Category: Teaching

Need a New Job? Here’s What You Do

You’ve been teaching for five years and love what you’re doing. You consider yourself darn lucky to be working with colleagues that are friends and a boss who always puts your needs first. Most of the teachers at your school have been there years — even decades — and you have no doubt that, too, will be you. So, you don’t bother to keep your resume up-to-date or expand your teaching skills other than what is required for your position. In short, you found the square hole that fits your square peg.

Until the day that changes. There are dozens of reasons, from new bosses who want to shake things up to your husband gets a job in a different state. The only good news: Your boss told you already, giving you time to job hunt for the new school year. For many schools, if they’re going to make staffing changes, early Spring is when they start looking for the new people. For you as a job hunting educator, this becomes the best time of year to find a job.

Digital portfolio sites

Rather than a two-page printed document that can be lost and serves only one user, a digital portfolio posts your resume online, in an easy-to-understand format. This makes it more available, transparent, robust, and quickly updated. This is the modern resume, tells future bosses you can use technology as a tool, and can give you an edge in a competitive job market. It organizes your qualifications, evidence, and background in one easy-to-reach online location. Interested parties can check it without bothering you and decide if the fit is good. You do nothing — which can save the disappoint of sending out a resume and getting nothing but silence back.

Here are suggestions for digital portfolio sites:


Tech Teacher Appreciation Week

I posted this article last year, got lots of reads, so am republishing with some updates. I’ve included information about:

  • How tech teachers are different than other teachers
  • Why tech and the teacher who manages it in your school has become more important than ever
  • How to talk to a tech teacher (hint: they’re a little different; heed these suggestions)
  • Gifts tech teachers will love

Tech Teacher Appreciation Week: The First Full Week of May

There’s always been something mystically cerebral about people in technical professions like engineering, science, and mathematics. They talk animatedly about plate tectonics, debate the structure of atoms, even smile at the mention of calculus. The teaching profession has our own version of these nerdy individuals, called technology teachers. In your district, you may refer to them as IT specialists, Coordinators for Instructional Technology, Technology Facilitators, Curriculum Specialists, or something else that infers big brains, quick minds, and the ability to talk to digital devices. School lore probably says they can drop a pin through a straw without touching the sides.

When I started teaching K-8 technology, people like me were stuffed into a corner of the building where all other teachers could avoid us unless they had a computer emergency, pretending that what we did was for “some other educator in an alternate dimension”. Simply talking to us often made a colleague feel like a rock, only dumber. When my fellow teachers did seek me out — always to ask for help and rarely to request training — they’d come to my room, laptop in hand, and follow the noise of my fingers flying across the keyboard. It always amazed them I could make eye contact and say “Hi!” without stopping or slowing my typing.

That reticence to ask for help or request training changed about a decade ago when technology swept across the academic landscape like a firestorm:


How to Become a Tech Teacher

I know from personal experience that tech teachers are in short supply. It’s not unusual for a school to transfer the PE teacher or 2nd grade teacher into the Tech Teacher job because they can’t find anyone else for that position. ZDNet has a great article addressing the subject:

How to get into tech as a teacher

Tech careers are in high demand. The tech field attracts many career-changing professionals with strong salaries and diverse career paths. And teachers are uniquely positioned to move into tech.

If you’ve wondered how to get into tech as a teacher, you may think the field is intimidating. But while some tech careers require coding skills, many do not. By highlighting your transferable skills and educational strengths, you can move into careers like instructional designer, eLearning developer, training specialist, or technical writer. 

Read on…

More about teaching tech


Has Teaching Changed since the Pandemic?

Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Christian Miraglia, wrote an interesting article on changes in teaching since the pandemic. I think you’ll find a lot to relate to:

Has Teaching Changed Since the Pandemic?

March 13, 2019, for many educators in California and nationwide, was a day that will forever be etched in their memories. It was the day that many school districts closed temporarily, or so they thought, due to the spread and uncertainty of COVID-19. What nobody could have seen was that these closures would become more permanent and reshape the educational landscape for years to come. Changes to daily instruction have become the norm as students were absent due to illness, teachers were absent due to COVID-19 exposure or their children having been infected or exposed, in-face instruction shifting to online and then back to face-to-face. 

Recently I listened to K-12 educators at a session hosted by a local university designed to have teachers meet and share their experiences from the past two years. The output of emotions from these brave educators who detailed what it is like to teach during this challenging time was gut-wrenching. 

The resiliency of these educators is to be commended as they navigated the daily challenges of policy changes, students coming and leaving, the caring for themselves and their children.  In listening to them, a common theme resonated from the group, the value of networking.


Model Teaching–How Today’s Educators Learn

Thousands of teachers every year take education classes to renew their license, move up to the next salary range at their school (I did that–often), or learn teaching skills they didn’t get in their degree program (like remote teaching or in-depth technology). This used to mean enrolling at your local college or online institution. Now, the right classes may not be available, or available but at the wrong time, or the class is full before you get a chance to enroll. You may find a program that meets some of your requirements but not all and wonder if you should settle. What you need–and want–is one program that fulfills your needs, not what they think you need.

I recently received an email from the folks at Model Teaching. They have a huge catalog of K-12 education training classes that are offered online, on open schedules, and at affordable rates. Enrollment includes all required materials–no extra charges for books or subscriptions–as well as templates that can be immediately applied to your teaching.

I realized this program was what lots of my colleagues were looking for but couldn’t find. Until now.

What is Model Teaching?

Model Teaching is an online educator training program with a goal not only to provide teaching knowledge but to improve overall student performance. Classes are designed to help new and experienced K-12 teachers master concepts and immediately apply them to their lessons. The catalog include topics relevant to today’s K-12 education offered in a variety of approaches that meet  teacher needs. Some are a short introduction to a concept (what they call Quick Classes–usually about an hour). Others, offer a certificate (multi-week deep dive into a topic) or grad school credit with official transcripts through one of their partner Universities (such as University of Massachusetts and the University of the Pacific).

All classes follow an easy-to-use course design:

  • establish goals–what students will learn by the end of the class
  • provide a clear module-based learning path culminating in a ready to use action plan
  • include resources for both teachers and students in a variety of modalities–text, video, and downloadable resources
  • assess success at completion

How to get started

Model Teaching makes it easy to get started:

  • Set up an account–quick and easy; nothing tricky
  • All accounts include a dashboard to track courses taken/being taken, certificates earned, modules completed in each class, which classes in your overall plan are completed, how long you’ve spent working on the class, and more. Here’s my dashboard:

As you proceed through your personal program, check this often to track progress.

  • Search the course catalogue by 1) credit type (Quick Classes, PD, or grad school credit), 2) content, 3) Academic partner (the college or University you are sending credits to), or 4) grade level. Topics include but not limited to:
    • Flipped Classrooms
    • Student-led Classroom Management
    • Elementary Math
    • Writing Prompts
    • Blended Learning
    • Transforming Traditional Classroom Lessons to Online Learning
    • Academic Intervention for Students with Disabilities and Special Needs
    • UDL
    • Bloom’s Taxonomy
    • Effective Writing Prompts for All Students
  • Click the class you’re interested in for more detail. Here are two examples. The top one is a professional development class, the bottom one for grad school credits:

  • If you aren’t sure what classes to take, Model Teaching provides an interactive map. Select your state and then read about the requirements:

  • Once you start a class, proceed at your own pace, as fast or slow as works for you. You can watch the video, rewatch, submit assignments and assessments when you’re ready. Your dashboard tells you how much time you’ve spent and how much remains before you must complete the course.
  • At completion, students receive a certificate (or grad school credit) and feedback from certified instructors.

What I really like about Model Teaching

There are many pieces to this learning platform that are unique in the education industry. I can’t list them all, but here are a few I particularly liked:

  • Though online, classes require only basic tech knowledge. Participation is compatible with all platforms (Mac, PC, Chromebooks, smart phones, tablets) and all browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and others). A PDF program (like Adobe Reader) and Microsoft Word or Google Docs will satisfy most (all?) course requirements.
  • I can sign up for one class or build my own PD bundle at a discounted price.
  • At any time, I can view my gradebook to see how I’m progressing. I never wonder if I’m passing.
  • Learning is presented in a variety of modalities, such as text and audio. I can also download the video as a PDF.
  • Courses follow a standardized format so I always know what to expect.
  • Classes include lesson templates that I can immediately apply to my classes, during or after the class is taken.
  • Courses start as low as $10 and there are discounts for multiple courses and for schools/districts. There is also a free trial, to be sure this approach fits my way of learning.
  • If you are an administrator signed up for a school subscription, you can assign classes to teachers based on individual needs, build learning plans for a team, assign a subscription of all courses to every teacher on campus and let them pick courses for their professional development (PD). Administrators can monitor progress of everyone enrolled in courses, and more from their dashboards.

Still curious? Check out this three-minute overview of Model Teaching:

Professional Development Courses – Model Teaching from Adam Pond on Vimeo.

Easy to get started, flexible plans, relevant teaching topics–Model Teaching is an excellent choice for great teachers.

–Note: Model Teaching partnered with Ask a Tech Teacher for this overview, but opinions are my own.

–For more information, visit their website or their Facebook page

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

What You Might Have Missed in January–What’s up in February

Here are the most-read posts for the month of January

  1. Public Domain Day and Happy New Year!
  2. How to Change the Dynamics of Peer-to-peer Learning with Tract
  3. Top 10 Hits and Misses for 2021
  4. Ready To Go Back To School? 7 Fun Lesson Ideas To Start The New Year
  5. 4 (free) Posters About Reading
  6. Practices of Tech-savvy Teachers
  7. 23+ Websites on Animals
  8. 5 YouTube Features for Teachers
  9. Google Earth Lesson Plans
  10. How Minecraft Teaches Reading, Writing and Problem Solving

Here’s a preview of what’s coming up in February:

  • Groundhog Day
  • World Read Aloud Day
  • Simulations as a Teaching Strategy
  • Grading Practices
  • 3D Printing Websites
  • Tech Tips
  • Valentine’s Day Online Resources
  • Free Posters
  • The Metaverse and Education
  • President’s Day Activities
  • Teacher Training: Model Teaching
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day
  • Instagram: A Student Vehicle for Social Change 

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.