Unshakeable - Day 13

20 ways to enjoy teaching....no matter what!

Book Study


Just my notes, thoughts, reflections while reading Unshakeable by Angela Watson.

#13 - Build in periods of rest and downtime throughout your day

“The best part of teaching is that it matters. The hardest part of teaching is that every moment of every day matters.” Todd Whittaker

It's worth repeating:
“The best part of teaching is that it matters. The hardest part of teaching is that every moment of every day matters.” Todd Whittaker


Can you think of any lesson where it doesn’t matter if your students “get it”?

Flashback to chapter 4 - Determine how to do what matters most (btw, I’m still struggling - it all matters most - breathe, reread 4 tonight!)


How much energy expenditure is sustainable for you?

Timely chapter for me this evening!

Ok, Angela, did you just infer that I’m getting old - “Don’t expect yourself to have the same energy level you had earlier in your career… Think about what is sustainable for you, keeping in mind that teaching is a marathon, not a sprint.” My problem now is that a half-marathon is sustainable, but not a marathon. HELP


Remember: energy, not time, is your most precious resource.

“How are your instructional practices right now going to affect your energy level later in the day?


Sitting down for 10 minutes does not make you a bad teacher

Flash back to chapter 2 - work at work - be intentional with your time - so…. sitting for 10 min is a power rest, sitting for 50 at plan time probably isn’t productive, nor sitting behind your desk while kids get nuts - got it!



3 Ways to sit while teaching and still keep the kids engaged

1) have a place at the front of the classroom (a tall stool still commands more authority than slumped in a kid chair, plus you can still see everyone)


2) rocking chair by smart board, have kids close - try it, it’s engaging


3) a rolling chair, HA! we have carpet and small rooms - can you just picture it?

I can see 4th grade teachers rolling across two rooms, ya, not distracting at all-nix #3 for me

2 Ways to sit while supporting students during independent work periods

1) Set up a table in the classroom (our small group tables) If there is something urgent to get done (from the office or a parent - or {sigh} an office referral, you can call students to the table that you need to have your eyes on while they work and so do you. - strugglers who often have questions


2) sit in an absent student’s seat


Cut back on the lectures and teacher-directed activities

From a pedagogical and neuroscientific standpoint, we know that kids can only listen for about 5-20 minutes (depending on their ages) before their brains are unable to process more information. They need breaks in instruction to reflect, talk, think, and move around. We also know that kids need to actively construct knowledge rather than be passive participants in the learning process.


Angela Watson. Unshakeable: 20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching Every Day...No Matter What (Kindle Locations 2173-2175).

Enough said


Don’t hover over students the second you give an assignment

So after you give directions, sit down on that stool you bought for the front of your classroom and take 30 seconds to regroup.

Give the students a chance to self-correct and get started before swooping (preferably NOT in a rolling chair in LOL)


From I Can Do It 2.0 - then when you have to swoop, try:

1. approach - give quick positive feedback (1st time only)

2. say, “the next step is…..” if they are stuck (ONLY 1 step)

3. Leave!

Praise, prompt, leave - give them the gift of independence


Allocate the majority of your energy to what’s most important

for example, “If the next hour’s schedule requires you to give a vocabulary quiz and teach a lesson about context clues, but you know that physically you can’t circulate around the room for both, give yourself permission to sit down during the quiz so you have the energy to get kids excited and engaged during your lesson."


Form a good game plan for low-energy days

…circumstances are not a license to do a halfway job of teaching your students. They are an opportunity to recognize that you are not at your best, show yourself grace, and plan ahead in order to minimize the impact on your students.”

- narrow focus to what’s truly most important, cut out “extras”

- reach out to others for support, then return the favor - avoid, “I’m fine, thanks anyway” take the help on down days! Don’t take away the joy that comes from helping others

- tell the students - enlist their support on those days


Take care of you!

What Teachers Make - Taylor Mali

Take a 3 minute break to soak up some energy from these words. It's worth watching again if you've seen it!
SlamNation: Taylor Mali - "What Teachers Make"