New Teacher Hitting the Panic Button

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sakura, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. Sakura

    Sakura Rookie

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    Feb 22, 2014

    New Teacher Hitting the Panic Button (Need new advice!)

    Hello everyone, I am a first-year teacher. I have been searching for three years and was hired by a charter school to teach 5-8 grade science. These kids haven't had a regular teacher since December. I have gone through my alternative certification, observations, college and now feel like a dunce. I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I have a billion questions how do I write a lesson plan? My biggest one: HOW DO I TEACH? I do have a mentor teacher I started on Thursday so we haven't had a lot of time to meet up but will next week. It is mainly preparing these kids for STAAR. The whole staff is so, so nice and I would love to be a good teacher.

    I have small classroom sizes, 12-15 kids. Thank you for any help from a jittery newbie.:eek:


    Okay so I have done a few lesson plans I am kind of playing darts here because I have no idea what unit the students were on. My biggest problem is talking! I feel bad having to ask other teachers for help when they've gotten rowdy because I do not want to look like I'm not in control of my class. They took the benchmark for STAAR for 5th and 8th and overall they bombed. How do I get them to care and behave? I haven't got a log in yet for their system so I can see the lesson they were on. How do you prepare you students for STAAR? How do you take grades? I have a million questions. Thank you guys:help:
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Feb 22, 2014

    Your program should have taught you how to write lesson plans, unit plans, etc. If it's a feeling of being overwhelmed, then calm down, take a deep breath, and relax. For the first couple days, plan some general getting to know you type lessons, so that you can get the kids acquainted with you, so you can get acquainted with them, and so you can start getting an idea of where exactly they are.
     
  4. Sakura

    Sakura Rookie

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    Feb 22, 2014

    Well, I did my alternative certification online. They taught me a lot but lesson planning was somehow lost in the shuffle. However, the program does offer a coach once you get hired that comes out to help you.
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Feb 22, 2014

    There are a lot of parts to a lesson plan. To keep it simple though, the "must haves" are:

    1) Your objective (which should be based on state or district standards, if any exist)- plan on having this posted somewhere in your room.

    2) Your anticipatory set, or linking to past lessons. This doesn't have to be extensive, but you need to purposefully connect today's lesson to something already learned.

    3) The actual teaching part. This is called different things in different areas. My district calls it "Engage and Educate."

    4) The practice part. Guided practice? Independent practice? Both? Basically, what are the kids going to do. This is your time to pull small groups, work one on one, or circulate through the room.

    5) Reflection/closure- How are you going to give kids a chance to reflect on what they've done.

    6) Assessment- This could be something small (class discussion with target questions, or a one-question exit ticket) or something bigger (quiz, larger exit ticket, etc).

    There are a lot of potential formats out there, and different lessons have different components. If I could attach documents here, I'd give you a few samples to work from, but alas...

    Your colleagues will probably mostly have bare-bones lesson plans, but my recommendation is that you write out extensive plans until you're more comfortable. The point of writing lesson plans is to make sure you have explicitly thought of exactly what needs to be accomplished, how you are going to get there, and how you make sure you've gotten there.

    I hope this helps, if you're looking for some more specific advice, I'll do what I can.
     
  6. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Feb 22, 2014

    Do you have a teacher's edition of a textbook that you can follow? The lessons are usually lacking in excitement but at least follow the lesson planning parts that another poster listed above. I've heard advice that, as a beginning teacher, it is a good idea to follow the teacher's edition as closely as possible until you feel comfortable modifying the lessins and adding material of your own.

    What's worked for me is to find just a few activities that you can use repeatedly and edit for any lesson - and then add in new activities as you feel comfortable.
     
  7. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Feb 22, 2014

    Often, when I hear people ask "how do I teach," they are asking "how do I deliver the material?"

    When you meet with your mentor, explicitly ask her how to teach a specific topic/subject and activity ideas. I would also talk to other MS science teachers in your school (or district if you can) to get some ideas. How you deliver the material varies depending on the age/subject you teach and your own teaching style. I teach HS and do PowerPoint lectures 99% of the time, but I did not do this when I taught MS.

    Good luck!
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Feb 22, 2014

    Adding on to this, you might even ask if you can observe one of your mentor's lessons, or ask if he/she would be willing to model a lesson with your students during his/her planning time.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 22, 2014

    This all the way.

    My first year I never used the Teacher's Edition because I thought it would be somehow frowned upon, but looking back at it this year, it is a fantastic resource. Mine breaks down each unit into the standards it covers, it shows me how to preview a lesson, how to teach it, provides some activities (they're kinda lame as otter said though), how to review, etc. See if yours has something similar.

    Later one when you start building your own stuff, you can teach with your own stuff and use your teachers edition/textbook for review material or differentiation (as I'm now using mine) to cement their understanding.
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Feb 22, 2014

    I'm a first year teacher (I guess it could count as 2 years because I did have my own classroom for a year as a LTS) and although I hardly use the textbook now, I did rely on it when I first started.
    During student teaching my co. teacher had me follow the textbook, with including almost every activity.
    The textbook really is a great resource to rely on, for example for English it provides the standards, the concept to learn, the vocabulary, the story to read, different levels of follow up questions, usually a writing exercise and some other other things, like grammar, etc. After following it for awhile (in any subject) you'll get the hang of what should be included in a lesson / unit.
    Then you'll be able to stray from it and get free and creative. But for now, use the textbook, it will cut down on stress, because you'll have something simple to follow.
     
  11. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Feb 22, 2014

    I agree that Teacher Editions are a good place to start.

    At my first school, my P required all first year teachers to use the textbooks. After a few months, if we were comfortable straying from it, we were allowed to do so.

    Every time I've switched grade levels, I've went to the teacher editions at least for a few weeks. It helps me with pacing since I seem to keep moving down grade levels! (I went 5th, to 2nd, to K)
     
  12. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Feb 23, 2014

    Give yourself a break. Remember that you won't turn into the perfect teacher overnight. The teacher guide is a great resource. You can also search for units online. They'll include lesson plans. It's ok to start with straight forward lessons. Don't shoot for the "dog and pony show" right off the bat. Simple, easy to manage activities where appropriate. Also, see if they have the lesson plans for previous years in your class. We turn those in at my school. You wouldn't necessarily want to follow them, but it would give you an idea of where to go.
     
  13. Sakura

    Sakura Rookie

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    Feb 23, 2014

    Thank you all for the great advice and for being so understanding. I have started to get a feel for lesson plans by bringing home the TEKS notebooks for my grade levels especially looking at 5th and 8th. I have found a lot of resources on how to present material and they have a template they follow for lesson plans. I got two big binders with dividers for my 5-8th classes so I can divide lesson plans.

    I am also looking at released STAAR exams to see what kind of questions they were asked. I already know I'd like to plan a review after benchmarks and have found some really fun ways to do reviews. I am also going to set up a system where good behavior is rewarded with passes such as a free homework pass, listen to music pass (with headphones), and things like that.

    :hugs::woot:
    The former teacher does have a good set-up classroom wise. My mind is a bit clearer now. THanks to all *hugs*
     
  14. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    Feb 24, 2014

    You might want to get ahold of a copy of the book "The First Days of School" by Harry and Rosemary Wong. It's a great resource!
     

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