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

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

  1. nattles19

    nattles19 Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    1

    May 16, 2009

    Another great tip I got from a workshop was to have the following posted for the assignment somewhere in the room:

    Assignment:
    Materials:
    Time due:
    Where to turn in:
    Choice: (having an element of choice is always motivating, even if it is as simple as "Choose one problem to skip")
    Other: (this is where you put answers to student questions about the assignment, such as what to do when they finish, if they can work with a partner, etc)

    I wrote this on a piece of posterboard and laminated it. This way I can write on it with dry erase markers and use it again and again. It is helpful for keeping students from asking you to repeat instructions individually (which I won't do for the majority of students after I have taken questions).
     
    txbelle likes this.
  2. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    May 16, 2009

    nattles-that is a GREAT idea!! And one I'm stealing....ummm, I mean borrowing. :D
     
  3. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,563
    Likes Received:
    4

    May 16, 2009

    I do thumbs up too but not like this. I will next year though! Thanks Windy City!!:thumb:
     
  4. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    May 20, 2009

    Learning WITH your students. A classroom isn't 1 teacher and so many learners, its so many students plus you as learners. That's one huge difference I'll be doing next year--- my kids record everything in a science notebook and instead of separating myself from their learning, I'm going to include myself and keep my own science notebook. I know it's difficult to do in large classes--- I'm lucky enough to only work with 18 in my largest class, but I think it really surprises my kids when I tell them I don't know and I would appreciate learning with them too.
     
  5. StellarTeach17

    StellarTeach17 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 20, 2009

    Make allies with parents from day one. You'll find that keeping parents up to date with the good, the bad, and the ugly, will ensure less stress on your part and making sure all of those "missing" things you try to organize come back.
     
  6. missk83

    missk83 Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 25, 2009

    I have many tips, and many things I'll do differently next year, but this seems pretty relevant lately:

    Stand Out (in a good way;)): This was my first year as a teacher, and just getting to know curriculum , school policies, and the school culture was overwhelming until about a month ago (and still is at times!), but I am a creative person, and even though there were times I could barely keep my head above water, I still found the time to do some creative projects here and there.

    I also consider Writer's Workshop to be one of my strengths in my school where it is somewhat lacking...

    Luckily, my mentor teacher was great about letting my principal know about the fun things I was doing in my classroom. She told me not to be too humble about it, and let the principal know one way or another that I was doing these things.

    My school is cutting a teacher position next week, and while I am at the bottom of the totem pole, I am (pretty) confident because I know that my principal thinks of me as a valuable part of her faculty. My "extra" projects certainly haven't secured me a job by any means, but they've helped me to stand out and show what I am all about.

    Pick one thing you're going to do really well your first year (bonus points if it's something admin thinks is pretty important). Don't brag about it, but find a way to let your principal know about it (invite her to observe a mini-lesson in writer's workshop, for example). When jobs are hard to come by, and harder to hold on to, you can't blend in to the woodwork.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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

    May 25, 2009

    One thing that really surprised me early on:

    You can be a TOUGH teacher, and the kids will love you, as long as they perceive you as being fair. As long as you zap the straight A student who forgets homework the same way you zap the scary looking kid in the back for the same offense, the kids will adore you.
     
  8. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    May 26, 2009

    Another tip--- do let your faculty know what you're doing. If that means you have to do a new bulletin board every month, then so be it-- as often as its a pain to design.

    If you have a school newspaper, write an article or ask some of your students to help you write an article about what they're doing.

    If you have a really cool project planned, invite some of your Admins to come in and visit. I planned a Bee Treats day on Halloween where the kids would be eating different things that bees help make. I planned it out completely by myself and told the kids I was giving them pure sugar on Halloween. The headmaster stopped by and enjoyed seeing the kids get sugared up! :)
     
  9. missk83

    missk83 Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 26, 2009

    Another one, and this my vary by school, depending on your school rules:

    Kids arrive to my classroom at 8:15 am. I am not contractually obligated to be at school until 8:10 am, however I always allow myself ample time in the morning, getting to school by 7:50 at the latest (even this late in the year).

    The few times I cut it close, I was flustered all morning and it really effected the whole classroom, not just me. The kids pick right up on that stuff.

    I always have time to make last minute copies if I decide I want to do a different activity than the one I had planned, check my email and voicemail, look through my materials for the day, or even sit back and ENJOY my coffee!
     
  10. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    May 28, 2009

    Teacher Idea Notebook
    As a new teacher, I've begun building my own library of education books that a science teacher would need. I have my usual new teacher books-- such as Wongs' First Days of course, but while I get a ton of great ideas from all of the books I often quickly forget to begin doing what I'm reading.

    A recommendation from my 7th grade cooperating teacher was that I get a notebook and put all the ideas I like into it. So that'll be my big project this summer--- a teacher idea notebook! It's just a small notebook that I started writing down and sketching my ideas--- sketching helps to physically see it in my head.

    I'm also including an Index at the back. I'm not keeping it in any organized topic sections so instead of flipping through for ideas, I can check out my Index.

    Below are two images of some pages in my Idea notebook:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And my Index...
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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

    May 28, 2009

    Bioangel: how funny. I just recommended that on another thread to a HS grad who wants to become a teacher.
     
  12. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    May 28, 2009

    See!! That means it must be a good idea!! :D
     
  13. MrsHoot

    MrsHoot Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2009

    Bump! Keep this at the top, I am already getting overwhelmed for my first year! =)
     
  14. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jun 4, 2009

    I wish I had known how difficult the first year would be and that just because I sorta sucked at teaching at times, does NOT mean I'm a bad teacher over all. I found out I need a lot more patience, I need to be okay with chaos and loudness, and that a perfectly clean and organized room (especially in science) does not mean the class is being run smoothly.

    Don't worry about being overwhelmed--- all new teachers are to some degree. Really the first year is just something you have to get through. Today was my last day of my first year--- I had plenty of high fives and congratulations that I completed my first year-- that I had made it through the most difficult time of teaching. Please know that you'll have lots of teachers cheering you on, that you're not alone, and that the best faculty will understand that you'll have problems but they shouldn't hold it against you :)
     
  15. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 9, 2009

    This is such a true statement. Tomorrow is my last day and it really has been a crawl to the finish :)
     
  16. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jun 11, 2009

    *bumping* :)
     
  17. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,186
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 11, 2009

    :woot: Great idea!! I'll remember that one.

    I have a tip for new special ed self-contained teachers - - or anyone working with parapros. GIVE THEM A SET OF EXPECTATIONS ON DAY ONE AND REVIEW IT WITH THEM. I walked in to a situation where the parapros had been there for several years and I thought a set of rules would be insulting to them. Turns out they actually wanted a set of rules and it could have cleared up a lot of misunderstandings from the get go.
     
  18. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,186
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 11, 2009

    Aww Bio girl, I'm so glad to see you saying this. Last time I was on this board you were having a horrible time. I was worried about you!
     
  19. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 11, 2009

    SUCH A GREAT POINT! I will definitely make an effort to do this.
     
  20. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,563
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jun 12, 2009

    A few more:

    >>Don't expect a lot of resources and learn how to be creative.

    >>Don't expect hand-holding from administration and don't ask for it.

    >>Learn how to do your job with a marker and a whiteboard.

    >>Don't get involved in any gossip.

    >>With everything you do or get involved in at school, ask yourself if it is helping your students to learn or become better citizens. If it isn't don't waste your time unless admin tells you to do it.

    >>Get involved with things that make a difference and set a good example for students ie, food drives, fun runs and things for the community.

    >>Keep a great attitude.

    >>Teach citizenship- might have mentioned this earlier.

    >>Be really prepared as far as totally ready for the students. I always felt so much better if I had everything just right and the video pulled up or the supplies sorted etc. When possible I would do it the Thursday or Friday of the previous week. If that wasn't possible, I'd do it the night before the lessons. I sort of look at each day as a trip I need to pack for. I lay everything out, sort it and put it neatly in the appropriate place so when I "unpack" the next day I know right where everything is and it is ready to go with me on the adventure!

    >>Find some way to keep the top of your desk organized and free of stacks of papers and then let me know how you did it.
     
  21. janney

    janney Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Messages:
    514
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 12, 2009

    :yeahthat: Let me know too...I have yet to figure that out. You know it's bad when a six year old is asking why you have so much stuff on your desk. :lol:
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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

    Jun 12, 2009

    Particularly if you teach older kids, establish boundaries!!!!

    Sure, it's important to be friendly with your kids. But that's a million miles away from being one of their friends. They have enough teenage friends; you're one of the adults now and need to make sure that both you and your students realize it.
     
  23. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,186
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 13, 2009

    :toofunny: Good one, Lemon.
     
  24. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    20

    Jun 13, 2009

    Expect the unexpected and learn how to roll with it rather easily.
     
  25. mrsnikki

    mrsnikki Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 14, 2009

    Aliceacc you are awesome :) You always have good ideas!
    I love the band aid thing because I definitely seemed to be handing those out ALL the time and it would have wasted so much class time to send them for a band aid every time!!
     
  26. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jun 15, 2009

    HOW I KEEP MY DESK NEAT...
    I'm a neat freak and one of the most common compliment I've gotten is that I'm so organized.

    After many recommendations from the members here, I got myself one of those huge desk filing systems that spins. (This is it: http://www.staples.com/office/suppl...ess_Supplies_0_10051_FEATURED:SC1:CG30:DP1203) It sits on top of the bookshelf that I have next to my desk so it doesn't take up any space on my desk.

    I teach 4 sections--- each section has a color and anything for that section is color-coded. All papers that I have to grade or give back to the students are kept in the plastic color-coded folder I have for that section. Any papers I have to hold on to for a student, goes in their student folder which I keep in a plastic carrying case under my desk.

    Extra copies of assignments are kept in a binder by the classroom door so that I don't have to worry about keeping them on my desk.

    Anything I use in my curriculum is either scanned into my computer and organized into folders --or-- kept in the curriculum guide (big binders) and kept in the cabinets along with my other reading supplies.

    I don't keep pens, pencils, etc on my desk because I found that everything is grabbed by little hands and never returned. So I have little baskets of pens, pencils, highlighters, etc in my desk.

    So this had let me have plenty of room for my laptop, whatever work I have to complete, a cup of coffee, and a few cute trinkets on my desk. Having anything more would drive me crazy :)
     
  27. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jun 15, 2009

    Thanks ZZZ for remembering--- when people ask me how my first year went I tell them it was a lot of up's and down's but good in the sense that I grew A LOT as a teacher and will be more confident next year. Another teacher gave me a pep talk about my supervisor since I've been anxious around her these last few months at work. I have to see people as what they are: human beings, who probably don't know that much more about what to do in every day classroom since there are so many variables to deal with.

    My supervisor told me before the last day to work on classrooms that I'm way too hard on myself and I work too much. She told me to enjoy my summer and not do an work-- minus reading and journaling-- on the curriculum until August when we're doing some training for it. So I've been finding more me time and reading through threads like this one to just start building up some ideas.

    :hugs:
     
    txbelle likes this.
  28. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 3, 2009

    That is SO true! I also learned that the hard way my first year.
     
  29. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 3, 2009

    I didn't know that about the bee!

    Amen to keeping a sweater in the room!
     
  30. COMrs.S

    COMrs.S Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 9, 2009

    I am also a neat freak! I need to have everything organized, I color code, label and anything else that helps me feel "prepared". I wish I would get compliments though...

    I work on a team of 4 Third Grade teachers, and I get constantly made fun of for "being funny" as in I have OCD or something!

    I can't just sit back and let tasks bog me down!

    It's pretty amusing that they always ask me how I leave at 3:45 (school gets out at 3) most days (if I'm lucky).
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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

    Jul 11, 2009

    I have a vertical file on my desktop. I have a folder for my homeroom, one for each of my classes, one for "extra test copies" and one for any other teacher who uses my room. It also holds my "do now" binder of SAT prep problems I start my class with.

    It's a huge help in keeping my paperwork organized!!!

    My textbooks (along with those of anyone else in the room) are kept in the podium.

    So my desk is pretty much always clear. The only things you can count on seeing there are the stapler, tape, and a bucket of pens/pencils I collect off the floors during the day for anyone who is short.
     
  32. ohteachr

    ohteachr Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2009

    Bumping this up in case anyone else has any great advice!
     
  33. passionateacher

    passionateacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2009

    wish list

    For my wish list, I'm only going to ask for 3 types of gift cards (Wal Mart, Target, Barnes and Noble) and nothing else. I have so many particular and miscellaneous things I need (reward stamps, hot glue sticks, Glade plug-ins, page protectors, Smarties candy, Take-It-To-Your-Seat centers,etc.) but realized recently that all of them can be found at either of these stores. I hate for parents to waste money on supplies I can't use.

    By the way, I've never done it this way. Pros and cons anyone?

    Maybe I should asterisk at the end of my list:
    *If you prefer to purchase items for the class, email me for a detailed description of a product. <-- That way I could make sure they get the right kind of item. For example, I need the perfectly clear, transparent page protectors, not the translucent kind!
     
  34. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jul 24, 2009

    As long as your Admins are okay that you're being specific with what types of gift cards you ask for. You want to make sure you come across clear that parents DO NOT HAVE TO buy you these things, however, if they are willing, you'll gladly take them for school use. I had one parent come complain to me about something I had used for a lesson that her son really liked (it was this type of nightlight that's cute, but was $15) and her son had lied to her that they HAD to have one of these to do the project. I was so upset with him for doing that to his Mom. :mad:

    If you have a web-site, perhaps you could put a list of class needs that parents could refer to as well. I would also recommend that you save ANY receipt you use with the gift cards in case a parent wants to see proof of what you're using them for. Maybe even a thank you card, post card, or email stating what you used it for would make the parents happy.
     
  35. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jul 24, 2009

    Tell Parents to hit up the Dollar Store near by...
    Okay this might sound rather common sense, but my parents don't seem to realize it. If you give out a supply list to your students on what they'll need for the school year, please put a reminder that many of these supplies could be bought cheaply at a dollar store.

    My 5th grade has a long list of supplies and parents sometimes get upset that they have to spend so much money on supplies. I tell them if they go to the dollar store, they can buy most of what the student needs for about $20 or less.
     
  36. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Messages:
    6,123
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 24, 2009

    Always have everything ready to go for the next day before you leave... handouts, worksheets, schedule and "no nows" up, whatever needs to be done. It doesn't matter how early you get to school on a typical morning, and how much time you "normally" have to do things during that time... the day you're not prepped in advance will be the day you get caught in traffic, have an emergency staff meeting, wake up with 103 degree fever and can't come in, or the copy machine isn't cooperating.

    This is something I'm working on myself ---> every single paper that comes to you does NOT have to be kept. I'm a packrat and I'm terrible about organizing stuff. But I'm going to make myself keep it in check this year. One of our workshop presenters one time did something on Executive Functioning... and one of the things they taked about was to touch any piece of paper only once... when you get it take 10 seconds and decide to file it, pass it on, shred it, or toss it. Then act on that immediately. I've learned that if you let paper sit in a pile, the pile will just expand. I'm going to try REALLY REALLY hard to keep that in check this year :)
     
  37. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    173
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 27, 2009

    Set up a system to document important information that could be asked about later, such as what kinds of accommodations you have made for students whose IEP requires them or when and why you contacted parents throughout the year. That way, if your actions are called into question, you have something to refer to.
     
  38. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Messages:
    815
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    >>Learn how to do your job with a marker and a whiteboard.

    Or how to do your job with a piece of chalk and a chalkboard. I've only had a white board in two of the schools I've worked at.
     
  39. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,563
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jul 30, 2009


    I would not ask for gift cards. Some people only want to buy something that is a dollar or two. What I do is hang a "bunch" of bananas on my door. Each banana has something I need written on it: Smarties, quart sized ZipLocks, Lysol wipes etc... Parents can grab a banana and then have their child bring back in the item. There is a little sign that says something like "Mrs. Lemonhead's Wish List..Thanks a bunch!!"
     
  40. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Messages:
    2,836
    Likes Received:
    314

    Apr 18, 2010

    More please!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. MrsC,
  2. Pi-R-Squared
Total: 362 (members: 3, guests: 335, robots: 24)
test