Questions for Experienced Teachers

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Brantev, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. Brantev

    Brantev New Member

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    Sep 29, 2012

    Hello. I am pursuing a degree in Elementary Education and I have to conduct an interview with a teacher for an assignment that is due next week. If you are an experienced teacher, please answer the questions below. The more responses I receive, the better. :help: :thanks:

    1. In what ways do you create a productive learning environment?

    2. What important rules do you enforce in your classroom?

    3. How do you deal with students who misbehave?

    4. How do you involve the parents in their child’s education?

    5. How do you handle angry parents?

    6. How do you prepare your lessons? How long does it take?

    7. How do you engage or motivate your students during a lesson?

    8. How do you know that your students are really comprehending the material?

    9. How do you handle the students that can’t keep up with the rest of the class?

    10. How do you handle cultural diversity in your classroom?
     
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  3. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Sep 30, 2012

    1. In what ways do you create a productive learning environment?

    I keep things very routine and I try to meet the kids "where they are" academically.

    2. What important rules do you enforce in your classroom?

    Showing respect and responsibility for yourself, your classroom, and your school.

    3. How do you deal with students who misbehave?

    I administer consequences. Then, I follow up with parents. If help is still needed I will go to admin.

    4. How do you involve the parents in their child’s education?

    I send home weekly academic and behavior reports. Since I teach special ed, parents are also always at IEP meetings. I would love to have parents volunteer as well.

    5. How do you handle angry parents?

    Stay cool, calm, and collected. Don't meet anyone alone. Tell them you'd be happy to talk to them once they've calmed down.

    6. How do you prepare your lessons? How long does it take?

    On the weekend. In my pajamas. :lol: It takes forever, I feel like. But I'm only a second year teacher.

    7. How do you engage or motivate your students during a lesson?

    I use a lot of turn and talk, call and response, and rapid fire questioning. I also like when they have something to do...like fill in a graphic organizer or copy down an example.

    8. How do you know that your students are really comprehending the material?

    I do daily exit tickets and I confer with students and/or meet with them in small groups. I'm trying really hard to keep consistent and thorough observation data this year.

    9. How do you handle the students that can’t keep up with the rest of the class?

    I teach SPED so it's a little different. None of my kids keep up with the whole class. I do a lot more work one on one or in small group. I also offer tutoring before school.

    10. How do you handle cultural diversity in your classroom?

    I'm a firm believer in culturally relevant teaching. I try to incorporate readings and role models that relate to my children. If the material is not real world, they wont care.
     
  4. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Sep 30, 2012

    1. In what ways do you create a productive learning environment?

    There are many ways that I use to create a productive learning environment; however I will try and list a few that I think are important. I try and create a personal buy in with each child. I do this by being observant of the children and responsive to their needs I also work on getting to know them quickly. I also work on making it clear I am interested and happy to just chat and talk with them when we have the time. I also try and create a classroom that is comfortable where the children feel ownership of the room as a whole. I also work on trying to be consistent with the children in discipline. I also work on having a well laid out structure and routine to the days, if there is going to be a change in a day I try and give the children as much forewarning as I can.

    2. What important rules do you enforce in your classroom?

    I work on helping the children understand their behavior and recognize what is considered acceptable behavior in most social or work situations.

    3. How do you deal with students who misbehave?

    I try and work on logical consequences which will assist the child in recognizing the problem.

    4. How do you involve the parents in their child’s education?

    I send home weekly newsletters or at least bi-weekly or monthly depending on the year. The newsletter talks about what the class has been working on and or will be working on. I also am welcoming of volunteers. I set up meetings with the parents when needed and also have meetings if a parent wants it. I am friendly and outgoing to parents and family members when I see them at school. The school I work at has three set conference times with one being for all parents.

    5. How do you handle angry parents?

    I try and turn it into a conversation where we are we are working together to help their child. I do a lot of listening and try not to get angry or defensive in reaction to the parents (not always easy). When that does not work I have the administration come in and meet with me and the parents.

    6. How do you prepare your lessons? How long does it take?

    I write them up on Sunday evenings usually. I use books which can supplement the regular textbooks and the textbooks. I also use past lesson plans and previous knowledge to create them. At this point I can estimate the amount of time a lesson will take fairly accurately most of the time. As a new teacher I was not as good at that so I needed to make back up lessons to make sure I didn't have dead time. The time it takes depends on how long I have been teaching the grade. When new to a grade it can take several hours. Once having taught a grade for a few years it takes about an hour.

    7. How do you engage or motivate your students during a lesson?

    I set my expectations for listening and attention at the beginning of the year for anything that is a normal routine. When children are not doing so we practice. I also have gotten quite good at being aware when I am losing the students and then move on to another thing if it is at all possible or take a break. I also do certain things such as turn to a neighbor or whole class responses or up and exercising to keep the children engaged.

    8. How do you know that your students are really comprehending the material?

    I have them participate. I also try and make it so the children are very comfortable asking for help at anytime. I also do a lot of observational assessments all day long. I try and notice quiet children who often are not grasping the information and once noticed make sure they are getting double checked on a regular basis.

    9. How do you handle the students that can’t keep up with the rest of the class?

    I try and create many opportunities which will allow differentiation in the learning through open ended lessons which give the children many opportunities to explore the concepts. I also give small group or individual times in math and language arts.

    10. How do you handle cultural diversity in your classroom?

    My class is very culturally diverse. We talk about the different families they come from. I have stories and books which have most cultures in them. I invite parents to come in and share about their cultural celebrations, experiences, or other cultural things they would like to share. I am welcoming to all children. I work hard to ensure the welcome is shown between the children also.
     
  5. Brantev

    Brantev New Member

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    Sep 30, 2012

    Thank you so much for your help! I know teachers are busy, so you taking your time out to answer these questions means so much to me! I am so glad to have found this website. I can't wait to become a teacher and it is awesome to know that I can come here for support!
     
  6. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Sep 30, 2012

    1. In what ways do you create a productive learning environment?

    I am tight on classroom management- I honor kids' choices by giving consequences consistently. Kids know what to expect and what is expected. We also practice. One motto my kids learn early is "Do it right or do it again."

    2. What important rules do you enforce in your classroom?

    The kids may not call out, talk without permission, or come up to my desk uninvited. They must be kind to each other.

    3. How do you deal with students who misbehave?

    It really depends on the misbehavior. During class time for things like calling out, I have a card system- a card is placed on a student's desk. Each card received gains a consequence. 1 card = 5 mins. recess, 2 cards = 10 mins. recess and note home, 3 cards = desk moved away from rest of the class, 4 cards = loss of group/fun activities, 5 cards = time out in another classroom.

    4. How do you involve the parents in their child’s education?

    I send home notes and maintain a website with information for parents. I also keep parents informed through phone calls, emails, etc. I invite parents in to read, volunteer, or help with projects.

    5. How do you handle angry parents?

    I try to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible. I realize that parents get angry when they feel their child is not being treated fairly or is in danger, or when they feel they have somehow been wronged. I try to figure out what the real issue is and go from there.

    6. How do you prepare your lessons? How long does it take?

    I prepare my lessons with my grade level partner. We collaborate on everything! We use ideas from past years and add to them, tweaking them as we go. It varies- sometimes we can do a week's plans in about an hour. Other times, when we have to start from scratch, it takes a couple hours.

    7. How do you engage or motivate your students during a lesson?

    I try to make the information relevant to them- relate it to something they are interested in. I also try to use hands on lessons and manipulatives as much as possible. When kids are having fun, they enjoy learning.

    8. How do you know that your students are really comprehending the material?

    I give authentic assessments- I test their knowledge, then I determine whether they can use that knowledge in other areas. I check for understanding a lot by asking questions of the lower students. Usually, if a struggling student gets the concept, those who are academically stronger have it, too.

    9. How do you handle the students that can’t keep up with the rest of the class?

    I give lots of intervention! I spend about 90 minutes a day in small groups. I also give guidance and scaffolding to these students. I make sure they feel comfortable asking for help.

    10. How do you handle cultural diversity in your classroom?

    Honestly, I don't encounter much diversity in my rural school.
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Sep 30, 2012

    I'm now a K-5 special education teacher, but I taught third grade my first year and a half.

    1. In what ways do you create a productive learning environment?
    -I started by establishing and reinforcing routines from day one, and I wasn't afraid to make changes throughout the year, as needed.

    2. What important rules do you enforce in your classroom?
    -The most important rules in my classrooms were being respectful and trying your hardest.

    3. How do you deal with students who misbehave?
    -I had a whole behavior management plan utilizing popsicle sticks when I taught third grade. Now I use a token economy in my resource room. I could go into further detail with either one, but it would take a lot of space here. So, if you want more detail, PM me, and I'll send you some of my resources.

    4. How do you involve the parents in their child’s education?
    -Call, email, or write notes to parents regularly. Encourage parents to participate in classroom activities and/or with homework.

    5. How do you handle angry parents?
    -Listen, listen, listen! Most parents just want to feel heard. After they get their feelings out, then I calmly work towards finding a solution (which is sometimes just reaffirming the expectations in my classroom). In severe cases, I'd involve an administrator.

    6. How do you prepare your lessons? How long does it take?
    -It depends on what I'm teaching and what the expectations of my administrators are. At my first school, the expectations for what teachers had to turn in were ridiculous! It wasn't unusual for it to take me anywhere between 4 and 6 hours just to write the plans for the week, let alone preparing all of the materials. Now that I teach at a school where teachers are respected and trusted, it takes me much less time to write plans. I may spend 10-15 per night going over my plans for the next day now, but that doesn't include preparing the materials. That still takes a little extra time. As far as how I prepare my lessons, I looked at the curriculum and program materials when I taught gen. ed., and now I look at the IEP goals to plan what I'll be doing with the students. As a gen. ed. teacher, I also found it very valuable to plan with other teachers of the same grade-level.

    7. How do you engage or motivate your students during a lesson?
    -Frequent and immediate positive reinforcement for both behavioral and academic successes! I also try to make the lesson fun and engaging whenever possible.

    8. How do you know that your students are really comprehending the material?
    -I know my students are comprehending the material when they can apply the knowledge to a performance task and not just answer rote questions.

    9. How do you handle the students that can’t keep up with the rest of the class?
    -All of my students have trouble keeping up now that I teach sped. However, when I taught third grade, I differentiated my instruction for both reading and math. I taught reading using both whole group and guided reading, and I taught math in whole group format, followed by small group reteaching/reinforcing/extension groups. I didn't require the same end result from everyone. Instead, I required that each student perform at his/her potential.

    10. How do you handle cultural diversity in your classroom?
    -I always try to envision what the lives of my students are like when they go home at night and keep that in mind while I am teaching them. I encourage students to share stories about themselves (during appropriate times, of course!), and I try to choose books and activities that might be relevant to students' home lives.
     
  8. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Sep 30, 2012

    1. In what ways do you create a productive learning environment?

    I do my best to create a place where children want to be. I use humor, I'm honest with kids, listen to their ideas, and take their ideas seriously. I give students a voice to share an opinion or feeling. For example, we have a mailbox where kids can put notes for the class. Kids can make announcements and solve problems during our meetings. If kids come up with an idea, I let them do it, within bounds. For example, a couple of weeks ago kids didn't like how some of the recess play was going (kids were breaking rules out of adult sight- another issue) but they asked if they could make an announcement to the school. At our first assembly, several of the children in my class got up and share the recess rules. This was their idea, but I helped it come to fruition

    2. What important rules do you enforce in your classroom?
    Raising hands, listening, stopping at my signal. Those are important for just getting the basics across. If those things don't happen, we stop right away! I also make sure they are following safety rules. For example, walking in the classroom and using an inside voice. I allow for group discussion and group process on a lot of other things.

    3. How do you deal with students who misbehave?
    I do take things on a case by case basis. For example, if two kids are talking during instruction, I may move one or both of them away from each other. If children are being mean to another, not sharing, not playing fair, etc. they sit and solve the problem using social skills, problem solving techniques I teach them. If that doesn't work, I will send one of them away. I rely a lot on LOGICAL consequences. For example, when two boys started knocking my chess pieces around during a game, they had to clean up and stop the game. I do require my students to be NICE to one another. Making amends is important and children write apologies and talk it out. If something is more extreme, I will involve the parents. Especially if it's ongoing or if the child has frequent behavior problems. Almost every year, I do have a behavior contract for one child. I change every year though too. There are years when I have done different things, such as taking away minutes of choice time, or rewarding the whole class based on the need.

    4. How do you involve the parents in their child’s education?
    Our school is good about this. Parents observe and we have long conferences twice a year. I use parent volunteers for different things like field trips or to help during science. Overall, the families at my school are very involved.

    5. How do you handle angry parents?
    This is hard for me. I try not to take it personally. I try and listen and repeat what they are saying back to them. I try and be open to their ideas and concerns. Sometimes it gets to me though! Last year I had a parent who made me cry (not in front of her) but this has happened before, and will probably happen again. I want everyone to be happy, and when they aren't I have a difficult time. I have learned to sit back and listen more, and not react. This helps, and I can turn parents around. Usually the angry parents have children with severe issues and the problem is more systemic than just whatever is going on in my room.


    6. How do you prepare your lessons? How long does it take?
    I try as best I can to create routines that don't rely on complicated lessons. Our math curriculum has lessons, which I read and prepare materials for, as does our science. When it comes say, reader's workshop, I set up the foundational routine, and I keep a binder which I make at the beginning of the year. I usually plan a little each week, but overall, plan very little for it! I stick to one comprehension strategy for a week or so, and apply that to everything we do (read aloud, discussions, sharing.) In writing, I do projects which require some planning at the beginning, but after that it's just following the writing process. We also do a lot of self-selected writing topics. I plan for SS when I plan a unit, but generally once that's done, that's all I plan. I make copies for the week on Monday morning. I am very routine oriented, so kids often do the same thing all week. For example, in math, I have several weekly activities that kids do. I run off dozens of them at once (Number of the Day) and then grab them as needed.

    7. How do you engage or motivate your students during a lesson?

    I keep my lessons VERY short. Less than 10 minutes, usually less than 5. Unless there is a book connected to the lesson, in which case the kids will be very occupied anyway.

    8. How do you know that your students are really comprehending the material?

    Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't! Usually, I do some kind of verbal or written check in with the kids. I repeat so much stuff that they do get it eventually. For example, we will play a game dozens of times, or talk about a reading strategy daily for a week, then repeat that strategy again a few weeks later.

    9. How do you handle the students that can’t keep up with the rest of the class?

    I differentiate a whole lot!! I actually teach a multi-age class, so I have 2-3 levels in one class. I do a lot of partnering or small group activities. I make sure that kids have lots of things to do, so early finishers are not bored, but not just doing extra, and that slower kids have time to do something later. Since I have lots of levels in one room, I think I am just sort of naturally attuned to this.

    10. How do you handle cultural diversity in your classroom?
    I love topics like this. I am what I would call a "social justice" teacher. I believe in informing children of the history of our nation, and the strides we've made and the distance we still have to go. We talk about issues of diversity a lot- cultural and otherwise. I begin my year by doing activities that encourage the kids to think of themselves as wonderful, unique people, and think of their classmates as the same. Having a classroom that understands differences helps them relate better to the world.
     
  9. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    Sep 30, 2012

    1. In what ways do you create a productive learning environment? We begin the year with creating a classroom rules list that we all agree and live by. We work on learning stamina and schema. We also work on making sure we understand we're all different and accept and respect that. Our class moto is "We waste no time, but we have fun while learning!"

    2. What important rules do you enforce in your classroom?Respect. It's the main deal in my classroom. It covers everything.

    3. How do you deal with students who misbehave?I talk to them privately, use proximatey, send them out in the hall to talk to them privately, or chat with them during recess. I firmly believe in making human connections with students at their level by talking to them, at their level. They need help putting words to reasons behind their actions. When they can't fix their behaviors, they stay in at recess or I call home and have a chat with parents.

    4. How do you involve the parents in their child’s education?Weekly contact through newsletters and one to two postive phone calls a week, as well as conference meetings once a quarter.

    5. How do you handle angry parents?Acknowledge their frustrations, listen to their feelings, and rationally explain the facts without feelings of whatever has transpired. However, I'm human, so if I burst into tears after having my backside chewed out by a parent over their personal issue with me, then I apologize and walk away.

    6. How do you prepare your lessons? How long does it take?I type my lesson plans out in EXCELL. They're saved from year to year, so all I have to do is copy/paste what needs to be placed for the new school year's week. It normally takes me about two hours to plan 4 weeks including pulling papers and gathering supplies for the next week. I set up my classroom files at the beginning of the year with every subject and papers organized, papercliped, and labeled by quarter and subject. The new CCS are making me spend a little more time on planning math one weekend a month.

    7. How do you engage or motivate your students during a lesson? I've been told that I get excited when I teach; I'm very expressive with my hands and body; but I use TPR a lot due to having training with ESOL and having a high population of ESL students in my classroom. So, if I buy into the fact that something's exciting, even the most hardest lesson ever, then the kids will buy into it as well. It's all about Shakespeare! "All the world is a stage, and we are merely players! And...I use School Moves. Look it up. It'll be your BFF in gearing the brain into learning!

    8. How do you know that your students are really comprehending the material?When I ask, "Who can tell me their favorite part about today's lesson?" or "What was the most challenging or hardest part of the lesson today?" Usually those two questions give me a cue as to who's getting the lesson or who's not, without always relying on test scores on paper.

    9. How do you handle the students that can’t keep up with the rest of the class?I reteach in a small group or individual setting. I also send material home with the student for them to practice the work. If it's a situation where they do not understand, I have a title I aide provide extended practice with the student in a small group outside the classroom to work on the background skill the student needs to reach a development area they are having issues with. Sometimes they just need more development time.

    10. How do you handle cultural diversity in your classroom?I love it! Growing up, I came from a very cultural diverse community, even though my skin color does not match my heritage. I explain to the students that what we look on the outside should not matter to who we are on the inside. I actually do a few lessons on the students getting to know one another and their heritage during out Friendship unit. They get to share their favorite foods, languages, family cultures, beliefs, etc. We don't get to spend as much time as I'd love to on it, but it helps start the year off on a great note of acceptance and tolerance of how families are made. I'll never forget one year I had a student who explained to the class how he has two mom's and no dad. The kids were so interested, but thoughtful. I was prepared for the worse, but they taught me the best lesson of all: prepare for the best instead. They never said anything about his family unit the rest of the year, and even welcomed the student's family when they came for parties.
     

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