Does Focusing On “Learning Loss” Hold Kids Back In The Long Run?

In recent years, the term “learning loss” has emerged as a central concern in educational discussions, particularly in the wake of global disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This concept refers to the loss of knowledge and academic skills that students experience during periods away from formal education. However, there is a growing debate about whether a heightened emphasis on learning loss might be counterproductive or even harmful to students in the long run.

Critics argue that the focus on learning loss may lead to a narrow emphasis on standardized test scores and academic benchmarks, potentially overshadowing broader educational goals, such as critical thinking, creativity, and social-emotional development. They suggest that this limited focus could increase stress on students and educators alike, promoting a culture of cramming and rote memorization rather than genuine learning and intellectual curiosity.

Moreover, by framing time away from school as inherently detrimental to student achievement, there’s a risk of undervaluing the wide array of experiences and forms of learning that can occur outside traditional classroom settings. For instance, activities such as family engagement, community service, exploration of the arts, or practical life experiences can also contribute significantly to a child’s development but may be overlooked if the discourse is centered solely on academic losses.

Some education experts point out that an excessive focus on learning loss could inadvertently stigmatize students who have fallen behind their peers, whether due to school closures, personal circumstances, or differentiated learning needs. This stigma may result in lower self-esteem and motivation among these learners, thereby exacerbating educational inequalities rather than addressing them.

Furthermore, proponents of a more holistic approach to education contend that flexibility and adaptability are essential skills for success in an ever-changing world. Thus, they argue that resilience and the ability to learn from diverse situations might be more crucial than simply catching up with a pre-defined curriculum at any cost.

While recognizing learning loss is important for identifying areas where students may need additional support, it is perhaps equally essential to consider a balanced perspective. Educational policies and practices should not only aim to fill gaps in traditional academic subjects but should also strive to foster broader competencies that will serve students throughout their lives.

In conclusion, while acknowledging and addressing learning loss is undoubtedly important for ensuring that all students have the opportunity to succeed academically, there should be careful consideration about how this issue is approached. By broadening our understanding of what constitutes valuable learning experiences and outcomes beyond standardized metrics we may better support the overall well-being and long-term success of young learners.

Opinion Writing Scaffolds: Enhancing Student Expression in the Classroom

In the journey of education, especially when it comes to developing writing skills, students sometimes find themselves at a crossroads, not knowing how to translate their thoughts into coherent and persuasive language. This is particularly true for opinion writing, a crucial element of academic curriculum that challenges students to articulate their thoughts on various topics assertively and persuasively. To bridge this gap, opinion writing scaffolds offer an effective methodology for educators to guide their students in expressing their viewpoints systematically.

Opinion writing scaffolds come in different forms, but three quick and effective methods stand out for their simplicity and impact. These are the OREO method, the Box Plan method, and the FRIES method.

The OREO Method

The first method is named after the popular cookie—the OREO. An acronym for Opinion, Reasons, Examples (or Evidence), and Opinion restated; this scaffold provides a straightforward template for structuring an opinion piece. Students start by clearly stating their opinion on a topic. They then list reasons to support their opinion and back up those reasons with examples or evidence. Lastly, they restate their opinion, reinforcing their initial stance.

The Box Plan

The Box Plan breaks down opinion writing into four simple parts: introduction, two body paragraphs (each containing a main idea), and conclusion. This plan visualizes each part as a separate box that students can fill with relevant content. The introduction box includes the thesis statement or the main opinion. Each body paragraph box contains a main idea with supporting details, while the conclusion box wraps up the argument by summarizing the main points and restating the thesis statement in light of the provided information.

The FRIES Method

A more detailed scaffold is the FRIES method—an acronym that stands for Facts (or evidence), Reasons, Incidents (examples or anecdotes), Explanation (of how incidents support your argument), and Significance (why the argument matters). This method encourages depth by prompting students to include multiple types of support for their opinions instead of relying on just one kind.

Through these scaffolds, students learn to create structured and convincing opinion essays. These methods act as training wheels for young writers as they learn to balance their creative expression with logical structure – eventually guiding them towards effectively communicating their opinions without any assistance.

Teachers have found these scaffolds not just helpful in guiding students through opinion pieces but also in terms of applicability across various subjects and topics. Adapting these methods helps cater to diverse learning styles while still teaching essential writing skills that are critical across all disciplines.

Integrating scaffolds into lesson plans enables educators to achieve several pedagogical objectives: it simplifies complex tasks into manageable components for students; it provides clear expectations for what constitutes a good opinion piece; and it assists students in developing critical thinking skills as they construct arguments.

In conclusion, opinion writing scaffolds are valuable tools in the educator’s toolkit. By leveraging these methods, teachers can effectively enhance student expression and foster independent thinkers capable of presenting well-reasoned arguments confidently – ultimately preparing them for the myriad of academic challenges that lie ahead.

What Do We Really Mean by ‘Quality First Teaching’?


In the world of education, there is a phrase that has gained significant traction in recent years: Quality First Teaching (QFT). While it may sound like an abstract concept, QFT has real-life implications for how teachers approach their profession and, ultimately, how well students learn. But what exactly does Quality First Teaching mean? In this article, we’ll explore what QFT entails and why it has become such an important focus in modern education.

Defining Quality First Teaching

Quality First Teaching can be described as a high standard of teaching that addresses the diverse needs of all students in a classroom setting. It emphasizes the implementation of effective teaching strategies, proper planning, and quality feedback to foster a healthy learning environment that maximizes academic progress for every student.

Key Components of Quality First Teaching

1. Outstanding Lesson Planning: To achieve QFT standards, teachers must carefully design lessons that incorporate clear learning objectives, relatable examples, and a variety of instructional methods to meet students’ individual needs. Proper planning also includes anticipating possible misconceptions or difficulties students might encounter and preparing strategies to address them.

2. Differentiation: In a classroom filled with diverse learners, QFT entails adapting teaching methods and resources to cater effectively to each student’s unique abilities. This involves assessing individual learning styles and providing appropriate support so students can reach their full potential.

3. Active Engagement: Ensuring that all students remain involved in the learning process is critical for achieving QFT standards. Teachers must utilize various engagement techniques such as questioning, group work, discussions, and hands-on activities to maintain interest and facilitate comprehension.

4. Regular Assessment & Feedback: Ongoing assessment procedures are essential in QFT as they help teachers identify areas where students may require additional support, track progress, and inform future instruction. Providing constructive feedback is equally important for motivating students and enabling them to improve their performance.

5. Collaboration & Professional Development: QFT emphasizes the importance of consistently updating and refining one’s teaching practices. Teachers are encouraged to collaborate with colleagues, engage in continuous professional development, and stay informed about the latest research to keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date, ultimately ensuring optimized instruction.

The Benefits of Quality First Teaching

Implementing QFT in schools has a range of benefits, including improved student outcomes, increased engagement, reduced need for individual interventions, and a more inclusive learning environment. By focusing on quality teaching from the outset, we nurture well-rounded students capable of overcoming challenges and succeeding academically.


Quality First Teaching is more than just a buzzword in education; it represents a commitment to excellence in teaching that strives to meet the unique needs of all learners. By prioritizing QFT principles such as meticulous planning, differentiation, engagement, assessment, feedback, and professional growth, teachers can create classroom environments where students thrive and achieve their full potential.

The Unaddressed Issue


Recent surveys have revealed a concerning trend among schools when it comes to addressing mental health. A significant number of educational institutions seem to be unaware of existing guidance on promoting mental health and providing support for students. This oversight is becoming a point of concern, as mental wellbeing is a crucial aspect of students’ lives and overall academic success.

The Importance of Mental Health in Schools

Mental health plays a pivotal role not only in students’ personal lives but also in their academic performance and long-term success. With increasing pressure from society, parents, and educators, students face various stressors during their school years. Some challenges include academic expectations, social development, and personal issues that can contribute to the development of anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders.

Inadequate Mental Health Support – Survey Findings

According to recent surveys, many schools are not fully aware of the guidance provided by authorities regarding how to promote mental health and address mental health issues among students. Consequently, this lack of awareness results in insufficient support systems and interventions that could potentially help students in need.

Factors Contributing to This Gap

Several factors contribute to the existing gap in awareness surrounding mental health guidance:

1. Limited resources: Many schools face budget constraints that directly affect their ability to allocate funds for mental health programs or have dedicated professionals such as counsellors or psychotherapists.

2. Insufficient training: The unpredictability of mental health issues may discourage educators from taking preventive measures due to their lack of training and understanding about recognizing symptoms and providing adequate support.

3. Stigma surrounding mental health: Another leading reason can be the stigma associated with admitting the presence of mental health issues in schools. Many administrators fear potential backlash from acknowledging such challenges openly.

Tackling the Issue 

There is an urgent need for authorities and stakeholders in education to work together towards building awareness on mental health guidance and implementing appropriate policies. Some suggestions to address the issue include:

1. Training and support for educators: Teachers and educators should be well-trained and knowledgeable about mental health issues, signs, and appropriate intervention strategies.

2. Allocating funds for mental health resources: Schools must allocate an adequate portion of their budget towards addressing mental health concerns to employ specialists or invest in related programs.

3. Building awareness among parents and the community: Open discussions and workshops for parents and the community can work wonders in eliminating the stigma around mental health issues, encouraging better understanding at home.


In today’s fast-paced world, mental health is a significant area of concern that affects students’ lives both personally and academically. It is crucial that schools take necessary steps to be well-informed about existing guidance provided by authorities and work towards providing ample support to promote the overall wellbeing of their students. After all, it is up to the education sector to create a conducive environment for future generations to thrive.

It’s the Ultimate Teacher Friend Giveaway: Pizza for Dinner


Attention teachers! We are excited to announce the Ultimate Teacher Friend Giveaway: Pizza for Dinner! As educators, we know how hard you work to educate and inspire your students. This giveaway is our way of showing appreciation for all your dedication and efforts. You and your fellow teachers deserve a delicious break, so let’s share some pizza goodness.

How the Giveaway Works:

Participating in the Ultimate Teacher Friend Giveaway is simple. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Spread the Word: Let your fellow teachers know about this amazing giveaway. Share this article on your social media pages or through any other channels you’d prefer.

2. Nominate a Fellow Teacher: Fill out the online nomination form, providing some background on the deserving teacher you’re nominating for Pizza for Dinner.

3. Cross Your Fingers: Wait for the drawing to determine if you’ve won a fabulous pizza dinner for you and your nominated teacher pal!

Why Pizza for Dinner?

The excitement of getting together with friends over a hot cheesy pie cannot be overstated, especially when it’s as a reward for hardworking teachers. Sharing pizza creates a warm, convivial atmosphere – perfect for relaxing and unwinding after long days at school. Plus, who doesn’t love pizza?

Draw Date & Prize Details:

The draw will take place on [date], and winners will be notified by email within a week of the drawing. The winning prize includes:

1. A gift card redeemable for pizza from a popular national pizza chain

2. A pack of fun teaching resources to make planning engaging lessons even easier

3. Discount coupons/gift vouchers to invest in classroom supplies

Spread the Love:

The Ultimate Teacher Friend Giveaway: Pizza for Dinner is a fantastic opportunity to show that special teacher friend how much you appreciate their dedication, support, and friendship throughout the school year. By participating in this giveaway, you’re not only raising their spirits – but you’re also lending a much-needed helping hand to their classroom endeavors.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to treat yourselves to a tasty pizza dinner and some well-deserved relaxation. Join the Ultimate Teacher Friend Giveaway now and spread the love amongst hardworking educators.

Good luck, and bon appétit!

Principal Helpline: What if you have a bad observation on a good teacher?


A bad observation on a good teacher can be a challenging situation for both school principals and the teachers themselves. As a principal, it is essential to understand how to address the issue professionally while acknowledging the teacher’s strengths and accomplishments. This article aims to provide guidance on dealing with this delicate situation.

1. Reflect on the Observation and Gather Data

Before taking any action, thoroughly review the observation report and consider the factors that might have contributed to the bad observation. Look into any external factors that could have affected the teacher’s performance, such as personal or professional challenges or an unusual classroom environment.

2. Schedule a Meeting with the Teacher

Open communication is critical in addressing any concerns. Set up a private meeting with the teacher involved and share your observations with them. Make sure to create a comfortable and supportive atmosphere for discussion.

3. Recognize their Performance

Acknowledging a teacher’s good work and reviewing their overall performance sends a strong message of trust and support. Highlight their strengths, achievements, and positive contributions to the school environment.

4. Encourage Self-Reflection

Encourage the teacher to reflect on their teaching method, classroom management strategies, and planning during that particular observation session. Ask them if they noticed any difficulties or areas they felt could be improved.

5. Offer Support and Collaboration

Work together with the teacher to understand their challenges and brainstorm possible solutions with them. Offer resources such as workshops, professional development opportunities, or peer mentoring programs that may help them grow in their practice.

6. Conduct Follow-Up Observations

Use follow-up observations to monitor progress and ensure that one bad observation does not define their overall performance evaluation. Schedule these observations at different times of day or during different lessons to get a more comprehensive understanding of their teaching style.

7. Maintain Open Dialogue

Keep lines of communication open by touching base with teachers about their progress, concerns, or successes frequently. This will not only provide ongoing support, but it will also reinforce the understanding that their performance is valuable and important to the school administration.


Occasionally, good teachers may have a bad observation due to various reasons. As a principal, it is essential to maintain a professional and supportive approach while addressing the issue. Through open dialogue, collaboration, and offering resources for improvement, you can ensure that teachers continue to thrive in their profession and contribute to a rich and engaging learning environment for their students.

I Used to Think My Students’ Parents Just Didn’t Care. I Was Wrong.

As a young and enthusiastic educator, I embarked on my teaching career with a set of preconceived notions about the roles and responsibilities of parents in their children’s education. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my understanding was sorely misguided. Here’s the story of how I came to understand that my students’ parents cared deeply but faced their own set of challenges and barriers.

### The Beginning

I entered the teaching profession fresh from college, eager to make a tangible impact on the lives of my students. I was quickly disenchanted with what I perceived as a lack of parental involvement in their children’s lives. I assumed that these parents just didn’t care, brushing off their child’s struggles or successes as inconsequential.

### The Reality Check

Over time, my belief was challenged by interactions with some of these very parents. In one instance, I had the opportunity to speak with a mother who worked overtime and multiple jobs, desperate to make ends meet and give her children a better life. Another parent shared the struggle of being stretched thin trying to tend to a large family while managing a chronic illness.

The more I spoke with these beleaguered parents, the more it dawned on me that they did care – deeply, powerfully, and fiercely – about their children’s education, future, and well-being. They simply had limited resources and were living in demanding realities that took precedence over attending meetings or constantly being involved in school events.

### Practicing Empathy

In an effort to meet these parents halfway, I began implementing more flexible measures such as multiple parent-teacher conference times and offering phone consultations instead of face-to-face meetings. By empathizing with their daily battles, I understood that my previous assumptions were unfair.

Through this experience, it became clear that our society has created structures that alienate underprivileged parents, casting them in an unfavorable light. I learned to challenge the privilege-based assumptions I brought with me into the field of education.

### Sharing Knowledge and Encouragement

Following this realization, I started to share my newfound perspective with my colleagues, urging them to question their own assumptions about parental involvement. Instead of a deficit mindset focused on parents who seem indifferent or negligent, we should approach families with an open mind and empathy for the unique challenges they face on a daily basis.

### Final Thoughts

Ironically, it took witnessing these struggles firsthand for me to realize that my initial beliefs were inescapably narrow and one-dimensional. I now approach parent-teacher relationships with genuine respect for my students’ parents and a clear understanding of the financial or emotional constraints they may be dealing with. This new outlook has strengthened my connection with both students and their families – making me a better educator in the process.

Understanding that many parents do care and recognizing their invisible struggles allows us to bridge gaps in communication, collaboration, and support. As educators, it is our responsibility to meet them halfway and honor their resilience while applying our energies in channels that empower our students’ academic achievements.

And remember – we should never judge someone’s story from the outside looking in.

One of My Students Got Arrested. This Is the Letter I Wrote Him.

Dear [Student’s Name],

When I received the news that you had been arrested, I was shocked and deeply concerned. I want you to know that despite your troubling situation, you are not alone. As your teacher and a firm believer in your potential, I want to offer my support and guidance as you navigate this difficult time in your life.

Firstly, I hope you understand the gravity of your actions and take responsibility for them. In life, we all make mistakes, but what truly defines an individual is how they learn from those mistakes and emerge as a better person. During this tumultuous period, I urge you to reflect on your choices and the circumstances that led to these events.

That being said, it is important to resist the temptation of defining yourself by this singular incident. Your potential is vast and multi-faceted: remember that you have always been a bright student with much talent and potential for growth. Do not allow this incident to devastate your self-esteem or derail you from fulfilling your ambitions.

As you confront the legal consequences of your arrest, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Reach out to a dedicated lawyer who can offer sound advice and represent you competently at court hearings; explore financial aid options if necessary. Additionally, explore resources such as counseling or therapy sessions – addressing mental health during challenging times is crucial to maintaining emotional equilibrium.

Remember that everyone encounters setbacks at some point in their life. In times like these, family support can be invaluable – lean on them for both emotional and practical assistance, regardless of whether they agree with your actions or not. Maintain open lines of communication with them, which will help ease the burden of navigating this situation on your own.

Going forward, commit yourself to personal growth and development by setting positive goals for yourself. Choose constructive activities – such as developing new skills, pursuing higher education, or engaging in community service – that can help cultivate your personal transformation. It’s essential to recognize that your future success relies on the effort you make today.

Ultimately, I want you to know that I firmly believe in your ability to overcome this trial and emerge as a stronger, wiser individual. I am here for you as a mentor and confidante, ready to listen and offer guidance whenever you need it. You have the power to write your own story – use this experience as a pivotal point of introspection and growth, propelling yourself towards a bright future.

Wishing you strength, resilience, and a renewed sense of purpose,

[Your Teacher’s Name]

Stop Telling Kids Their Best Efforts Aren’t Good Enough

In today’s highly competitive world, it’s common for parents and educators to push children to excel in every aspect of their lives. While aiming for success is natural, constantly telling kids their best efforts aren’t good enough can harm their self-esteem, hinder their development, and create lasting negative effects.

The pressure to succeed often starts at an early age as children begin participating in academics and extracurricular activities. Parents and teachers may feel the urge to push them harder to achieve better results. Instead, they must focus on the value of effort and hard work regardless of the outcome.

Here are several reasons why we should stop telling our children that their best isn’t good enough:

1. It Damages Self-Esteem

Telling children that their best efforts are inadequate can have a serious impact on their self-worth. When kids continuously hear they aren’t good enough, they may internalize these sentiments and believe they’re incapable of achieving success.

2. It Hinders Growth Mindset

A growth mindset emphasizes learning through effort and perseverance. Children with a growth mindset see challenges as opportunities to improve and grow. However, when they are always told their best isn’t sufficient, it can limit their willingness to take risks, leading them to develop a fixed mindset – the belief that abilities are unchangeable.

3. It Can Cause Anxiety and Stress

When children feel like they must constantly strive for perfection, it can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety. Chronic stress has been shown to negatively affect both physical and mental health, impacting a child’s overall well-being.

4. It Discourages Creativity

Focusing solely on results often dismisses a child’s creativity, innovation, or unique problem-solving skills. Creating an environment that values risk-taking allows children to explore new ideas without fear of failure.

5. It Creates Unhealthy Competition

When children feel pressured to be the best, it can lead to a competitive environment where their self-worth is determined by external factors. They begin to compare themselves with others, which can have negative effects on their mental health and hinder the development of social skills.

Instead of telling children that their best isn’t good enough, here’s what we can do:

1. Praise Effort Over Outcome

Focus on the effort your child puts into an activity, rather than the result. Praising their determination and hard work encourages them to persevere and instills a strong work ethic.

2. Foster a Growth Mindset

Encourage your child to view challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. Teach them that abilities can be developed through hard work and perseverance.

3. Offer Constructive Criticism

Critique should never degrade or shame a child. Offer specific, actionable feedback that helps them learn from their experiences and improve in the future.

4. Encourage Creativity and Risk-Taking

Empower your children to explore new ideas, solve problems creatively, and take risks without the fear of failure.

5. Be Mindful of Your Own Behavior

Parents and educators must set a positive example by addressing their own insecurities or competitiveness, ensuring they don’t inadvertently pass these traits onto their children.

In conclusion, fostering an environment that values effort over results provides countless benefits to children in both their academic and personal lives. By celebrating their best efforts rather than focusing solely on outcomes, parents and educators can contribute to building confident, resilient children who embrace challenges and pursue lifelong learning.

I Have a Problem With 13 Reasons Why – Thoughts from a Teacher


“13 Reasons Why” is a popular Netflix series that follows the story of a high school girl named Hannah Baker who dies by suicide and leaves behind 13 tapes explaining the reasons for her decision. With the show gaining widespread attention from students and educators alike, I feel compelled to share my thoughts as someone who interacts with teenagers on a daily basis in the role of a teacher.

The Glamorization of Tragedy:

One of my main concerns about “13 Reasons Why” is the glamorization of Hannah Baker’s suicide. By crafting 13 tapes to detail her reasons, it creates the illusion that she has control and power over her life even in death. This portrayal may lead impressionable youths to believe that there is some sort of heroism in self-harm and suicide, which is an incredibly dangerous message to be sending.

Lack of Proper Help Seeking:

Throughout the series, Hannah faces numerous challenges and obstacles. While it does accurately depict some struggles faced by real-life teenagers, “13 Reasons Why” fails to present viable options or resources accessible to someone like Hannah. As an educator, I believe it’s important to show young people that seeking help from trusted friends or adults is nothing to be ashamed of and can ultimately save their lives.

The Role of Teachers and Schools:

Clay Jensen, one of the characters in “13 Reasons Why,” reaches out numerous times to his school counselor about Hannah’s situation. However, he is met with little assistance, leading viewers to assume that schools are not equipped to handle cases like these. In reality, many educators do want to help students overcome difficulties they may be facing. Painting schools as incompetent can cause young people to lose trust in seeking their support.

Triggering Scenes:

The graphic portrayal of sexual assault and self-harm in “13 Reasons Why” means these scenes can be highly triggering for some individuals. This, in turn, can exacerbate existing issues and problem areas for those who have experienced these events in their own lives. For some vulnerable viewers, the images may even serve as a catalyst for negative thoughts and actions.


As a teacher, I cannot ignore the impact “13 Reasons Why” has on today’s youth. While the series has sparked meaningful discussions about mental health and bullying, it has also presented harmful messages accompanied by dangerous ideologies. Parents and educators must take an active role in engaging with students who watch “13 Reasons Why” to ensure that they don’t internalize these problematic themes or glamorize tragedy in their own lives.