.
Show Me the Money Researching scholarships during the junior year is just the beginning. The student should continue the search even through college. “There are a number of sources for scholarships. They can use their high school and school system website scholarship postings, the website for the college they plan to attend scholarship postings, popular internet scholarship search engines and annual books published on available scholarships and corporate websites,” said Bonnie Sutton from the ACCESS College Foundation. Some students shy away from applying for fear of not having time to do the essays. What they don’t realize is that they can easily adapt an essay for more than one application. If scholarships are not achieved, the ACCESS Advisor can file the FAFSA form (Free Application for Student Assistance) and help students find other sources of Tidewater Teacher Magazine
MAy • june 2008
money. ACCESS has helped 2500 local students amass $23 million in financial aid in the past year.
Teens at the Top Recently Tidewater Parent and Portfolio Weekly Magazine in partnership with ACCESS College Foundation went looking for Hampton Roads most inspiring teens. The award program, called “Teens at the Top: On the Cusp of Excellence,” brought out some of Tidewater’s most talented and gifted students. Tidewater Teacher interviewed three of ten chosen finalists to find out just what it takes for high school students to make it into college. Thomas Heckelman
Junior, Princess Anne High School Thomas Heckelman is a standout student from Princess Anne High School. This junior’s accomplishments include being an Eagle Scout and helping with Tsunami victims, working with Adopta-Street, a library volunteer program, and other fundraisers. Along with church participation, he was President of the Young Republicans at high school. “My reward for volunteering is the knowledge that I have helped my community and made the world a better place by my efforts,” he said. “What sets me apart as a desirable candidate for college is that in addition to having worked hard for many years in school to achieve academic excellence, I am a yearround competitive athlete and I am involved in many activities both at school and in the community. I have known for years that I would need to start early to apply myself. I realized that a student’s transcript begins in sixth grade and it is from this point onward that their grade
point average is calculated. Because of this, students who think they might want to go to college should be aware of this when they enter the sixth grade,” said Tommy. “Thankfully, all of my teachers in conjunction with my parents have had a hand in my success. However, I feel that my English teachers have especially encouraged me to push my limits and to do my best,” he said. “I am motivated to get into college and am willing to work hard and do things that will help me achieve my goals. This is something that my parents instilled in me at a young age, and while my life is not completely centered on getting into college and succeeding, I am well-rounded and involved in activities that I enjoy and that will help me to get into a college of my choice. I am still undecided as to where I want to go for college, but I am interested in the Ivy League schools and have visited three of them to date.” Tiffany Stokley
Senior, I.C. Norcum High School Tiffany Stokley is a senior at I.C. Norcum High School in Portsmouth. Tiffany is graduating second in her class and is taking AP classes and some dual enrollment classes as well. She is also a member of the National Society of Black Engineers. Throughout her life, Tiffany has had to overcome many obstacles. One of six illegitimate children, there were problems with her mother’s drug dependencies. Early on her life was a blur of physical and mental abuse. When her father died before Tiffany reached the age of ten, Child Protective Services had to step in. Tiffany was passed from one foster home to another.
“My father inspired me at a very early age. He never had the chance to obtain a proper education so he wanted to make sure his children did. He always told me to stay in school. So college was never perceived as an option, but something I was supposed to do.” “Amid all the obstacles that I have encountered, my educational ambitions never diminished. I was determined to rise above my circumstances and do my best against all odds,” said Tiffany. “No matter what anybody says, you don’t have to be a statistic. I believe what sets me apart from most college applicants is my perseverance. I have overcome many adversities in my life, but I never let that stop me from realizing my dreams. Not many people can go through what I have, and still come out on top.” Tiffany started focusing on college ambitions when she hit her junior year. She began to see her older sister preparing herself and it dawned on her that it was only a year away. She now hopes to gain many advantages from the prospect of having a college degree. “I hope for better salaries, benefits, the whole nine yards. I hope to gain a strong educational foundation that will allow me to start off my career as soon as I graduate.” She gives credit to most of her teachers for helping her achieve her dreams. She gives special thanks to Mrs. Nancy Bell in AP Calculus, Mr. Damion Powell for U.S. and Virginia History and Shelly Nason in AP Chemistry. If she could choose one person, she would say that her Magnet Facilitator, Mrs. Maria Cooper helped her and has always been behind her one hundred percent. “She has done an outstanding job in helping me and dozens of other seniors prepare ourselves for college and she does it while having a personal relationship
with each and every one of us.” Tiffany has been accepted by University of Richmond, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Norfolk State University, and Virginia Tech. She would like to attend either VCU or UVA but is waiting on the award letters to make her decision. Emily Meyers
Senior, Churchland High School Emily Meyers is a senior at Churchland High School in Portsmouth. Emily received the Randolph Macon Book Award and was in the Governor’s Early Scholars program. She also won the U.S. Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award II along with other honors. Her noble ambition is that of turning students on to English. Her role model inspired her to make this her life’s passion. “One of my teachers, Mrs. Weidlich, taught me to reach out to others and to give one hundred percent of myself no matter what I’m doing. I think that what really sets me apart from other college applicants is my passion for everything I do. I think that a lot of teenagers don’t realize the importance of putting 110% of yourself into what you do, and I was lucky enough to learn that at an early age. I’ve always been the kind of person who dives headfirst into what they are doing; I have never been one to merely dip my toes into the water. Even though my father didn’t go to college, many of my aunts and uncles attended college and that influenced me,” she said. “I knew from a young age that I wanted to make an impact on the world and help people through teaching, and going to college is the only way to achieve that goal. I
started focusing on college ambitions in the fourth grade. Yes, that’s pretty early, but I’ve always been a really driven kid. I think that by having a college degree I will be able to get the jobs I want, and, by having multiple degrees, I will be a very well-rounded adult,” said Emily. “In high school I had three teachers in particular who really helped me achieve my dreams. My freshman English teacher, Mrs. Weidlich, and my junior English teacher, Mrs. Galbreath, really inspired me to be an English teacher, and showed me what a great teacher is. They cared very deeply about all of their students and did whatever they could to see them succeed. Whether I needed help on an assignment or help with a boy problem, I could go to them for guidance. They were kind of like my moms away from home. The third teacher was Doug Thiele, my former music history/piano teacher at the Governor’s School for the Arts. He encouraged me to follow whatever my heart felt was right and to always be myself. He really helped me come into my own as a young adult, and showed me the importance of expressing oneself.” Emily will be attending James Madison University in the fall for English and Psychology.
Recommendations for Teachers Teachers can help students in their quest for the right college, particularly teachers of juniors and seniors. By writing letters of recommendation, teachers are giving their students a real boost. Letters can include comments on the student’s initiative, how well he or she did in class, what his or her potential appears to be, punctuality, creativity and critical thinking skills. Teachers can comment on whether or not the
student is a team player and how he or she gets along with others.
to have those sports or other extracurricular activities. Additional advice given on this website suggests that a student start thinking about college as early as eighth grade.
As far as club activities, mentioning whether or not a position was held within a club is a plus. It is also noteworthy if the student was involved in any service organizations or charities. And don’t underestimate the importance of being in the Honor Society and the Student Council Association. In addition, any courses over and above the standard are good, i.e. A.P. courses and International Baccalaureate. Attending magnet schools for the arts is a point to mention as well. For competitive schools, having taken the most difficult math and science courses are a real measuring stick for academic prowess. Usually colleges want applicants to have taken two or more years of a foreign language.
Tidewater Teacher Magazine
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Obviously, being accepted into the college of one’s dreams is a challenge. However, with the right guidance, support system and the mindset exemplified by our “Teens at the Top,” college ambitions can be fulfilled! Advisor Passion Studivant with students at Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake.
Students have to show that they are able to analyze and critique material and can research and write papers. Therefore, English classes should require plenty of reading and writing. According to Cliffs Notes online, students should remember that along with taking the right classes and getting good grades, it’s also important
Potential Payback of a College Degree Average Earnings over a Forty Year Career by Educational Attainment High school diploma $1.2 million Associate’s degree
$4.4 million T
Partners in Education AAA School Safety Patrol By Shawn Hinton Have you ever noticed students at school donning bright yellow belts and shiny badges keeping student traffic flowing smoothly? Those are AAA School Safety Patrols on duty. AAA School Safety Patrols play an important role in helping elementary and middle school students learn to fulfill responsibilities regarding traffic safety. Millions of students have honorably served their classmates since the AAA School Safety Patrol Program™ was started in the early 1920s. AAA clubs have proudly sponsored, promoted and aided AAA School Safety Patrol programs as a community service in the interest of safety for all school children. Locally, AAA has over 5,000 students that serve as patrols in approximately 250 schools in the Hampton Roads area. The largest concentration of students is within the public school sector. However, there are many private schools that participate in the program. Some schools have as few as 8 patrols where others have as many as 80. The number of patrols serving depends greatly on the need of the school and in what capacity the students will serve as patrols. Many schools limit their students to hallway patrol duty while others utilize patrols on the bus, in the parent pick-up/ drop off area or to assist the school crossing guard. Students can serve as patrols for the entire year or quarterly. When starting a patrol program at a school the principal or supervisor is looking for students who are able to work cooperatively with students and staff, accept the responsibilities of being a patrol willingly, being
responsible citizens within their school, promoting student safety, and helping peers understand that safety is important. The program helps the patrols understand how their effort for safety impacts their peers.
for the National Safety Patrol of the Year Award in which they receive an all expense paid trip to Washington, DC to be presented with an award from AAA. This year the national winner is 5th grader Kyra Taliaferro from Tarrant Elementary School in Hampton, VA. Kyra and her family will attend the national awards ceremony May 3-5, 2008 in Washington, DC. While in DC she will attend various functions including a trip to the Dulles Air & Space Museum, The National Zoo, the Heroes Tour and she will have an opportunity to meet AAA’s David Ragan, race car driver of AAA’s No. 6 Ford Fusion.
National winner Kyra Taliaferro, 5th grader from Tarrant Elementary School in Hampton
Seeing this helps the patrols to foster behaviors that are the foundation for becoming healthy, productive adults. Once a program is established and a successful year has been completed the patrols are rewarded for their efforts by receiving a certificate of participation and schools are also encouraged to nominate outstanding students for the local Hall of Fame Award and for the National Patrol of the Year Award. Each year ten students are selected for the local Hall of Fame Award and are presented plaques from local AAA representatives for serving their school in an outstanding manner. Students can also be nominated
Today’s AAA School Safety Patrollers carry on a proud tradition that they share with many famous people. Former celebrity patrollers include U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices, astronauts, Olympians, a Nobel Prize winner, and three Baseball Hall of Famers. AAA has been the leading non-school civic agency active in patrol work in most communities. During its long and distinguished history, the AAA School Safety Patrol program has provided a safer pedestrian environment and a wide spectrum of educational opportunities for millions of children. AAA has provided the means for the patrol to succeed. T For schools interested in beginning a program please contact AAA Traffic Safety at 757-233-3889, via email at: pubaff@tidewater. com or log on to www.AAA.com.
Sun Safety Warmer weather is on the way and along with it, balmy, sunny days. However, research has shown that most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to the sun. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, with more than one million people diagnosed with the disease each year in the United States. That is more than all the diagnoses combined for prostate, breast, lung, colon, uterus, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. The good news is that you can still enjoy being in the sun. You simply need to protect yourself and your students from overexposure to the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays. Practicing good sun safety habits begins by following the American Cancer Society’s recommendation of “Slip! Slop! Slap!” Slip! on a shirt. Slop! on sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Slap! on a hat that shades the face, neck and ears. Plan outdoor activities to avoid the midday sun, and wear wrap-on sunglasses for total protection. Keep an extra bottle of sunscreen in your vehicle, and pack sunscreen in your child’s backpack or gym bag. Research shows a link between sunburns in children and an increased risk of melanoma and skin cancer later in life. Remember that ultraviolet (UV) rays reflect off water, sand and snow and reach below the water’s surface.
Play in the Shade The sun’s rays are generally strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If your children are outdoors, be sure their skin is protected, and teach them the shadow rule: When outside, if your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun is high in the sky, and the UV rays are intense.
Cover Up with Hats and Shirts Choose hats that shade your child’s face, neck and ears. and shirts and slacks made of tightly woven fabrics that cannot be seen through when held up to light. Sunglasses that block UV rays protect the eyes and the surrounding tender skin.
Use Sunscreen Every Day Apply sunscreen daily on skin not protected by clothing or a hat. Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, and reapply after swimming, sweating or toweling dry. Protect children younger than six months of age with clothing, and keep them in the shade.
The Finishing Touch Practicing good sun safety habits is something we should do year round. The sun is just as dangerous in the winter as in the summer. While we tend to think that we only need to protect ourselves if we are going to spend the day in the sun, sun exposure adds up day after day, and it occurs whenever you are in the sun. Putting sunscreen on your face and arms should be part of your morning routine. If you are going
to be spending the day in the sun, remember to reapply sunscreen often.
Tips for Applying Sunscreen • Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outside to give it a chance to absorb into the skin. • Pay special attention to the face, ears, hands and arms. • Apply liberally. A palmful (about one ounce) should be applied to the arms, legs, neck and face of the average adult. • Reapply at least every two hours and more often if you are swimming or sweating. • Don’t forget to coat your lips with sunscreen lip balm.
Skin Cancer Screenings The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) sponsors free skin cancer screenings around the country every year. Many local ACS offices work with the ADD to help with the screenings. Watch for information in your area, or call the ADD at 1-888-462-DERM (888-4623376. You can also check out the AAD’s website at www.aad.org. T For more information on Sun Safety, visit the American Cancer Society’s website at www.cancer.org.
Lunch Room Topics Teachers: On Fire, Fired Up, or Just Burned Out? By Bud Livers Mrs. Jones walked into the bedroom and said, “John, you need to get up. It’s almost time to go!”
headaches, blood pressure, chronic illness; may start under/over eating, drinking; and finally, is easily angered.
John replied, “I’m not going to school. None of the kids there like me. They talk about me behind my back, and some of them even throw things at me when I’m not looking. The teachers are worse. They never want to hear my ideas and I often feel like they do things on purpose to make me mad.”
No teacher ever reported to the job the very first day suffering from burnout. Getting there is a process. The following phases have been suggested as common in burnout cases.
“Now John,” Mrs. Jones said reassuringly, “you have to go to school. After all, you are the Principal!” John is probably experiencing “Burnout,” a condition described as “….a state of fatigue or frustration brought about by devotion to a cause, a way of life, or a relationship that failed to produce the expected reward.” Blasé goes even further, defining burnout as: “Negative response to work-related stress. A classroom teacher who is less sympathetic towards students, emotionally or physically exhausted, and a much lower tolerance for frustration.” A teacher suffering from burnout may exhibit any of the following symptoms: blaming annoyances on external factors; may become quiet, introverted, isolated; may become detached, distancing from students; exhibit physical symptoms including
Phases of Burnout
1. The Invigorated Good Shepherd – full of idealism, grandiose visions of helping kids, teaching is a calling 2. The Mundane, Repetitious Soldier – question idealism, feelings of isolation, increased concern over salary 3. The Disgusted, Thwarted Rebel – feelings of helplessness, questioning career choice, looking at other jobs 4. The Apathetic, Unresponsive Robot – chronic frustration, feel powerless to affect change, just go through motions of teaching. Five Causes of Stress for Classroom Teachers
Kids are Different. They don’t think like adults think. They don’t dress like adults dress. Some have piercings in places you would never dream of piercing. They are, well, different. Moreover, this difference is a source of stress. Paperwork. Ahh yes. The bane of a teacher’s existence! Lesson plans. Progress reports. Individualized Education Plan. Behavior
Intervention Plans. Testing, testing and more testing. The list seems endless! Nevertheless, paperwork was part of the job when you signed up in the first place. Short of discovering a magic “Paperwork Genie” living in the bottom of your can of Red Cow energy drink, paperwork is something teachers have to learn to live with. Resource Shortages. Of course, there is never quite enough money or resources to do all the things teachers want to do with your classroom. Teacher often have to choose between new markers for the dry erase board, or more paper for the copier. And as for those cute little strips that help decorate bulletin boards, the only way you’ll get those is if you buy them with your own money. Face it. Schools are strapped for cash. Teachers can’t really alleviate the resource shortage, except by personal outlay. Administrative Support. Strange, but when you first arrived, the principal seemed like such a kind person, boasting an open door policy, and encouraging you to come by anytime you feel the need. But alas! It turns out that while the principal’s door may indeed be open, she is rarely in it, instead tending to the myriad of responsibilities she holds – attending meetings, teacher observations, trips to the Central Office, and phone conversations with parents. This perceived lack of administrator support may cause stress. Collegial Isolation. We’ve all felt it. You close the door at the start of the day, just you and your students, and with the exception of a hurried lunch break, teachers may not deal with another adult all day. But what of the sense of collegiality that you’ve heard so much about? You spend
your day in the company of little people, and by the end of the day, teachers have worked up a real craving for adult conversation. Of the five major causes of stress that may contribute to burnout, the only one teachers can really do anything about is the last point – Collegial Isolation. Reduce this by being proactive, attending seminars, conferences and in-service programs, or joining your local or national professional association. Enhance your professional credibility by writing for publication, engaging in scholarly activities, or collaborating with a peer. Respond to stress on two levels – physically and mentally. Physically, start taking care of your body. Eat, sleep and exercise regularly and correctly. Mentally, reassess your values – separate the essential from the nonessential, cut back on commitments, and learn to just say “No.” Diminish intensity, worry and anxiety in your life. Many teachers find prayer or meditation useful when dealing with stress. One final thought. Burnout does not affect disengaged teachers. It strikes those who care too much, give too much, and try too hard. Distiquished Burnout researcher, Christina Maslach, notes that teachers need to practice “detached concern” in dealing with their students if they are ever to be expected to successfully ride out the emotional rollercoaster that takes place daily in classrooms across America. The key is to strike that happy balance between burnout (from caring too much) and rustout (from caring too little). T Editor’s Note: “The Lighter Side of Teacher Burnout: Inoculation Through Collaboration” is available as a staff-training presentation at your school or conference. For further information, contact Bud Livers at email@example.com. Tidewater Teacher Magazine
MAy • june 2008
Old School vs New School Giving Students a STEP Up By Brandy Centolanza
More than a dozen seniors at Jamestown High School in Williamsburg-James City School Division are getting a jump start on life in the working world through an innovative program that allows them to balance their studies with real jobs.
Breylinn Spain: Bijou Graphique
Kevin Arndt: Optech
The Senior Transition Education Partnership (STEP) was implemented last year to provide students with an opportunity to gain experience outside of the classroom in an area of their interest. Through STEP, eligible seniors spend one week at school and one week as a paid employee for one of several local participating businesses. STEP is “a program where internship and mentorship meet,” explains Robert Horvath, Jamestown High’s technical cooperative education (TCE) coordinator, and creator of STEP. Students “are placed in a career path that has meaning, and are earning a wage,” Horvath says. “They are working with professionals who become the students’ mentors and counselors who in turn motivate them to succeed and to pursue their dream.”
Sara Tiffany: Colonial Photography
Sammi Lathrop: Patriot’s Colony
Currently, 14 students are enrolled in the program, doubled from last year. Local veterinarians, dentists, physicians, photographers, chefs, landscapers, construction companies, retirement communities, and other businesses are involved with STEP. Horvath would love it if more businesses reached out to the students. “The employers are a resource that the students are able to use,” notes Horvath. “The students also witness
first hand the actual career itself.” Breylinn Spain decided to enroll in STEP because “I thought this would help me figure out what I wanted to do as a career,” she says. “It sounded really interesting. I think it is a good idea.” Spain works as an assistant at Bijou Graphique, a jewelry store in Barhamsville. Her tasks include taking Internet orders, assembling products, and aiding with the shipping and billing. “I’ve learned a lot from my boss,” Spain states. “I’ve learned a lot of business skills, a lot of what it takes to run your own business.” Kevin Arndt, an employee with Office Pro Technologies (Optech), feels the same way. Arndt works as a cable-networking assistant, and is currently helping to install speakers and projectors at a new high school in New Kent County. “I like how I get to work with people who do this as a career,” Arndt says. “I don’t get treated any differently. I get to see what it’s like to have a real job. This is a great opportunity to help you prepare for your future and career. I really enjoy this program. I think it’s a real plus.” Sara Tiffany says she joined STEP “because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life in terms of a career,” she says. Working as a photographer’s assistant at Colonial Photography has provided a clearer picture. “The experience has been
remarkable,” Tiffany says. “It’s really helped me figure out what I want to do with my life. I’ve learned a lot about people, a lot about work. It’s changed my outlook on life.” The program is for any interested senior, whether a student is looking to attend college or transition immediately to the working world. A few students who participated in STEP last year assumed permanent positions upon graduation. Balancing school with jobs in addition to sports, extra-curricular activities, and social lives may seem difficult, but it’s actually proven to be beneficial. “I believe that it works on several levels,” says Horvath. “First of all, students have a choice in their education career. They elect to enroll in the STEP program. Secondly, academically, the classes are conducted in more of a seminar fashion, and the students respond better…The students are able to focus more, develop time management skills, and are becoming career oriented and better prepared to be self-reliant and lifelong learners,” says Horvath.
It also helps to have the support of their family as well as their instructors and their bosses. “I believe that teachers, employers, and parents work together to ensure their success plays a major role in their successes,” Horvath says. “The future of STEP is bright.” T
Gary Mathews, the school division’s superintendent, is pleased with the results of the program. “The STEP initiative at Jamestown High School is an outstanding example of thinking out of the box when it comes to educating students,” Mathews states. “There’s no reason why education and experience in the work place cannot work hand-in-hand. In Mr. Horvath’s program, education and the work place complement one another.” “I believe there are several reasons why the program has been successful,” Horvath says. “First of all, the students are treated like adults. It is remarkable to see how the students mature, grow, and become thinkers. They develop poise throughout the school year that can not be matched.” Tidewater Teacher Magazine
MAy • june 2008
Grade Whole-Faculty Study Groups: Putting Students First By Judy Gulledge When a school’s shared vision is to ensure that ALL students are well-prepared for college AND work, it is imperative that an effective and engaging teacher is found in every classroom. How is a school of accomplished teachers grown? What is actually meant by an accomplished teacher? The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards addresses five core propositions in this regard stating that accomplished teachers: • are committed to students and their learning. • know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students. • are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning. • think systematically about their practice and learn from experience. • are members of learning communities. The responsibility for creating such a school cannot lie in the hands of administration alone. For while administrators may provide professional development opportunities, improvement will only impact student learning when the required knowledge is owned and utilized by those involved
in the planning and delivery of instruction. In truth, the lion’s share of this task lies in the hands of classroom teachers themselves. For this reason, Granby High School’s professional development efforts took on a new look this year as they adopted Carlene Murphy and Dale Lick’s system of Whole-Faculty Study Groups. This “job-embedded, selfdirected, student-driven approach to professional development” is guided by one overarching essential question: What are our students learning and achieving as a result of what we are learning and doing in our study group?
Collaboration and professional learning communities are often credited for increasing teacher satisfaction, but without a clear focus on student learning their impact on teacher effectiveness is frequently absent. To provide just such a focus, Whole-Faculty Study Groups provides a system designed to combine professional development with classroom implementation addressing identified student needs. Five principles guide the WFSG process:
1. Students are first. All study group efforts are designed to improve teacher capacity to better address the needs of the students they teach. 2. Everyone participates. All certificated educators, including
administrators, participate in a three to five member study group. 3. Leadership is shared. The responsibility for leading bi-monthly meetings and for representing one’s study group at instructional council meetings rotates among the members of a study group. 4. Responsibility is shared. Norms established in a study group’s first meeting guide both the work and how members interact. 5. The work is public. Experiences of every study group help to inform the entire staff. Meeting logs and action research results are shared on the school’s intranet with access being open to all staff members. Granby’s WFSG journey began in June of 2007 when five staff members attended training in Augusta, Georgia. Together with Ted Daughtrey, Granby’s principal, this group makes up Granby’s WFSG focus team. Over the summer, with assistance from department chairs, the focus team collected data related to student achievement. During the late August pre-service week the entire staff interpreted the data to determine the most pressing and primary needs of the school’s student body. Each teacher then considered which need they would address to positively impact their own students. Based on common identified needs, study groups were formed. Twice a month study groups met to conduct action research addressing their selected student needs. Groups accessed expert voices (literature, specialists, etc.) in selecting an action or strategy to take. Gathering baseline data allowed groups to clarify the needs of their own students. Strategies were implemented, examined, tweaked, and re-implemented. Post-intervention data assessed the
effectiveness of selected strategies. Meeting logs informed Granby’s entire staff of each study group’s progress. Frequent feedback was provided to all thirty-nine study groups by principal, Ted Daughtrey, assistant principal, Vicki Jones, and instructional specialist, Judy Gulledge. Eight times during the school year, one representative of each study group along with the focus team met for Instructional Council, an opportunity to debrief groups, provide assistance, ask questions, and share artifacts from action research each group conducted. The artifacts shared during the year included strategies and resources used, action plans developed and samples of student work impacted by the study group’s efforts. Has the WFSG process been a
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success? The jury is still out on that question, as it should be. Trainers specify that true evaluation of the system is difficult to ascertain in under two years. However, we have learned some things in our first year’s journey.
But without such scrutiny our growth may be limited. • Teachers have different comfort levels with collaboration, feedback and constructive criticism, and risktaking within their own classrooms. • It takes time to build trusting relationships within study groups, to encourage teachers to push themselves, if only incrementally, beyond their comfort levels. Tackling a process like Whole-Faculty Study Groups is indeed new and challenging, but if there was ever a staff up to the challenge it is the educators of Granby High School. T
• The WFSG system takes effort, time and a willingness to try something new.
Elmore, R. F. (2006) School Reform from the Inside Out Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard Education Press.
• As educators, we are often uncomfortable opening our practice to the scrutiny of colleagues.
Murphy, C, & Lick, D (2005). Whole-Faculty Study G roups. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press
Beyond the Classroom Nauticus’ Summer Camps Provide A Gateway to Learning Everyone knows learning is much more fun when it comes through hands-on experiences. Nauticus has long been a marine science destination for tourists as well as Hampton Roads locals visiting the downtown Norfolk waterfront. But the museum is not just a valuable
attraction in Hampton Roads – thanks to its hardworking educators, Nauticus’ summer camps also serve as a valuable resource for science exploration that students might not ordinarily find within classroom walls. Nauticus offers a range of camps throughout the year for different ages on a variety of themes, all of which allow students to take on the roles of junior scientists. The nerve center for all camp activity is Nauticus’ Education department. Peak camp season is during the summer, when camps run continuously from late June through early August, but camps are also held during school breaks, such as a recent ecology-themed “It IS Easy Being Green” week run during the Norfolk public school’s spring holiday. Most of the week-long programs serve from 12-20 students at a time. “We create new camps each year focusing on different fields of science that we think kids would
love to learn about,” says Education Specialist Rebecca (Susie) Hill. “This year’s topics for Explore the Ocean and More Camp are Messy Chemistry, Light and Color, Ships, and Weather. One day is always geared around a new exhibit. For example, with Seabots: Pilots of the Deep (a current exhibit about remote operated vehicles, or ROVs), we’re concentrating on ocean ecosystems.” Hill has also found camps to be a great way to share resources with other related organizations. A good example of such collaboration is a new camp that debuted last summer. OceanQuest Camp for High Achieving Students was made possible thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Portsmouth-based Beazley Foundation. The camp sought out high achieving students from Portsmouth Public Schools; counselors were also required to be
Portsmouth teachers and chosen based on their availability and interest in the program. Other partners included Old Dominion University, Elizabeth River Project, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Virginia Aquarium, and the Virginia Port Authority/ Norfolk International Terminals.
In all OceanQuest activities, the goal was for students to develop a way of approaching any new subject, to learn how to learn. Keeping science curriculum in mind, Nauticus and Portsmouth Public Schools developed a series of activities that explained and demonstrated important scientific principles through very simple and inexpensive means. Programming was designed to allow students to conduct experiments as well as be exposed to careers in oceanography, marine science, and the maritime industry. The two groups of 10th graders, recommended by teachers for their high academic achievement, stayed in
Old Dominion University dormitories and learned about everything from GPS tracking systems to water chemistry. Field trips included a Chesapeake Bay Foundation Baywatcher boat trip, a behind-thescenes day at the Virginia Aquarium and touring the oceanography labs at Old Dominion University. At the end of each OceanQuest week, members of the Beazley Foundation board, campers and their families gathered for a studentproduced PowerPoint presentation summarizing the data collected and analyzed throughout the experience. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Many students said that the OceanQuest experience had convinced them to pursue a career in marine biology. Laura Walters, a parent of one camper, had only positive things to say: “I’m very pleased with the reaction my son has had toward the camp. I could tell as soon as he started telling me
about it that he thoroughly enjoyed it and it was educational as well!” The camp was deemed such a success that the Beazley Foundation granted Nauticus $35,000 for OceanQuest to return again in 2008. This additional funding allows the camp to expand to three weeks. “After witnessing the excitement of last year’s participants and hearing their stories, there was no question as to value of the return on this initial investment,” said Judge Richard S. Bray, president of the Beazley Foundation. “We’re very pleased to support programs like OceanQuest which not only stimulate high-achievers, but also promote partnerships among other museums and non-profits in our area.”
By providing a jumping off point to learning, Nauticus hopes to instill a lifelong scientific curiousity in campers. As Susie Hill puts it, “OceanQuest exposed the kids to maritime careers that they may have never had a chance to experience. We want them to have lasting memories of their camp experiences at Nauticus so they go out in the world with a stronger love for science and pursue a career in this wonderful field.” T For more information about Nauticus’ summer camps, call (757) 664-1010 or visit www.nauticus.org/summercamps.html.
Nauticus Sponsors the MATE Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition By Peter Leighton, Nauticus Educator
At certain middle and high schools in the mid-Atlantic states, you may come upon an unusual sight. A small group is gathered around their school swimming pool after hours tinkering with a strange-looking contraption. This creation may have claws, cameras and weird probes. What is this, you ask? “This” is a ROV or Remotely Operated Vehicle. And these students are preparing their vehicle for the upcoming Mid-Atlantic ROV Regional Competition. 2008 marks Nauticus’ third year of sponsoring the competition, which took place at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton on April 19th. It’s one of many regional contests that happen all over the U.S. and certain countries around the world. The students do all of the work - from connecting the wiring, designing the vehicle, and writing the engineering report. Teachers serve as mentors and assist with getting funding and supplies. The number of teams continues to increase with time, demonstrating that not just students, but teachers, are excited about working with ROVs. Teams are judged by a panel of experienced engineers in three categories – proficiency in three underwater missions, engineering knowledge and the team poster, which documents design concepts and the building process for each ROV. The team with the highest combined point total in these three categories moves on to compete in the MATE International Competition, held in June at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, California. There, they will have the opportunity to meet teams from around the world, as well as experts in the ROV field. ROV engineers are very interested in seeing the fresh perspectives and creative designs that students bring to the table. Young minds often have very unique ways of finding solutions. Participation is also a great addition on a college application, and many competition winners have received large scholarships to the institutions of their choice. In a nutshell, ROV competitions are not just events that test creativity with PVC pipe; rather, they further a student’s education and provide valuable career options for the future. The ROV field is one of the fastest growing professions with branches in engineering, oceanography, military, and space exploration.
Also available online: www.tidewaterteacher.com/teacherresources/fieldtripguide Hampton Roads Naval Museum
1 Waterside Drive Suite 248, Norfolk 757.322.2992 www.hrnm.navy.mil Explore 225 years of U.S. History from sea level. The Hampton Roads Naval Museum offers a variety of SOL-based field trips and outreach programs for students of all ages. Best of all, admission and programming are always FREE! Learn about world events through the lens of local history.
Historic Richmond Tours/ Valentine Richmond History Center
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
From Colonial Richmond through the Civil War and beyond, our student tours of Richmond, led by master guides and aligned with Virginia’s SOLs, will enhance classroom instruction and make history come alive! Call now to schedule.
The Virginia Aquarium is where students can explore 700,000 gallons of aquariums, live animal habitats, hundreds of hands-on exhibits, an outdoor aviary and a nature trail. Seasonal boat trips and 3D IMAX® movies are available as well.
Richmond, VA 804.649.0711, ext. 319 www.richmondhistorycenter.com
717 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach 757.385.0300 www.VirginiaAquarium.com
Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum
206 High Street, Portsmouth 757.393.8031 www.vshfm.com The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum is a unique, interactive, studentfriendly learning environment. SOL aligned core curriculum programs encompass character development, nutrition, physical fitness, math, science, and history. The Hurrah Players
935 Woodrow Ave, Norfolk 757.627.5437 www.hurrahplayers.com The Hurrah Players, Inc. is committed to providing students in Hampton Roads the opportunity to experience full-stage, full-length productions of children’s theatre classics. We offer five different exciting and educational productions during each academic year.
Share Your Field Trip Opportunities Tidewater Teacherâ€™s Field Trip Guide keeps educators up to speed with the latest information on field trip opportunities in Hampton Roads. When its time to plan that next out of classroom, hands-on experience, be sure teachers know your organization. Start reaching your most important audience, teachers of course, today! For advertising rates contact Tidewater Teacher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757.620.2631.
Tidewater Teacher Magazine
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Continuing Education Guide Also available online: www.tidewaterteacher.com/teacherresources/continuingeducation
Cambridge College 1403 Greenbrier Parkway, Suite 300 Chesapeake, VA 23320 757.424.0333 www.cambridgecollege.edu/Chesapeake Cambridge College is a regionally accredited, non-profit, private college offering higher education to thousands of working adults. The regional center in Chesapeake, VA offers advanced degree programs in Education and Management as well as Certificate of Advanced Studies programs. The classes are face-to-face with a focus on life experience and all are offered on the weekends for the convenience of working students.
The George Washington University 1 Old Oyster Point Road, Suite 200 Newport News, VA 23602 757.269.4949 www.nearyou.gwu.edu GWU has been serving Hampton Roads for over 40 years. The university offers graduate degrees and certificate programs in Educational Administration (K-12), Engineering & Technology Management, Human Resource Development, Leadership Development, and Systems Engineering. Convenient night and weekend classes are available.
Hampton University College of Virginia Beach 253 Town Center Drive, Suite 1035 Virginia Beach, VA 23462 757.637.2299 www.hamptonu.edu/cofvb Hampton University College of Virginia Beach offers three graduate programs in education. Students can earn the Master of Arts degree, the Master in Teaching degree, or teacher certification in elementary education through a licensure only program. Students interested in the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership must have three years of successful teaching experience. Classes are held in the evening and on weekends. Old Dominion University Darden College of Education Norfolk, VA 23529 757.683.5340 www.odu.edu The Darden College of Education is committed to excellence in teaching, scholarly activities, and service. The College fulfills its mission through its undergraduate and graduate programs in the fields of education, counseling and human services, speech-language disorders, instructional and occupational technology, as well as through its many continuing education activities. The college also offers a doctoral degree in education with 10 different concentrations. Classes are conveniently offered at our Norfolk campus and throughout Hampton Roads at times that fit your schedule. Regent University School of Education 1000 Regent University Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23464 757.226.4479 www.regent.edu/education Regent University is the nationâ€™s premiere Christian graduate school, with campuses in Virginia Beach and Alexandria, VA. Regentâ€™s School of Education is committed to excellence in teaching, research and service to develop classroom and administrative leaders. We offer rigorous graduate and doctoral degree programs, as well as teaching endorsements, licensure, certificates and non-degree options. Virginia Wesleyan College 1584 Wesleyan Drive Norfolk, VA 23502 757.455.3263 www.vwc.edu/admissions/asp/ Professional development courses for teachers with collegiate, provisional or conditional licenses. Alternative Certification for Teachers (ACT) in content areas and Special Education, National Board Certification support courses and degree programs are coordinated through the Adult Studies Program.
Holding On For Dear Life By Regina Narcisi My desk is piled high. With the clock ticking behind me, 5:36…5:37… 5:38…I lay my head down on a stack of papers and mumble to myself: “Regina, you should be going home by now.” As I pick my head up, I notice the newspaper I bought days ago sticking out from underneath my first graders’ writing folders. Feeling like it’s time for a break, I slide back in my desk chair, pick up my Diet Coke, and begin reading. I’m struck with the first article I open to: it’s one of many I have seen recently about how new teacher retention rates are dropping drastically across the Nation. Countless opinions have been cast about why teachers are dropping out. “But what about the teachers who do stay?” I think to myself. What’s the difference? Why do they stick around? As a young teacher who has watched several of her dear friends leave the teaching profession, I ponder the answer to that question. More specifically I wonder, Why have I chosen to stay? After much soul searching and countless coffee shop discussions, I find that my answer to that question lies at the heart of my job and why I chose this career. It’s my belief that somehow, in my tiny first grade classroom, my actions are making a difference in the lives of children. Unfortunately on a daily basis, teachers, including myself, are distracted from this very conviction that brought them to their profession in the first place. Drowning under piles of paperwork, deadlines, Tidewater Teacher Magazine
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behavior referrals, and assessments, we lose sight of our high calling. So, in answer to the question, what keeps me coming back to the classroom for more? I know exactly what it is. It’s the “aha!” moments that young readers have in my classroom when reading finally happens for them. It’s the day Joshua declared, ‘It’s 11:30, we’re late for lunch!” and I remember back to September when he couldn’t read the clock. It’s the proud grin I see on Shawn’s face, a former student of mine, when he comes running up to me at the bus loop to discuss his daily accomplishments. It is the moment I watched Erin share her favorite pencil with another child and remembered when she used to hide under the table when she didn’t get her way. It’s when I throw a stack of papers on my desk at the end of the day and find an “I luv you, Miss Narcisi” note waiting for me. It’s the time I heard Miranda whisper to Maia, “Do you think she’s mad at us?” to which Maia responded, “Nah, she cares about us no matter what.” It’s when I was ready to pull my hair out after a difficult morning and Monica stared up at me with her big brown eyes and said, “Miss Narcisi, when I grow up, I want to be just like you.” It’s every hug I’ve received from a child I’ve taught and every thank you I’ve ever gotten from a parent. It’s the feeling I have when my exhausted head hits the pillow at night, knowing that my fatigue is worth it, because I’ve made a difference.
Do I wish some days that my daily efforts were affirmed with a larger paycheck? Absolutely. Do I dream about the freedom to teach without the burden of standardized test scores looming over our schools like a black cloud? All the time. But I will not let those issues distract me from doing what I know is one of the most important jobs on this Earth. Lucy Calkins, an acclaimed teacher educator, once said, “Let’s hold tight to what matters most. Let’s hold on for dear life.” And so I urge you, teachers: Let’s hold tight to our convictions about why our job matters in this world. Let’s hold on for dear life. T Calkins, Lucy. The Art of Teaching Reading. New York: Addison-Wesley, 2001 After graduating from James Madison University in 2002, Regina traveled south to begin her teaching career in Virginia Beach. She spent the last four years as a first grade teacher at Woodstock Elementary. Working with struggling readers in first grade compelled Regina to pursue a graduate degree from the University of Virginia in Reading Education. She graduated this spring. She was chosen by her colleagues as Woodstock Elementary 2007-2008 Reading Teacher of the Year. She was also honored when she was Tagged by the Superintendent for dedication on the job.
Class Reunion By Dory Suttmiller
R. Stephen Best, Sr. Fire Chief/Emergency Services Coordinator Chesapeake Fire Department Can you recall a particular teacher that your regard as a mentor? I was blessed to have several mentors and many positive role models in the Deep Creek community during my formative years. In High School, Dr. Henry Whitener, who had been my band director since sixth grade, taught me to play the cornet and was very instrumental in instilling his passion for music in me. He was a perfectionist and would constantly encourage me to practice and strive to achieve greater levels of achievement in performance. Music became a form of expression for me and helped me to build confidence. The band is where I was first introduced to leadership, having served in various positions of leadership, from Band President to Student Conductor. You started as a volunteer with the Deep Creek fire department. How did this experience solidify your decision to pursue a career as a professional firefighter? During my junior year of high school I joined the Volunteer Fire Department in Deep Creek, following in my middle brother’s footsteps. The nature of the service back then enabled me to assume greater responsibilities at a very young age. I was able to ride the medic unit, treat patients, fight many types of fires, and answer many different calls for service. All these experiences helped me to mature very quickly and instilled a deep passion for service. With experience behind you and a solid career path ahead of you, why did you decide to expand your horizons and study law at Regent University? As a child, my best friend’s father was a lawyer and his grandfather was a local judge. Being in their company gave me an interest in the Law. Later, as an adult, I served as the Fire Marshal for the city of Chesapeake for about 10 years. This position introduced me to many areas of the law. I had the powers of arrest and was trained in criminal law and procedures, in addition to the regulatory and local government ordinances embodied in the Fire Prevention Code and enforcement process. It was during this time that my interest in pursuing a legal career began to increase. I responded to a Regent University Law School recruitment ad in the local newspaper announcing their 2004 part-time law program. I quickly applied to the Law School Admissions Office and, with the help of many people, have been blessed with this tremendous opportunity to study law. Through this experience, I have found that the same passion I’ve had for the fire service all these years, has carried over to the study of the law. As a student of government for more than 33 years, the prospects of practicing law and having the ability to help people, to continue being of service to them and help them solve problems is both extremely rewarding and very exciting. The Law School motto “Law is more than a profession – it’s a calling” really resonates with me. T R. Stephen Best, Sr.’s is a 1974 graduate of Deep Creek High School. After graduation, Chief Best decided that firefighting was the career for him, foregoing an opportunity to study music at Shenandoah University, and joined the Chesapeake Fire Department as a full-time paid professional firefighter in December 1974. During his career, he has also worked as a Fire Inspector and served as Fire Marshal for the City in the Fire Prevention Bureau. Chief Best was promoted up through the ranks of the Department and served as the Assistant Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief from January 1991 until April 1998 when he assumed the role as Fire Chief and Emergency Services Coordinator. Throughout this time, Chief Best continued to pursue his education. He holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Governmental Administration, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and is currently a candidate for a Juris Doctor Degree from the Regent University School of Law.
Tidewater Teacher Magazine
MAy â€˘ june MAR APR 2008 2008