Don’t be an indifferent student.

You will not love all of your subjects. You will not love all your teachers.

You will question the importance of the subject and it’s significance on your current life, your future life and the world-at-large.

In fact, you will rationalize some subjects are pointless and insignificant.

You will fall asleep in class. You will look for shortcuts. You will procrastinate and cram and stress and possibly, fail.

But whatever you do, don’t be indifferent.

Indifference makes many capable students incapable.

Your teacher is passionate about the subject. Respect their passion.

They attend workshops and seminars and take advance classes on the subject you dismiss. They think about the subject while eating lunch, driving to work, staring at themselves in the mirror.

No matter the subject–don’t be indifferent. Your indifference is impossible to hide.

Inside, outside a classroom we’re all forever students.

Respecting another’s passion allows you to forge connections and build relationships while indifference is the quickest, safest way to be forgotten.

Be well,

Jay

The Importance of Goal Setting: The Educator Spotlight is on Teacher and Writer Mari Venturino

Write on Fight on’s Educator Spotlight features insights, reflections and best practices from classroom teachers and administrators.

 Meet Mari Venturino. Mari is an elementary school teacher from San Diego, California.  An active blogger and editor of the book Fueled by Love and Coffee: Real Stories by Real Teachers, Mari is a reflective force.

Check out her interview, visit her blog and you will certainly learn new reflective strategies to help improve your own practices. Enjoy!

Without goals, I just go aimlessly through the school year. I’m always working to be a better teacher, and I don’t want to settle for good enough.


Besides being a teacher Mari Venturino is…

…an avid reader who loves YA and nonfiction. I also enjoy spending time with my boyfriend and dog.

Where do you currently teach, what do you teach and for how long?

I teach 7th grade science and 8th grade AVID at Mar Vista Academy in San Diego, CA. The 2017-2018 school year is my 6th year of teaching.

What is your favorite lesson to teach and why?

I love our lessons and units on health and nutrition. These topics are so applicable to students’ lives, and line up with my science passions. We weave in nutrition within our chemistry and properties of matter units, and students are especially engaged as we’re analyzing nutrients and food groups.

If, for one day, you were in charge of your school what would you do?

We would have a fundatory (you’re required to have fun, and you’ll like it!) spirit day with school-wide activities and games. When we laugh and play together, our school community is happier!

If you could write one quote on the board for your students what would it be?

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible.” -Aubrey Hepburn

On your website blog.mariventurino.com,  you write about teaching strategies and best practices. How has writing helped you has a teacher?

Writing helps me reflect on what works best for my students and my school, and figure out what areas I need to work on. I write to share just as much as I write as a personal reflection tool. I love the conversations that spark up from blog posts, and I find myself constantly improving my teaching.


In a recent post, “2017-2018 School Year Goals”, you discuss your classroom goals for the upcoming school year. Why is goal setting so important for a teacher?

Without goals, I just go aimlessly through the school year. I’m always working to be a better teacher, and I don’t want to settle for good enough. One of my favorite twitter hashtag’s comes from Lisa Thuman’s keynote, #onenewthing. Instead of trying all the things at one time, just focus on trying #onenewthing.

One of your goals for the 2017-2018 school year was to build relationships with your students first. Why is building relationships so vital for teaching and learning?

In our classrooms, the most important thing is to build relationships with our students. When we form trust and mutual respect, we build empathy and work better together. Our collaboration and cooperation improves, and all of us are willing to take more risks. Just as I need to get to know each of my students, they need opportunities to get to know me.

You recently published your first book, Fueled by Love and Coffee: Real Stories Written by Real Teachers. All proceeds of the book will be donated to classrooms and teachers ( which is totally awesome!). Why is it so important for teachers to share their stories?

I’ve seen too many teachers say “I’m just a teacher” when I ask them to share something they’ve done in their classroom, whether on social media or in person. My goal is to elevate the ordinary teachers to share the incredible things they’re doing. It’s an honor to take the lead on this project, and work to get more teachers’ voices heard. You can read more about the project here, and buy your copy of the book on Amazon.


My classroom superpower is… because…
My classroom superpower is bionic eyes because I can see what you’re doing, even with my back turned.


Mari can be found at…  
Twitter & Instagram: @MsVenturino

Blog: blog.mariventurino.com

Email: mari.venturino@gmail.com


Do you know an awesome educator dedicated to inspiring and teaching others?

If so, please consider nominating them to be featured on Write on Fight on’s Teacher Spotlight Series. You can contact me at writeonfighton@gmail.com.

Be well,

Jay

WoFo’s Teacher Spotlight is on Kelly O’Neill

WoFo’s Teacher Spotlight features awesome educators who are dedicated to teaching and inspiring young people everyday.

In this edition, WoFo features special education teacher and one of my oldest friends Kelly O’Neill. I would like to thank Kelly for her interview, for being a life-long friend and for her dedication to the teaching profession.

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Find what clears your mind and try to do it everyday!


Besides being a teacher Kelly O’Neill is….

an aunt, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a marathon finisher, a live music lover, a reality TV binge watcher, a reader, a learner.

Where do you currently teach, what do you teach and for how long?

I’ve worked for the School District of Philadelphia for the past 14 years as a special education teacher. My first assignment was at the Edward T. Steel Elementary School in the Nicetown-Tioga section of the city, where I taught for 11 years. I taught a self-contained learning support class, grades 4-6.  For the past 3 years, I’ve taught at the Samuel Powel Elementary School in the University City section. I co-teach 3rd and 4th grade math and reading. I have also been the Special Education Liaison at both schools (“head” of special ed services for the school) for the past 13 years.

What is your favorite lesson to teach and why?

A specific lesson doesn’t come to mind. But my most memorable unit was one I had planned for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. We spent weeks researching the Olympic games, the country of Russia, studying the culture, the land, the different sports, etc. For my inner city students who have never even left the city, it was a real eye opener. Every morning they would come in excited about what they had learned from watching the Olympics the night before. They got into sports they had never even heard of before. As a culminating activity we held classroom Olympics and I planned all these different events throughout the school, and students won elaborate medals I had made. I think it stands out for me because I was able to be totally creative in planning every aspect of the unit, and my class couldn’t have been more engaged in learning then they were for that 6 weeks.

If for one day you were in charge of your school what would you do?

I’d give the teachers time to talk to other teachers. Often we are flying solo in class all day, never able to interact with other adults because our focus in on the kids all the time. During prep class and lunch we are busy running copies, making calls, prepping materials for the next part of the day. Teachers can learn so much from each other, and I’d give them the chance to do that.

If you could write one quote on the board for your students what would it be?

Run when you can, walk if you need to, crawl if you must. But never, ever give up.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

I’d own a bed and breakfast, where I can meet different people and cook for them and make them feel welcome in my home.

What advice would you give to all new teachers?

Take time for yourself. This profession can be all consuming at times. There is always going to be a stack of papers to grade, lesson plans to write, decorations and posters to create, phone calls to make. I learned very early on in my career that if I didn’t take time for myself everyday, I’d be burnt out. For me, it is exercise. I try to give myself 45 mins-1 hour a day to turn off everything and sweat. No phone, no computer, no distractions! Find what clears your mind and try to do it everyday!

If the best thing about teaching is the students, what’s the second best thing?

The 2nd best thing about teaching is that every day is truly something new. You have to constantly be thinking on your feet and problem solving. I know a lot of people who go to their jobs, do what’s expected and go home- its just routine. You can’t do that in teaching. Your best-planned lessons will ultimately not go as planned, and your least planned days will be the best day of the week! I love that no 2 days are the same, and that I am consistently challenged.

Who inspires you?

My dad passed away almost 15 years ago, yet his impact is still felt daily in my life. I hope to one day have the influence on a person that he has had on me. He was a gentle giant who made everyone feel like family. He inspired me when he was with me, and he inspires me without being here physically.

My classroom superpower is…

the ability to connect to others because I know how important it is to have someone who cares about you and is a listening ear. My students often deal with things that, even as an adult, I’ve never had to deal with. Establishing and maintaining a connection is an invaluable power.

Kelly can be reached at Instagram: @kaboneill


Do you know an awesome educator dedicated to inspiring and teaching others? If so, please consider nominating them to be a part of WoFo’s  Teacher Spotlight Series. You can send their contact information to writeonfighton@gmail.com.