Got a Minute? Week of February 2, 2015

Got a minute for KDP? See what’s going on at headquarters in a one-minute(ish) video.

This week:

Got a Minute? Week of January 19, 2015

Got a minute for KDP? See what’s going on at headquarters in a one-minute(ish) video.

This week:

  • KDP headquarters will be closed Monday, January 19, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
  • Registration opens this week for iLead Conferences being held in a city near you!
  • The application portal for the People to People travel scholarships opens January 19.
  • Register for our Jan. 20 webinar: Global Education: Best Practices with Neelam Chowdhary.

Supporting the Grieving Student

Thomas Ulmet is Midwest Regional Chapter Coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.

It was probably the best week of my short life at 15. It was my first band trip, first visit to Florida, first time to Disney World, first time on a real ocean beach. It was basically the best week ever. Until I got home. As the bus pulled around the circle I noticed my mother and some friends from my youth group at church were waiting near the entrance to the school. I thought it was odd, but also considered that it was a Sunday, and perhaps they had all come over to see me as I was just getting back from this huge cross-country trip.

As I unloaded my trombone and started walking to the small cluster that was obviously waiting for me, I don’t think I even noticed that Chad wasn’t among them. Of course he was a busy teenager too, popular at his school and on the JV basketball team. We would talk about how he planned to transfer to my high school, which had a better basketball program, when he finally got his license. He was taking driver’s ed and I later found out, had just gotten his permit that week. We would often hang out on Sunday afternoons—he had a pool and a Nintendo so going to his house was a good time—so maybe I should have noticed he wasn’t with the group that sunny afternoon.

I don’t remember who said what, how the message was delivered. While I was having an amazing time in Florida, Chad had told his parents he was going to walk to a nearby cousin’s house, but he never made it. I don’t recall how they found him and his rifle in the shallow wooded area between the homes. I do know the friends who had gathered around explained that they had already taken him off life support, and he had passed away before I got back to Indiana. I do remember how instantly my emotions plummeted from a tired euphoria to total numbness. I can still remember feeling the weight, a heaviness that can’t possibly be real but somehow oozes down the shoulder to the tips of the fingers and just pulls you down to the ground stronger than gravity.

I can only remember one teacher, Mrs. Mahan, who realized that I was grieving. I remember being in her class, and after not finishing a test, she pulled me aside after the bell. I think she started to lecture me, maybe it was to warn me of my impending poor grades or that I needed to buckle down and work harder. I do remember I wasn’t trying to make excuses but I did let it slip that attending the funeral that week seemed to throw off my week. I think at that point she realized that she was dealing with a grieving student. Again I can’t remember what changed, I do know she showed me tenderness, and the rest of the semester she was supportive of me. My grades probably didn’t improve much, but she became one of my favorite teachers. She sewed a button back on my shirt that had come off and advised me to always carry an emergency sewing kit. Sewing kits are still special to me.

A couple of years later I remember our marching band director was going around recognizing all the seniors. The band director talked about how I really came out of my shell as a senior and what a transformation she had seen since I was a freshman. She also mentioned her memory of that day after the band trip, how she wondered at the time if this shy, introverted guy “would go nuts” but instead she was relieved to see how I broke out of my shell and became an outgoing section leader. I had no idea she was aware of the news I received that day, how it affected me. I truly doubted any other educator or counselor at the school was aware of my loss, and certainly nobody but Mrs. Mahan talked to me about it. It shocked and confused me that almost 2 years later I learned that others knew, and they stood back and watched.

Maybe this was the 1990s, and today schools are more proactive about dealing with student grief. After a tragedy we are now assured that counselors are available for students and families. I believe that is important. I also believe there is more educators can do when they know students are dealing with grief.

That is why I am so excited to hear Dr. David Schonfeld and a number of partner organizations have launched a new site, www.grievingstudents.org. The site hopes to provide educators with information and advice to better understand and meet the needs of grieving students. I encourage you to check out the site, but also to access Dr. David Schonfeld’s KDP Webinar, “Supporting the Grieving Student” available in the KDP Resources Catalog. This is one of my favorite webinars and I often refer to it as a unique resource available to members from KDP. It is wonderful to note that there are now more free resources available to help educators support grieving students, and I am grateful for the work of Dr. Schonfeld and the many partners who make these resources available.

Got a Minute KDP? Week of December 1, 2014

Got a minute for KDP? See what’s going on at headquarters in a one-minute(ish) video.

This week:

What’s a Professional Profile? Learn at the Job Search Summit!

Dr. Mary C. Clement has been researching and writing about teacher hiring and induction for more than 20 years. Her work has resulted in 11 books and more than 125 articles. Her Job Search Summit webinar on résumés and professional profiles will be Saturday, February 28, 2015, at 11 a.m.

JSSGone are the days when teachers got multiple job offers by just completing student teaching and going to a job fair. Teacher candidates need to develop strong résumés that are customized to job advertisements, recognizing that their unique experience and training should start the résumé.

What goes at the top of a résumé today? What do you say at the beginning of an interview? What do you say during a one-minute elevator speech when you meet an administrator in his office or at a job fair? The answer to all those questions may be the same—your professional profile. Busy employers may only glance at your résumé and recruiters have only a few minutes to decide if you merit further consideration, so having one to two lines that summarize your teaching skills and qualifications can make the difference when it comes to being noticed in a positive way.

The professional profile, or profile statement, is more than a job objective or a statement about your teaching credentials. It is “you at a glance,” and something in it should catch the evaluator’s eye. In large school districts, an administrative assistant/secretary may sort the résumés, after receiving instructions to read only the top of the résumé to determine candidates’ qualifications.

A strong professional profile reveals a lot about the candidate, and encourages the evaluator to read the entire résumé. The rest of the résumé will include specific information about education, teaching, other work experiences, and special skills.

Kappa Delta Pi hosted a very successful Job Search Summit in 2014 and has an even better one planned for early 2015. Join me, or Dr. Benitha Jones, as we talk about creating your résumé and cover letter. I will focus more on the résumé of a first job seeker in teaching and Dr. Jones will focus more on the person applying for a leadership position like assistant principal or new faculty member at a college, so hers will include information on creating a curriculum vitae. In both cases, we will go through the parts of the résumé, how to decide what to put in your personal professional profile, and how to match it and your cover letter to the opening the school actually has.

My webinar will be Saturday, February 28, 2015, at 11 a.m., followed by webinars on working job fairs, turning your present situation (substitute teacher, instructional aide, or retail worker) into your dream teaching job, and networking tips. Dr. Jones will present her webinar at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, 2015. Prior to hers will be a webinar on how to create a video that really shows how you teach and how to put together an ePortfolio that will help you get a job. After hers will be webinars on using academic language on your paperwork and in your interview and on your personal commercial for starting or ending your interview.

By attending one of the résumé webinars and one of the other webinars, being a current member of KDP, completing a survey, and posting in KDP Global’s Job Search Academy (either a question or comment), you will be eligible to submit your résumé for a professional review in preparation for the teacher job hunting season!

Watch the KDP website for registration information and mark Feb. 28 and Mar. 14, 2015, as days you cannot miss!

Meet James Newman!

Check out this month’s Member Spotlight, James Newman! James has been a KDP member since 2013. Connect with him KDP Global.

James Newman flipWhat do you value most about your KDP membership?
The chance to meet other members is what I value most about my membership in Kappa Delta Pi. I have found my colleagues in the organization to be energetic, creative and enthusiastic about sharing what they have learned about teaching.

What is your most used KDP member benefit?
I use the KDP webinars most among the benefits offered by KDP. They are extremely useful, relating directly to what I am trying to do in the classroom. The webinars are well-organized so that they allow for interaction with the presenter. And the archives are a great way to catch up with webinars that I didn’t have time to attend.

Why do you use KDP Global?
I use KDP Global to access all the benefits of being a KDP member.

What do you love about being an educator?
I love being connected to the knowledge of the world and to the community of learners. Teaching links me to a caring family of life-long learners (teachers) and exploring learners (students).

Got a Minute for KDP? Week of November 3

Got a minute for KDP? See what’s going on at headquarters in a one-minute(ish) video.

This week:

  • Our RCCs are traveling the country–follow along!
  • KDP News is hitting email inboxes Tuesday.
  • Register for Tuesday’s KDP Webinar on second-language learners–free for members.
  • November 4 is Election Day in the US. Make your voice heard!