About Jess Field

Jessica Field holds a Masters degree in Teaching & Learning. She is currently in her twelfth year in education, and lives just outside of Richmond, VA. She has taught every grade level in elementary school with the exception of Kindergarten. Currently, she works as an Instructional Coach to lead middle school teachers on best practices in literacy. She also works with teachers within the DoDEA (Department of Defense) schools sporadically. She also works with Grand Canyon University as a Student Teacher Supervisor for the past four years. In the past, she had the unique opportunity to virtually coach beginning teachers for the National Education Association (NEA), and has been very active with the NC Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI). She worked for several years with a local community college to teach Substitute Teacher courses, and was a Consultant with NC State University on text book committees, and created/evaluated test-bank items for various assessments including common assessments, and NC Teacher Licensure exams.

Planning During Your Engagement

Where will the venue be? The Plaza in NY? The Biltmore in NC? No, those are both too expensive and extravagant. Let’s get back on task. You’re engaged, but are your students engaged?  Your budget will only allow for your classroom to host this event. Your engagement planning should look somewhat like laminating task cards, researching differentiated lessons, thinking about cooperative learning, and reading texts ahead of time. What can you do with a limited budget? You had better start combing Pinterest, and create a new board.

The Engagement “Ring”

“Oh my gosh!” That’s so pretty!” “Where did you get that?” It’s official; you’re engaged…. to teach! Teachers don’t need a ring to remind them of their love for their students; we get a teacher bag instead! Whether it’s a Vera Bradley bag, Thirty 31 bag, or a lucky find at a discount store, our teacher bag is our constant reminder of our commitment. You can spot other teachers a mile away; it’s the overflowing, heavy teacher bag that catches our eyes- not a sparkly diamond ring in a white gold pavé setting.

Engagement Accessories

The invitations, flowers, candles, cake, and menu are all up to you (and of course your fiancée). If you’re lucky you might be able to hire a Wedding Planner to help you out here in order to make all of your ideas come to fruition. Okay, so maybe you won’t have those in your classroom; but you do need to think about the placement of pencils, papers, books. Simply thinking about the placement of these items might influence your engagement. You might even have an Instructional Coach which is even better in your case. An Instructional Coach can actually help you before, during, and after your engagement.

What Not To Do During Your Engagement

Do not “be the sage on the sage”, or a “bridezilla”, and make this all about you. Yes, it’s your engagement, and it’s a very important time to you, we know. This is about way more than you though; it’s about a (multifaceted) relationship. Take time to enjoy your engagement, but also continue to cultivate your relationship. Here’s how: keep checking in with your “better half” (students) to see how they’re feeling about the decisions that you’ve (collaboratively) made. The decisions you make, or hopefully make together with them, will affect you all. Sometimes you will have those “We need to talk…” moments; have them–don’t avoid them. This would be a great time to discuss personal goals together. What can you do so show your students that you are in this for them, and thus cultivate your relationship with them?

Differences During Your Engagement

How do you plan for engagement in your classroom? What does it look like? What does it sound like? Everyone’s “engagement” is different, both in the classroom and within a romantic relationship context–and it should be. All relationships have challenges, but that’s life, right? Engagement involves communication, period. A quiet classroom does not emulate engagement. A quiet classroom working on worksheets does not emulate engagement either. (Yes, there are times when a classroom should be quiet. Yes, there are times when students need to work on graphic organizers.) Engagement involves “give and take”, and taking turns. Engage your students by doing this. Truly do this; don’t just talk, and then call on a student. What is the difference? Pose an open ended question, and give them time to talk to a partner. Walk around, and listen to their conversations; have you engaged them enough to learn how to think?

50-50?

Engagement varies, like I said before. It is not “50-50”, like the traditional ratio in a marriage; shoot for 100-100. You might not get that at first, or even for a while. Every day is different; every day is a different ratio. Think about what your ratio is for your engagement as you head into your engagement this week.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email