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Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Do you hear what I'm saying?"

Today's schedule consisted of an all day training with Dr. Sharon Faber, who is an educator, consultant, and speaker for schools all around the country.

There was recently a to-do over at the School Board meeting about Clifton Hills having Dr. Faber consult with us. Apparently, they were upset that we used our funds, the ones allocated for the use of Professional Development- and PD only, to pay for this skilled, educated, and insightful individual to teach our teachers how to also be skilled, educated, and insightful individuals. (And, subsequently, to pass that information down to our students- the ones that need it.)

To be honest, we half expected to see some School Board members today during our training; you know, to see what all the fuss is about. Since no one decided to check us out, I'll tell you myself.

 Dr. Faber is WORTH. EVERY. PENNY.

In the interest of saving time, I'm going to share my...
Top 5 Reasons I Want to be Dr. Faber When I Grow Up:

1. She's sassy.
It's not just the haircut! She has 43 years of being in the educational field to her credit and she can still come to work and share her information with a "hostile audience". (Her words, not mine! We teachers do get upset sometimes when we aren't allowed in our classrooms!) 
We weren't hostile for long! Within 60 seconds of starting our day, Dr. Faber had us all in the palm of her hand. 

2. She's honest. 
Sometimes brutally so. You'd think this would be a deterrent, but that's not the case. Sometimes we need to have a mirror shoved in our faces, and who better than someone who as walked a mile (or 20) in our shoes? And, all was said with a smile on her face and love in her heart. 

 3. She's helpful.
Dr. Faber been there, done that, but refuses to buy the t-shirt because that would mean that she needs a souvenir. You don't need a souvenir until the journey is over, and it's not over for Dr. Faber! She has life experiences and life lessons that are relevant to today's learners and educators and she's willing to share them! Do you realize how rare that is in some schools? 

4. She's happy. 
There are always days during the school year when a teacher just wants to crawl up into the fetal position and bawl his/her eyes out. (Although, I'm just guessing that about the male teachers.) I admire that she's held almost every position in the educational field and still has a smile on her face. I know that can't be easy, teaching can cause daily wear and tear on an educator's heart, but I love that she made it seem effortless. That's the sign of a true professional- making the hardest skill seem easy.

5. She's HERE!
Do you realize that she lives in Georgia but travels all over the country? She has a hubby and 4 kids, a whole other life away from teaching, but she just can't get away. She's so passionate about helping educators be all they can be, that she's willing to travel hundreds of miles just to make sure students are getting what they need from their teachers. (And administrators, and school staff, and parents....) If that's not a passion for students and their needs, I'm not sure what is!

I don't want to give away all of her tricks since this is how she makes her livelihood, but Dr. Faber did give me permission to share some things that we learned here on the blog. (Thank you!) I'll just share a few little things that I took away from today.

1. Only use a student's name in a positive way. When disciplining a student, use the terms "young man" or "young lady". No student should cringe or flinch when hearing their name come from their teacher's lips.

2. Use stories and examples before teaching content. We want students to identify with what is being taught in the classroom. This hooks the students and helps them feel more connected to what they are learning. 

3. At-Risk students tend to be auditory learners. Use sound cues to get the class' attention, and allow for talk time between students.

4. Enforce Metacognition Moments. Metacognition is thinking about your thinking. Students need time to process their learning. Take a few seconds between mini-lessons to allow students to think about how they think/feel about the subject or topic just covered.

5. Teach with Acceptance, Accommodation, and Affirmation
  • Teaching with Acceptance means you accept students where they are academically. This lets students feel no blame.
  • Teaching with Accommodations for each student (what they need, when they need it) allows for students to feel no shame. In other words, differentiation. 
  • Teaching with Affirmation means you affirm the student's belief in him/herself enough that they know they can accomplish their goals; first in the classroom, then in life. This lets students know they have no excuses. They can and will meet your expectations.
 Thank you, Dr. Faber for a wonderful, educational, insightful day! Clifton Hills Elementary is lucky to have you in their corner! 
The title of the post came from Dr. Faber. It was her favorite catch phrase to see if we were processing what she was teaching.
Our answer, "Yes, Dr. Faber, we are listening. We are hanging on every word!"

p.s I had originally planned for Dr. Faber to be the next Celebrity for Celebrity Story Saturday, but the video camera died in the middle of filming. (boooooo) Dr. Faber consoled me by saying she would be back in September and would gladly try again then. :)


  1. Very well written! Loved her too!!!

  2. Best PD I've had since....I can't even remember when.

  3. This is great Delk! I wanted to write one too, but I am stressed for the first day. (Heehee) Loved her. And, you're right, Jules, BEST PD EVER!! She is sooooo worth the money.