If you could tell a new teacher ANYthing, what would it be?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Teaching_101, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Teaching_101

    Teaching_101 Companion

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    Feb 23, 2009

    Dear Faculty,

    For those of us entering the teaching profession, what words of wisdom would you choose to tell us to help the transition into the teaching world?

    Maybe you could include some mistakes you made in the beginning, or something you learned right off the bat. As "learning to teach" will come with the years, I believe that information on just how to get your foot in the door would be really helpful.

    Thanks in advance to USA's best,
    --Teaching_101
     
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  3. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    As a first year teacher, I would say don't be afraid to ask questions. I am always asking other teachers (not just at my grade level), special ed teachers, the principal, the nurse, the guidance counselor, the reading specialist-anyone-for advice. I sometimes feel stupid, but I'd rather ask advice than mess something up, or not be able to help a student as well as I could.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Please don't live at school. Go home when your day is over and don't come in on the weekends. Enjoy your time away from school: meet people, read good books, go to movies, whatever. Just do something every day that's not school-related.

    Teachers who go in at 6 AM and stay until 8 PM or whatever are the ones who burn out quickly. There's no reason for it.
     
  5. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have a favorite quote "The key to education lies in respecting the student". I have found that children everywhere are basically the same. They all want to feel that they are important and valued by you.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I love this, beckysuek--this is going up on the bulletin board above my desk tomorrow! This is, in a nutshell, my whole philosophy.

    There's been excellent advice given so far. I would add that it's important not to feel as though you need to start from scratch for every lesson. Don't reinvent the wheel--search for lesson plans and resources. The internet, your school and district libraries and your colleagues are invaluable resources. It's not logical to spend 3 hours writing a lesson plan "from scratch" if you can find one on-line or in a teacher's guide that you can "tweak" to meet the needs of your students.
     
  7. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Feb 23, 2009

    Don't be fraid to ask questions!!!

    In terms of classroom management:
    - Be consistent! Say what you meand mean what you say.
    - Sometimes being consistent means that you need to think about what the best consequence should be and it's ok to say to a student "I'm going to need to think about what we should do about this. We'll talk at the end of the day/tomorrow morning (if it's the end of the day, already)
    - Don't assume that your students know how you like things done! If you want the name on the left, tell them. If you want them to go straight to their seat if they are tardy and talk to you after class... tell them!!! If you want hand in homework at the beg. of the day, tell them! Pass to the front? Pass to the back? To the side? Tell them all the procedures and practice, practice, practice.

    There's definitely more. But so much is learned from experience - don't forget that!
     
  8. BerniceBobs

    BerniceBobs Comrade

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    Feb 23, 2009

    Avoid assigning busy work like the plague because it will end up not only overwhelming them, but overwhelming you too.
    Make each and every assignment is meaningful and not copiously assigned.
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Feb 23, 2009

     
  10. kteachone

    kteachone Companion

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    I would say to not back down. If you know something is wrong, don't be afraid to go to your principal, etc. and let them know how you feel. People also tend to step all over new teachers--don't let them. You have a degree just like they do.
     
  11. Teaching_101

    Teaching_101 Companion

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    BAM! I like the ferocity in that quote.

    Thanks everyone; I feel like with all this advice I'd be doing an injustice to screw anything up. I think I may go to my university tomorrow and see if this will qualify as a 3 hour credit ...
     
  12. Anirtak

    Anirtak New Member

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    Feb 24, 2009

    these are helpful! thanks!
     
  13. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Treat the children with respect, but have high expectations and encourage them to meet those (reasonable) expectations.

    You will work hard, but don't make teaching your life. Have friends outside of school and do things with them on nights and weekends whenever possible. It will make it easier at school. Don't count on the other teacher's to be your friends. It will be nice if that happens, but teachers are so isolated that many times they get hung-up on what they are doing, and don't necessarily make friends easily.

    Find out who directly and indirectly is your "boss." Make sure you know their expecations. You can't ever meet someone's expectations if you have no idea what they are.

    If things don't work out, make sure you stay professional and as positive as possible, because you will need that all-important reference. As great as it feels (for 20 seconds) to tell your principal exactly what you think of him (or her) it is never worth it if you can't get another job later because of lack of a reference. Know when to kiss some butt, if necessary.
     
  14. blessedhands

    blessedhands Comrade

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    Feb 24, 2009

    Have high expectations of your students please. An idler today may be your doctor tomorrow.
     
  15. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    Feb 25, 2009

    Remember that students have feelings too. Parents are not the enemies. They just want what is best for their kids. You just have to explain with your documentation in a calm and rational manner. Even then it might not work but you've said your peace.
     
  16. newteacher08

    newteacher08 Companion

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    Feb 26, 2009

    Great idea for a thread Teaching_101!

    I like all the advice everyone is given.....Thank you everyone! :)
     
  17. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    Don't try to be the students' FRIEND. You're their teacher.

    Find a mentor within the school or discpline you teach.

    Bring your lunch.

    Don't hang out in the teachers' lounge if they chat about students in there.

    You don't have to grade every assignment you give.

    Delegate jobs to students (line leader, paper-passer-outer, caboose, pencil captain, filing person, librarian, secretary, etc..).
     
  18. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Feb 26, 2009

    Everyone had given such great advice.
    Rainstorm-I think you gave a great piece of advice about the reference thing. I would say don't burn bridges, but know that your P is your boss, and their reference can be more important than sweating the small stuff.(As a general rule-not for every circumstance.)
    Find an ally that you can celebrate with, and vent with. It is important to be able to verbalize your frustrations, but make sure it stops with that one person. Don't get caught up in school drama.
    Enjoy being with kids. Take the time to laugh at the hilarious things they do. Accept hugs and compliments because from kids they are genuine.
    Spend the majority of your time and energy on good, effective instruction. Don't worry so much about your classroom looking perfect.
    Most importantly-know when to STOP and leave your work at school!
     
  19. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Feb 26, 2009

    I love these!

    For fun:
    - Hide paper clips from the kids... and the other teachers.
    - Keep spare clothes in your closet. Crazy things can happen.
    - Never underestimate the power of stamps and stickers with kids. Even high schoolers.
    - Never underestimate the power of chocolate and coffee with your coworkers.
    - Make friends with the head secretary. She knows everything about everything at school.
    - Don't let them bring bubbles to class. No, wait: let them. It's hilarious.

    For real:
    - You're going to lose it and yell at a kid someday. You're going to feel bad about it later. Apologize. Kids are people, too.
     
  20. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    Loooove this thread.

    Sadly, I don't remember who told me this. But the general gist of their message was, when you are dealing with a tough kid, or a parent of a tough kid, keep in mind- parents send you the best kid they've got. They are not hiding perfect Johnny at home and sending horrible Johnny to school to punish you- they are giving you Johnny, the only one they have, and trusting you to take care of and love and teach him.

    I can't remember who told me, but I have never forgotten what was said. That has come in handy to remind myself on several occasions.
     
  21. Teaching_101

    Teaching_101 Companion

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    Feb 27, 2009


    I particularly love these tips. Thanks so much TxSandMom.

    Does TxS mean Texas? I also live in Texas and am getting my degree from Texas A&M University.
     
  22. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I would say...

    Give yourself credit for the things you are doing right. You may see the mistakes much more readily, but don't forget that there are things you are doing right.

    Be firm and follow through, be consistent and predictable.

    Trust yourself...and don't be afraid to try things that you haven't heard of or seen done. Be innovative.

    Regardless of how you are feeling inside, always appear confident...especially in front of your students, but don't think you have to always have all the answers. It's okay to take a shot in the dark if you don't know what to do, as long as you do it with confidence.

    Always have high expectations and be generous with praise (but only when deserved).
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Good points, CanadianTeacher! I would also add to the point above--apply this to your students as well. We often emphasize the things they can't do and the gains they aren't making; we forget to recognize the successes they are having (however small they may be at times).
     
  24. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    Keep in mind...it is about the students, not about you. If you focus on the child, you will have a great year.
     
  25. mego65

    mego65 Comrade

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    Find one good thing about every one of your students and keep something that they did really well at. This way when you want to scream or call a parent you can go to the good first. It will help you calm down and remember that the child is not actually as horrible as you think at that moment.
     
  26. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Don't get sucked into the negative vortex of colleagues that are unhappy with their jobs/classroom/admin/school ...

    Keep in the forefront of your mind, "What is good for the student?" It makes decisions very simple.
     
  27. Teaching_101

    Teaching_101 Companion

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    I like this advice a lot. Thanks ku_alum.
     
  28. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    TeacherGrl-

    I love that you said this.

    My daughter (she's 21 now), when she was on her way to kindergarten for the first day...I KNEW she was a handful. She was later diagnosed with ADHD and recently has been declared having Asperger's. The night before her first day I was in tears-just praying that her teacher would see her as a child to teach, and not a problem to deal with (sadly her kindergarten teacher saw her as her "hell on earth" and treated her that way...but the first grade teacher was SO patient and treasured her creativity).

    EACH child is precious to their parent. Each child is precious and WORTHY period. He/she is NOT a problem or a hair-puller. The tough ones are as much in need of love, guidance, and respect as the star students.

    My feeling (regarding my daughter) was... "first... you have to like/respect her."

    Thank you for voicing this better than I could have!!
     
  29. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    :) Glad to... It was hands down the best piece of advice anyone has ever given me. I hope your daughter had more good experiences with her teachers as she got older!
     

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