Mar 21

We Do This Everyday #4

Excellence in Engaging - You Have to Care about the Kids

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We do our best each day to be authentic, relevant and engaging in the virtual education space. This podcast will help you see that you, too, can survive and thrive in the new and evolving world of blended and hybrid platforms for learning. For many years the WOL Institute has provided the BEST in online virtual learning for K-12 schools. We hope our experience in the virtual world will help you navigate and succeed.
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Shownotes and more…. 

What a pleasure to talk with Michiyo Buckwalter and Lauren McMinn in episode number 4 of We Do This Everyday about what really connects learners to attend virtual live sessions.  Listen in to learn more about our teachers and how they engage learners virtually!!

Schedule Classes for Next Year

Lauren and Michiyo have learned over time that the content they teach is important, AND, more importantly, that teaching the person is the real avenue to engaged learning. As we talked this week Michiyo told us just how important her relationship with Wilson College was in moving her from a teacher of content to a teacher of children/learners. (So many great details please listen in). 

Here are a few key takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Love is a big word. We are not talking about romantic love, we are talking about caring deeply about the people, the subject, and the community we work in. Sometimes this can be called ‘trustworthy’ space. There are people who don’t feel the love… Here is an alternative view shared by some teachers in EdWeek.

  2. Students with difficult lives (that might be all of them and us during this pandemic) need to know someone cares. They need a place where they can be comfortable and safe. Otherwise learning will be difficult. This is a great article about CARING ADULTS as it related to learning.

  3. Michiyo sang us a song that she sings to her students in this podcast. (The key idea is that we are all beautiful flowers - and that each of us is a seed, worthy of blooming - in our own way). If you need to hear that today - click below. Listen and see the words that Michiyo sang to us in the video! Smap-世界に一つだけの花 

  4. Learning to move to a student-centered class was a big shift for Michiyo. Having students know that they are unique and not competing is very important. She used the song to let each student know they are ok just as they are. It ties into using Principal Wayman’s message of telling children that they are loved as they are - unconditionally! 

  5. There is no shortcut to being a good teacher. It takes a lot of preparation. Michiyo highlights the value of the Wilson College Teacher Certification Pathway program that helped her to understand the value of kids over the content. 

Engaging Activities from Lauren and Michiyo

Lauren - She uses a Calendar with everyone’s special dates each month. This allows the students to share what is important to them, giving them a sense of voice and value. It helps Lauren to know something about the kids’ lives as well. Special events, sports, performances, etc. 

Michiyo - Uses pop culture as a way to hook students and keep them interested  - Her idea of  “today’s keyword” - ties to something about Japanese culture. Having a routine to introduce the culture and connect it to new vocabulary is a sound practice for having students learn, not just memorize words or phrases.

Michiyo also uses a ‘Halftime Show’ during each lesson! - we sometimes call these brain breaks where you might do a song or have students move and stretch.


Leadership Corner

Michiyo inspired me to learn more about the leadership of Principal Wayman. Principal Wayman offers leadership consulting, too! I bet she is great!

These are her 3 Pillars of Success (From this TED Talk):

1. If you’re going to lead, lead.

It does not work to stay in the office, delegate work, and be afraid to be disliked for addressing what needs to be addressed. But of course, it can’t be done alone — assembling a top-notch team to tackle problems together allows you to face all sorts of things together. And working with the students - her school developed a discipline program aptly titled: “Non-negotiable.” The student's voice is critical.

2. So what. Now what?

Cliatt-Wayman says that there were more than enough excuses to go around when she started. That is probably true in most places. But so what, Cliatt-Wayman, says what did we plan to do about the problems? Eliminating excuses is a leader’s primary responsibility.

3. If nobody told you they love you today, remember I do.

“If someone asks me my real secret,” says Cliatt-Wayman, “it’s that I love my students, and I believe in their possibilities unconditionally. I see only what they can become.”

Listen to her inspiring TED Talk and read more on her on this webpage.

Thanks for listening and subscribing to We Do This Everyday!! If you need help with World Languages check out our offerings.

A guest post by
Lauren is a French instructor with experience K-12 in public, private, and charter school settings. She is a Virtual Learning Specialist at the World of Learning Institute and is passionate about language instruction.