On Wednesday, October 12, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education released a 695-page document containing new regulations aimed at assessing education colleges and programs that prepare teachers for their careers, with the goal of holding them accountable for the quality of their graduates.
“Teaching requires so much more than simply showing up on Monday on the first day of school with a lesson plan and a smile,” says Dr. Susie Wolbe. “It requires strategy.”
As a 22-year veteran of public and private schools, Dr. Wolbe taught multiple grade levels in elementary and middle school before serving as a K-8 principal for 14 years. This background along with advanced degrees and additional educational accreditations, form the basis for her current work. Dr. Wolbe offers educator and parent education, in addition to working with children in both individual and group settings.
“I must admit that I entered my first classroom as a teacher completely unprepared,” she says. “Yes, I knew educational theory as taught by the university I attended. I also knew from student teaching and education classes all sorts of hypothetical situations that might occur … but the reality of being the classroom teacher was entirely different.”
Nationally, 46 percent of teachers leave the profession after the first five years on the job, according to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. Dr. Wolbe believes the key to classroom success is the ability to establish a habit of self-care, and that by participating in daily mindfulness practices, the emotional state, physical health and mental abilities of teachers and students alike will be profoundly improved. When it comes to positively impacting students’ learning, some of the most important lessons have very little to do with teaching the designated curriculum. In her most recent book, The Empowered Teacher: Proven Tips for Classroom Success (Brown Books), Dr. Wolbe shares lessons she learned “on the job,” which are the most valuable experiences a teacher can have.
This quick, enjoyable read is packed with proven tips and advice beneficial for teachers at all stages of their career. Drawing on her many years’ experience as an elementary and middle school principal, author Susie Wolbe, ED.D. addresses many of the common challenges teachers face, including classroom management procedures and practices, stress and burn-out. Divided into three easy-to-read sections, The Empowered Teacher: Proven Tips for Classroom Success provides educators with practical strategies that will improve the teaching experience, including how to establish strong relationships with students and parents, how to enhance teaching methods and bring joy back to the classroom, and how to develop good professional relationships with colleagues. Dr. Wolbe’s practical advice is designed to help educators see their profession through a different lens and to experience new ideas and strategies that will benefit everyone involved.
My Thoughts: I wanted to read this book to help me understand how to be a better teacher to my children and a better parent to my children’s teachers. Much of the book reflected things I also thought were important and I was especially drawn to the information of social and emotional learning which is so crucial especially in the early elementary years. I learned that right here in Austin, Texas there is a program under AISD called the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and I have since bookmarked and used their website for information. There are many great resources for parents on the Social and Emotional Learning website including the extremely helpful Social and Emotional Toolkit for parents. This website breaks down helpful information for parents by the student’s age and grade and gives fantastic tips on how to assist their child in areas of Academics, Health & Wellness, and Social and Emotional Learning. My goal was to understand the types of things my husband and I could do to help our children gain independence, understand consequences, and be able to deal with their emotions so that they can do well academically. I felt this book provided me with some great resources. A student’s emotional well-being is extremely important, as is the well-being of the teacher, the classroom, and the parents. I knew that being a teacher was a challenging job, but when you read this book with an open mind you really start to understand just how huge of a position a teacher plays in your child’s life. I would recommend this book to all parents who want to be on the same page with your child’s teachers and on what you can do to personally cemented that relationship and to create a open and honest space at home that supports your child at each step of their development. This has been a truly eye-opening book for me.
About the Author: Dr. Susie Wolbe was a classroom teacher in both public and private schools before serving as K-8 principal in a private school for 14 years. She has a B.S. and M.S. in Elementary Education, an Ed.D. in Educational Supervision with a Concentration in Curriculum and Instruction, and is certified as an Academic Language Therapist and as a Mindful Schools instructor. She currently works with adults and children in both group and individual settings, and is a continuing education provider for the state of Texas (#902209). Dr. Wolbe has used mindfulness strategies to learn how to manage life’s sometimes-overwhelming demands. She is now committed to helping other people do the same, especially as it applies to students, educators and parents. As Dr. Wolbe says, ”Teaching, learning, and living life just doesn’t have to be all that hard.” Beyond the classroom, Dr. Wolbe has manufactured children’s clothing and holds a real estate broker’s license. She and her husband have five children and seven grandchildren.
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