New Teacher, Zero Experience

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Kiki319, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Kiki319

    Kiki319 New Member

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    Jul 17, 2019

    Hello All,
    I am enjoying all of the helpful info in this forum. I am a Career Switcher who has just earned a provisional license and recently accepted a full time position teaching 7th grade US History in an inner-city school/area. I have absolutely zero teaching experience and little classroom experience beyond the twenty-five or so practicum observation hours required for my education courses. I am nervous and apprehensive that my lack of experience will quickly render me ineffective. I am worried about my ability to get rolling and keep up. I read posts from some of the teachers going through tough times and I worried this will be me by Halloween. But I am also excited and hopeful that I can reach and teach some of my students and maybe even get some of them to love History and their studies as I always did. Any advice on what I absolutely need to know, do, or address before I enter the classroom? I have on-boarding, new teacher induction, and the prep week all upcoming. I want to be prepared but I also want to enjoy my last summer before I start teaching. I am also single mom of a rad 7 year old and am so very concerned for how my new profession will affect our home life. I am determined to not let my new career take away from our family time. Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom you could lend :)
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jul 17, 2019

    I don't teach middle school, so I'll leave it to someone who does to give you tips specific to that. Some general tips that might be helpful are:
    - Since you have family, try to set a regular schedule for when you will stay late at school or do work at home and when you will commit to family time. Teaching can take over your life if you let it. So, it's important to set boundaries, prioritize, and accept that you'll always have a to-do list that is never complete.
    - Try to get some curriculum info so that you can figure out more about what you'll be teaching and how much is given to you versus how much you have to create. It might be helpful to get a head start on this over the summer. (A middle school person might be able to give better advice here).
    - Don't work too hard this summer. Enjoy your free time and family time. Get some errands done before school starts, even if they aren't yet urgent. Balancing your time any year teaching - but especially the first year - is challenging. You'll have very little down time during the school year, so take advantage of it now, while you can.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jul 17, 2019

    Middle school demands classroom management as number one priority.

    I started out teaching high school juniors and seniors. The curriculum came first, and the management worked itself out. Middle school is the opposite. If the management isn’t under control, the curriculum is a moot point.

    I really like Randy Sprick’s CHAMPs management program. I’ve found it easy to use and effective. I’ve been able to incorporate it into various programs we have used at my school. Harry Wong’s The First Days of School is useful for general stuff as well.
     
  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Jul 17, 2019

    I finished up my first year teaching middle school (6th grade) and I agree that classroom management is your priority.

    -One thing that I learned is that middle schoolers need very clear directions. You want your first day of school to be structured and you want to make sure the kids know exactly what they are supposed to be doing. I recommend assigning seats right away. You could either do this randomly: number your desks and assign the kids a # on their way in, project a seating chart (be careful with this--the kids can get confused). My school doesn't limit copies so I actually liked printing half sheets with the seating charts with the student names on it (NOT faces from gradebook) and labeling the windows, whiteboard, so the kids can easily find their seats. This was most efficient in my large classes. Then, I would recommend having the students fill out a get to know you survey and then introducing yourself briefly. After this, you could go over the syllabus or do some sort of activity. There are tons of ideas for first day of school activities online that are subject specific. If you are teaching in a school where there are behavior problems, maybe start the year with the kids in paired rows and transition to groups if you feel like it will work. Behavior is usually better when kids are facing forward.

    -Procedures are extremely important. You want to know what your procedures are and plan to teach them. For example, you should have a procedure for dismissal from class-you do not want the kids to get up when the bell rings. They should wait until you dismiss them and only do so when it is silent. I would practice this from day 1. (My school's schedule was weird and I had only one class where there was a bell at the end of the period. I let them be dismissed by the bell and it was a really big mistake. Once they get used to it, it is harder to get more strict as the year goes on. So, the first time a kid gets up without being dismissed, you ask him to sit down and start over.) You might need procedures for sharpening pencils or being out of your seat. I would talk to the other teachers on your team to see what they do. I know some teachers let kids out of their seat to sharpen pencils, but I made mine ask because a lot of kids would get up just to socialize. In my larger classes, I did not allow kids out of their seat without permission. You will also need an entering the classroom procedure. I did not teach mine well this year. Ideally, I would want kids to grab a Do Now handout from the bin, go to their seats, and get started. You want to figure out what you want this to look like in your classroom. I strongly recommend implementing a silent Do Now. It provides a calm start to the class (my students were crazy when entering the room and this helped) and it allows you to take attendance, etc. One of my friends did not try to implement a silent Do Now last year and it took her class about 10-15 minutes just to settle down every day.

    -I like teaching middle school because it usually means that you have one prep which is really nice. This will already save you time. I would recommend looking online for lessons as much as possible and using resources from other teachers at your school if they teach the same subject. I was lucky that another teacher at my school shared her stuff with me whenever I asked. Of course, I tried to share stuff whenever I could, but I obviously had less than her as a first year teacher. I would recommend trying to plan out a week in advance so you do not feel like you have to stay late to plan every day. This will probably mean that you will have to work some time in the evening or the weekends but you will feel much more prepared during the workday.


    -Grading can take up a lot of time. I recommend looking for easy ways to grade, such as online multiple choice tests. You can make tests online that have multiple choice and short answer questions. You might have to grade the short answer/open response, but the multiple choice will grade itself. If you have chromebooks for the kids, this is a great option. You can also grade some assignments just for completion and check it at the end of the period. Exit tickets are easy and quick to grade as well. :) Do not grade everything. Sometimes, I would collect assignments and not grade them (mainly because my kids would leave it on the floor otherwise haha). I graded way too much this year which was a mistake.
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jul 17, 2019

    Sometimes I spot grade items. I’ve been teaching long enough that I know the things that typically trip kids up, so I’ll check those questions to make sure they are doing okay. I can also spot check as they are working. Kids score/correct their own practice work. I use google forms and GradeCam and Kahoot. There are many online options.

    I will also stagger due dates or break assignments into parts so I’m grading smaller parts.

    I do not take work home. I will stay late one night a week, usually Friday, to prep for the next week. I did the same when I was single/no kids. I do quite a bit of stuff during the summer at home, but only when I want. I have time and it doesn’t seem like work as much. During the school year I am not working all day and then at night, too.

    For seating kids on the first day, I use removable Avery address labels. I print their names on the labels, color-coded by class period. The board has their bellringer instructions on it every day. Day One it tells them what color their name is in on the desk. After week or two, I let them peel their stickers off and choose their own seat.

    Day one is always a weird schedule and there is a lot of random stuff to do, but I always teach my enter, exit, independent work & teacher-directed procedures. I also always give an assignment. I don’t go an icebreaker because most of my kids have been together since kindergarten. The know each other too well.
     
  7. Kiki319

    Kiki319 New Member

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    Jul 19, 2019

    Thanks so much Bella84, Ima Teacher, and Ms. Holyoke for your replies; these are all fantastic ideas and tips that I will be using for sure!
     
  8. tuankiet153

    tuankiet153 Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2020

    Just follow up: how was your first year going?
     

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