‘Recipe for disaster’: Former LHHS coach, teacher shares concerns about returning to the classroom

Adeyemi Adams has teaching in his genes. His grandparents and parents were teachers and in his home country Nigeria.

He came to the U.S. on a Ph.D. studies scholarship at Oklahoma State University. As a graduate research assistant, he focused on molecular virology.

His journey led him to Lake Highlands High School where he started coaching soccer and teaching ESL science courses.

In his first year, he received the 2018 PTA Wildcats Award and then won the 2020 RISD Super Teacher Award.

“I teach mainly ESL students, most of which are in their first few months to years in the United States,” Adams says. “They have been very outstanding all round, and their performance has been above and beyond expectations.”

Adams says he is concerned about his 5-year-old son and pregnant wife. Here are his thoughts on schools reopening among the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is your background?

I was born in Nigeria and now a naturalized U.S. citizen. I am from a family of teachers. My grandparents were teachers and principals, same as my parents. Now, my wife and I are teachers. Teaching has always been a strong passion for me, even when it was considered an easy gateway to poverty. Teachers were very poorly paid in Nigeria. The pay is a bit better now. I believe the teaching profession is the greatest platform to make impact and change the world.

How do you feel about teachers returning to class in the fall?

I must say that I am probably the No. 1 person that wants students back in school. I love seeing my students everyday, and I always look forward to seeing them. Summer break is too long for me not to be in class, so I always seek to teach summer school. However, as a trained public health researcher and virus expert, I fully understand the danger in rushing kids to go back in person. Especially in Texas where cases have been skyrocketing. Good news is that parents have been given the chance to choose between in-person and virtual but teachers’ choices are very narrow, if any. Forcing teachers to go back in person at this time is a recipe for disaster, one that will not only affect the teachers but also the students, their families and society at large. Even if we assume that the chances of kids getting sick is low, we need to remember that the teachers and other school staff, including substitute teachers, are not kids. A large portion are people in the vulnerable bracket. They can contract the virus from the kids and also transmit it.

What are some solutions?

There is no perfect solution, but there are some reasonable solutions. We need to pick the best of those. All schools should be virtual for at least the first 12 weeks while we push for better safety measures and more testing in society at large. Remember, these kids don’t live in a vacuum, and they won’t live 24/7 in the school building. They are in contact with others in society. Yes, we know this may not be the ideal situation. Yes, we know that in-person instruction is better but safety comes first. Reopening schools too soon will result in a massive mess. Students will contract the virus and spread it to the teachers, friends and family members. It will only take a few weeks after reopening schools before we go back home because the incidence rate will skyrocket. If it is not good for the bigger society then it is obviously not good for our kids and schools. This is not rocket science.

How do you feel like a “guinea pig?”

I feel like a guinea pig because it is clear that the politicians pushing for schools to open in-person are leaving teachers with little or no choice. They are aware of the danger of such suicidal decisions. For example, Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott wants schools open but said on Fox Business Network that his grandchildren won’t be attending and are opting for distance learning. I and millions of teachers in Texas and across America love our kids and sacrifice immensely for them. We don’t want them to be experimental objects in the hands of some politicians who have shown us multiple times that they only care about their family and money.

What about your concern for your wife and kids

My kid, just like any other kid, deserves to be safe. Sadly, that seems threatened as myself and my wife are subjects of a proposed political sacrifice. We can only pray that we survive this pandemic, made worse by selfish individuals in places of power and their enablers.

Source: https://lakehighlands.advocatemag.com


Is Valentine’s Day at an elementary school a good idea?

We should stop “celebrating” Valentines Day in elementary-school classrooms.

Every year about this time, it’s the same thing for parents of young grade-school students: Time to buy a box of cheap Valentine’s Day cards for everyone in their child’s class so that no child gets more, or less, declarations of love than anyone else. Of course, it’s love of the most insincere kind, since not everyone in an elementary school class likes, much less loves, each other. Why do we put children and their parents through this? Tradition? The kids’ understanding of love is years, in some cases decades, off in the future. Sharing valentines with family members and close friends outside of class clearly teaches them about communicating affection, but in a classroom setting, you have to wonder what if there’s any point at all.

Appropriate & Inappropriate behavior Worksheet / life skills

It’s worth noting that there are people who consider the “card for everyone” policy to render the holiday meaningless for the sake of political correctness. They, of all people, should want to leave impressionable little ones out of the romance sweepstakes. Others, such as Roo Ciambirello writing for BabyCenter note, “Well, okay… I guess. Yes, our kids are going to face disappointments, baseball game losses, hurt feelings, and broken hearts. Does this mean we should be actively pursuing ways to tear them down?” But this gets us back to the basic question: Why do we do Valentine’s Days in grade school at all?

Here’s the math: There are 29,980,000 students in U.S. public elementary schools, where the average class size is 25 students. That’s close to 750 million cards distributed in U.S. public grade schools each February 14th. On the surface, it’s an interesting message to send our children as we train them to be more environmentally conscious. Kids: Reduce your waste stream — also, here are 750 million paper cards to recycle.

It’s certainly a big business for card companies. The Paw Patrol cards above are medium-priced at $7.50 online. At one such bag of cards per student, that’s a gross take of $224,850,000 for these companies. One might want to add to that the candy makers, too, though for grade-school kids, we’re not talking pricey velvet hearts packed with chocolates so much as bags of chalky, homily-printed “conversation hearts,” priced at about $2.50 per bag.

So What does Valentine’s Day do for little kids? Does it impart a lesson of any value at all?

The meaning of Valentine’s Day for older kids and adults is pretty clear. It’s the day when you get to graduate from secret admirer — or stalker, depending on the recipient’s own feelings — or the day no one loves you, everyone loves you, or simply the day you’d better get your partner something if you know what’s good for you. It’s a Cupid-designed obstacle course to many and a genuine Day of Love for the lucky few.

Some experts suggest this challenging nature of the grownup holiday is the best reason for little children to experience it. It gives them a chance to get acclimated and ready for later years’ Valentine’s Days, much the way you’d prepare them for doing their own laundry someday, or death.

For older kids and teenagers, of course, celebrating Valentines Day does make sense, possibly moreso than for adults, even. It’s the age, after all, of crushes, passionate romance won and lost, and love or something like it is on a lot of teens’ minds anyway. Valentine’s Day offers a chance to replace the musky aroma of hormones with candy- and flowers-scented declarations of love.

But back to our little children, those tender, manic little characters so full of emotion and so hungry to learn. There better ways to use classroom time. And they’ll have plenty of time later to learn to fake their feelings.

Seriously, love is great — it makes the world go round. But this is not about love. This is about an apparently pointless grade-school tradition that should be reconsidered. We might want to stop putting young hearts and their parents through this. (If you’re sending your child to school with Valentine’s candy, don’t forget about peanut allergies.)

Source: https://bigthink.com/robby-berman/is-valentines-day-at-an-elementary-school-of-any-use-at-all

Learn Your Students’ Names Quickly

Learning how to correctly pronounce and spell your students’ names is one of the most important tasks you will have to master as the school year begins.

Learning all of your students’ names on the first or second day of school is not very difficult. These quick tips will make it possible for you to go home on the first day of school confident that you know the students in your class well enough to get the term off to a good start.

“Inherited-learned” – Worksheet / life skills

• Put in some preliminary work! Organize your seating charts, study class rosters, and prepare name tag materials.

• Make sure that your students sit in their assigned seats for the first few days so that you can more quickly associate names with faces.

• If you have students fill out a student information form, when you read what your students have written,mentally match their faces to the information in front of you.

• While students are working on an opening-day writing assignment, walk quietly around the room, checking the roll. • Ask each child to say his or her name for you. Repeat it as you study the child’s face.

• Mark pronunciation notes on your roll sheet. Also, make notes to help you match names to students. For example, you can write “big smile” or “very tall” next to a student’s name. These little clues will help you when you are struggling to recall a name on the second day of school. Make sure that you pay attention to characteristics that are not likely to change, such as height or hair color.

• When you cannot recall a child’s name,admit it, and ask for help. When you hear it again, write it, repeat it, an dtry again until you can recall it.

Source: http://teaching.monster.com/benefits/articles/1848-learn-your-students-names-quickly

20 Observable Characteristics Of Effective Teaching

  1. Begins class promptly and in a well-organized way.
  2. Treats students with respect and caring.
  3. Provides the significance/importance of information to be learned.
  4. Provides clear explanations. Holds attention and respect of students….practices effective classroom management.
  5. Uses active, hands-on student learning.
  6. Varies his/her instructional techniques.
  7. Provides clear, specific expectations for assignments.
  8. Provides frequent and immediate feedback to students on their performance.
  9. Praises student answers and uses probing questions to clarify/elaborate answers.
  10. Provides many concrete, real-life, practical examples.
  11. Draws inferences from examples/models….and uses analogies.
  12. Creates a class environment which is comfortable for students….allows students to speak freely.
  13. Teaches at an appropriately fast pace, stopping to check student understanding and engagement.
  14. Communicates at the level of all students in class.
  15. Has a sense of humor!
  16. Uses nonverbal behavior, such as gestures, walking around, and eye contact to reinforce his/her comments.
  17. Presents him/herself in class as “real people.”
  18. Focuses on the class objective and does not let class get sidetracked.
  19. Uses feedback from students (and others) to assess and improve teaching.
  20. Reflects on own teaching to improve it.

Source: https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/20-observable-characteristics-of-effective-teaching/