#Reverb13 CheckIn: My Word

#Reverb13 CheckIn: My Word

We’re in the second part of 2014 and I felt the need to check in on my reflections and the promises I made to myself at the end of 2013 through Reverb. A few weeks ago, I made some prompts for myself and anyone else in the community who wants to hold himself accountable, pat herself on the back, or change direction.

Let’s go! Choices: If you chose one, how are you honoring your word for 2014… or…

View On WordPress

Update: Presentation Slides For #WWF2014 Participants

Update: Presentation Slides For #WWF2014 Participants

Hi y’all!

Last week, I had the privilege to work with STEM fellows from the Woodrow Wilson National Teaching Fellowship Foundation in Chicago, IL on career management issues as part of their national conference. I’ve worked with the foundation for four years and it’s such a honor. This year, the Fellows will impact over 90,000 students under resourced communities in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and…

View On WordPress

30 mins early and room is always filling up! #wwtf14

30 mins early and room is always filling up! #wwtf14

Getting ready for our moning co-session on Work/Life balance (w/Sonya Brown) #wwtf14

Getting ready for our moning co-session on Work/Life balance (w/Sonya Brown) #wwtf14

Tracy’s Tips: Teacher Summer Resources!

Tracy’s Tips: Teacher Summer Resources!

Happy summer! If you have just completed a year in the classroom- congratulations! I hope that you take some time to enjoy the beach. If you’re on the job search for a fall position, don’t give up! Stay centered and keep on until you get the result you want.

I am also taking some time this summer to regroup and breathe and have some extremely exciting things to announce in July. Stay tuned!


View On WordPress

How to Use IDoneThis to Write a Teacher Resume

How to Use IDoneThis to Write a Teacher Resume

Here’s a latest addition to my teacher resume tips!

If you’ve updated your teacher resume recently, you likely found it hard to recall all the recent accomplishments that you wanted to consider for new resume content. In my free toolkit, 5 Steps for Constructing Amazing Resume Bullets, I provide some journaling templates to help you collect and analyze your work history. However, the best advice…

View On WordPress

When Lean Goes Wrong

While I’ve always thought there are some great principles in the Lean Startup book and movement, I have never been convinced it’s the way to start and run a business. A single product, maybe, but even then that product will likely fail without the larger vision to support it. 

This small business owner identifies three problems he came up with during his own journey: (1) confusing lean with cheap, (2) letting analysis cause paralysis, and (3) failing to think long term. I would add one more for those who are thinking of going lean as a way to get started.

(4) Don’t discredit the importance of expertise. I see this a lot in my fields of education and recruitment, two soft fields where everyone thinks you can be an expert. If you had a terrible experience as a job applicant, it does not mean you are qualified to build the next recruitment platform. Do the research on organizational science, employee success, and the rest, and talk to recruiters and get one on your team… Or even better, build something you already have real expertise in.

This story about two marketers who had never worked in recruitment but sought out to build a recruitment solution exemplifies that hubris that is often celebrated. This is not “2 legitimate pivots” but wasted time and energy.

I am an alumna of Startup Weekend. There are a lot of good things about that experience, but the idea of calling people on Saturday and Sunday to do market research and get a customer to “validate” under the Lean methodology is also problematic. Not only do you get false data, it can potentially damage relationships (did for me). 

Massachusetts teacher preparation programs lack diversity - The Boston Globe

There is a critical question unanswered in this reporter’s story on teacher diversity. Namely,how does the racial diversity of students enrolled in other academic programs at local Massachusetts colleges compare to those enrolled in teacher preparation programs?

We need to stop comparing the diversity of new teachers to that of K-12 students as a way to think about policy problems and solutions. We cannot solve problems of teacher diversity by ignoring the fact that college students are not as diverse as we’d like to begin with. It’s just not a “public relations” problem about the teaching profession- it’s a problem with the larger pool. For example, according to Peterson’s, Bridgewater State University, a large provider of teachers cited in the article, is 80% white overall. Framingham State is 75% and Salem State is 70%. 

More college success policies and programs will help diversify the teacher workforce.

Also, why were there no new teachers on the educator diversity taskforce who could better inform why people like them make the decisions they do about careers? 

I have other comments on the report for another time.


Chalkbeat has a terrible habit of reprinting press releases and passing them off as news and this is no exception in this story on a recent E4E report on the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) in New York City. And the report has problems. Here are just four.

1. There are a lot of problems with the ATR system, but E4E just rehashed old data and didn’t do any research for their report. Since 2009, the DOE has offered resources and workshops to excessed teachers on career topics via the Teacher Hiring Support Center (http://www.thscnyc.org/home.do).* The UFT also offers workshops regularly. Whether people use them or find them good is up for discussion, but E4E didn’t even bother to check if they existed and passed it off as an original policy recommendation. Lazy.

2. I think it is a non-starting point to discuss a time-limit for ATR placement because you do get into issues of age discrimination that unfortunately occur. E4E has to see that. While also not good for the teachers, I am not sure that a time-limit policy would be a good end run for the DOE based on that and potential legal problems that would follow for years. However, while there are hundreds of teachers who apply through Open Market and really do try to find a school that works for them once they are excessed… there are hundreds who never do anything during the hiring season to secure an interview. Perhaps there needs to be a time-limit policy for that population. Activity and participation is easy to track through DOE systems.

3. Guidance Counselors. The ATR is filled with hundreds of them and there are no positions for them to fill. This needs a separate study as to why this keeps happening every year- too much hiring due to poor workforce planning- and ideas that could be budgetarily efficient and helpful to counselors and students while they are in the ATR. For example, with so many counselors in the ATR, why aren’t we enhancing college counseling services at specific high schools? It might make sense to create new types of positions for counselors caught in this, while figuring out how to hire better.

3. Finally, I would look at the number of teachers who are in the ATR in outdated licenses and certifications, where positions have not been posted in years, such as stenography. That is estimated at 10% of all teachers, or $10 million of the budget. While I sympathize with anyone losing a job, it doesn’t make sense to continue to pay for teachers who are no longer qualified to teach. 

These problems will only get figured out by being pragmatic, creative, and delving deep into the data.

* I helped start the THSC when I was Director of Teacher Recruitment for the NYC public schools from 2007-2010.

Only 31 percent of teachers are “engaged” in their work, according to a new Gallup report, State of America’s Schools.

“Engaged” teachers are “involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work … know the scope of their jobs and constantly look for new and better ways to achieve outcomes.”

Just over half (56%) are “not engaged” — meaning they may be satisfied with their jobs, but they are not emotionally connected to their workplaces and are unlikely to devote much discretionary effort to their work.

About one in eight (13%) are “actively disengaged” — meaning they are dissatisfied with their workplaces and likely to be spreading negativity to their coworkers…

… In a 2009 Gallup study, “a one-percentage-point increase in a school’s student engagement GrandMean was associated with a six-point increase in reading achievement and an eight-point increase in math achievement scores.

Via Joann Jacobs