How I Became Known as the “Ulmanac”

I’d like to preface this post with stating that I DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING nor do I think I know everything… Image

However, my students seem to be under the impression that I know an awful lot and should go on Jeopardy.  I have taken the online test twice now…bombed the second time and have yet to receive an invite from Alex Trebek.  No worries!  I’ll keep trying.  Anyway…last year, my first year teaching World History, I had a great group of guys in my 4/5 class that challenged my knowledge base.  They asked superb questions, and I consequently got in the habit of studying before every class from my notes from college, online sources, primary documents, actual books!!, etc.  

After several weeks together of Socratic seminars, projects, notes…I noticed something had been written on the board in the back of my classroom — Ulmanac

I love this nickname because it’s how I want to be perceived in my classroom.  My content knowledge, world travels, and experiences are what give me credibility in the classroom; then I set out everyday to give all that knowledge away so my students leave the course prepared to excel beyond where I am.  Do you have a classroom nickname?  My rapper name is “T-Unit” based on my first and last initial, but it’s not academically-related like “Ulmanac.”  

Remaining positive…

Tomorrow begins the homestretch of the school year…33 days until the AP exams, 5 weeks until summer vacation, one week until Prom.  It seems like everyone is in countdown mode post-Spring Break.  It’s easy to get stressed out and focus on the negative.

We’re all guilty of it — moaning and groaning, complaining in the teacher’s lounge, whining about something or other — but that negativity is preventing us from being the best versions of ourselves.  To be role models for our students, we must first be POSITIVE leaders!  We cannot hold our students to expectations for which we don’t hold ourselves accountable.

Einstein meme

I believe in optimism, but I haven’t always been that way.  My Peace Corps service molded me into an eternal optimist that rejoices in the small victories instead of dwelling on the many defeats.  Now, I translate that mindset into my classroom.  Spring has sprung, and what better time to focus on a period of renewal both in nature and in our classrooms?!

I challenge all of us as we embark on, what is for most, the final quarter of the school year, to be a positive force in our classrooms and our buildings.  You are the difference maker!

Some blogs I read from time to time to keep me positive and present:

If you are still struggling, I’ve also found it helpful to repeat Goethe’s mantra often translated for situations such as this…

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element.  It is my personal approach that creates the climate.  It is my daily mood that makes the weather.  I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous.  I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration; I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.  In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person humanized or de-humanized.  If we treat people as they are, we make them worse.  If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)

The Teacher I Want To Be…

Ladies & Gentlemen,

With the coming of Spring, FINALLY, I’ve decided to finally begin my teacher blog.  It’s been a goal of mine for a while, but I just haven’t had the courage to share my musings, successes, and failures… My little sister has begun a blog regarding my niece’s hearing loss which has inspired me to take a risk of my own!

To provide you all with a little background on me — I have returned to my hometown after attending the University of Southern Indiana (’07 History & Secondary Ed.) and then serving as a Peace Corps volunteer (TEFL) in Romania.  I never intended to become a teacher when I began college, but now being an educator is all I can ever imagine doing!  I have worked to become the type of teacher I would respect in the classroom.  From becoming more worldly to gain firsthand experience of my curriculum, to working with the Stanford History Education Group, to becoming Level 1 certified for Teaching w/ Primary Sources through the Library of Congress, to completing my high ability license…I want to build a global classroom that serves as a launching pad for my students to achieve their dreams.  I currently teach World History, AP World History, and 7th grade Social Studies in a rural 1:1 school district; I also coach golf, serve on the high ability committee, and serve as a member of the PLC committee.  My district, administration, and colleagues challenge me to become better everyday, and I’m grateful to be working in a progressive school district focused on being a leader in the state of Indiana.  Image

I’ll never stop learning.  I love reading many of your blogs, participating in #sschat #wrldchat #edtech etc, and conversing with you at conferences…hopefully I can repay your kindness and somehow inspire you in the future.  And the journey begins…

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