Dream Big!

Encouraging Your Children’s Fantasies—and Their Future! It’s something a child hears often: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A simple, even rhetorical question. But for children, this is a serious inquiry that can also be a great opportunity to share their ambitions, dreams, and creative longings. Even if the answers vary…

Assuming Your Professional Teaching Identity

A guide for beginning teachers The following material is adapted from Chapter 6 of Becoming a Win-Win Teacher, a book written especially for new teachers, returning teachers, and anyone needing a shot in the arm during (or after) a challenging year.  Teaching became easier when I started seeing myself as a teacher and no longer a college…

What I Learned When I Started Teaching

And why I write books for beginning educators This excerpt was pulled from the introduction of the final draft of Becoming a Win-Win Teacher, a book I wrote to help prepare beginning teachers enter—and STAY—in the field. The piece has been revised somewhat to refer to resources available on this website. In retrospect, I was one of the…

Ways to Help your Child Survive your Divorce

Beyond damage control… Here are some tips to reduce the stress and anxiety you children may experience during and after your divorce. • Maintain a civil relationship with your spouse* during the divorce and afterwards. Treat each other with tolerance and respect. • Don’t badmouth your spouse to your kids regardless of your feelings for him…

Motivating the Unmotivated

Getting past defenses, disinterest, and disengagement Presentation by Dr. Jane Bluestein Of all the challenges teachers face, the one mentioned most consistently over the years has been, “How do I engage kids who aren’t motivated and just don’t care?” Few things are more frustrated that having your planning and enthusiasm met with groans, shrugs, or eye…

Wish List for Beginning Teachers

Interviews with new teachers reveal what they want most: • Encouragement: Feedback that builds on their strengths, not just cautions to “do better” or “try harder.” • Fairness: Not being placed in the toughest schools, given the most challenging students, or being the first asked to make last-minute room or grade level changes • Honesty:…

Fear, Stress, and Learning

Obstacles to the learning process Excerpt from “Learning and the Brain,” chapter 4 of Creating Emotionally Safe Schools by Dr. Jane Bluestein © 2001, Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL. This excerpt was extracted from the manuscript for this book and may be slightly different from the actual printed copy. The entire bibliography of Creating Emotionally Safe Schools is available on…

Motivation vs. Manipulation

There is a difference You see the kids on task and behaving, and it’s natural to want to reinforce what they’re doing. By the same token, the kids who are dragging their feet or not doing their work (or chores) may need a bit of a fire lit under them. There are positive and effective…

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Background and ESSA Context The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA—now also coined as the “Every Student Succeeds Act”—ESSA) was passed by Congress and signed by the President on December 10, 2015. It will be phased in over the next two years, and will not be fully in place until the 2017-18 school year when…

Checklist: Characteristics of Positive Teacher-Student Relationships

Evaluate your relationships Use this checklist to evaluate patterns in your current relationships with your students. If you have implemented a specific discipline or motivation approach, does it encourage relationships in which the following are true? (Click here for a description of each category.) Proactivity: ___ I focus on prevention–not reaction. ___ I attempt to…