New Teacher Here Needs Serious Advice

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by newteacher6, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. newteacher6

    newteacher6 Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 11, 2012

    How are you all doing? I am a brand new 6th grade ELA teacher in New York. I graduated several years ago and it took a few years to get a job. I am very lucky to have the job that I do and I do not want to mess this up.

    A little bit about myself. I am a perfectionist. If I feel that I am doing a bad job at something, it ruins my entire day. I feel that I am smart; however, when it comes to explaining things I feel that I do a bad job. I am not sure if this is normal to feel. An example of this is if a student asks me if their topic sentence of their paragraph is good... I have to reread it a couple of times to realize if its good or not. I think to myself that it is not entirely wrong but since I wouldn;t write it that way then I feel it could be better....

    I am not sure if I am analyzing everything too much. I feel that even though I am a very HARD worker that I am not good enough to teach. I feel that I dont explain things well and even though I have wanted to teach since I am a little girl now that I am here I feel that I am terrible. I dont know if it is the experience that will make me better. I have to study grammar better and how to write essays better. I feel that I analyze everything to death. Sometimes when I look at students work and it is really awful I find it hard to fix what they did wrong because of HOW MUCH of their essay is wrong. I have a difficult time pulling the sentences apart and explaining why its wrong. Does this make sense to anyone? lol

    Another problem i am having is being organized and keeping up with the homework and who handed in what. I teach in a junior high school and i have 3 classes for english. I have quickly come to realize that I am getting their homewokr mixed up with eachothers. Do you grade each homework? How much homework is enoug hto assign each week? I just began a couple of weeks ago because the teacher left mid year. Some homework I give full credit if they DID the hw ..even though it may be incorrect. Is this alright to do?Other hw I grade and take points off for incorrect answers. It all depends on how much time I have. I am finding it very hard to have a life outside my job. It takes several hours to write 1 lesson plan. We follow the 'workshop' model and there is a lot involved. Does anyone do "Think Alouds" as they teach?

    I need peoples feedback on how they felt as new teachers and how they organzied their schedule so they had a life outside of work. Does it get easier? How can i regain confidence in myself to do a good job? Also, our next unit is book club. Each class will be reading several different books and I have to create lesson plans out of these books. I dont know where to start. HELP!! llol
     
  2.  
  3. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2005
    Messages:
    7,507
    Likes Received:
    3

    Apr 11, 2012

    Take a deep breath! You are a brand new teacher as you said. Nothing is ever easy the first year or even at times the first two years. It actually takes a few years (for most) to feel really comfortable in their position.

    Do you have a mentor teacher or someone who you can work with on some of the LA issues? Writing can be tricky to teach, so don't beat yourself up. Do your best to research the areas you feel you are lacking. And if you will be at this school long term, ask about professional development that you can attend. My district will help pay for workshops that we want to go to.

    As for homework, I teach 2nd grade, but I give them credit in my gradebook for doing it, whether its all right or a lot wrong. I do correct it, but I don't record their score. My best friend teaches 3 grade levels and 6 classes and she grades homework on a check, check minus, check plus system based on how they do. Then their homework grade becomes a quiz grade for report grades.

    As for staying organized, do you have a folder or binder for each class to hold papers? Maybe stocking up on binder clips or paper clips to keep papers together may help. Also, work on creating a to-do list where you list a few things you hope to accomplish each day.

    You mention book clubs- has anyone in your school already worked with these books? You may find they are willing to share their ideas with you so you don't have to recreate the wheel. You can also search online for things.
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Apr 11, 2012

    I teach 3 blocks. When I collect their homework, I write on a post-it a list of everyone who didn't turn it in (I put a star next to it if they were absent). I then paper clip the stack. This helps when they turn in late/absent work and I always know whose papers I am missing- even if I get behind in grading.

    And, I grade pretty much everything. Once in a while, I will check/check plus/check minus things.
     
  5. Mrs Teacher

    Mrs Teacher Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 11, 2012

    I'm totally with you in the writing!!! Sometimes their writing is just a hot mess and I don't know where to begin! I've been incorporating a lot of mini-lessons on major problems that affect most students...

    If you notice their dialogue in the narratives are pathetic, do a mini lesson on proper punctuation/indentation of dialogue as well as ways to differentiate the use of "She said... he said... I said... she said..... I said....". Tell specific kids to look at theirs, look at your example (modeled for the class)... and then tweak theirs.

    Anytime you work on writing, focus on a specific skill, don't try to tackle the entire piece of writing. Many teachers I've spoken to said you shouldn't expect "publishable" writing more than every other month... depending on the kids

    Writing is the hardest thing for me because I feel like it needs such individual attention... so just take deep breaths and take small steps! :)
     
  6. Mrs Teacher

    Mrs Teacher Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 11, 2012

    Also for HW... assign "bell work" for when they come into class... something they can do, independently, silently, and without assistance that is meaningful. This will keep them busy and quiet for the beginning of class.

    I make it a point to go from desk to desk to check homework individually.... that way I can give them the evil eye and really make them squirm if they don't have HW. That personal approach reallly holds them accountable. Kids are more likely to skip HW or barely try if they know they can just slip it into a box and not deal with the confrontation.

    I also make an effort to glance at each page before I go to the next desk. I'm just looking for obvious signs of faking the hw vs actual honest errors.

    I honestly don't give back as much HW as i collect... but it does make a difference to give back some... they need to know it's being looked at, or the will know they don't need to care about it. Every now and again (rarely, but often so they know it's possible) I pass back hw that has been checked and graded super thoroughly... I can see their faces... "oh my god.. she noticed every tiny detail!!" ... as for HW i don't pass back.. they seem content with the "I have your HW... it's in my files"

    If you go desk to desk, then when you finish you can throw a paper clip on it and then there's no mix up. Walk around with a piece of paper as a cover page so you can jot down names of those who didn't do it. Whether you record those names in a grade book isn't quite as important as the fact that they realize their name has now been recorded. ;)
     
  7. Mrs Teacher

    Mrs Teacher Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 11, 2012

    Oh.. and join Pinterest :) it's awesome for teacher tips and tricks
     
  8. bee53

    bee53 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 14, 2012

    BREATHE! As you have learned becoming a good teacher is HARD!! Does your school or district offer coaches or mentor teachers? If so you shouldn't hesitate to ask them for some help. That doesn't show weakness but rather it shows determination and willingness to learn.
     
  9. applecore

    applecore Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,057
    Likes Received:
    23

    Apr 14, 2012

    Oh how I feel for you!

    I teach 3rd grade...and it comes with teaching grammar and writing. Oh my could I tell you stories of my first year that would make the most tenured teacher's hair stand on end!

    Just keep in mind with everything, at any grade level, you really need to know your stuff to teach, be willing to find people to collaberate with, and find things that work or don't work for managing paperwork. :)

    And, yes, it does get easier as you build your routines and management systems each year. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was a tenured teacher. :thumb:
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 259 (members: 0, guests: 240, robots: 19)
test