4th grade teacher and NFL fan Mary Tarashuk has been watching lots of football lately, prepping for the Super Bowl. Given her love of metaphors, it’s no surprise she finds some analogies between quarterbacks and teachers running plays in their classroom arenas.
Category: Kids on the Cusp
Students need some dangling carrots, not to trick them but inspire them. Trying to get to the root of each individual learner, digging deeper in an effort to recognize each unique person’s contributions to the classroom, help build Mary Tarashuk’s Carrot Community.
When Mary Tarashuk’s college-age nephew tells her he wants to become an English teacher, she smiles a welcome because she can see the “essential fire” in his eyes. He will, she writes, face innumerable challenges, “but also innumerable moments of sheer joy.”
Mary Tarashuk has been so involved in deadlines and paperwork she’s barely had time to reconnect with the reasons she loves teaching. But here in November she finds a way to recapture the classroom magic and “Do Something Meaningful” with her fourth graders.
A steady flow of new district teaching resources is creating a more-than-you-can-eat buffet effect for 4th grade teacher Mary Tarashuk. Take the new online math program. Can she manage to put together the right selection of new dishes and old favorites?
How do we really build better teachers? Are current school system practices helping? Reading a long-neglected article from the NYT Magazine prompts a fresh reflection on the best ways to improve teaching practice from veteran tween teacher Mary Tarashuk.
Personal narratives, reading folders, interest inventories – and new nicknames bestowed as the year begins. Mary Tarashuk uses many clues to get to know her 4th graders. PARCC scores haven’t arrived yet. No sweat. All that really matters is arrayed before her.
For years Mary Tarashuk engaged her students in a rule-making exercise that felt democratic but produced her desired outcomes. Now her strategy is to help kids think more deeply about respect and have them use their insights to guide the classroom community.
Mary Tarashuk is packing for her trip back to Room 106 and her new class of fourth graders. She shares her pre-flight checklist and her new student-centered theme for the year: “In Class 4-T We DO Learning.” Along the way she includes middle grades resources.
Like many teachers, when school ends, new work begins for Mary Tarashuk. “I earn a good salary, but it isn’t enough to pay for ‘summers off.'” There’s professional learning to do, too. But still some time to relax and reflect on the sheer joy of teaching children.