Why Talking Teacher Tenure Is Smart

Why Talking Teacher-Tenure Is Smart


“Hey, Doc! Got a minute?”

“Good morning, Ginger. Yes. I have time. How are you?”

“Forgive me, but I have come to gossip.”

“Okay. I will indulge: but keep to the facts”—

“I saw it with my own eyes. . .
Isn’t there a teacher tenure-reason for dismissal policy?”

“Yes, there is.”

“Are you familiar with its policy?”

“Yes, I am, but what does teacher tenure have to do with”—

“Okay. Okay. I will tell you: Rumor has it that Mrs. Jumpstart and Mr. Peterson are having an affair”—

“Are, are, are—aren’t they both married, correct?”

“Yes! The rumor started on Facebook, but I actually caught a glimpse of Mr. Peterson touching Mrs. Jumpstart’s hand while they were walking to their offices. . .”

“Touching another’s hand is no proof that individuals are having a love affair. . .”

“Yes, but, it’s all over social media”—

“Look, Ginger: thanks, I have heard enough (Doc laughs seriously). If the only proofs you have are “rumor started on Social Media” and that you saw “them touch hands,” well, those reasons are not sufficient as proof for anyone’s dismissal.”’

“It’s not?”

“No. In most states, “immorality” is a reason for an employee’s dismissal. In fact, an approximate 22 out of 50 states’ policies report “immorality” as an intolerable aberrant force.”


“Meaning, if an employee is found to be immoral—under a fair trial-review the employee will be dismissed.”

“What are the basic tenets of teacher tenure, Doc?”

“Most states have their own metrics in which they follow, but in Delaware, for instance, the tenets are immorality, misconduct, incompetence, neglect of duty, willful and persistent insubordination, reduction in staff . . . And, in, say, Alabama, the tenets are incompetence, insubordination, neglect of duty, reduction in force, failure to perform duties in a satisfactory manner—-And, for one more example, in Maine, the tenets are oddly different, and they are unfit to teach, services not profitable for school, just cause, failure to help students pass state exams. . . However, immorality is not delineated in Maine’s policy, yet it could fall under its “just cause” category.”

“It’s true, then. . . One may compromise his or her job based on tenets of policy-law.”

“Yes! Therefore, as employees, we must be upstanding individuals and capable of implementing our jobs.”

“Poor Mrs. Jumpstart and Mr. Peterson. . . Perhaps they will not be ‘called on the carpet’”— How embarrassing would that be?”

“. . . And how immoral that would be. . . If rumor is on social media the possibility of review of the incident might be called. . . I hope for the sake of their honors that the situation turns mute and all will be forgotten—“

“Yet, in education—and in other sectors of business—one must be aware of tenure law. No one is exempt from its accountability. Teacher dismissal, for sure, “requires that the employment of a teacher whose teaching certificate is revoked by the State Superintendent of Education be immediately terminated,’ again, pending an overturn of the conviction.”’

“I realize that you shun gossip, Doc, yet, I am pleased I shared the situation with you because now I have a good understanding about the significance of teacher tenure, which you have patiently explained . . .”

“Gossip has its place, I suppose, only not at work. . . I, myself, try to do better because I know better. Yet, knowledge of policies is always supportive in upholding morality.”

“Thank you, Doc”—

“Ah, Ginger—remember the importance of teacher tenure law, and enjoy a long trouble-free career, and, saying with a caring tone, leave the gossip of “Jumpstart and Peterson to their own fates. . . ”

“I will, Doc. Thank you, again.”

Below are 10 Overall “Be” Tips for staying employed:

  • Be in position of job-preference.
    Be knowledgeable about job.
    Be competent in executing duties.
    Be mindful of hierarchy.
    Be professional.
    Be respectful.
    Be loyal.
    Be prudent.
    Be moral.
    Be nice.

Source: Education Commission of the States: Teacher Tenure-Reasons for Dismissal (2014)

How to use Stream of Consciousness to Motivate Yourself to Persevere

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How to use Stream of Consciousness to Motivate Yourself to Persevere

Still another day and nothing done. What’s really going on? Why am I not motivated to put action to my ideas? Perhaps my ideas are not clear enough. Perhaps I lack skills— no, no. That’s not it: I have skills. Then, in the blessed name of Marvin Gaye’, “What [the hell] is going on?”

Direction. That’s it: I lack direction. Which way to start? I have not mastered the understanding of direction: I mean, I see directions on a map—North, South, East, West, but how do I apply those directions to the streets? To real life?

You know, I may be on to something here. Perhaps I cannot motivate myself to do what needs to be done because I do not know which direction to take. Hmmm.

Even so, I can’t just sit here, blocking my own traffic. Yes, I can, for a little while. No, no, I can’t. My ‘little while’ has transformed into years. That’s un-look-able (un-look-able? I like that word). How can I look myself in the mirror or in my mind, for that matter? No, no. I must find a way to motivate myself, but how?

What did I used to do to accomplish my goals? I mean, I have accomplished a lot—higher education, production of programs, instruction for others—Ooh, no, wait: Let’s get real.

None of those accomplishments brought living-everyday-success That’s necessary for respectable survival, is not it? (That sounds corny). Still searching for truth. . . Well, what happened to the genuine goals?

Why did [they] not bring about necessary for every-day? Perhaps I pissed off people who could help me? Jealously of others, perhaps, too? No, no. No hubris about myself, really. Just insights.

So, I took the wrong direction again. My feet were on the accelerator too heavily, and I was passing by—No one likes being passed by. Perhaps? No, no, not even I.

So, wrong direction again? What else? What other realizations blocking my path of motivation? My feelings, my expectations, my-my-my ego? Well, that’s foolish. Throw ego out the window. No one cares about ego. Not even I—

Well, what have I read lately to help myself out of this conundrum? Well, according to research—motivation is all the same in significance— motivation is “to be moved to do something.”

I am moved. “Motivation is different for everyone, yes?” For me, motivation is action. It’s that star in the sky I have always been traveling to reach. Okay. I understand that part.

It’s time for new thought and firm action, Persona. My thoughts are visible. Now, what action, my dear? I shall position my mindset in a new direction. I must head north, no looking south. No deviating west or east. Just move north. Okay. I got this.

I will fuel my body-vehicle with tools I need to move north—computer, pen, paper (like stationery close by), cell phone (take notes there), gumption, and grit, and time.

Time?? Make it clear now. Yes, time. My body- vehicle must move within agile time to proceed readily: gumption and grit live within me—used to be—I was lost but now I’m found. [who said that? Is that a song?) . . . In other words, I was lost.

Feel better? Actually, I do. Just writing, rambling helps, just sharing my stream of consciousness . . .

So, Persona, what have I learned about motivating myself?

Well, in a nutshell, the critical lessons to motivate myself are these that shadow—

(1) Ask myself critical questions.

(2) Listen to my heart.

(3) Clear my directions.

(4) Put action to new thought.

(5) Organize my working tools.

(6) Use gumption and grit when maneuvering.

(7) Focus on my purpose.

(8) Share with others, and listen to their perspectives as well.

(9) Begin a journey of motivating myself to achieve my goals and to help others.

(10) Realize that writing and rambling can be motivating. [So, keep thoughts new, and keep action going—].

Well, I suppose it was, indeed, a good idea to just start writing— no rhyme, no cohesion, no direction—just thoughts: thoughts of feelings, feelings of guidance, and guidance for direction.

Cynthia Mathews

Doctor of Education



How to Motivate Teenagers to Learn

How to Motivate Teenagers to Learn


In recent findings, Cognitive Neuroscience supports “yes” to rewards to enhance learning outcomes.  Agreeing, Murayama & Kitafami (2014) reveal that a modulation function by the reward network in the brain sponges on a lift to influence cognitive progress, and a number of motivational studies proves that reward systems in schools elicit practical implications for education. Although students may learn extrinsically or intrinsically, the truth remains to be refuted either way that one approach is better than the other.

Research stands strong on each side of the see-saw contest. Intrinsic motivation is better than extrinsic motivation because intrinsic motivation emanates from within whereas extrinsic motivation emanates from outside, producing results only by extending rewards.

Other researchers posit rewards may indeed be helpful to learners yet only when the assigned task does not maintain already an intrinsic value for the learner. Meaning, if interest in a particular task does not automatically reside within the learner the reward may help to increase the interest for the task to be completed.

Consider a group of teenagers, ages—13-17–in a classroom setting—what is the norm of behavior the students present? Seminal research states, per public schools in United States, 33 percent of students show apathetic behaviors toward learning, and many classroom teachers would vouch that fewer than a normal class size of students show little interests in school or in learning overall.

Thus, would it be fair to infer that many students are not intrinsically motivated to learn? Students do not uphold personal interest in the task at hand, and some students would extrinsically complete assignments only due to being inspired or feared of the consequences.

Regardless, schools must uphold accountability to meet instructional standards for their students and school. A sensible strategy would be to include in lesson plans motivational programs to increase student interest in learning.

Motivation, which can be augmented with a little artfulness—could aid all types of learners. Thus, extrinsic or intrinsic value of learning becomes futile to argue given the knowledge that most students are not intrinsically motivated and need outside stimulation (extrinsic motivation) to spark their interests in learning—

Hence, a program of recognition and immediate feedback and assurance of miniature prizes— leading up to elevated prizes—is the most effective way to build momentum in student desired learning.

Teenagers adore prizes—snacks, free time, trophies, and money. Expressively, students appreciate recognition and are better motivated when their recognition accompanies a tangible prize. Thus, savvy educators might consider adopting a student motivational program by creating a viable plan that would be agreeable with all teachers; top educators should leave motivational incentives, however, up to individual teachers, expecting, of course, that all teachers will comply with implementing a motivational program.

Another consideration for motivating teachers to motivate students is to ask teachers to imagine evaluating dismal middle school students’ test scores; in this light, educators may be forced to reinvent the way they execute motivational instruction for students to increase their test scores. In any case, students may need to be extrinsically motivated first before they can become intrinsically motivated to enhance their learning and test scores.

Intrinsically or extrinsically— what does it matter to young students learning? Rare occasions exist where teenagers rebuff prizes. The implication is that educators should put more emphasis on student learning and apply tangible rewards that will help elicit academic success rather than rely totally on motivating students one-way-or-the-other—intrinsically or extrinsically.

In essence, if a means is feasible to recognize student academic improvement by motivational design, why bother with the question “which is better—intrinsic or extrinsic motivation?” Research supports both concepts as useful when applied to the equivalent student at hand.


Below are suggestions for starting a motivational classroom and school program:

(1) Begin with a motivational program in the classroom to evolve into a school program end of school year.

(2) Allow teachers autonomy in creating classroom programs yet to collaborate with other teachers in creating the end-of-year-program.

(3) Throughout the year, provide mini awards—compliments, sticker notes, acknowledgement, candy, and then end of every nine weeks, present a top student 9-week award.

(4) Display pictures of the 9-week winners inside classrooms and/or around the school building.

(5) End of school year, students for every class—math, English, science, history, etc.—that made top student each nine weeks— receive a prize (trophy and money).

(6) Use teacher money for classroom prizes (optional), yet check with curriculum department for monetary support granted to schools through federal funds. Or, ask the principal of school to sponsor the end-of-year-program via funds in his principal account.

(7) Announce end-of-year-winners through school intercom, social media, and local news.

Cynthiamathews.blog (2020)

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How to Motivate Students to Copy Writings of the Greats

How to Motivate Students to Copy Writings of the Greats

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“My students will not write,” you complain.

Why not?

Have you observed their scribbles? Have you asked students why they do not write?

First, determine reasons for students’ unwillingness to write, and then generate a strategy to motivate students to write.

If you determine that students lack basic skills in writing, such as not knowing how to construct a sentence, start from the beginning: Teach parts of speech. Help students understand the basic elements of grammar—noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, preposition, adverb, interjection, and conjunction.

Students learning parts of speech will require time to learn because lessons should be spaced-taught and many examples should be illustrated, and students must be able to identify each part of speech.

For student mastery of parts of speech, speak the name of each part during instruction. Always call the term what it is—noun, adjective, conjunction. This strategy will help prolong students’ memory regarding the lesson. Moreover, repeat a myriad of exercises for student-identification of the parts of speech, for the more practice with parts of speech the more opportunity for student learning.

Next, teach sentence structure—sentence versus fragment; compound verses run-ons Also, add phrases, because phrases help to elongate sentences, which also adds to the structure quality of the statement.

To help students remember these lessons, review the lessons until students prove through assessments that they have mastered these skills. Only after students are able to identify the basics of grammar to influence their own writing will they be motivated to begin to write.

As a teacher, your next challenge will be to motivate students to generate ideas for which to write. You might encounter a stall in student-productivity by giving students writing-autonomy initially, yet always do.

If students have no idea what to write about and are not pleased with topics you, as teacher, suggest, students will shut down, for they would rather not complete the writing task, leaving you to figure out reason they do not write, before they scribble something proving they indeed cannot write. Many students will not place themselves in unfavorable conditions in front of others, and especially in front of teachers.

“So, how should I as a teacher motivate students to write?”

Do the unthinkable:

Allow students to “copy” excerpts or passages of classical or good writings. Because students are not required to think of their own topics, they will be motivated to simply copy a piece of writing to gain a sense of accomplishment and to avoid the truth of not knowing how to write.

Actually, copying good writers’ work used to be the norm in schools.

Prior to the twentieth century, schools encouraged students to copy writing styles of excellent writers. Some of the world’s best-known writers have mimicked their forerunners.

If you have studied the writing styles of Mahatma Gandhi, Henry Thoreau, Dr. Martin King, Jr., you may have noticed a similarity in their writing of’ sentence structures, in their writing of rhetoric, and in their writing of tones. The aforementioned writers are some of the best writers in the world, when, in fact, many of them copied writing styles of their predecessors or contemporaries.

By twentieth century, however, schools turned to new thought, encouraging students to think of their own ideas and to pen their own thoughts in their own writing styles; thus, began an onset of poor writers and students not attempting to write at all. Students illustrated that they were not ready to be independent writers nor thinkers, especially not during their former school years.

Looking back, our forebears may have understood that polished writings mimic the greats, and that beginner writers should mimic the greats, too.

The art of copying is a motivating strategy to proceed in learning lessons to be understood and to start with an approach that is easy and beneficial to learn.

“So, how should I as a teacher proceed with the copying idea?”

Well, to enhance instruction—curriculum, too, as a byproduct—generate classic essays from the past—works by Tolstoy, Virginia Wolf, Ralph-Waldo Emerson, Richard Wright, just to name a few, to allow students to copy their essays and articles. As a bonus, teach students about the authors’ lives to inspire them to visualize the writers as human beings same as the students are.

As a first lesson to this strategy, assign a read aloud session for students to volunteer to read a passage they will soon copy. Discuss the passage, and then assign a lesson from the passage for the students to copy.

Encourage students to think about what they are copying as they write, so that they will remember the importance of the passage as well as focus on developing a writing style indicative of their writing growth.

“So, motivate students to copy to learn?”

Yes. Always motivate students to write, and if some students show stubbornness about writing, continue to motivate them to write regardless. Motivate students to revel in their new found understanding and latent capability of writing.

Writing is a beautiful form of expression, and every student deserves the opportunity to learn about language, to copy good writers’ styles, to exercise their minds by viewing and studying quality topics, and, finally, to learn how to write.

“No more complaining from me. Going forward, my students will copy writing styles until they have mastered their own styles of writing.”

Absolutely. Let them copy. It’ s a good method to teach them writing.

Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D.

Below are writing strategies to help motivate your students to begin writing:

  1. Teach basic instruction of language.
  2. Space practice student learning of language.
  3. Select short classics (1 page) for students to copy.
  4. Read out loud the classic, and discuss its theme.
  5. Instruct students to copy the classic.

NOTE: A student may need the entire school year to apply this writing strategy, yet with perseverance on the teacher’s part and perseverance on the student’s part, the student can learn how to write, and the teacher can learn how to facilitate and motivate.

Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D.

Doctor of Curriculum and Instruction





How Dressing Professionally Correlates with Respect and Learning

How Dressing Professionally Correlates with Respect and Learning


Motivating students to be on their best behavior and to complete their class assignments start with a leader’s professional dress. While there may be other important points to consider when motivating students to learn, the professional dress is perhaps the best defense against students’ neglect of class assignments.

To fight a war (motivating soldiers/students to learn) warriors need to dress in armor to protect themselves from harm and to place themselves in a position of authority, one that is worthy of respect.

Therefore, to illustrate their authority, leaders and teachers—where appropriate— should dress in professional attire–coat and tie; dress and jacket–polished, comfortable shoes, to reveal they are in charge of the professional learning environment.

Seminal research reports that students are less likely to misbehave (neglect lessons) if they perceive their superiors as worthy of respect and warns that casual dress in a professional setting is a trap of confusion.

The report “Dress for Success” by Effective Teaching.com reveals that students do not learn because they like you, they learn because they respect you.”

The report reminds readers that since the 1980’s, data have shown that teachers who dress professionally produce higher test scores than teachers who dress casually.

Some research explained that when asked of students their preference for learning based on a teacher’s dress, students reported that a teacher who dressed professionally appeared smart and dependable and that they believed learning from teachers who were smart made them believe the lessons they learned were valid.

Supportive of the casual dress, the research also revealed that teachers who dressed casually made students believe the teacher was friendly and easy to approach.

This outcome is important because teachers should be approachable. Yet, common sense alerts people that a professional dress worn by leaders in a learning environment manifests “respect.”

People may not focus intently on the dress, necessarily, yet subconsciously, they have already decided that a professional appearance is preferable to that of a casual appearance, especially when learning from professionals.

Consider soldiers dressed in uniforms; they readily garner respect from other people because they represent honor: They are learned soldiers who fight to protect their people: Soldiers’ uniforms are reminders that persons wearing armor (professional clothing) should be respected.

Similarly, persons dressed in suits and ties or in dresses and coats garner obedience from others because the leaders’ dress-attire represents authority.

People may not readily realize individuals’ dress attire is reason for their respect of others, yet common sense allows truth to ring loud and clear. Leaders are recognized as persons who help others while others learn under their influence, and leaders’ uniforms, their professional dress, help bring about the respect for others to sit straight to listen, to learn.

“The Effect of Teachers’ Dress on Students’ Attitude and Students’ Learning” (Kashem 2019) agrees that the outlook of teachers’ professional appearance creates a learning impression into the minds of students.

The research finalized that teachers’ dress has a positive effect on students’ attitude in classroom learning and that dress reinforces an existing powerful hierarchy of teachers on the minds of others but also on the effectiveness of [instructional] delivery.  Https://www.hindawi.com/journals/edri/2019/9010589/

Suffice it to say, professional dress is the proactive shield against students’ possible apathy that prevents them from receiving  instruction. When a teacher arrives dressed in uniform (professional attire) for “instructional delivery,” the students succumb to the influence and abide respectfully, accordingly.

To help enhance instruction and to influence students to respect authority, below are ideas for maintaining a professional dress when teaching and leading others:

  1. Keep makeup to a minimal, and avoid false lashes unless professionally applied.
  2. Keep nails clean and medium or short in length.
  3. Wear a coat and tie every day. Take off coat when appropriate yet always keep on the tie.
  4. Wear a dress with sleeves and wear a coat with a dress without sleeves.
  5. Wear closed in shoes, never sandals or sling backs or tennis shoes.
  6. Keep hair medium to short length.
  7. Keep after shave and perfume to a minimal.
  8. Walk briskly while wearing a suit and tie or a dress and coat.
  9. Keep mints, not gum, in the mouth.
  10. Wear safe colors–black or navy or brown or grey and a touch of red.

Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D.


Doctor of Curriculum and Instruction

Presenter of Professional Development

“Professionalism is the key to effective classroom instruction.

Thank you. Let me hear from you.

How to Motivate Student Behavior through Proactive Strategies

How to Motivate Student Behavior through Proactive Strategies

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Stop student misbehavior before it happens: Be Proactive.

If you encounter belligerent students, ones that brazenly defy your authority and cause havoc in your classroom, you might be in desperate need to find a solution to this problem before it undermines your authority as teacher.

You must be careful how you proceed with student behavior because school policies and state education laws forbid you as teacher to stridently accost a student by forcing compliance upon her.

In fact, according to many school policies on restraint of students, students must not endure physical force unless such a restraint is necessary to protect students and others.

Belligerent students can become verbally defiant and apathetic about assignments, and they will challenge you as teacher to motivate them otherwise; you must apply classroom management techniques to thwart students’ misbehavior.

An effective way you may manage your students’ attitudes is to be proactive. You must have a plan and reinforce it from the beginning to the end of class time.

Below are strategies to help manifest students’ good behavior and motivate them to quell their bad habits to focus on their classwork instead.


  • Speak with dominance
    Uphold posture
    Be visible
  • Apply rigor
    Show respect
    Recognize Effort
    Bring innovation
    Greet people

Receive a free pamphlet by contacting the author: lukeandlezz@gmail.com

PROACTIVE DISCIPLINE by Dr. Cynthia Mathews, Teacher, Professional Development Consultant, Author, Playwright.

How to Punctuate Sentences while Learning to Appreciate Life

Learning How to Punctuate Sentences: Learning How to Appreciate Life

learn how to punctuate as you learn how to live.

A learner’s ability to apply punctuation correctly—and sometimes creatively—in writing is critically important. Without applying the proper usage of punctuation, a writer may unintentionally provide the wrong message, which, at times, can be unintentionally comical or offensive or unintelligible to read. Moreover, pertaining to school, studies show that some students find it difficult to use punctuation marks during reading and writing, and research shows that students do not practice adequately nor sensibly enough to master the skill of punctuation. Therefore, learning how to apply punctuation correctly while writing and reading is necessary.

Punctuation is a useful tool because it indicates pauses and emphases on ideas and thoughts that are in context of a discourse. Consider the following two statements: “I’m sorry! I love you!” compared to “I’m sorry. . . I love you.” The first statement displays an angry tone with the use of an exclamation point (!), whereas the second statement displays a calm, sincere tone with the use of the period (.) and the ellipsis points (. . .). Depending on the message the writer intends to convey, the knowledge of punctuation will guide her in choosing the correct marks for the right delivery and tone in writing.

To maintain a good tone and delivery, according to research, punctuation helps to support two levels of its own: (1) A sentence level that connotes the structures of a discourse and (2) a sentence level that links words. These structures of words help make sense out of the intended context when the structures are punctuated properly. Without applying the levels of punctuation, sentences will be incomprehensible and possibly annoying to readers.

The point of punctuation is to ensure the learners’ writings are expressed in the manner that they intended. Therefore, if students take the time necessary to understand how to use punctuation in their writing, they will be able to discern how learning about punctuation is beneficial, especially if they aspire to become business leaders or script writers. Learners will need to possess good writing skills to compete for professional job titles.

When learning how to apply punctuation marks correctly in writing, learners may need to repeat practicing lessons often in order to fully understand a punctuation mark’s concept. This type of repetition for learning could be time consuming and tedious. Thus, a method to help facilitate this learning is to practice punctuation by analyzing thought-provoking sentences that require a second or a third reading due to the sentence-complexity. Trying to unravel the meaning of the sentence gives learners an opportunity for punctuating sentences in different mediums, extending the extra practice for learning. The sentences may compel learners to think about the implication of the sentences constructed and to discern how the sentences transport relevance to their lives.

Usually, when learning about punctuation, the pupil encounters plain sentences, ones that have insignificant life meanings. The sentences are usually ordinary even though they are easy to follow. Yet, in advanced studies, studies that reveal carefully constructed sentences, learners may encounter sentences that relate to real world issues. The sentences can help illustrate survival lessons. Besides, well-constructed sentences provide rigor in thinking and elicit the workout necessary for punctuating sentences correctly— or creatively.

To learn more about punctuating and analyzing rigorous sentences, try practicing using the exercises found within the pages of Life Is How You Punctuate It 2! by Cynthia Mathews with Yulia Grecu. The 6 X 9 paper/felt cover in full color with authors’ pictures displayed in dialogue form throughout the book will help guide learners in understanding the rules of punctuation. Each practice sentence is pungent in tone; moreover, the book offers stimulating activities based on Bloom’s Taxonomy and provides answer keys immediately after each lesson.

In life, learners must be vigilant about learning and living; Life Is How You Punctuate it 2! will express how learners may proceed. In any case, learn about punctuation and how to apply it to writing. Readers will feel grateful for the life’s lessons.

Cynthia Mathews, Author

Doctor of Curriculum and Instruction















How to Manage School during COVID-19 Outbreak

How to Manage School during COVID-19 Outbreak


COVID-19 is a virus that can potentially destroy lives, and it continues to be a mystery of how the virus can be obliterated.

The virus may spread from person to person through spews of droplets if either person is without wearing a mask. Spread may also transpire if a mask becomes wet through excessive talking and laughing. Droplets can easily ooze through fabric, depending on quality of masks, especially when an infected person coughs, sneezes, laughs, yells, or talks. Any opportunity of an opened mouth invites the chance of intaking the disease into one’s system. One should also be careful to cover eyes and ears whenever possible, as these areas are sensitive to parasites.

Furthermore, research warns people to remain 6-feet apart from one another when they are in the same space.

Understanding the influence of COVID-19 is the first protective step to rally against the virus.

This awareness is especially important for schools that must manage a significant number of staff and students. Yet, for teachers, with student safety being paramount, teachers must make their classrooms safe and conducive for mingling and learning.

Under the threat of COVID-19, a plan to combat the detrimental effects of the virus must be posted where students and staff may recognize the warning signs and follow procedures to avoid health risks.

An example plan for managing and teaching during a pandemic is as follows:

(1) Draw bold red lines on floor for students not to cross.

(2) Greet students inside classroom, not at classroom door.

(3) Verbally add “urgency” to voice when sharing new rules to follow COVID-19 policy.

(4) Create assignments to include facts about COVID-19.

(5) Place in classroom yellow warning sign-posters about COVID-19-hygiene policy.

(6) Teach listening skills to support the “no talking” policy while teacher is instructing and while students are individually learning.

(7) Be normal as possible while teaching to maintain “trust” among students.

(8) Generate computer Standard based assignments to engage students.

(9) Denounce disruptive student-behavior immediately.

(10) Encourage wearing masks.

(11) Monitor students with vigilance.

(12) Teacher: Wear high quality masks for breathing tolerance.

(13) Suggest that students bring a small bottle of hand-sanitizer to keep at their desks for their own use.

(14) Warn students of the seriousness of their attitudes regarding COVID-19.

(15) Teach the virtue “faith” and apply its principle for both teacher and students.

Covid Management Rules developed by Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D. (2020)

How to Add Creativity and Teacher Autonomy to Instruction

How to Add Creativity and Teacher Autonomy to Instruction

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With a diverse population of students in schools at present, students must learn from standards that reflect and support the individuals they are. The old-fashioned means of teaching status quo standards to all students have failed to promote academic excellence of students across the board. All students, especially Blacks and Hispanics, as indicated by common research, need a teaching approach that is understood and make sense to all different types of students.

In order to teach all students appropriately and effectively, the required standards must be tweaked and sprinkled with creativity. This requirement would challenge administrators to allow teachers to have autonomy and to practice knowledge they have acquired pertaining to teaching and use their own ideas to enhance instruction that they, themselves, believe will help all students.

Research supports that “Educators can create new paths to learning standards by providing more learning options for students. Not all children learn in the same way, or in the same time. By offering more routes to the standards, teachers enable more children to reach them.”

In support of the above quote, the writer of this blog highlights research-based ideas presented by seminal legwork for administrators and teachers to transport to ameliorate their schools for student effectiveness. The research ideas are delineated as written, and, by this writer, an enhanced method of the same idea is recommended.

According to research, school administrators can take the following steps to produce high-achieving schools:

* Create professional development plans to ensure that teachers receive best practices training.
Enhanced: Allow teachers to choose their own topics for professional development. Research shows that many teachers are bored participating in professional development programs that have very little impact on their teacher-influence or on their student-learning. Teachers will be far more appreciative of professional development if they undergo training they need and will indeed use. Besides, only teachers know of skills they need in which to improve.

* Provide time for teachers to work together and coach each other in applying effective instructional techniques.
Enhanced: While teacher collaboration is a good idea for meeting teaching and learning goals, administrators should make sure that teachers placed in groups have learning ideas in common and that they respect one another as individuals and will add to teaching ideas to make them effective for students and for schools. Human nature and the psychology of people can affect scenarios negatively if the right chemistry or the right growth mindsets of teachers collaborating are not in harmony.

* Hire reading specialists to address the needs of struggling readers — especially in the early grades.
Enhanced: Hiring reading specialists is a good idea to aid elementary students, where evidence shows that children learn best in the first three (some research says six) years of their lives. However, by middle school, and most especially by high school, administrators should hold their English teachers accountable for helping students become more proficient readers. Reading is in fact literacy. Reading is in fact an element of language, and English teachers in fact instruct language. Therefore, if given autonomy of being creative to reach their own assigned students’ learning needs, teachers should not need reading specialists’ aid because teachers would have been empowered to intervene in the reading process of learning in a creative and helpful manner.

* Hire highly trained teachers to provide intervention for at-risk populations.
Enhanced: To hire trained teachers should be the goal of every administrator; yet, in times of immediate need, administrators may not be able to locate the perfect teacher for teaching at-risk students. Therefore, administrators must hire the best of the applicants that reveal themselves. If selecting the best applicant is not familiar with teaching at-risk students yet is inclined to teach them, administrators may use this opportunity to offer immediate training in working with at-risk students. This idea will be a bonus for administrators because they will be able to discern the extent of the potential hired teacher’s work ethic.  Thus, there is hope in finding inclined teachers to teach at risk kids, especially when they have administrators’ support, yet administrators must act prudently in making this important decision.

* Provide high-quality summer school programs with follow-up intervention during the school year.
Enhanced: Summer school may be helpful, yet overall it can be a waste of time for all personnel involved. A better strategy to consider is to be proactive during the school year by ensuring teachers are meeting teaching expectations and students are learning. A type of micromanagement might be necessary in this particular case. Once teachers and students are held accountable throughout the school year, an opportunity for summer school will not be necessary because students and teachers will have met recovery of learning by being proactive, not reactive, during instruction.

Teachers can do the following to bring about successful learning environments.
* Use creative and flexible scheduling to extend learning time for students who need it.
Enhanced: Extra-time should entail students’ own time. Whatever students are unable to complete during school time should be allowed for students to finish for homework. To enforce completion of homework, however, a students’ parents should be notified to ensure their children complete the homework. In any case, teachers will be able to document opportunities that students were offered extra time to complete classwork. A note of caution, nevertheless, is that administrators should be careful by adding extra time to teachers’ already busy schedules unless teachers volunteer to help. A better idea to consider is for teachers to maximize their time in the classroom by working in the zone and providing motivation for students to complete their assignments.

* Create classrooms that accommodate different learning styles.
Enhanced: Good idea. Yet, classrooms do not have to be singled out for learning styles. In other words, sections cut out in the classroom to indicate certain learning styles should not become the norm. An idea to consider for learning styles is to allow students to create their own responses to assignments. For effectiveness of learning, however, students must be retaught the same lesson regularly and should be presented in different ways. This idea will also give teachers different styles of lessons to assess, which will guarantee smiles on their faces and alleviate boredom from having to grade many similar-in-style-assignments. 

* Use ongoing, performance-based assessment to guide daily teaching decisions.
Enhanced: Absolutely! An ongoing assessment from teachers should transpire in classrooms and at students’ homes with their parents’ aid. To add to this assessment, teachers might wish to consider mini-rewards as incentives for students to persevere in learning to determine the extent applied to enforce successful outcomes for student performance-based assessments. In the end, nevertheless, the only important benchmark to meet will be the identified scores that students should have earned. This goal of excellence can happen when administrators grant teacher autonomy to allow teacher creativity to guide daily teaching instructions.

Teaching diverse students is a challenge for all schools; no novel idea should be shunned to help meet students’ need. Allowing students to discover lessons in their own way will inspire them to attempt lessons and give teachers something tangible to assess in order to motivate students to persevere. While the research-based ideas presented herein (italicized) are valid and helpful, extending teachers autonomy to be creative to meet all their students’ needs are even more helpful.

Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D. (2020)

Doctor of Curriculum and Instruction

Presenter of Professional Development





How to Avoid Micromanaging Employees

1B3F256C-20AA-4410-BB03-D1B5B7245521-23630-000003ED35DEDAC7How to Avoid Micromanaging Employees

Leaders mean well. They do not always get it right, however—managing employees, that is.

Science psychology shares survey results that 70 percent of employees are unhappy with their jobs. If you look around your own workspace you may discover that some of your colleagues are indeed unhappy and if given the chance for them to talk about their unhappiness, they will be happy to speak about it. You may also think about your own feelings and how you rate your happiness on your job.

Research abounds, especially in humanitarian research and in leadership books that the primary reason people are unhappy with their jobs is they do not appreciate their bosses. Employees claim many bosses micromanage, prompting employees to feel insecure about the directives given to them to complete their duties. Employees relish opportunities for autonomy, for it gives them the chance to use their strengths on their jobs. They do not desire their bosses looking over their shoulders or breathing down their backs: They want leaders that believe in them to do the work.

Research adds that employees complain that leaders tend to show favoritism when they introduce new ideas, clinging to the ideas that are already noted by management rather than accepting new ideas by those who offer them. Human psychology shows that many human beings will shut down when they believe they or their ideas are ignored. People need to feel respected and acknowledged. Some leaders are remiss in making employees feel this way.

Moreover, others complain they feel stifled in their duties. They desire to have autonomy in working, they desire to add their personal spin on the jobs in which they are responsible, for their having jobs that are crafted in their own manner is a big part of their career happiness.

Some leaders believe they must know of everything that transpires under their tenure, that they should monitor employees and correct any insignificant error they see. Understandably, a business must run smoothly if it is to meet its goals.

Yet, to inspire employees to be happier on their jobs, leaders should be clear about their expectations when disseminating job duties to employees. Leaders should step aside and give employees room to complete their work. Leaders can watch from afar and intervene only when necessary.

A systematic approach of monitoring employees without employees noticing can be created. Careful thought of an evaluation program can please employees and leaders. Yet, be reminded that while monitoring employees, leaders should be discreet: Monitor in a way that employees least expect. Leadership styles should help make employees feel confident and competent while they are completing their jobs, not feel uncomfortable and unhappy. Thus, a systematic management tool should help in these endeavors.

Much can be expounded upon the topic of micromanagement, yet, suffice it to say, many employees are unhappy because of it. Leaders, therefore, can help enhance their working- relationship with their employees by further following the suggestions below:

(1) Hire smart people. Ask: “What skills do they possess that can help bring out their best as an employee?”

(2) Pay smart people well. Ask: “What is the highest salary I can offer?”

(3) Place smart people in job areas where they will strive. Ask: “What kind of work environment would this smart person strive that would simultaneously help my company strive?”

(4) Give smart people a manual and important descriptions of their duties: “Ask: “May I count on you to ask me questions that this training manual does not answer?”

(5) Evaluate employees every three months. Provide compliments and / or provide constructive criticism, and suggest professional development. Ask: “How are you liking your job thus far?”

(6) Create a reward system. Make it relevant to job. Ask: “What are trivial, everyday things that are important to you?”

(7) Acknowledge employees every chance you get to promote kindness and goodwill. Ask: “How are you, Jane?”

(8) Be professional in every manner possible to ensure your staff’s respect. Ask yourself: “Do I have the image of a leader?”

(9) Do not micromanage: Lead. Ask: “In what way does my employee need my help?”

(10) Be a life-long learner regarding leading people. Ask: “What leadership report or journal have I read lately that shares successful leadership ideas?”

Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D. (2020)