Sincerely, Your Substitute Teacher

Dear Teachers, 

We see you. We see the work you put in. We see the sacrifice you make in providing your classroom with materials paid for out of your pocket. We see the extra janitorial work you do before, after, and even during class. We respect the amount of time you put into the learning of these students, spending hours before and after class writing lesson plans, making anchor charts, calling parents, and prepping for upcoming days. 

When we walk through your classroom we see smiles on your student’s faces. We see their excitement for learning and how hard you’ve worked to get them to this point. Your love and respect for your students are tangible by the way they talk so highly of you. We see how much you care about them too by the work you’ve put into each detail, their personalized name tags, the extra study chart you made when you realized they didn’t quite grasp concepts right away. We see it in the way you leave us notes about specific kids and their behaviors we need to be aware of- the students who are more difficult or the students who are big helpers. You know them, you know who they are and what they need. We see the sticky notes you leave for yourself about upcoming community events your students are in or the reminders for passing out those extra homework papers you’ve made at least 5 copies of this week since they all seem to mysteriously disappear in backpacks. 

We know you’re still an excellent teacher even though you had to take a sick day, or a personal day for conferences, vacation, or to visit family. We know you miss your students just as much as they miss you. We see what an accepting and inviting culture you’ve created in your classroom by the need your students feel to have you back.

We as substitute teachers are privileged to enter your classroom for sometimes as little as a few hours a day. We are given a tiny window of your space and we respect your noble work. So teachers, dear teachers, we see you. We respect you, and we are proud of you. Keep doing the great work you are doing, because you are the best teacher for this classroom. 

Sincerely, 

Your Substitute Teacher 

Teaching To The Dedicated, Procedure Following Kids

This is part of a series of using Myers Briggs personality types in the classroom. For more information, click here. For information on how to figure out your student’s MBTI type, click here. 

ISTJ students are often described as logical, practical, and structured. Do you have one of these students in your classroom? Possibly one that thrives on consistency and struggles when rules and procedures are not followed. 

Introverted 

Sensing 

Thinking 

Judging 

These introverted students are capable of working in smaller groups, but large groups can stress them out, especially when making comments or asking questions. It’s rare to find these students speaking up or asking things in classroom discussions. In an interview I conducted with ISTJ personality types, one student expressed how she wished there could be an anonymous way to ask the teacher something without speaking up in a group to avoid shame and embarrassment. Another shared, “I’m learning even if I’m not raising my hand and sharing my answers out loud.”

They are sensing students, meaning conceptual learning can be difficult for them. They need their senses engaged to understand concepts. They do not want lists of procedures to accomplish long division, sensing types need number cubes and drawn out examples to understand what exactly division is, then they can understand everything fully. 

Interest in a topic is vital for these students and if they love what they are learning they will put in their full effort. ISTJs often do well in a university school setting because the topics and classes are chosen based on what they want, giving them a deeper interest in their studies, pushing them to work harder and do better. 

Clear objectives and expectations are big for this personality type. If you ever feel like you’re writing your objectives on the board just because you were told to by an administrator or learning coach, know that your effort is not wasted with an ISTJ student in your classroom. They often need to look at what is expected and strive to follow this, because their core values are to reach expectations, and it hurts them when they don’t or can’t accomplish this. 

Do you have any ISTJ students in your classroom? What ways do you use their interests to drive their learning? 


The Evolution of Technology: How it’s Used in the Classroom

When I was in first grade, our classroom had a set of three computers that sat on a table in our classroom, taking up a good chunk of space. The computers looked very similar to this: 

They were big and incredibly slow. The day my teacher announced that we would be doing some testing on the computers was a big day in our school, we were advancing at what we felt was such a rapid pace back then. Sometimes we would type papers on the computers and print them out, it made us feel extra fancy! By the time I left elementary school, our school had a drastic upgrade in computer technology in the classrooms. The new sets looked similar to these: 

With the smaller screen and slimmer computer deck, we were able to fit more into each classroom. They ran faster and we were able to do more, like access the internet for classroom use and the speakers allowed us to hear videos (if we could get them to load). Gone were the days of researching solely through textbooks, now we could look up scholarly articles and websites for more information! It was 2005 and it was revolutionary. 

Later in my 10th-grade Biology class, my teacher was applying for a grant that would supply our classroom with a set of 30 iPads. This type of thinking was astronomical, iPads had just come out that year, they were a new concept and tool and it didn’t seem like this forward-thinking would ever be rewarded. Others around the school, teachers, students, and parents mocked him for thinking something of the sort would even be a possibility. He was fairly confident it would happen. He listed out ways for us of how useful they could be, flashcard apps, looking up information, reviews, tests, using powerpoints and multiple other online materials to enhance our learning. I truly cannot reiterate enough how out-of-this-world it all seemed. 

When the grant was passed and 30 first-generation iPads entered our classroom, it was a monumental day. I remember my biology teacher standing in front of us saying, “We are living in the middle of a technological revolution. By the time you are in college, these iPads will be dinosaurs. We should never be afraid to embrace the technology, it can be here to help you, let it, but within reason.” We used the iPads for PowerPoint slides, notes, and videos we would create for each other. We felt like we were making history, because well, we really were

iPads are still around ten years later, but not in the same way they were ten years ago. If any of us were to pick up a first-gen iPad today, we would laugh. Yet, ten years ago it was like holding gold in our fingertips! It’s incredible to see the advances and changes technology has made over the years, and how it has affected our schools- both in the good ways and the bad ways. 

I believe deeply that technology can be an incredible tool for us in our classrooms when used correctly. I’ve witnessed firsthand how impactful these resources have been to students, no matter what level they may be on. My hope is that I can use this space over the next few weeks to highlight ways we as educators can and have been using technology in classrooms and schools as a whole. Chromebooks, iPads, smart projectors, and other resources have been popping up in schools all over the nation, so let’s make some great lists on great ways to use them! 

What technology do you have in your classroom? In what ways has it helped and hindered your students? 

Tips For Graduating College Students

College graduation has recently come for many students and is still in anticipation of other seniors with graduation in the spring. This time of life can come with a mixture of emotions- excitement that college lectures are a thing of the past, worries for future plans, or fear of the unknown. I have asked trusted friends, family, and colleagues their best advice for graduating college students and have come up with this collective list of important things to remember during this big change in your life. 

  1. Stop stressing about a job. The most typical response by far was to stop stressing about jobs and career paths after graduation. There are a vast amount of options each major in school can lead you. Jobs will open up and work out, while others that seem perfect may slip through your fingertips. Important things to remember while job searching after graduation:
  2. The perfect job rarely exists. Which is okay because it leads to my next point.
  3. You most likely will not be in this job for a lifetime. Gone are the days where you choose a career path and stick with the same occupation until retirement. Typically, people spend 3-5 years in the same job before getting promoted or finding a new job. If you don’t find the perfect job, it’s okay because it will likely change. 
  4. Finding an entry-level job right after graduation doesn’t always happen, and that’s okay. Keep searching and putting in the effort, don’t let the pressure of a graduation date stress you out about a job. You’re young, take time to explore, travel, or even find experience in your field to land a great job later in life. 
  5. You can choose to be passionate about whatever job you end up in. Take it from my husband, who grew up on a farm surrounded by cows, horses, and corn. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration and landed his first job managing a warehouse in a rental company for wedding supplies. If a farm boy from Utah can have a full conversation about chivari chairs and 90” round ivory tablecloths one day and then be sad the next day when he says goodbye to the company while he changes his career back to his roots in an agriculture-based company, anyone can be passionate about anything. 
  6. The years went faster than you thought they would. College graduation is already here? How did four (or three, or five) years go by so fast? They really do happen in a blink of an eye. 

Studying a subject that brings excitement into your life at a university can be so rewarding. You’ve spent hours and days in classrooms, taking notes, studying flashcards, cramming for tests, and collaborating with peers. Finally, it’s your day to shine and be recognized by many for the accomplishment you’ve made. If I were to leave one last tip, it would be this: walk at your graduation ceremony. Take the day to wear the cap and gown, show off your school’s tassel, and pose for every picture your family and friends want to take. You just dedicated four years of your life to studying and passing classes, you deserve this day. Congratulations, graduate! 

Loyal, Dedicated, Supporitve, and Organized: Teaching ISFJ Students

This is part of a series of using Myers Briggs personality types in the classroom. For more information, click here. For information on how to figure out your student’s MBTI type, click here. 

Do you have students stressed by last-minute changes? Or maybe you know someone who is extremely supportive of friends, family, or peers? Loyal, enthusiastic, and hard-working are also traits they may possess. These students may be an ISFJ personality type. 

Introverted 
Sensing 
Feeling 
Judging 

ISFJs need linear learning. Sequence and order are important to their comprehension of the subject. When they can see the beginning, the middle, the end, and how it applies to where they will use it later in life, they can fully grasp the concept. There is nothing that infuriates an ISFJ student more than a teacher who jumps around or doesn’t stay on track with the material. 

This personality type often is given the nickname “The Defender” or “The Nurse” and for very good reason. These students are known for dropping everything to help a friend or family member. ISFJ are some of the most selfless people, constantly giving and assisting others with everything they can. However, burnout can happen to them when they start to feel underappreciated. This is most likely the cause of the majority of their problems with their peers. 

ISFJs are most likely to have the best grades and excel in school. They are naturally great learners and love the idea of school and learning. It makes sense that their future careers most often end in education, with nursing and counseling falling shortly behind. They strive to choose careers that assist and help in any way that they can. 

When it comes to group work, these students do well. They feed off of ideas from their peers and will do everything they can to make sure everyone’s voice is heard and valued. Larger groups can be hard for ISFJs because it feels less personal and it can be intimidating to speak up in front of so many peers. 

ISFJs are a great balance of sensitive, yet practical. Always in tune with others’ feelings, but likely to make a list of steps to deal with said feelings. They may not be the student with the most friends, but the friendships they do have run deep and are genuine. 

How can you use the deep feelings of an ISFJ student to their academic advantage in your classroom? 

The Debaters, The Politicians, The Business Managers- A Guide To Teaching These Students

This is part of a series of using Myers Briggs personality types in the classroom. For more information, click here. For information on how to figure out your student’s MBTI type, click here. 

Extroverted
I(N)tuition 
Thinking
Perceiving 

Do you know those students you look at and think to yourself, “He will make a great debater in high school.” or, “She is going to end up in politics later in life.” There is a chance these students may be an ENTP personality type. 

These students are clever and constantly questioning you, whether it be about the material presented in class or any other subject they can think of, they are always up for a good debate. A great way for them to learn is conceptually, and a logical flow of information is key to them. They are students that will connect their studies with other angles and thoughts, more than what is given to them explicitly. 

Group work with ENTP students may seem ideal with their extroverted personalities, but they work well both in groups, and individually, because they know their capabilities as an individual and group work can hinder this. However, they still need interactions with their peers. 

Mundane work can drive these students up the wall, they are motivated by solving problems and finding solutions. Deadlines can be stressful to them because task work is not how they function, they need time to be creative and come up with plenty of possible solutions to find the best one. Focus is a hard topic for ENTP students because when they become excited about multiple projects it is easy for them to jump from one to the next to accomplish each, but letting each lack by spreading themselves too thin. 

Are you an ENTP? How do you learn best? What other ways can we facilitate meaningful learning for ENTP students? 

Logical And Creative, Does That Describe Any Of Your Students?

This is part of a series of using Myers Briggs personality types in the classroom. For more information, click here. For information on how to figure out your student’s MBTI type, click here. 

Logical, reserved, creative, and decisive. Do these words together describe one of your students? They may be an INTJ personality type. 

Introverted 
I(N)tuition 
Thinking 
Judgment 

These logical students are forward thinkers that love to know the “why” behind learning. They need their information organized and in a logical format, they have a hard time seeing the big picture when the material is not orderly. 

INTJs have impeccable recall skills. When shown information or a picture, then taken away and asked to remember what they saw, they can often name the majority of the details. This has been thought to be because they do not reflect on what they are seeing, they simply just memorize and make a list. Just because this is a skill of theirs doesn’t mean they learn best through rote memorization. They need the why and the how of procedures and processes to truly understand a subject on a deep level. 

These introverted learners don’t necessarily do great in group work unless they see their definitive role in helping. However, this much interaction with other students can cause stress in learning and they will often need a break. Not only do they not thrive in group work, but they can also have a hard time asking a teacher for help. They would rather do everything they can independently to figure out their problem before going to a teacher for help, which can cause a student-teacher relationship to be almost impossible if the teacher isn’t putting in an effort. It’s important to keep an eye on these students and check in often to see what they need and how they are doing. 

Is your INTJ student struggling to understand long division? Go through the process as a list over and over, see if that might help them. Show him or her how long division can relate to multiplication and why those two functions work together. Give them a real-life example of when they will use long division. 

Maybe they are having a hard time in an English class using the correct verb tense in their writing. Show them a list of the rules for verb tenses and when/why we use the verb tense that we do. Give them the bigger picture of how the verb tense in one sentence relates to the verb tense in a paragraph or story as a whole.

They do not need inquiry-based for subjects they are struggling with, they need logic and rules. 

If you still would like more information about INFJ students, watch this video that explains the personality type in 4 minutes. 


Do you teach an INFJ student? What benefits have you seen from knowing your student’s personality types?