• May 25, 2018

    New Teacher Blog

    The New Teacher Blog has focused on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math Teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both from Ray Corbett Junior High School. Today is the final entry for both teachers:

    Lauren Badillo

    We are now only three weeks away from long sunny days and no paperwork for two months. While we are all daydreaming about sleeping in, I am thankful for my first year here at Corbett. This was my first year running a theatre program by myself. The school I was at last year was large enough to have two theatre teachers and so I had someone to share the workload with. My students have seen me fall down a lot (sometimes literally) which has been very humbling. But I keep picking myself up and trying again because I want to provide the best theatre program that I can for them. 

    Next year I plan to have better balance though. My students have taught me a lot about myself and tested my strength by pushing every limit they can find. While that can be frustrating in the moment, it makes me a better teacher. I have to be cool under pressure and allow a student a new slate every day, even if they yelled at me the day before. This job also gives me hope for the future when I see a student pair up with someone who they don’t really know, but they realize that no one else is going to ask to be partners with them. I have seen students learn to befriend their “enemies” and overcome fear for the sake of their art. Junior high is rough for everyone involved. It’s painful, scary, and frustrating, but seeing them leave this school as more empathetic, courageous, and creative human beings is what keeps me here.

    Lauren Badillo  

    Candace Herring

    As I write my last blog, I can’t help but reflect back over my first year in public school.  I am so grateful for the experience and memories that will last a lifetime.  I have grown in my professional journey, and I have a new perspective on education.

    I am glad I became part of the Corbett Jr. High School family.  Our strong, resilient campus works hard to help every child improve.  I have learned valuable lessons from my department leaders, fellow co-workers, administration, and the students.  I had the opportunity to have the support from incredible mentors this year.  I will never forget the strength and dedication of our principal and the administration team.  People are right when they say that it takes a special kind of person to teach at a Junior High.  Yes, it really does takes a strong and dedicated teacher!

    So, how does one define success in education?  Some may say it is by scores and grades.  While these are important, I believe success is measured by so much more.  The key to success is to never give up despite hardships and obstacles.  True success and greatness can be seen in a person’s efforts and growth.

    My students soared to new heights this year.  They worked hard, persevered, and showed up.  When a student goes from the “I can’t” statements at the beginning of the year to the “I will keep trying and asking for help” statements, you know you have changed their mindset.  My students smile and are now displaying more confidence.  The other day, a student thanked me for believing in him and never giving up.  He expressed that he now sees he is capable of so much more.  Right there is why I do what I do.   

    Progress is success to me, and I am happy to announce that all my students have shown improvement in multiple areas.  I ended the year teaching both 7th and 8th grade Applied Math and Applied Literacy.  Some of my literacy students have raised their independent reading levels by 3 to 4 grade levels.  Just increasing by one level in a school year is good, so these kiddos had an extraordinary year.  Reading fluency increased by all, and I mean 100% of my students made progress.  I am so proud of each and every one of them. 

    The Meet in the Middle Club also did extremely well in its debut.  I had two co-sponsors that volunteered to assist me at Corbett, and they were absolutely fantastic.  We signed up 42 new members this year.  Money was raised to help the ALE department take students on two field trips.  Our Spread the Word to End the Word campaign brought in 585 pledges to help promote inclusion and respect for all.  I was honored to be the club’s sponsor.

    As the school year winds down, I have mixed feelings as a teacher.  I am proud that my students improved and are moving on to the next grade level.  However, I will miss their smiles and unique personalities that made the year complete.  I wish them all the very best as they set out to achieve new goals.  

    At last, I am no longer a newbie at SCUC ISD, and I look forward to my next group of students. Thank you for your support.

    Candace Herring

     

    May 11, 2018

    New Teacher Blog

    The New Teacher Blog will focus on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both of Ray Corbett Junior High School. Today’s entry is from Ms. Badillo: 

    In every student there is the potential to succeed. Our job as teachers is to show students how to tap into this potential. Oftentimes students are resistant due to fear or lack of motivation. This is the day to day struggle, but when it all comes together, it makes everything else worthwhile. 

    Many of the students I teach did not start out in my class for the love of theatre. Some were just here for the credit while others were genuinely terrified to get onstage. During the first week of school, everyone was required to stand up in front of the class and talk about themselves through pictures they found representing their likes and dislikes. Four students in particular were very nervous for this thirty second presentation. One of those students never turned it in at all for fear of public speaking. 

    There is no cure for stage fright. The only way to get over it is to muscle through it. In order to help build this confidence in my students, we do around 10 presentations in the school year. They get to start in groups of their choosing until I wean them down to solo performances. The stage fright exhibited at the beginning of the year did not rear its head during the audition monologue project. One student who was afraid of anyone looking at her got on stage and said, “Y’all can look at me. I don’t care”. The student who refused to turn in the first project? She was loud and clear onstage as she fully engaged her audience. 

    Many students come into my class afraid of getting on our classroom stage, but they leave ready to take on an audience.

    Lauren Badillo

     

     

     

    April 13, 2018

    New Teacher Blog

    The New Teacher Blog will focus on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both of Ray Corbett Junior High School. 

    Each teacher will give you a glimpse of the rewards, and challenges, of their respective experience. Here is this week's entry from Ms. Badillo: 

    Happy Testing Season! We are currently in the middle of our first round of STAAR testing and everyone is squirrely. The students in my classroom are given four hours to complete 50 or so math questions and have to stay silent the entire time. Most of these students I am meeting for the first time today, however it feels as if we have braved through the year together by the end. We spend all year preparing for this. We take the test before we test! 

    During this time of year, it is important to remember the amount of pressure that students and teachers go through at school. For a lot of students, these tests determine if they will move on to the next grade. For teachers, these tests decide our school rating. Take some time during testing week to encourage your child and remind them that their grades do not determine the kind of person they are.

     A friend of mine who is a fourth grade teacher asked the parents of her students to write encouraging notes for them to read before they took their test. Some students were shocked that their parents cared so much. A positive note from you trumps praise from anyone else and a little goes a long way. 

     

    March 30, 2018

    New Teacher Blog

    The New Teacher Blog will focus on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both of Ray Corbett Junior High School. 

    Each teacher will give you a glimpse of the rewards, and challenges, of their respective experience. Here is this week's entry from Ms. Herring: 

    Teachers are lifelong learners.  The more we know, the more we have to work with to assist your child.  We see the value behind wisdom and a good education.  That is why we continue our educational journey long after the college degree and teacher certification.  I often hear folks tell me that they never knew teachers had to do all that. 

    Yes, we do “all that”.  A teacher has to be prepared for just about anything.  So, how do we find the time?

    A teacher’s professional development (PD) is ongoing and we are constantly sharpening our knowledge and skills.  We use our summers, weekends, evenings, Early Release Days, and Student Holidays to maintain our certification and gain new knowledge.  Occasionally, we may need to attend one during a school day, but then our class will be covered by a qualified, substitute teacher.  This is an ever changing society, and we must continue to learn and grow to help others succeed in it.  

    In the summers, we can do more extensive research, get new certifications, and attend longer workshops.  This school year, as a new teacher, my training started in July.  Before that, I took the Special Education certification exam.  Summers are also a great time to create your lesson plan manipulatives.  I have two books that I am reading at home to gain more ideas and methods.  What works for one student does not usually work for another, so we must have our teaching bank full of creative ways to reach all children.

    Just like any professional, we must stay up to date and maintain our state credentials.  We have PDs about Classroom Management, Technology, RTI, Curriculum, Dyslexia, ESL, Special Education, 504, State Requirements, Assessments, Differentiated Instruction, Data Collection, STAAR, Course Planning, GT, and Fluency to just name a few.  For many teachers, the PD hours will exceed well over a hundred by the end of each year, especially if you are a newbie. 

    As a new teacher, SCUC ISD also provides us with the New Teacher Academy, and our campus gives us a teacher mentor.  Both help keep us grounded and can answer whatever questions we may have.  My mentor is the best motivator and encourager a coworker could ask for.  The New Teacher Academy leaders have provided me with reassurance and confidence. 

    SCUC ISD and the Corbett faculty, staff, and administration have all been helpful, welcoming, and supportive.  Corbett has amazing grade level leaders that are a wealth of knowledge.  My wing teachers have taught me so much and have been there whenever I needed them.  My neighboring coaches can cheer me up on any given day.  I have coworkers with hearts of gold that make you believe you can climb mountains....and those Corbett stairs at the end of a long day. 

     

    March 2, 2018

    New Teacher Blog

    The New Teacher Blog will focus on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both of Ray Corbett Junior High School. 

    Each teacher will give you a glimpse of the rewards, and challenges, of their respective experience. Here is this week's entry from Ms. Badillo: 

    The people you work with make the job worthwhile. Even though I love students and teaching theatre, the teachers and staff are what make Corbett Junior High a great place to be. The teachers here have a passion for reaching students and helping them succeed. There is a familial atmosphere here. When I first arrived I immediately felt welcomed by everyone. I feel supported by my administration and fellow teachers. I have the custodial staff to thank for helping get the Drama Club on its feet by helping us set up our acting areas and assisting in cleaning up our dressing rooms. 

    Not only does Corbett strive to support its teachers, but the district as a whole works to equip and strengthen new teachers. Over this school year, teachers new to SCUC and I have attended trainings at the New Teacher Academy. Speakers are brought in to inform us on the latest technology in classrooms, guidance through the struggles of being a new teacher, and additional trainings on things such as STAAR. The academy helps teachers from feeling as if they are just treading water while adjusting to a new school. The trainings invigorate us to tackle challenges in the classroom and have new ideas on how to reach students. This is a district who cares about its teachers making it one of the best places to work in the San Antonio area.  

     

    February 16, 2018

    New Teacher Blog

    The New Teacher Blog will focus on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both of Ray Corbett Junior High School. 

    Each teacher will give you a glimpse of the rewards, and challenges, of their respective experience. Here is this week's entry from Ms. Herring: 

     Each student out there is somebody’s whole world. 

    As a parent myself, I understand that in a conference, parents are trying to get the best for their kiddo.  After all, the parent is the very first and possibly the most influential educator in a child’s life.
    Success and progress seem to soar when parents and teachers become a trusting team for the student.  I love hearing new perspectives and sharing ideas with others.  The truth is, parents and teachers often see two different aspects of a child’s personality.  A child is like a sponge that can and will absorb the positive or negative feelings and views around them.  What goes in, effects what comes out.  A conference becomes a time to find solutions, gain understanding, and work towards a common goal.  A field of possibilities are out there.  I know to get a change, I sometimes must make a change.

    I believe the child is an important component of a conference.  This is the digital age, and our children are growing up in a fast paced society that is electronically connected.  I learn new things from my students all the time, and I am always inspired by their young minds. 

    With parents, I try to celebrate a child’s growth to foster more success.  We monitor the student’s progress, no matter how big or small.  Failing is not a person... Lazy is not a person... Scores do NOT define a person’s worth.  Some students do have to work harder and study longer to retain the information, they have to cope with things, learn to become overcomers of the challenges in their life, and gain more self-confidence.  It is not an easy task for teens, so that is why a parent’s support, communication, and guidance in school is so vital at this age. 

     Each teacher has about 48 minutes a day to assist a student on their educational journey.  I give these kids my best, and I know my coworkers at Corbett do as well.   Most of us plant the seeds of knowledge and wisdom that can later be seen and appreciated in life.  We sometimes get to see students bloom right before our eyes.  Those are priceless moments!

     

    February 9, 2018

    The New Teacher Blog will focus on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both of Ray Corbett Junior High School. 

    Each teacher will give you a glimpse of the rewards, and challenges, of their respective experience. Here is this week's entry from Ms. Badillo: 

    A student's biggest advocate is their parent; they are the backbone of the schools. The most important thing that teachers can do to serve their parents is to assure them that their student will be challenged academically and cared for mentally and emotionally. At the beginning of the year, I challenge myself to send at least one positive email home to every parent within the first grading period. I want my parents to know that I know their child and that I recognize the talent and potential I see in them. Throughout the year I try to send random shout outs praising the student because I want the parents to feel involved in their student's learning process. 

    Parents are also the backbone of my department. As a theatre teacher, the parents allow their students to stay after school to rehearse their plays and are their students' biggest fans on show night. Their presence lifts the spirits of my students and communicates to them that they are loved and supported. Parent support in any shape or form will always reap positive benefits for the school and their students. We love our parents at Corbett Junior High. Thank you for all that you do! 

     

    January 12, 2018

    New Teacher Blog

    The New Teacher Blog will focus on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both of Ray Corbett Junior High School. 

    Each teacher will give you a glimpse of the rewards, and challenges, of their respective experience. Here is this week's entry from Ms. Herring: 

    “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

    I am teaching people, not just subjects, and that means there is a human factor that I must always protect.  I am not only a teacher, but a role model and mentor for these kids.  Every word I say has a possible lasting effect, so that is a huge responsibility that I must constantly monitor. 

    Why is building a rapport with students so important to education?  When a connection is made and trust is gained, learning can excel.  When a student begins to truly respect you, they start to respect themselves and others. 

    How do I build that rapport?  I respect the students and their uniqueness.  I make every effort to take time and get to know each and every child.  I learn their names the first day of school, and I greet them when they enter my classroom with a smile.  It is important to find one positive thing about each person that sets them apart from the rest.  This doesn’t have to be academic, but it does have to be specific to that teenager.  My goal is to make sure that they know they are heard and seen.  They are not just another face in the crowd, but they are now part of our school family. 

    It is vital to be authentic.  Students face hardships, heartbreaks, loses, sickness, and stress that go beyond classwork.  Listening to understand first rather than speaking to be understood goes a long way.  When they believe you really care about them, they eventually start to care about their work.  Sometimes all this takes is, “Are you okay?” or “I can see you are frustrated and tired”.  It is checking in on them if they get ISS, tutoring them one-on-one, and making positive phone calls home.  A genuine, caring teacher can make all the difference in the world to a student. 

    Last but not least, I believe that every day is a new day.  So, part of building a rapport is teaching the kids that mistakes are part of the learning process.  Instead of looking at a student’s negative behavior as just breaking a rule, I try to find out why the child felt the need to act out.  They know that they can count on me to be there through thick or thin.  Nothing they do will stop me from caring about their success, and students like that reassurance and unconditional teacher compassion.

    Teaching takes a lot of heart, patience, and compassion.  A rapport builds the bridge needed for optimal academic learning. 

    Next time, I will tell about the importance of parent communication and conferences.  

     

    December 15, 2017

    New Teacher Blog

    The New Teacher Blog will focus on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both of Ray Corbett Junior High School. 

    Each teacher will give you a glimpse of the rewards, and challenges, of their respective experience. Here is this week's entry from Ms. Badillo:  

    ‘Twas the week before Christmas Break and in every classroom,

    Every student was stirring, midterms starting to loom. 

    My students have been working hard this year and they are so ready for Christmas. They’ve been singing Christmas songs since December 1st. Most Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber. Throughout these four months they have learned acting skills, how to project their voices, all the way to musical theatre. They have written at least three original scripts and have done four major performances in class. I love watching them grow in confidence throughout the first semester. They become more comfortable working outside their friend group and their performances begin to embody their personalities. 

    One of my favorite ways to get to know my students is to give them the power of choice in their projects. For their original scripts, they are allowed to choose whatever they want to write about and boy do they get creative. I’ve had everything from cavemen discovering fire to patients breaking out of an asylum. The students take ownership of their projects and get excited to present them. I always encourage the admin to drop in and see the stories they create. Student creativity thrives in theatre which is why I love this field. It is so much fun to give them a challenge and watch them overcome it with such ambition. While plays are done for the semester, I encourage everyone to visit the theatre departments of this school district. You will be blown away by your students.

     

    December 1, 2017

    New Teacher Blog

    The New Teacher Blog will focus on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both of Roy Corbett Junior HIgh School. 

    Each teacher will give you a glimpse of the rewards, and challenges, of their respective experience. Here is this week's entry from Ms. Herring: 

    Teachers have it easy because they get the summers off … is a MYTH!

    The truth is, teaching is the hardest job I’ve ever had.  However, I think it is the most rewarding career, too.  As a new teacher, I find it to be quite challenging at times.

    The Applied Math and Literacy classes are new this year to Corbett J.H.S.  It’s been an honor to be a pioneer for this course, but with that comes the responsibility to make the school’s vision into a successful reality.  Our intent is to create intervention classes that strengthen specific skills and bridge learning gaps.  Corbett’s faculty and staff have been very supportive as I take on this new role in our school.

    Since I am the only one that teaches both applied subjects, I have PLC meetings with multiple folks.  Everyone’s schedule is different, so this can be tricky.  I can relate to the students as I learn the building’s floor plan, teachers’ names, and procedures.  It’s my goal to keep in contact with the other applied teachers, Math department, ELAR department, district coordinators, administration, Spec Ed department, DAEP, and our Behavioral Support team.  I also must touch base with my MIM club co-sponsors, too.  Hey, it takes a village to teach a child.  Corbett definitely has a strong team of helpful employees.

    So, why is teaching so busy?  I begin my job before school starts and often stay until dusk. Besides the obvious teaching, I have lunch duty, emails, conferences, copies to make, meetings, grades to enter, ARDs, professional development, MIM Club, parent phone calls, letters, a blog, morning duty, and I assist with tutoring when needed.  Some of my weekends and holidays are dedicated to research, grading, lesson plans, and paperwork.  Oh, I do get to see my own family and sleep when I get home.  Yes, it is all worth it because I love my job!

    My favorite and most challenging task is to change the perspective of a student who has “struggled” for years with math or reading classes.  Teens tend to have strong opinions about these subjects, so my job is to turn their experiences into positive successes.  This is not a problem but a puzzle I must solve to get to the root of it all.  My toughest and most important duty is to teach students to learn from mistakes, grow from their past, overcome hardships, and never quit on their dreams. 

    I like how Bronnie Ware said, “There is always a gift in any challenge”.  Teaching is not for the faint of heart because teaching is a work of heart.  Despite all challenges, I have the opportunity to help make a difference in the life of a child. That gift is priceless. 

    Next time, I’ll explain how I connect with my students and build that necessary rapport.

     

    November 17, 2017

    New Teacher Blog

    The New Teacher Blog will focus on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both of Ray Corbett Junior High School. 

    Each teacher will give you a glimpse of the rewards, and challenges, of their respective experience. Here is this week's entry from Ms. Badillo: 

    A student's biggest advocate is their parent; they are the backbone of the schools. The most important thing that teachers can do to serve their parents is to assure them that their student will be challenged academically and cared for mentally and emotionally. At the beginning of the year, I challenge myself to send at least one positive email home to every parent within the first grading period. I want my parents to know that I know their child and that I recognize the talent and potential I see in them. Throughout the year I try to send random shout outs praising the student because I want the parents to feel involved in their student's learning process. 

    Parents are also the backbone of my department. As a theatre teacher, the parents allow their students to stay after school to rehearse their plays and are their students' biggest fans on show night. Their presence lifts the spirits of my students and communicates to them that they are loved and supported. Parent support in any shape or form will always reap positive benefits for the school and their students. We love our parents at Corbett Junior High. Thank you for all that you do!

    Lauren Badillo

     November 17, 2017

    The New Teacher Blog will focus on the job of two teachers new to SCUC, Candace Herring, an Applied Reading/Math teacher; and Lauren Badillo, Theatre Arts teacher, both of Ray Corbett Junior High School.

    Each teacher will give you a glimpse of the rewards, and challenges, of their respective experience. Here is this week's entry from Ms. Herring: 

    People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

    I am teaching people, not just subjects, and that means there is a human factor that I must always protect.  I am not only a teacher, but a role model and mentor for these kids.  Every word I say has a possible lasting effect, so that is a huge responsibility that I must constantly monitor. 

    Why is building a rapport with students so important to education?  When a connection is made and trust is gained, learning can excel.  When a student begins to truly respect you, they start to respect themselves and others. 

    How do I build that rapport?  I respect the students and their uniqueness.  I make every effort to take time and get to know each and every child.  I learn their names the first day of school, and I greet them when they enter my classroom with a smile.  It is important to find one positive thing about each person that sets them apart from the rest.  This doesn’t have to be academic, but it does have to be specific to that teenager.  My goal is to make sure that they know they are heard and seen.  They are not just another face in the crowd, but they are now part of our school family. 

    It is vital to be authentic.  Students face hardships, heartbreaks, loses, sickness, and stress that go beyond classwork.  Listening to understand first rather than speaking to be understood goes a long way.  When they believe you really care about them, they eventually start to care about their work.  Sometimes all this takes is, “Are you okay?” or “I can see you are frustrated and tired”.  It is checking in on them if they get ISS, tutoring them one-on-one, and making positive phone calls home.  A genuine, caring teacher can make all the difference in the world to a student. 

    Last but not least, I believe that every day is a new day.  So, part of building a rapport is teaching the kids that mistakes are part of the learning process.  Instead of looking at a student’s negative behavior as just breaking a rule, I try to find out why the child felt the need to act out.  They know that they can count on me to be there through thick or thin.  Nothing they do will stop me from caring about their success, and students like that reassurance and unconditional teacher compassion.

    Teaching takes a lot of heart, patience, and compassion.  A rapport builds the bridge needed for optimal academic learning. 

    Next time, I will tell about the importance of parent communication and conferences.  

    Corbett JHS teacher Candace Herring.