Tyler Rablin Profile picture
Oct 20 19 tweets 4 min read
I've had a bunch of close friends leave teaching and start working in the private sector. Without fail, every single one of them says they are less stressed, their work/life balance is better, and their mental health is better, even though some are making less money.

For non-teaching friends who don't understand why teaching is so stressful, imagine this scenario. You have to run meetings all day long. You get virtually no time to prepare for the meetings. During the meetings, there are 30 people in the room who are forced to be there.

Whether they want to or not, you are expected to make sure they all learn what you're supposed to ensure they understand, including the brand new recruits and the veterans. If they don't, you are held accountable for that, not them, by upper management.

However, for the veterans, you are also expected to add additional materials for them to review. This is supposed to happen for every meeting. In addition, you are supposed to mentor the rookies so that they can catch up to the veterans.

All of this is supposed to be done while you monitor the other 30 students in class.

When everyone submits their reports to you, you also have to review those reports and are expected to provide detailed feedback on them for revision. Note: you are in meetings all day...

so you have to get as much done during the one hour you have (which is also time for you to prepare for the meetings you have the next day). Unfortunately, one of your colleagues is gone today, so you lose that one hour to prepare and leave feedback because you have to run...

their meeting. So now, you didn't have any time to prepare for tomorrow's meetings, and you still have a stack of reports to review and prepare feedback for.

Meanwhile, your email is filling up with reminders to complete administrative tasks in your nonexistent...

extra time. If you put those off, though, you will be reprimanded.

On top of all of this, your company is being demonized in a large portion of national news. It is in the middle of a political debate, and that's really weighing on the morale of everyone.

Take this analogy and add the fact that the "employees" and actually young people with undeveloped prefrontal cortexes who haven't developed time management skills, control over their phones, or important social behaviors.

That's teaching right now.

Do I still love it? Most days, yes.

Do I also believe this is a profession that is wildly unsustainable and I question continuing every year? Also yes.

We cannot keep asking more and more of teachers.

Here are ways we could make the profession more sustainable.

(A) Increase the amount of planning time teachers get each day. Yes, ideally this would require hiring more teachers, but there just aren't more teachers.

There are other solutions, though.

Examples: americanprogress.org/article/reimag…

(B) Decrease class sizes.

I know everyone's going to scream, "But there's evidence that shows this doesn't increase learning!"

You want to know what really doesn't increase learning? Not having any teachers left.

Smaller class sizes mean easier management, less time...

spent providing feedback, more ability to interact one-on-one and in small groups, etc.

Sure, it can be beneficial to student learning, but just as importantly, it makes the job less taxing on teachers, ideally keeping more of us in the profession.

(C) Alternative calendars.

There is a growing number of schools moving to four-day weeks, and the year-round school movement is picking up.

Both of these aim to provide more frequent breaks, more time for teachers (and students) to stay caught up, and a better...

chance at a work/life balance. I know for me, as someone who loves camping and being outside on weekends, a four-day work week would do wonders for my mental health and well-being. It would give me time to fill my cup and still time to be the teacher I want to be.

I know what everyone's thinking right now. "But this requires a bunch of funding!"

You're not wrong. Though I do think schools could be much better with their money in general, I don't actually think the priority right now should be to talk about money.

Think about what underlies whether or not schools can get more funding: public support.

What does support begin with? Understanding and empathy.

There are so many non-educators who get it, but so many more just think teachers are being lazy.

If we want change...

we have to share our stories. We have to help people understand why people are leaving the profession. We have to help people see that we are doing the best we can with what we have, but we need help because we want to do better for kids.

That is what's going to change things.

If you've left teaching recently, please be a voice for us. You understand this better than most.

For those of us still in the classroom, don't stop telling your story. Stories change hearts, and changed hearts result in action.


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More from @Mr_Rablin

Oct 13
🧵 I update grades every two weeks while conferencing with students.

I used to just update grades whenever I put scores in and then would talk about the changes with students later.

Here's why I've switched and the benefits I've found to updating grades LESS frequently.

In terms of student conferencing, I can't emphasize enough the benefit of it, especially if you're switching to a non-traditional system (standards-based, mastery-based, etc.). It gives you time to explain how the system works with the student's own data.

It also helps take the grade from being a power-driven combative element of a classroom to being a more collaborative piece that can build trust, and I don't just mean with students who get good grades.

I've actually found it to build more trust with struggling students.

Read 13 tweets
Oct 6
🧵 One thing always surprises me when we talk about standards-based grading and retakes/redos.

People talk about it like you have to do them, and if you don't, you are doing it wrong.

Here's the deal, I don't give retakes.

Here's why...

The function of a retake is to ensure that prior gaps in learning don't carry long-term consequences in a student's grade if the student ends up learning the content later.

That makes perfect sense. If a student improves, then yes, that should be reflected.


Doing this operates under the assumption that the only way to calculate a student's grade is to use the average of scores over time, and that calculation results in a grade.

That's not the only way to calculate a grade, obviously, and I would argue that it's less accurate.

Read 13 tweets
Sep 27
🧵Feedback was something that felt like a waste of time for me for a long time with my students. It seemed like I would spend hours providing it only to have it be ignored.

I blamed the kids, when I should have been looking at my practice.

Here's what I've changed...

For starters, your feedback exists within your assessment ecosystem and is controlled by the values of that system.

The grading system has to allow for multiple attempts at demonstrating proficiency without penalties for earlier attempts for students to value feedback.

Hand-in-hand with that, your grading system has to center on specific learning outcomes (eg. - standards-based) so students see the feedback as building towards something instead of a collection of isolated incidences.

We all crave progress, but progress needs a goal.

Read 13 tweets
Sep 23
This year all my students put their phones in their bags and their bags at the front of the room. I hold myself to the same standard.

To any teacher that's like, "Phones are super powerful tech tools, but is the distraction too much?"

It's so much better without them.

One of my students said, "This is the most I've ever known my classmates."

Another said that the only class she doesn't have to put her phone away in is the worst grade she has.

I mean, one even said, "I didn't know my battery could last through the day."

I'm seeing more assignments turned in, more collaboration during group work time, more kids sitting and reading for extended periods of time, and more students willing to ask questions when they're stuck (instead of sneak out their digital pacifier to avoid struggling).

Read 5 tweets
Sep 19
🧵 Here's a list of random little things I do as a teacher that actually have weirdly strong impacts on student behavior, engagement, and motivation.

I'd love to hear yours in the comments.

Whenever I interact with a student at their desk, I make it my goal to be at the same height as them. I've found that doing this helps the information to be received more readily, whether it's academic support or a behavioral request.

If I ask a student to do something they don't want to do in the moment (head back to their desk, put their phone on my desk, etc.), I make the request and then say "Thank you" before they can reply. It seems to make it less likely the student will respond negatively.

Read 8 tweets
Sep 16
In case anyone needs a good 15-minute (maybe 20) opening activity next week centered around retrieval practice, here's one of my evergreen go-to activities that works for any content area at any point.

It goes like this...

(Resource for you to copy and use at the end.)

First, we list the major concepts or skills that we've learned so far. I typically make a list of them on the board.

Then, we select (sometimes by voting, sometimes with data from assessments) on the three concepts that we need to review the most.

Then, I set a timer for students to begin brainstorming everything they can remember about the three topics. I usually just do 5 minutes, but I've worked up to 10 minutes with students before.

The timing depends on the complexity of the topic and the age of the students.

Read 7 tweets

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