California Educator

August / September 2018

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Page 8 of 71

"I don't care. This is boring." As a parent of two teens, I've heard this more than I'd like recently, and it's most irritating when it's about school- work. Which is why I was particularly attentive to "How to Motivate Your Stu- dents" (page 20), in our Back to School section, which begins on page 19. I'm in awe of educators who must deal with variations on kids' apathy every day, and the ways they keep them interested in learning. When students question why they need to learn geography and mapping in this age of GPS, earth sci- ence teacher Shana Just offers real-life examples — such as the infamous Santa Rosa fire — where lack of Internet ser- vice forced rescue workers to rely on old-fashioned methods to save lives. Special education teacher Miesha Har- ris Gash makes very clear to her students that what they learn at school is directly and concretely connected to what they want out of life. Other educators adapt curriculum to student interests in novel ways, and all of them stress empathy and caring. "My students need to know they are loved no matter what," says high school English teacher Darlene Cefalu. Dispensing all that love and caring a l o n g w i t h a c a d e m i c s can be draining, so we made sure we included plenty of tips from sea- soned pros that can help you handle the year with aplomb ("A Great Ride," page 26, and "Pro Tips," page 36). Among the nug- gets of advice: Build your network by inviting colleagues into your classroom so they can give you feedback and share ideas; plan your day, week, month with activities, assessments, lesson plans and more, so you are prepared to support student learning despite any emergency; and attend workshops, conferences and professional development opportunities whenever possible. These educators are generous with th eir insights, including wi se w ord s for self-care. "Don't beat yourself up if things aren't going as smoothly as you imagined!" says language arts teacher Alexis Weiner, noting that classroom management skills are built over time and with experience. Getting the sup- port you need , and finding a balance b etween w ork and life, are essential to your success. Looking polished and professional at school is also important, as "On Trend in the Classroom" ( page 31) under - scores. In addition to teaching, CTA members Megan Forbes and La Tawnya Robinson host video blogs that cover a wide range of topics, including fashion on a budget. In our story they discuss wardrobe staples and accessories that will help you feel confident and comfort- able all day long. But wait, there's more — you' ll find stories on fostering class discussion and student speaking skills, incorporating social-emotional learning, publishing class e-books, establishing rules and routines, and making time for wellness. CTA ensures that thi s big Back to School spirit continues far beyond the first few weeks with a trove of training, development and networking opportu- nities, from conferences and workshops (see the Calendar on page 8) to chapter events and member engagement ("A Buddy System," page 60) to grants for special projects and innovative ideas. anks for caring. And welcome back. Katharine Fong E D I T O R I N C H I E F Darlene Cefalu, East Side Teachers Association, with student Jingshi Li. Because You Care 7 A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2 018 E D I T O R ' S N O T E What Do You Think? The California Educator, in print and online (, is here to serve you, with the stories, tips and trends you need to stay on top of the profession and do your best work. And keeps you informed with the latest news. We welcome your ideas for articles and improvement. Drop us a line at

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