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Educated Risks: Getting Out of the Teaching Comfort Zone

A guest post by Ashley Porter 7th-grade math teacher, Webster Groves School District, Missouri Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.   Think back to the college years when you were choosing your major. Education? Check. As to age group, you would have noted four basic categories: early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school students. Each had its merits, but you could only pick one. Check. I chose the math path--middle school first, followed by high school math later. I decided on math because it was in my comfort zone. That's what most middle school and high school teachers do; they choose the area they're most comfortable with. Yay! No more science, world studies, or English for me, right? My first teaching assignment was at a high school, teaching all levels of algebra. There was a big push, as there should be, to get students to graduate on time. Some teachers were assigned as "graduation coaches," and I was one of them. It was my job to work with students, build a relationship, help them catch up, and get them to a timely graduation. These students were struggling, behind on credits, and risked not graduating at all (or certainly not on time). So, as a graduation coach, I was encouraged to help students in all their areas of struggle. At this point, I received some of the best advice I ever got as an educator.
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Get out! 3 ways to take language learning outside of the classroom

This week is national Take a Child Outside Week, and since the good weather of summer is winding down into cooler autumn days, now's a great time to get your kids outside as much as possible. Here are three easy ways you can take language learning activities out of the classroom and into the great outdoors:
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We've got your back for back-to-school season

In addition to being Yorkshire Day in England and Swiss National Day in Switzerland, can you think of any other reason why the Imagine Learning bloggers might love August 1st? That's right--today's one of our favorite days because it's the first day of back-to-school season. And this year, we're celebrating by rewarding the educators who are making their way back to classrooms and offices around the world. Starting this week, we'll be publishing new posts on all the essential back-to-school topics, from first-day activities to budget-friendly tools. Oh, and did we mention that we'll be hosting a new giveaway each week? Starting next Monday, we're giving away a new prize (or set of prizes) each week until the end of the August. That's right--four giveaways. So keep coming back. Things are about to get pretty exciting around here.
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