A Beginner’s Guide to Starting Fresh

Advice for starting with a new batch of coworkers

Starting work with new people can be intimidating but relationships matter. Here are some actions I kept in mind this past week as I started fresh with two new groups of colleagues.

  1. Go to the lunch you are invited to even if you are an introvert and usually do not eat lunch.
  2. Listen more than you talk.
  3. Smile
  4. Offer to help even if it is something small
  5. Ask questions — people like to talk about themselves and their roles
  6. Visit their environment but keep it low key.
  7. Don’t try to change anything…yet.

As I made the rounds yesterday in one of the new schools I now work in, I had quick conversations. The question I had at the ready was, “What is your favorite thing to teach?” Most of the teachers said math which was surprising to me. One showed off her wall of vocabulary.

I got even was gifted a loaf of fresh bread.

I heard from a reading teacher that a 10 minute number activity was something that changed her teaching. I always love hearing stories like this one. I was thrilled she shared it with me.

One teacher told me she was afraid of writing so we are working on it together this first trimester.

All week there was lots of peopling but I think it is going to be worth it. I am encouraged and excited for this year!

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#FMF Hospitality

A Five Minute Friday Prompt

The word hospitality makes me think of warmth. The comfort of having people over who you are entertaining in your living space. The word HYGGE is one of my favorites and it is delicious word that cannot be directly translated into English from Danish. It is about that feeling that is hard to express where the conversation and company is lifegiving. There is often fire and fantastic food and warm beverages included as well. When I am gathering people I am always trying to achieve Hygge.

By clapping and responding you directly support my writing! Thank you!

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Are You One of Us?

A reflection about identity.


Recently I was asked by a fellow teacher:
“Are you one of us?”
Even after being in a coach position for 4 years, there is still confusion about my role. There are a couple factors at play here. One factor is the role I play in certain scenarios. If there is a lock down for instance, I am one of the people with a radio. Two, even though I have a good relationship with my teachers I think sometimes they feel like I’m “checking up on them” because the administrator has asked me to. Three, there is an openness to my position that is different from a teacher even though I have the same contract. When I first started I actually was blocked at first from a meeting and was told at the door “Only teachers.”
I’ve had the honor of being a coach in two corporations but the roles were glaringly different. One coaching was mandatory and I was an evaluator/quasi admin. Here, it is voluntary and not evaluative.

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Questioning #SOL19

Questioning

DOK (Depth of Knowledge) is a scale for questioning I utilize with teachers and students.

Level 3: Strategic Thinking Characteristics

  • Requires deep knowledge
  • Students encouraged to go beyond text
  • Students asked to explain, generalize, or connect ideas
  • Students must be able to support their thinking, citing references from the text or other sources
  • Items may involve abstract theme identification, inferences between or across passages, application of prior knowledge, or text support for analytical judgment about a text

2 Strategies for increasing the rigor and use of questioning

1. Have students write their own questions relevant to the content of the class using DOK question stems.

Not only is this a great creation exercise for students but it also hyper focuses their attention on the content and what is important to know. The students find out quickly that higher level questions are not always the easiest item to write!

DOK 3 Sentence Stems

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Manifesto

I have been working on my manifesto for a long while now. I even read a book about it last year called The Motivation Manifesto by: Brendan Burchard. It is a “living document” as a former boss used to call paperwork which has the expectation for constant updates. The one in my notebook is prettier with each section drawn in its own block.

  • Reading is the gateway.
  • Coffee is necessary.
  • Think fast. Talk slow.
  • Love over fear.
  • Trust your first instinct.

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What is on your manifesto?

Weekend Coffee Share 11

Join me for a conversation and a cup of coffee!

I am so ready for our coffee date today! Since it is the last Saturday before I go back to work lets have a fire in the firepit! A morning fire seems like such a luxury. I have some apple fritters and some fresh coffee.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had my Artist’s Way group video call on Sunday which was super exciting. The people in this group are amazing and all have different avenues of creativity they are pursuing. I have done the Artists Way before on my own but never with a group. There is comfort in this process for me and I am hoping to make some strides using it now.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had training for 2 days this week which was wonderful about EL education. There is a lot to this new program and there were points where I felt a touch overwhelmed or that I needed to start making massive lists!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I met the new coach that is going to be working with me in the grades 3–6 bands. We were able to get some initial chatting done and a little bit of planning for next week. There will be a lot of conversation over the next week.

If we were having coffee I would tell you writing practice happened every day and I used my prompts. I didn’t submit anything this week but that is ok. I am polishing a few things and will get them out before the end of the month.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had a meeting with one of my financial people and I think I am finally able to get this situation under control with the correct paperwork. Fingers crossed — I have my people on it.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I used Kohls to return an item to Amazon which seems really weird but was surprisinly easy and quick. Who knew.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the barista at Starbucks this week made comment about my tattoos which threw me off. I haven’t had anyone comment in a while and I was really surprised. Iam not certain why.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I spent some time with my grandma this week who is going to be 89 in October. Still lives on her own and takes care of other people! She does meals on wheels twice a week and is a volunteer at the hospital.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I can hardly believe I have to go back to school on Monday. I had to get my planner pages aligned because there is already a huge to-do list being created for the first 2 days.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I met with a writing friend who I needed to catch up with yesterday morning. We had the most delightful conversation. She is a gatherer of people and it was fun to hear about the projects she is working on and the groups she has started. She is working on a book as well so talking about that is always fun.

I cannot wait to hear about your week!

Tammy Breitweiser is a writer and teacher who is a force of nature and woman of honor; seer of nuance; an accidental inspirationalist; a keeper of the little red doors, and a conjurer of everyday magic who is busy writing short stories. A future Minnesotan temporarily hiding in Indiana, her poetry has been published in The Storyteller Magazine and her flash fiction in The Ninja Writers Monthly and Elephants Never. Her essay is published in the I Wrote it Anyway anthology. She is a writer for the publication The Noteworthy Journal. You can connect with Tammy through Twitter @TLBREIT and her newsletter here!

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You can also read other coffeesharers here.

#FMF Again

again

Every week I write for 5 minutes with the Friday word. It is time to set the timer and write!

Here we are again — it is Friday again and also the start of the new school year. As an educator, I have the privilege of having fresh starts to my years in January and in August. One of the best parts of the new school year is all the school supplies! It is a time to begin again with new refreshed goals and reflections.

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How to Be A Better Cook

A story about food gossip…

I can cook well but have been out of the habit lately. I do have a few signature dishes which makes it appear like I am a better cook than I actually am. Some of my recipes are ones that I have graciously stolen from friends and then made them my own. Some are fancier than others but all are delicious. Otherwise, what would be the point?

There might not be a perfect meal, but there are close to perfect recipes.

When talking to others, if you mention an unusual ingredient you have cooked with like bok choy then your cooking street cred goes way up. Having a few signature dishes makes it appear as if you are a better chef than you actually are. My husband is really good at taking what’s in the refrigerator and producing a meal out of it or taking leftovers and making it look completely different. I have not honed that particular cooking skill myself.

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