Welcome to TweenTeacher.com

Welcome to my website. Here I will be discussing the latest news in education, curriculum design, a smattering of educational policy, and most importantly, how to more deeply enjoy this crazy and difficult calling of ours. For if you don’t figure out how to love teaching, with all of its obstacles and insults, then your students will not love learning. This blog is meant to help new educators to the profession, veterans, and second career teachers navigate through this difficult yet rewarding career. It is also meant to challenge the past practices in our schools that do not work, while highlighting those that do. Through celebrating education’s successes and analyzing its struggles, I hope, that with honesty, I can help enable change.

According to the National Education Association, 20% of all new teachers leave within three years, while 9% won’t make it to the end of their first year. When one analyzes urban schools, the numbers are even more extreme: approximately 50% leave the profession within five years. This is a disturbing statistic yet one we are all familiar with.

If we disseminate a school as a business model, the students’ suffering adds up to an unsuccessful business. It looks like this:

Unhappy teacher = unhappy student = cruddy test scores = unsuccessful school

And don’t even start with that old argument of “a school is more then just test scores.” Of course it is. We know that a whole student is not one that only knows how to take tests; but a school with happy students that can’t take a bubble test might be a cool place to hang out in, but it is not what we call a successful school.

This blog is meant to be a place to discuss some of these issues that plague all schools and districts. I will share what works for me, what keeps me happy, what keeps me wanting to work hard, and what keeps me the level of teacher that I can be proud of.

It all translates to the success of my students. And let’s face it, their success, their true success, as lifelong learners and people who intrinsically want to succeed, helps me achieve my own happiness. I’m selfish that way. I’m not interested in being miserable and spending my day unhappy. Call me crazy.

Maybe I can help you too.

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  • Heather – your blog is beautiful and informative. I am just starting one of my own, but I’m not happy with typepad’s style. May I inquire what application you are using for yours? Best, Jen

  • tweenteacher says:

    I use WordPress. I began with one of the free templates and that was great for a long time. Then once I started wanting a little more control of the design, I purchased a WordPress theme. Anyway, then I talked to a really talented student of mine and hired her, contract and all, to start doing the art. I knew I wanted a homemade feel that was representative of me. I let her read some articles and we talked about symbols or icons, and badda-bing-badda-bang, she drew the figurehead and backgrounds. My husband photoshopped them all into place in the WordPress template and voila! I love that it is truly student-created.

    Hope I helped you on her own blogging road. Come back and let me know when you are up and running. I’d love to see what you’ve got!
    aka Tweenteacher

  • Heather- This is great. I saw you at the CUE conference this year, and your presentation was inspiring. I am about to make MY first presentation at my local CUE affiliate at the end of the month. I would like to be able to reference your recommended sites to teachers new to technology integration in the classroom.

  • Hello
    Couldn’t find a ‘contact us’ button to let you know that I find your site extremely difficult to view. When it first came up, I had a very negative visual reaction. The background shows through on your dark blue areas and makes it hard to read the information in them. It seems very busy as you scroll down.
    Lots of good information, but hard to view, in my opinion.

  • Tracy says:

    Tweenteacher….thank you thank you thank you. At 54 i started my career (second) teaching middle school gifted students. I love it! I find there are more teachers either unhappy or not satisfied with what they are doing. I hunger for new ways to stay motivated and to encourage my students to love to learn. This is the first time on your site, and i hope to be a returning patron. I hope you are still doing this for a long time to come. My biggest struggle is not knowing how to utilize new technology in my classroom. Cant wait to use your site to assist me with my goal of improving my computer/techno skills.

  • Nancy Durgin says:

    I am a veteran middle level teacher in Maine. I am currently a member of a PLC (professional learning committee) at my school which includes 3 dual level teams ( 7th and 8th grades at Medomak Middle School). We have been looping for over 8 years and have found that to be a very positive practice for middle level students. We are now investigating converting from dual grade to multiage classes within our dual grades and we are looking for research, feedback, ideas, experience etc. with regard to this. Can you or your readers help us out?
    I have also been researching on the Edutopia site, but have found most of those multi-age discussions or blogs for elementray students. Many thanks!

  • tweenteacher says:

    Wow, that’s a really interesting topic. Let me see what I can find out for you.
    -Heather WG
    aka Tweenteacher

  • Darrin says:

    I am new to teaching my current classes: Drama, although I have experience on the receiving end and performing, Intro to Family and Consumer Sciences, and Intro to Career Clusters. The school has not had the last 2 of these course offerings prior to my coming on board. I am feeling somewhat at a loss in that I do not know what topics nor a sequence in which to teach these courses yet. Any suggestions?

  • […] searchable blog archive, offering lesson ideas, classroom strategies, book lists and videos. •TweenTeacher.com Authored by Heather Wolpert-Gawron, a middle school teacher who was the California Regional Teacher […]

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