advice for teaching high school

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by TamiJ, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,872
    Likes Received:
    228

    Oct 15, 2008

    I start teaching high school tomorrow. My only other limited experience is with middle school. Can you please give me any advice about working with high schoolers? Specifically concerning discipline and classroom management, but anything that anyone would like to comment on would be great... Thanks!
     
  2.  
  3. Luv2Learn

    Luv2Learn Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 15, 2008

    I think before anyone can help you out, you need to provide more information. Are you going to be teaching full-time or are you substituting for the lead teacher? If you are substituting, most teachers I believe will leave some idea of what the class is covering with some assignments already prepared.

    What grade? What type of class? What is your background in?

    Sorry for the questions, but it will help those teachers experienced with teaching high school a better idea in how they can direct you.
     
  4. Sheba

    Sheba Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 15, 2008

    Don't assume they're adults.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Oct 16, 2008

    I agree with Sheba. Too many teachers assume that big kids are the same as adults. They're not. They still have to ask for a ride to the mall, still have to get permission to eat at their friend's house. They're kids.

    Whether or not you feel confident, you need to exude confidence. You are the teacher. You were hired because someone who knows his stuff determined that you are the best person to teach these children. So go in there as a professional.

    Try very hard to minimize transitions. They're golden opportunites for chatting to begin.

    Best wishes-- good luck!!!
     
  6. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 16, 2008

    Be slow to judge a student based on appearances; they are still trying to decide who they want to be. I have a kid who is frightening to look at with her chosen style. It would be easy to write her off as a slacker or any other label that fits her “look”. Truth is, she is sweet, considerate, and has the highest grade in her class.
     
  7. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,771
    Likes Received:
    53

    Oct 16, 2008

    I'm new to HS but one thing I've realized is they care just as much about "fairness" as any other age group. If they in any way seem to think I'm being unfair they'll pounce on it.

    And I totally agree with the statement that they're still just kids.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,872
    Likes Received:
    228

    Oct 16, 2008

    Thanks so much everyone. One of you asked for me to be more specific, so here it is. I am teaching (not subbing) 2 blocks of English 1, and one ELD class. I only have experience (last year I started out subbing, and then was a language art's tutor) with middle schoolers. I have completed one assignment of student teaching, and this job will constitute as my second assignment (however there is no master teacher, as I am the only teacher in the classroom). I do have a BA in English. I hope I have been specific enough.. :)
     
  9. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,872
    Likes Received:
    228

    Oct 16, 2008

    Today was my first day, and it is going to take a bit to adjust to these high school kids. Some of them seemed to have attitudes, but I am their third teacher (they've had two subs since the school year started), and there has never been a routine set in place, or specific rules and what not. I am at a new school (new for me, and it is only 4 years old), with new people who I do not know, offices that I can't find, and a group of kids in an age group that I am not familiar with! Though all in all it was a good day, I hope it gets better.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Oct 16, 2008

    You're absolutely right Tami-- they crave routine. Figure out which day is grammar, which is literature and so on-- it will be so much easier for them to be prepared for class if they always have to bring the same books on the same day of the week.

    Have they been tested on the summer reading yet? If so, be sure to mix up versions of the test. Otherwise, they'll come in knowing that the answers are "a-c-b-b-d...."

    Today was your first day. Whatever it was you taught, figure Tuesday for a quiz on it; announce it tomorrow. That will set the tone probably better than anything else you can do.

    I'm teaching Frosh this year too-- they're a fun age!
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,872
    Likes Received:
    228

    Oct 16, 2008

    we have block schedules-90 minute periods, so I am thinking we can do grammar and lit the same day (start with journal work, grammar, then literature). How does that sound?
     
  12. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,974
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 16, 2008

    Agreed, even if you spent the first day going over policies and procedures (which I spend 2 days on and some of one class organzing binders) give them a quiz on the policies and procedures. It will set the tone that you will hold them responsible for their own learing. My other advice is to try new things and methods, don't knock them until you try them. This way you can figure out what works for you. Also be yourself in class, if you are funny and loud don't try to be quiet and extremely serious. Don't modify your personality to teach, let your personality modify how you teach (if that makes sense). I'll send my syllabus to you now!
     
  13. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,872
    Likes Received:
    228

    Oct 16, 2008

    Thanks!
     
  14. forensicteacher

    forensicteacher Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 16, 2008

    Set down your class expectations and procedures and make sure you follow it and be consistent. The have a tendency of giving you excuses after excuses. Also, try to relate your material with their life, they find it more interesting.
     
  15. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 17, 2008

    I'm teaching high school for the first time too. I student taught in middle school and had most of my tutoring and other experiences in middle school.

    Personally, I think that freshmen act just like 8th graders still. I notice a HUGE difference between my Algebra classes (mostly 9th) and Geometry (mostly 10th) though. With Algebra, I have to be mean and firm and have guidelines for everything and they constantly test me. With Geometry, I can loosen up some and be myself. They are more aware of their own responsibility for learning and can pay attention better. I can be more lenient with them.

    It's more difficult if you are younger though (I'm 27), because you still remember being in high school and feel like you should be close in age to your students and be "cooler". But you can't be. I think I'm becoming meaner as the weeks go by - I don't care what they think about me anymore! :)
     
  16. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,872
    Likes Received:
    228

    Oct 18, 2008

    I know what you mean. I am 28, and I think it does make it tougher. I liked yesterday much better though, even though it was only day 2. Day 1 was a bit strange because the sub was there, and we had a "Cross over" day. It ad been my understanding that the sub would be teaching them yesterday, but when I came in, he didn't have anything planned for them! He said I could do "whatever" with them! Sorry, it takes me hours to plan, I can't plan 5 minutes before the class walks in. Anyway, it just made for a horrible first day, but yesterday I felt much better, and more comfortable.
     
  17. njmarketing07

    njmarketing07 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 18, 2008

    A way to get the kids to settle to you as a new teacher is set up rules with them. Give some rules that you like them to have, such as "Do homework on time. Raise your hand and don't call out. Praise other students for good work. "etc but then allow them to add to the list. Creating a set of classroom rules gets the students involved in the class, plus I can be certain that you will be surprised at kid’s enthusiasm to do so. (BE AWARE: It can be risky to just let them write it on the board, especially if you have a few class clowns, so you might want to write them down) Remember, if you give them enough freedoms, they won't take advantage of you. If you give them rules, they will most likely follow them. Once you have this in place, everything else should follow.
     
  18. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,872
    Likes Received:
    228

    Oct 18, 2008

    Thanks! I gave them their syllabus on Friday and went over rules with them. It helped a great deal!
     
  19. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 18, 2008

    I kind of disagree with this. Especially if you are younger and are teaching high school. I've been having issues with this some, as I came into teaching high school thinking that I could create a kind of mutual respect with the students by giving them some freedoms and input on how the class runs. But it hasn't been working that way at all.

    Perhaps seniors are different, but my freshmen and sophomores (ESPECIALLY my freshmen) will take advantage of anything they can. They don't automatically respect me because they like me or because I am nice to them. Instead they they think that I am "one of them" and that they make the decisions about how the classroom runs. And trust me - they won't choose to spend the class time actually learning anything...

    I'm only halfway into my first semester, but I'm slowly learning that it's much easier to teach if I make the decisions. I'll explain why I make the decisions I do if they want to talk to me after class, but there isn't time during class to discuss it.
     
  20. njmarketing07

    njmarketing07 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 18, 2008

    raneydae,

    I know what you mean and it may not work all the time, but it was a suggestion that many teachers have done to break the ice with the students, some have even made contract that the students and parents must sign as "Classroom Rules".

    I do believe the teacher runs the classroom and you need good classroom management, but if you allow the students to feel as a part of a community, you are going to get a better response from them. The kids will feel more involved. You have to remember, kids are people too. They have feelings and input, why not let them share with you something that they can all agree upon? I think if done in the right way, it can be very beneficial to them, but I do see your concern and you are partly right.

    Taking time out of a class may not be a good idea in your eyes, but if you can take 1 day of class (or part of a class) and get everyone on the same page, wouldn't that be better than only having half of them with you on any given day?

    Thoughts appreciated!
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Oct 18, 2008

    From what I hear, it does work for some people.

    It's just not my own style.

    Go with your gut. After a while you'll learn what works for you and what doesn't.
     
  22. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 18, 2008

    njmarketing07 - out of curiosity, have you been able to try this in a classroom yet? If so, what age? I noticed it said "Student Teacher" by your name, and I wondered if you've had a chance to try this, or if you have heard this as a suggestion. I honestly don't mean any offense in asking this, after all, I'm just a first-year teacher too and there's so much I'm still learning! One of the things I'm learning though it that all the things we talked about in my education classes do not always transfer over into my own actual classroom.

    I have heard about creating your rules with your class too. And I do believe that it works for some people. I very much think that teenagers are their own people - I easily remember being in high school and know that I was capable of responsible decisions, so I assumed that the teens I teach can too. But all teens must not be like I was, and it just isn't working as well as I had thought, so I've had to tighten the reigns. Though talking to people on this board, I've realized that they really are still kids and I can't treat them too much like adults or they will walk all over me.

    I think this can be a good way to do procedures, it just didn't work with me. That's all.
     
  23. njmarketing07

    njmarketing07 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 18, 2008

    raneydae - In response to your question this was an idea that I heard about. One of my graduate classmates had tried this out on her Freshman spanish class and said it worked very well. Another gave the idea of the contracts. All in all, it very well may not work for you. It was just an idea. I think you need to really figure out the best way for you and your class.

    Don't stop trying, you will be able to figure it out soon enough and once you do it will be that much more rewarding! Just be yourself and the kids will respect that. Give us a follow up once you decide on what works!

    :)
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Mold Inspections,
  2. ally06
Total: 444 (members: 2, guests: 419, robots: 23)
test