Scott Peavey and Joe Zlatnik are both administrators in the Kansas City area. Scott is currently the Assistant Principal and Activities Director at Basehor-Linwood Middle School. Joe is the Assistant Principal at Eudora High School.
As the calendar approaches spring (which is hard to believe as I sit here looking out my window at an ice storm) school districts throughout the state of Kansas are preparing for another round of hiring. Many schools have already had multiple vacancies while the majority are now receiving letters of resignation, retirement notices, and board approval for brand new positions. Many area universities are holding their career fairs soon and hundreds of aspiring new teachers are preparing their materials to do what they can to stand out from the crowd.
Although cover letters are undoubtedly important, the reality is that most applications get vetoed before anyone even gets to reading the letter. We are both administrators in the Kansas City metro area, and it is not uncommon for schools in this region to receive well over 100 applicants for most teaching vacancies; this is especially true for most social studies openings. When school districts are looking through these applications a “sorting” process often takes place. Based off of an initial look of the submitted resumes a small number are chosen for closer examination; from there an even smaller number are selected for interviews.
The following are a few simple recommendations to help your resume truly reflect the aspects of your candidacy that you are hoping to convey; and hopefully get you to the next round of the process!
The following is a guest post written by Bonnie Thomas. Bonnie is the Manager, Education Programs and Resources at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO.
“School subjects are like individual rectangles, the teacher explained. And this long, curved line represents the arts and humanities, linking concepts and modes of thinking across disciplines.”
This teacher, speaking in front of a vibrant geometric painting by the artist Robert Mangold, was one of 15 participants in a partnership project dedicated to exploring how art museums can support humanities education in public schools. Her comments emerged during a reflection activity in which teachers chose an artwork to represent their experience in the partnership project. Many other participants made similar comments, pointing out newly recognized connections between classroom subjects and visual art.
These teachers had first gathered several months previously at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, an encyclopedic art museum in Kansas City, Missouri. The Nelson-Atkins, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, was seeking teachers’ input on how its strong collection of American art could be leveraged to strengthen student learning in American history and related social studies topics.
Despite the best efforts of teachers nation-wide to freeze their calendars and squeeze in as much family and pool time as they can, the school year is fast approaching. As we begin to transition back into educator mode the plan for the first day of school begins to crystallize in our minds. For the past several years I have utilized this activity to get my students communicating with each other, receiving invaluable guidance for myself, modelling a skill we utilize repeatedly, and setting the tone for our entire course..
After a standard intro and icebreaker I write the following prompt on the board:
“Describe an effective teacher.”
Since I have taught freshmen four of my six years in the classroom, I am keenly aware of the importance of explaining EVERYTHING. As much fun as it is to hear a student say “no homework” as if they are the first to come up with the joke, I immediately ask students what the mission of a teacher is.
As they come to their consensus I break up the class into groups of three. I task each group to collaborate and develop four criteria to judge whether a teacher is effective or not, keeping in mind the mission of a teacher. After 3-5 minutes of conversation, each group shares out their list of four. As they share I write down every response on the board. Normally we end up with a list of between 10-15 characteristics, since I do not write down repeat suggestions.Continue reading The Syllabus Can Wait! A Day One Strategy for Fostering Student Ownership→
In the ongoing battle between serious, fact-based interpretation of current events and the onslaught of “fake news” stories being spread throughout social media (and beyond), 21st century social studies teachers face a daunting task. How can we possibly help students develop the necessary skills in order navigate the confusing blizzard of information they encounter on a daily basis? Even still, who has enough hours in the day to both cover all the required content and engage in current events activities that encompass more than reading an article and answering a few questions?
As a veteran teacher believe me, I feel your pain. My colleague Joe Zlatnik and I have spent time the past few years talking with teachers throughout the country about how they address bias in their classrooms. The consensus we have heard is that most teachers don’t address it since they don’t have time to teach “current events.” With this in mind we developed a set of simple activities that can help kids practice the skill of detecting bias within the framework of US and World history courses. I will explain one of these activities in this first part of a three part series.
As we are currently in the midst of coaching clinic, teacher workshop, and summer institute application season, time always seems to be lacking. That is partly why I am taking the easy way out by showing the slides of a portion of a presentation I gave in New Orleans in 2015 on innovative uses of classroom space.
This section of that presentation presents an option for using two timelines, uniformly color-coded based on unit, to help students simultaneously grasp the chronological progression of events andsee how the relationship between ideas and historical agents are dynamic and ever evolving.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions or thoughts, or if you would like more information on this lesson application!