The Global Search for Education: 12 Teacher Bloggers Discuss Their Most Challenging Classrooms

Posted by: C.M. Rubin, The Global Search for Education

October 2nd, 2015

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The Global Search for Education (GSE) is a regular contributor to the Edmodo Blog. Authored by C.M. Rubin, GSE brings together distinguished thought leaders in education and innovation from around the world to explore the key learning issues faced by today’s nations. Look for a new post every Friday and join the Global Search for Education Community on Edmodo to share your perspectives with their editorial staff.

We’re keeping Teachers at the top of our global radar in a week of intense media focus on the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Talented teachers will be central to achieving the challenging goals set by the new Agenda. This month we posed this question to our Top 12 global team: What was your most challenging classroom and how did you turn it around?GSE (1)

The stories shared by our teachers from around the world will make you laugh and cry, but most of all they will make you wiser about the incredible work dedicated teachers are doing every day to prepare students for a 21st Century World.

“At one point during the year, someone tied a crowbar and crushed cans under my car. I guess he hoped I couldn’t come to school the next day,” recalls Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher). “Somewhere amidst the struggle,” Vicki prevailed and shares 5 excellent tips, ending with this wise caveat: “Before you get to great things, first you have to get past the worst.” Read More.

“We need to get going. No, we’re not going to the gym. No, I’m sorry. Because it’s not gym time. I’m circus tall…I know. No, no….Tough Class? Relax, Use the 1st Rule of Hypnotism,” advises Todd Finley (@finleyt), who provides us with some more brilliant tips on how to keep a class orderly. Read More.

“The boys started treating that class, not as a learning environment, but as the pre-party to the afterschool plans they all had.” Using experiences with her young son as a guiding principle, Pauline Hawkins (@PaulineDHawkins), author of Uncommon Core: 25 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in a Cookie Cutter Educational System, switched things up in the classroom, incorporating physical activity into her teaching. It worked; students were more likely to focus if they were given short periods of exercise. Read More.

“Did you know, says Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz), “that the brain retains 5% of what is lectured and 90% of what is actively engaged!” For Craig, a positive rapport with his students is “Everything!” He avoids lecturing them, but when he must, he pretends he is keynoting at ISTE… Read More.

“So how do you plan lessons for a class you know will be at vastly different levels of understanding after just 5 minutes?” Richard Wells (@iPadWells) found that he could condense material into short videos that students would then be able to watch at home: “If it’s condensed with clean, edited, uninterrupted delivery of all information all students need to know.” This allowed him to abstain from teaching, and consequentially, he was able to dedicate all of his class time to project-based learning. Read More.

“Each group brings with them a new set of challenges.” Wise words from Beth Holland (@brholland), our blogger at large who provides 3 great strategies to make the classroom experience more enjoyable for both teacher and student. Read More.

After failed attempts at communication, and various attempts at internal reflection, our guest blogger James Alan Sturtevant (@jamessturtevant) says he realized “the problem was not my students, it was me, and my ego, and my expectations, and my limited perspective.” Thanks to James’ “Teacher’s Eureka Moment,” he was able to find solutions to a challenging situation. Read More.

“Teachers who are highly reflective and place a premium on professional development stand the best chance for surviving and thriving challenging classrooms,” states Joe Bower (@joe_bower), who has been teaching for 16 years. Joe offers 3 things highly reflective teachers understand, placing particular importance on the mental state of the teacher: “If the teacher is bored or unhappy, the students are more so.” Read More.

Tom Bennett (@tombennett71), Joe Bower, Susan Bowles, Lisa Currie, Vicki Davis, Todd Finley, Pauline Hawkins, Craig Kemp, Karen Lirenman (@KLirenman), Adam Steiner (@steineredtech), Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches) and Richard Wells are The Global Search for Education 2014 Top 12 Global Teacher Bloggers.

Continue the conversation in the Global Search for Education Community on Edmodo



Left to right top row: Adam Steiner, Susan Bowles, Richard Wells, Todd Finley
Middle row: Vicki Davis, Lisa Currie, C. M. Rubin, Pauline Hawkins, Joe Bower
Bottom row: Craig Kemp, Silvia Tolisano, Tom Bennett, Karen Lirenman


C.M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, is the publisher of CMRubinWorld, and is a Disruptor Foundation Fellow.

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