Finding new and creative ways to keep students engaged throughout the entire school year can be a challenge. However, student engagement is key to teacher effectiveness and we’re committed to providing you with the tools you need to be successful as an educator. That’s why we’ve collaborated with student engagement and classroom organization expert Charity Preston to develop a Pinterest board completely devoted to just that: student engagement.
You may already be familiar with Preston through her blog, The Organized Classroom. If you aren’t already following her on social media, I recommend you connect with her immediately. She shares great tips and resources.
I asked her to share a bit more about herself with our readers. Enjoy and be sure to check out our Student Engagement collaboration pin board!
Tell us a little bit about your history as an educator.
After working in retail for more than 10 years, I returned to school to pursue an education degree. I have a B.S. in Early Childhood Education, a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, and a K–12 Gifted Endorsement. I taught 3rd grade in Lee County, Fla., for three years before returning to my home state of Ohio and teaching K–5 Gifted Math.
What role do you see social media playing in education?
As a teacher-turned-professional-teacher-blogger, social media is pretty much my life. It opens the classroom doors that were once shut and allows teachers from all across the world to plan, share, and discuss practical ideas and applications for making instruction and student learning better each and every day. From Twitter chats to Facebook teacher groups, and through the images we can see on Pinterest and Instagram, we are able to get a real visual for how we can use successful ideas in our own classrooms.
Tell us about The Organized Classroom.
The Organized Classroom was started in 2011 after my son had a seizure and I was needed at home to keep a close eye on him. After a few months of being at home, I began to be discouraged by the disconnect I was feeling from the world of teaching and education. I had a master’s degree, and yet I was feeling very out of the loop. So I started recording teaching tip videos and writing blog posts of ideas I used in my classroom that were successful. Within six months, I had several thousand fans and blog readers. It continued to snowball from there and in just three short years, my little “need to stay connected” idea has grown to a 20-plus website collection for educators and more. I try to see what teachers need and find a way to fill that need as best as I can. Teachers have a tough job most days, so anything I can do to help them means I have contributed the best way I can.
What inspires you?
Getting emails from teachers who have used my ideas in their classrooms and who tell me how it has helped them—even in the smallest of ways. It warms my heart to know I helped even in the smallest way.
What advice do you have for educators?
Education is always changing. Be flexible. There will always be a new strategy or assessment to follow. Rather than getting discouraged, look to your colleagues in your school or online and search for ways to make it work. Being proactive in making adaptations as necessary puts you in a much better frame of mind—not only for yourself, but also for your students and their families. The best educators are consistently honing their practice.