Teacher Certification

Be Extraordinary: How One Teacher Dodged Burnout and You Can Too

Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions, but it is also known for being one of the most challenging. Between endless hours of lesson planning, grading, and managing classrooms full of students with various needs, it’s no wonder that many teachers find themselves on the verge of burnout. But not all teachers succumb to this pitfall, some manage to rise above the challenges and thrive. In this article, we’ll share the inspiring story of a teacher who dodged burnout and learn how you can do the same.

Meet Sarah Johnson, a middle-school teacher with ten years of experience under her belt and still exuding passion for educating young minds. When Sarah first began teaching, she faced all the same challenges as her peers – long hours, emotional fatigue, and a constant struggle to balance work and personal life. However, Sarah knew she couldn’t sustain this pace indefinitely if she wanted to maintain her love for teaching. Determined to find a solution to her growing burnout concerns, Sarah set off on a journey to find what would help her excel in her profession without sacrificing her well-being.

The first step in Sarah’s journey was identifying the source of her stress. She realized that while many of her responsibilities were unavoidable – such as lesson planning and student assessments- others were draining her time and energy unnecessarily. By learning how to prioritize tasks that contributed directly to student success and growth over administrative burdens or bureaucratic hoops, Sarah immediately saw an improvement in both her mental state and overall productivity.

Next, Sarah acknowledged that just like every other human being, she too needed rest and rejuvenation. She began incorporating self-care into her daily life by setting aside time for yoga and meditation each morning before school started. This simple change in routine not only helped Sarah feel more refreshed every day but also increased her ability to remain present in the classroom.

Another essential component of Sarah’s plan was establishing a sanctuary away from school to put work entirely out of her mind. This might mean going for a hike, enjoying time with friends and family, or simply reading a book unrelated to education. By creating these moments of peace and relaxation, Sarah learned that although teaching is her passion, it cannot always consume her life.

Sarah also sought out ways to integrate her love for teaching into new and exciting channels. In her spare time, she began volunteering with community outreach programs aimed at improving education in underserved areas. This not only added another layer of purpose to her life but helped her rediscover what she loved most about teaching.

From Sarah’s inspiring story, we can learn essential lessons on overcoming burnout as an educator:

1. Prioritize tasks that contribute directly to student success.

2. Incorporate self-care practices into your daily routine.

3. Set boundaries by cultivating a sanctuary separate from work.

4. Revive your passion for teaching by engaging in meaningful outreach efforts.

By taking these steps and following Sarah’s lead, any teacher can dodge burnout and continue being extraordinary within their profession. Allow yourself the space and support needed to be the best educator you can be without sacrificing your mental and emotional well-being in the process. Remember: it’s not just about surviving as a teacher; it’s about truly thriving.

Your Guide to Teacher Certification Exams in Every State


Becoming a certified teacher is a dream for many individuals across the country. With the many unique state requirements and testing standards, understanding each state’s certification process can be confusing. This article is your ultimate guide to understanding teacher certification exams in every state, so you can feel more prepared and confident as you embark on your quest to become an educator.


The Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program (AECTP) includes three components: the Basic Skills Assessment (BESA), the Praxis II Content Knowledge exam, and the Praxis II Pedagogy exam. Prospective teachers must pass each of these tests to obtain certification.


Alaska measures educator proficiency through the Praxis Core, Praxis Subject Assessments, and Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) tests. All teachers must pass these exams in order to be certified.


Arizona requires aspiring teachers to pass the National Evaluation Series (NES) Essential Academic Skills test, as well as a subject knowledge exam and a professional knowledge exam relevant to their desired teaching level.


California teacher candidates must pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), as well as either the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) Multiple Subject test or a Single Subject test depending on their focus.


Teachers seeking licensure in Colorado must pass the PLACE (Program for Licensing Assessments for Colorado Educators) or NES exams, depending on the specific subject area or endorsement.


Aspiring educators in Connecticut need to pass the Connecticut Foundations of Reading Test along with the Praxis II Content Knowledge exam and PLT tests related to their specific subject area.


Delaware’s teacher certification process revolves around passing Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, appropriate Praxis Subject Assessments, and PLT tests.


Florida requires prospective teachers to master three exams as part of the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) program, including the General Knowledge Test, the Professional Education Test, and the Subject Area Examinations.


The Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) program mandate Basic Skills, Content Knowledge, and Pedagogy assessments for teacher licensure in Georgia.


Hawaii relies on Praxis Core, Praxis Subject Assessments, and Hawaii-specific teacher performance assessments to assess educator competency.


Idaho teachers must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests, relevant Praxis Subject Assessments, and PLT tests.


The Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS) includes the Test of Academic Proficiency, content-area tests, and the Assessment of Professional Teaching depending on grade level endorsement.


In Indiana, prospective teachers must complete the Indiana CORE Assessments, which include tests in basic skills; developmental/pedagogy; and subject areas.


Iowa uses the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam, Praxis Subject Assessments, and PLT tests to measure teacher competency.


Kansas evaluates teaching candidates through Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exams and appropriate content assessment exams from either ETS or Pearson.


Kentucky requires individuals to pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam series along with appropriate subject-matter specific Praxis tests and Kentucky Teacher Internship Program assessments.


Louisiana prospective educators must pass a subject-matter exam through either the PRAXIS or NTE series before being certified.

8 Things It’s Okay to Do During Back-to-School Season

1. Feel Nervous: It is completely natural to feel nervous or anxious during the back-to-school season. Transitioning from summer break to a structured school routine can be challenging for students, parents, and teachers. Embrace the emotions and remember that it is normal to have these feelings.

2. Adjust Your Schedule Gradually: Give yourself and your family permission to ease into the new school routine by adjusting your schedules gradually. Start by setting earlier bedtimes and wakeup times a week or two before school begins, rather than making a sudden shift.

3. Ask Questions: Whether you’re a student, parent, or teacher, asking questions about the upcoming school year is not only okay but encouraged! Inquire about class expectations, safety protocols, or extracurricular activities to help you better prepare.

4. Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family members, or even support groups if you need someone to talk to about your worries or concerns related to the new school year. It’s perfectly fine to ask for help when needed.

5. Set Realistic Expectations: It’s important to accept that there may be some hiccups along the way as everyone settles into their new routine. Embrace these moments as growing experiences and do not expect everything to go smoothly from day one.

6. Maintain Summer Fun: There’s no rule stating that you must abandon all summer activities once school starts. Continue enjoying the warm weather by scheduling regular family outings or playdates with friends on weekends or after school hours.

7. Take Advantage of Sales: Embrace back-to-school sales and stock up on essentials like notebooks, pencils, clothing, and electronics during this season – it’s perfectly okay! Watch out for special discounts or promotions offered by retailers during this time.

8. Celebrate Milestones: Whether it’s your child transitioning from elementary to middle school or a high school teen going off to college, it’s essential to acknowledge these milestones. Celebrate success stories and remind yourself that it’s okay to be proud of these achievements.

In conclusion, as the back-to-school season arrives, it’s crucial to remember that you’re not alone in how you may feel. Embrace this time of change positively and be kind to yourself and others during the transition. It is absolutely okay to feel a mix of emotions, ask questions, and seek support when needed. Give yourself permission to adjust gradually while still enjoying the last bits of summer fun.

Should I Transfer to Another Grade Level? Weighing the Pros and Cons

Deciding to transfer to another grade level is a significant decision for both students and teachers alike. It involves weighing numerous factors related to personal growth, learning goals, and organizational dynamics. This article explores the pros and cons of transferring to a different grade level to help you make an informed decision.

Pros of Transferring to Another Grade Level:

1. Skill Development: A change in grade level allows individuals to develop new skills, expand their knowledge base, and gain expertise working with a different age group. This diversification can positively impact professional development.

2. Fresh Challenges: Transferring can foster growth by exposing individuals to new challenges, teaching strategies, and classroom dynamics that create opportunities for increased engagement and creativity.

3. Networking Opportunities: The more varied the experience one has within different grade levels, the broader their professional network becomes. This leads to increased opportunities for collaboration and sharing best practices across various age groups.

4. Enhanced Job Security: Demonstrating flexibility and willingness to work in multiple grade levels can be an asset to school districts looking for versatile teachers or employees who can adapt quickly in response to changes in enrollment or staffing needs.

Cons of Transferring to Another Grade Level:

1. Adjustment Period: The transition may involve a steep learning curve as you adapt to new curriculum standards, student needs, and classroom expectations. It’s crucial to consider the time and effort needed for this adjustment period when making a decision.

2. Building Relationships: Starting from scratch with students can be both emotionally challenging and time-consuming as you work towards creating connections with a new group of learners.

3. Support System: Teacher camaraderie is vital for personal well-being and professional satisfaction. Transferring might mean leaving behind the support system provided by fellow team members in your current grade level.

4. Administration Approval: It’s necessary to get consent from school administrators or department heads, who may have concerns regarding staffing needs or specific qualifications required for the desired grade level transfer.

In conclusion, transferring to another grade level can involve both benefits and drawbacks. Individuals should carefully assess their motivations and objectives behind the decision, considering aspects like skill development, job security, and personal growth. Additionally, balancing these factors with potential challenges like the adjustment period and administrative approval is essential when weighing the pros and cons of a transfer. Ultimately, deciding whether to change grade levels comes down to one’s professional goals, personal preferences, and commitment to adaptability within an ever-evolving educational landscape.

How to Interview a Teacher: The Best Questions to Ask, and More Tips


Interviewing a potential teacher is an essential process for schools in order to hire the best candidates for the job. It gives schools insight into a candidate’s teaching style, classroom management skills, and their genuine passion for education. In order to make the most of this process, it is important to pay attention to the questions being asked during an interview and understand what other factors influence a successful interview. Here are some tips on how to effectively interview a teacher candidate and ask the right questions.

1. Develop clear hiring criteria

Before starting the interview process, develop clear hiring criteria that specifically outline the school’s expectations from the new teacher. This may include experience teaching specific subjects, working with certain age groups, or possessing specific certifications.

2. Plan your questions based on hiring criteria

Based on your hiring criteria, prepare a list of open-ended questions that will encourage in-depth responses from the candidate. This will help you assess whether they possess the necessary skills and qualifications for the position.

Best Questions to Ask:

a) Can you tell us about your teaching philosophy?

This question helps you understand if their values align with your school’s vision and if they have a well-thought-out approach to educating young minds.

b) How do you approach classroom management and discipline?

Asking about their strategies for maintaining control over a classroom reveals their understanding of appropriate discipline techniques and ability to handle different types of students.

c) How do you address diverse learning needs within your classroom?

This question highlights how adaptable they are to different students’ needs and how they ensure every student receives individual attention.

d) How do you use assessment tools, and what types do you prefer using?

Assessment is an essential part of teaching; understanding their methodology allows you insight into how well they gauge student growth and adapt classes accordingly.

e) Can you share about a challenging teaching moment you faced and how you resolved it?

This question showcases their problem-solving skills, resilience, and perseverance in difficult situations.

3. Prepare situational and behavioral questions

Situational questions present a hypothetical teaching situation to the candidate, asking how they would handle it. Behavioral questions ask the candidate to reflect on their past experiences to showcase their skills. These questions provide additional insight into a teacher’s thought process and ability to adapt in real-life situations.

4. Observe a demonstration lesson

A crucial aspect of the interview process is having the candidate teach a demonstration lesson. This will allow you to gauge their teaching style, interactions with students, and preparedness for various scenarios that may arise in the classroom.

5. Check references thoroughly

Always spend time checking references provided by the candidate. This helps corroborate the information they have shared during the interview and provides testimonials from previous employers or colleagues who can vouch for their capabilities.


Interviewing a teacher requires a comprehensive understanding of key factors when planning out questions and observing demonstrations. Keep these tips in mind as you seek to find the best fit for your school and help build an inclusive, effective learning environment for students. With proper preparation and attention to detail, you can ensure that every candidate is given the opportunity to showcase their abilities and find great teachers for your school.

Lucky You! Gift Card Giveaway for Wisconsin Teachers


Are you a teacher based in Wisconsin? If so, get ready for an exciting opportunity! In appreciation of the hard work and dedication of educators throughout the state, we are delighted to announce the “Lucky You! Gift Card Giveaway.” This event is designed to celebrate and reward our beloved teachers with fabulous gift cards! Let’s dive into the details.

Event Overview:

The Lucky You! Gift Card Giveaway is a special event organized to give back to Wisconsin’s dedicated teachers. Aiming to show our gratitude for their relentless efforts in shaping young minds, the giveaway will have various gift cards up for grabs. Participating teachers have a chance of winning gift cards from popular retailers like Amazon, Target, Starbucks, and more!


To qualify for participation in this wonderful giveaway event, you must be:

1. A K-12 teacher employed by a public or private school in Wisconsin.

2. A resident of Wisconsin.

3. At least 18 years of age.

How to Enter:

Taking part in this giveaway is straightforward; simply follow these steps:

1. Visit our official giveaway website (www.luckyyougiftcardgiveaway.com).

2. Fill out the registration form with your full name, email address, phone number, school name, and school district.

3. Submit your entry before the giveaway deadline.

The deadline for submissions is XX/XX/XXXX.

Selection Process:

Our lucky winners will be chosen at random shortly after the submission deadline. Once selected, you will be notified via email or phone call, so keep an eye out! If you’re a winner, you’ll receive instructions on how to claim your gift card prize.


A total of XXX gift cards will be given away during this event. The prizes are as follows:

1. XX Amazon gift cards valued at $50 each

2. XX Target gift cards valued at $50 each

3. XX Starbucks gift cards valued at $25 each

Final Thoughts:

The Lucky You! Gift Card Giveaway is an excellent opportunity to express our gratitude to Wisconsin’s teachers, who play a vital role in nurturing the leaders of tomorrow. So if you’re a teacher in the state, don’t miss out on this fantastic chance to win some exciting gift cards in appreciation for your dedication. Good luck, and thank you for everything you do!

A Gift Card Giveaway Just for Illinois Teachers

Every year, teachers in Illinois dedicate countless hours to inspiring and nurturing the minds of young students. These educators play a vital role in shaping the future by providing guidance, knowledge, and support for our children. This year, a special gift card giveaway has been organized to show appreciation for Illinois teachers for their dedication and commitment.

The Illinois Teachers Appreciation Gift Card Giveaway offers an opportunity for educators to receive a token of gratitude for their continuous hard work. The goal of this giveaway is to give back to the teaching community, as they are often overlooked yet essential to society’s progress.

From a pool of qualified entrants, 100 lucky teachers will be selected at random to receive a $100 gift card each. The gift cards can be used at various educational supply stores and retailers across the state, equipping them with new classroom materials, books, and resources that will enhance their students’ educational experiences.

The competition is open exclusively to Illinois-based educators in K-12 schools and will run from October 1st through October 31st. To enter, teachers can simply visit the giveaway webpage during the competition period and fill out an entry form with basic contact information and details about their school.

Winners will be notified within two weeks after the giveaway period ends via email. They will receive instructions on how to claim their prize and also have the option to share their winning stories through social media, showcasing how they plan to utilize the gift card funds in their classrooms.

This thoughtful initiative aims not only to provide much-needed resources but also create an opportunity for our communities to express gratitude towards these inspiring educators. It highlights the importance of acknowledging teachers’ passion, hard work, and dedication in molding young minds.

In conclusion, the Illinois Teachers Apprecation Gift Card Giveaway serves as a brilliant way to recognize our educators’ unwavering commitment in shaping future generations. We believe that such gestures of appreciation can help foster a positive educational environment and inspire Illinois teachers to continue making a difference in the lives of their students. Make sure to spread the word to all Illinois educators, and encourage them to participate in this fantastic opportunity!

Can I Leave a Teaching Position Mid-Year?


Leaving a teaching position mid-year is often a challenging and complex decision for educators. Many factors come into play when making this choice, such as personal circumstances, professional growth, and ethical considerations. This article delves into the possible reasons for leaving a teaching position mid-year, the implications of such a decision, and practical steps to take if you decide to make this significant career change.

Reasons for Leaving a Teaching Position Mid-Year:

1. Personal Reasons: Unexpected life events or family obligations may require teachers to leave their positions mid-year. These reasons include health issues, caregiving responsibilities, or relocation due to a spouse’s job.

2. Professional Growth: Teachers may seek opportunities for career advancement or personal fulfillment elsewhere, such as pursuing higher education or exploring other career paths within or outside the education sector.

3. Work Environment: Toxic work environments, poor administrative support, or conflicts with colleagues can create challenging circumstances that make it difficult for teachers to thrive professionally and personally.

4. Burnout: The demanding nature of the teaching profession can lead to burnout, causing teachers to seek mental and emotional respite through a temporary or permanent leave from their positions.

Implications of Leaving Mid-Year:

1. Impact on Students: The most significant implication of leaving mid-year is the disruption caused to students’ learning environment. Teachers who leave mid-year must consider the challenges this may create for their students in adjusting to new teachers and curricula.

2. Ethical Considerations: Teachers are expected to fulfill their contractual obligations, which normally encompass an entire academic year. Leaving mid-year can be viewed as unprofessional and may strain relationships within your school community.

3. Professional Repercussions: Depending on the circumstances, leaving a teaching position mid-year may damage your professional reputation. Future employers may be hesitant to hire someone with a history of leaving positions unexpectedly or frequently.

4. Legal Issues: Teachers may face legal consequences for breaking contractual obligations and could be held responsible for financial penalties or litigation.

Steps to Take If Leaving Mid-Year:

1. Review Your Contract: Know the terms of your employment contract, particularly clauses related to resignations and early termination.

2. Consult with a Professional: Seek advice from a lawyer, union representative, or human resources expert regarding the legality of your decision and potential consequences.

3. Communicate with Your School: Have an honest conversation with your supervisor or school administrator about your reasons for leaving and the best course of action moving forward.

4. Develop a Transition Plan: Collaborate with school administrators, colleagues, and your replacement to develop strategies that will facilitate a smooth transition for students, fellow teachers, and the incoming teacher.

5. Resign Professionally: Provide appropriate notice to your employer according to your contractual obligations and follow proper resignation protocols.


Leaving a teaching position mid-year is a difficult and consequential decision that should not be taken lightly. Teachers must carefully weigh their personal circumstances against the ethical responsibilities they have towards their students and colleagues before making a final determination. While it might not always be an ideal choice, there are steps teachers can take to mitigate any negative effects on their professional reputation, future career prospects, and the well-being of their students.

20 Free or Inexpensive Surprises You Can Send Students in the Mail

Educators have the responsibility to create memorable experiences for their students and contribute inspiring moments throughout their educational journey. One way to connect with students, foster happiness, and enhance learning is by sending little surprises through the mail. Here are 20 free or inexpensive surprises you can send to your students.

1. Handwritten notes: A personalized, heartfelt message goes a long way in encouraging students and showing your care for their well-being.

2. Positive quote cards: Create and send uplifting quotes or affirmations that can inspire and motivate your students.

3. Bookmarks: An easy DIY project, customize bookmarks with your student’s name or include an inspirational quote.

4. Stickers: You can create customized stickers with various themes that align with your student’s interests.

5. Coloring sheets: Send printable coloring pages based on subjects or themes the student enjoys.

6. Word puzzles: Create crossword or word search puzzles that revolve around topics related to school subjects or hobbies.

7. Mini art kits: Include a few colored pencils and pre-printed sketches to encourage creativity.

8. Origami paper and instructions: Provide origami paper alongside printed or sketched instructions for making creative shapes like animals, flowers, or characters.

9. Educational pamphlets: Issue interesting factsheets on topics such as nature, history, science, or astronomy.

10. Recipe cards: Promote healthy eating and food-related fun by sharing simple recipes for meals or snacks that kids can make at home with minimal supervision.

11. Temporary tattoos: Custom temporary tattoos make for an exciting surprise when chosen appropriately for the student’s age group.

12. Small toys: Send budget-friendly toys such as bouncy balls, yo-yos, or noise putty that promote movement and playtime breaks throughout the day.

13. Balloons (un-inflated): Sending balloons in different colors and shapes can quickly spread joy and delight and act as an uplifting visual reinforcement.

14. Seed packets: Inspire students to discover their green thumb by sending small seed packets of easy-to-grow plants, along with planting instructions.

15. Encouraging Coupons: Offer free rewards like “extra recess time”, “virtual lunch with the teacher”, or “homework pass” through creative coupons sent in the mail.

16. Small container of bubbles: Encourage outdoor activity by sending a small bottle of bubbles for outdoor play and relaxation.

17. Personal achievement certificates: Acknowledge your student’s accomplishments by mailing certificates that celebrate their personal or academic achievements.

18. Mad Libs: Printable Mad Libs-style stories stimulate creativity and language skills and can provide a fun group collaboration activity.

19. Mini-field trips: Provide students with a local attraction voucher, like visits to botanical gardens, zoos, or museums, to encourage experiential learning.

20. Custom stickers or magnets recognizing achievements: Create unique stickers or magnets that highlight your students’ accomplishments throughout the school year, both small and large.


Sending surprises to your students helps maintain a strong connection while also providing them with opportunities for creative expression, hands-on learning, and entertainment. Utilize these 20 ideas to foster excitement in their academic journeys and support continued growth in all aspects of their lives.

Understanding Your Teacher Paycheck

As a teacher, you work hard to shape the minds of the next generation. However, making sense of your own teacher paycheck can be confusing. This article will walk you through the process of understanding your teacher paycheck, so you can focus on what matters most – educating your students.

1. Start by knowing your gross pay

Your gross pay is your total earnings before any deductions are taken out. This amount is likely indicated at the top of your paycheck as “Gross Pay” or “Total Earnings.” It’s important to recognize that this amount is different from your take-home pay, as taxes and other deductions will be removed from it.

2. Identify all deductions

Deductions are amounts that are subtracted from your gross pay. There are two main categories of deductions: pre-tax and post-tax.

Pre-tax deductions are expenses taken out of your paycheck before taxes are calculated, reducing your taxable income. Some common pre-tax deductions include health insurance premiums, retirement contributions (such as a 401(k) plan), and flexible spending accounts for medical or dependent care expenses.

Post-tax deductions are expenses taken out after taxes have been calculated. These may include union dues, life insurance premiums, disability insurance, and charitable donations made through payroll deduction.

3. Understand federal and state income taxes

Your teacher paycheck will have both federal and state income taxes withheld based on your wages and filing status (single, married, head of household, etc.). The amount withheld for each tax depends on the information provided on your W-4 form when you were hired or when you last updated it.

4. Social Security and Medicare taxes

In addition to income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes (also known as FICA taxes) are automatically withheld from each paycheck and account for 7.65% of your gross pay (6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare).

5. Know your net pay

After all your deductions and taxes have been accounted for, the remaining amount on your paycheck is your net pay, which is sometimes referred to as “take-home pay.” This is the actual amount you’ll receive via direct deposit or check. Make sure to compare this amount to your budget and expenses, ensuring you’re on track with your financial goals.

6. Examine other relevant information

Aside from monetary amounts, your teacher paycheck may also contain the number of sick days or personal days accrued and taken, your year-to-date earnings, and any additional benefits you may be entitled to as part of your employment.

By understanding each element of your teacher paycheck, you can confidently plan for the future and make informed financial decisions. Remember to review each paycheck for accuracy and consult with a financial professional or human resources representative if you have any questions or concerns.