If I had only known... [New Teacher Tips]

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by BioAngel, May 7, 2009.

  1. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 7, 2009

    Hello New Teachers! Congrats on making it (almost) through your first year--- I'm incredibly happy about that, but I find that what I'm going to have to do over the summer to prep for the new year rather daunting at times. :blush:

    To help the new teachers coming in next year to this wonderful forum and to remind ourselves after summer is done, maybe we could start a list of tips! What did you find out about teaching this year that you wish you had known in September? What do you hope to remember to change or do for this up coming school year?

    My school only has 18 more school days, but I'm going to use some of the time thinking about what I need to change and improve on. :thumb:
     
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  3. hopefulnovice

    hopefulnovice Rookie

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    May 7, 2009

    Confidence. Even if you don't think you know, look like you do. I learned it the hard way, and it's amazing how discipline improves when kids perceive you as credible and knowledgeable in your subject matter.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Don't let students get to you. What they do is entirely their choice. Don't take it personally when they act like jerks or don't do their homework or are late to class.

    If they do get to you, never let them know. Students are so often just looking for reactions from their teachers, and you don't need to be the teacher who gives that to them.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Stay on top of your paperwork, especially grading. Don't wait until the last minute before entering grades or progress report comments. Don't wait until the last minute to put in requests for copies. Don't wait until the last minute to prepare your exams.

    There's always the possibility that something will go wrong, including a technology malfunction or a sudden illness. If you are prepared ahead of time, those sorts of problems won't have any real impact.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 7, 2009

    Evidently I'm going to be posting these comments one at a time. :lol:

    Go into each class period with more stuff than you think you'll need. It takes a while for new teachers to get into the groove of figuring out how long each lesson or lesson component will take. If you are over-prepared, you don't have to worry. If you're under-prepared, you have to scramble to fill the empty space, or else that space becomes wasted instructional time.
     
  7. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    That's fine--- it might actually be good to have a separate post for each idea actually :)

    Great ideas so far--- I'll add in my novel soon ^_^
     
  8. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    May 7, 2009

    Be flexible.
    The unhappiest teachers (job wise) at my school are the ones that have rigid routines. I am NOT saying do NOT have a routine (students benefit from routine) but things come up all the time ... be flexible, work around it, roll with the punches.
     
  9. janney

    janney Cohort

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    May 7, 2009

    I learned not to put names on anything the first couple weeks of class. My school does so much moving around and so many students start late that I was scrambling everyday to change and add names to everything. (Kinder)
     
  10. janney

    janney Cohort

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    May 7, 2009

    MANAGEMENT starts on day one; don't let them slack because it's the first day. If they don't do it right the first time, have them do it again.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 7, 2009

    To get a bee out of your room: Turn off all the lights and open all the windows. They like light.

    Keep bandaids in your drawer. Not every paper cut warrants a trip to the nurse.

    If your school is anything like mine, keep a neutral colored sweater in your room. Every once in a while it's a life saver.
     
  12. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    May 7, 2009

    :lol: Alice!

    I've been thinking about this thread all day (I saw it this morning.) I could easily write a book at this point. There is so much I could say!!

    The ones that really stand out:
    • be prepapred for the paperwork. Mounds of it. Piles everywhere. Coming out of your ears. I still can't keep up with it :( I lose stuff all the time. It's so annoying!
    • Be FIRM on day one 100% of the time. While I don't plan to be mean next year, I will take is as a compliment if the kids are a little nervous around me for the first few weeks.
    • be consistent. This is much harder than it sounds. I struggle with this a lot.
    • Call ALL the parents in the first week and introduce yourself. You will need them on your side at one point or another.
    • Have a rewards system in place. Use it.
    • Set high expectations. I will admit now that I wasn't firm enough with my expectations in Sept and now my kids are lazy sometimes.
    • Be prepared to ahve your plans thrown out the window. Stuff happens.
    • Limit the amount of cookies and donuts your kids can eat in one sitting when you have holiday parties. :)
    • Do your best to forgive and forget
    • Relish the times your kids make you laugh. Some kids will more often make you want to cry :lol:
    • Learn to repeat yourself. Learn to repeat yourself. Learn to repeat yourself. Learn to repeat yourself. Learn to repeat yourself. Learn to repeat yourself. Learn to repeat yourself.
    • Have procedures for anything and everything you can think of.
    • SHOW them Exactly what you want.
    • Never assume they know ____.
    • Have one (or more!!) good teachers you can go to to cry.
    • Speaking of crying, the staff bathrooms with the lights off is a great place to melt and regroup. :lol:
    • Be prepared to defend your grades to parents.
    • Never call a parent when you're mad. I have never done this, but I can only imagine...
    • Stock up on folders, pencils, paper, etc over the summer. I can't believe how many kids don't have these things.

    I am ready to be done with my first year teaching. In many ways, it's been worse than I imagined. However, I consider this a great "initiation."

    One thing I never expected - I feel 100% ready to start over. I'm dying to try things over another way. I really thought that by the end of my first year I'd be burnt, but I'm more excited to start over.
     
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  13. PinkFish

    PinkFish Rookie

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    May 7, 2009

    The first 4 months of school will be harder than you ever imagined!! You will cry and want to quit, but hold on because it does indeed get better! Find other teachers in your school that can help you (even if they are not your school mentor) and ask for help if you need it!!
     
  14. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    May 7, 2009

    :lol: Alice and Pisces!
     
  15. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    May 7, 2009

    Pisces - those suggestions are great for first year teachers and very old veterans :) Thanks
     
  16. KLSSwimmer

    KLSSwimmer Habitué

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    May 7, 2009

    I am definitely going to post more later, but one of the first things that pop into my head is have a system of filing. Specifically, what are you going to do with the paper that comes across your desk every day? I have a file system behind my desk that every paper that is on my desk goes into. Some things go into the "to be graded file," while others go into the "do immediately" file.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 8, 2009

    For high school, make up a heading and save it as a word document. Start there for every test you type. Include Period and Row-- it will make handing back tests so much easier!!!

    Write failing grades in your gradebook in red. It will make it so much easier at reportcard time to check to see who should and who should not have failed. If a failing kid doesn't have a lot of red, it's time to double check.
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 8, 2009

    Oh this is going to be a great thread :D

    1. Get a color coding system. I have 4 sections of science and I have color coded grading folders, homework bins, and filing cabinets with the colors--- red, blue, green, and orange. If you keep your paper work for that ONE section (or subject) and color, you'll be more likely to stay organized and start your lesson right away instead of looking around for papers.

    2. Poster paper totally rocks--- its something my supervisor told me about and I've been using it for a few weeks now. I have their notes blastered around my classroom and they can quickly refer back to them instead of searching through their notebooks. Any notes that will be used for a few weeks should be up some where in the classroom.

    3. Keep a binder of all the hand outs you give. When someone is absent assign them a buddy, have that student and the buddy go to the binder, and have the buddy help the student pick out which papers they missed. I started this mid-year, but now I just have to point and they know what I mean.

    4. Put in the time to get yourself organized. I spent a good 3 weeks cleaning up my classroom that I inherited from a wonderful teacher who has EVERYTHING a teacher could dream of. But I'm a person that has a place for everything and needs stuff labeled. I will still need a few more weeks in the summer to clean up the rest of the classroom and move things around to my liking and label more stuff, but 1. it helps you to get to know your classroom, 2. it becomes YOUR space, 3. I feel alot less stressed when the classroom is clean and organized and I'm sure the students do too.
     
  19. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    May 8, 2009

    .
     
  20. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I thought of another tip. I have 3 files for each student 1) a file for work that needs to go home to be signed 2) a file for work that's already been signed and needs to go into their cum folder and 3) a file for everything else (tardy notes, discipline papers, signed reprt cards, etc.)

    Also, give kids lots of jobs. The mundane stuff we can't stand the kids love. It still amazes me how much they love to cut laminate, clean floors, put chairs on tables, etc.)
     
  21. Windy City

    Windy City Companion

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    May 9, 2009

    One word that has been said over and over: Procedures!!!!!! :woot:

    You need to have a procedure for every single step that students take in your room. I am a "specials" teacher in an elementary school, and I was completely unprepared to have my own procedures because during observations/student teaching, the procedures were already in place and it all seemed natural.

    You will need procedures for the following things (plus a million more) and more important, you will need to PRACTICE the procedures over and over again for the first month.
    -Going to the bathroom
    -Going to the nurse
    -Sharpening pencils
    -Getting tissues
    -Getting blank paper
    -Gathering materials for the lesson
    -Putting materials away
    -Getting coats
    -Packing up at the end of the day
    -Lining up
    -Walking in the hallway
    -Passing out papers
    -Collecting papers
    -Classroom library
    -Using classroom computers
    -Throwing things away
    -Recycling things

    The list goes on and on. It seems like every day I find more things that make me say, "Oh, I have to teach them what to do in this situation." and I end up making it up on the fly, then I'm not consistent. I'm going to write everything down for next year so that I am better prepared. No procedures=chaos and confusion
     

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