Archive for September, 2010

“Having a sub is fun!”

I had two stand-out moments today that renewed my love for teaching, yes even substitute teaching. As students were packing up for dismissal, one little boy exclaimed, “Having a sub is fun!” and then he proceeded to melt my heart even  more by saying, “I love you.”

Now as heartwarming as that moment was, it made me stop and think about how much of an impact we can truly make on students — even when we are just a day-to-day sub.

And to affirm that enlightened thought, I ran into one of my students that I had taught last year [during a one-month long-term substitute position]. His smile grew large as he saw me and he began running down the hall, arms open, bracing for a big hug. “MISS MEEEEELER! [He has the cutest way of pronouncing my name.] I MISS YOU!”

Wow, it is true — I am really making an impact on these kids — even as a sub.

So my challenge is this:

we may not be able to change our circumstances,
but we can certainly change our attitude.

Subbing may not be the most rewarding job, but it does come with a wealth to gain and to give. You do not always realize the impact that are making, the life you are changing — even in the smallest smile or encouraging word you give. Make the most of each day by searching for the positive and realizing that as small as it may be, you have the capacity to make a difference in the life of a child!

Happy Monday!

miss miller



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Twitter for Teachers

I’ll be the first to admit that I was a huge Twitter skeptic.

“No, I don’t want to read that you are running to the mall at 2:37 pm or that you’re making lasagna for dinner. I’ll keep my nose in my own business, thank you.”

I maintained this stand-offish attitude until I found out what a wonderful resource it could be — especially for teachers!

After attending a workshop on technology + education, I was inspired to start a twitter account to get instant updates on the ever-changing world of teaching. Similar to that of facebook, Twitter works by updating your homepage with “tweets” or 140 character messages that operate like a headline of a newspaper & then link to a more detailed site.

When signing into my account, I am welcomed by messages from Discovery Education Network,, USNews Education, Education Week, as well as teachers who have their own personal news to share! On one site, I have access to hundreds of messages, updated frequently, giving me links to all kinds of resources — songs for the classroom, webinars to attend, freebies for teachers, changes in policy…

I knew I was in love when I was finding free online webinars & professional development to sign up for — such as Discovery Education’s Fifth Annual Stream-a-thon that is being held tomorrow on integrating digital technology into curriculum!

When used in this manner, Twitter can really be a one stop shop for being up to date & in the know!

Want to know how you, too, can become connected via Twitter? 

  • Visit & Sign up! It is fast & easy, just follow the steps listed at the top right corner
  • Find & Follow other teachers & educational resources by searching for education, news, or by searching for other teachers. Twitter4 Teachers is constantly being updated with new accounts!
  • Check it frequently! Make a habit of checking it daily to stay in the loop!
  • Post with your news & update those who are following you!
  • Use appropriately: Remember, like all things online, every post or comment is a representation and a reflection of who you are.

Now this is merely the beginning of utilizing this online tool. Twitter boasts a very thorough Help Center that can answer more specific questions and broaden your knowledge of the tricks & tips for successful useage.

Happy Tweeting!

miss miller

Follow me on twitter @missnmiller!

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FYI: Common Core State Standards

Keeping in line with my plugged-in  theme, I thought I would fill you in on a up-and-coming nationwide initiative: Common Core State Standards. Pennsylvania is just one of the dozens of states to adopt these standards for English-Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. Set to be phased in during the current school year & then go into effect in 2013, PDE assures that these standards will not lag behind our current standards in Pennsylvania (which are among one of the nation’s strongest).

To get a better understanding of what Common Core State Standards are all about, I visited their website, finding info on the standards themselves, the states that have already adopted them, and plenty of news stating support & favor. The mission statement clearly summed up the goal & reason for the implementation:

      Mission Statement 

The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

Carrying the tagline, Preparing America’s Students for College & Career, one can’t help but think of the benefits of having a unified system that holds all students, regardless of background, location, etc., to the same set of educational standards.  My hope is that this system will benefit students, teachers, and parents alike to foster the success in all students.

      Why is this important?

  • Make expectations for students clear to parents, teachers, and the general public;
  • Encourage the development of textbooks, digital media, and other teaching materials aligned to the standards;
  • Develop and implement comprehensive assessment systems to measure student performance against the common core state standards that will replace the existing testing systems that too often are inconsistent, burdensome and confusing; and
  • Evaluate policy changes needed to help students and educators meet the standards.
  • “The standards clearly communicate what is expected of students at each grade level. This will allow our teachers to be better equipped to know exactly what they need to help students learn and establish individualized benchmarks for them. The Common Core State Standards focus on core conceptual understandings and procedures starting in the early grades, thus enabling teachers to take the time needed to teach core concepts and procedures well—and to give students the opportunity to master them.” [Common Core State Standards]

    It is always important to stay informed. So keep your eyes open for the latest updates on CCSS & I encourage you to read more to find out for yourself!

    miss miller

    To learn more about the standards themselves or Pennsylvania’s implementation of the CCSS, visit PDE.

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    Staying Connected

    “Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”

    Thank you, John Cotton Dana, I couldn’t have said it better myself! We all know the importance of continuing education & continuing in our pursuit of knowledge, but sometimes as substitute teachers it is hard to get plugged-in to places that foster professional development.

    Over the next few posts, I want to share a few ideas & resources that can help you stay connected to the ever-changing educational world and give you a leg up during your next round of interviews or observations.

    The first method to stay connected is by researching educational organizations within your local district. Math & Reading Associations are common & often just a google search away! These groups provide training to members & non-members alike, offering a wide range of courses and seminars. For teachers in Pennsylvania, visit to find out about a local chapter! Be sure to ask teachers if there are organizations like this in your district in which you can be apart of!

    If searching local ends up void, you can also find a great wealth of resources through the International Reading AssociationNational Council of Teachers of Mathematics , National Science Teachers Association , & the list goes on!  There you can find forums, research & reports, lesson plan ideas & so much more! These sources are just the tip of the ice berg. Thanks to sites such as twitter & delicious — teachers can now be linked to professional development resources or even current trends & issues in education.

    So take time to do some research, find ways to get connected and stay in the the loop. These asssociations & organizations have a lot to offer in a variety of settings — you are sure to find a way to grow as an educator through them!

    miss miller

    Want to read more about educational associations & organizations? Read the full list at

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    Qualities of a Successful Substitute

    This morning I had the privilege of meeting with Ms. Elaine Settelmaier, the director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment at a local school district, to discuss substituting for the 2010-2011 school year. We had a wonderful conversation, discussing everything from data driven instruction to the stereotypes of rural, urban, and suburban schools. I left feeling refreshed & rejuvinated for the new school year as well as thankful to be in the company of such an outstanding educator. I’m really looking forward to learning as much as I can from my experiences as a substitute within her district.

    Recognizing the importance of gaining from the wisdom of such expert teachers, I asked Ms. Settlemaier what she believed to be important qualities of a successful substitute and this is what she had to share:

    Enjoy children, even the challenges they may offer you

    Build relationships with students and adult colleagues alike

    Make it personal — share about yourself

    Let students know why you love to teach

    Find ways to show that you are happy to be at school

    Be prepared

    Know how to handle disciple issues before they occur

    Formulate a philosophy of education & emulate it

    Wow — there is so much truth to those statements! I had posted earlier about the importance of goal setting and I find these nuggets of advice to be helpful with just that! Whether it is sprucing up your philosophy of education (or substitute teaching for that matter) or simply finding a way to be positive about subbing — this wisdom should be applied to our every day teaching!

    miss miller

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