So...you've been hired to teach high school. Now what???

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Aliceacc, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm shamelessly stealing the first 3 paragraphs from my response in another thread, and the end from another thread somewhere. But I think some of the newbies may need a direction now that they've signed those contracts.

    - Well, for starters, you'll need a teacher wardrobe. Exactly what that means depends on where you teach, but start to think about it. Right now you can find things on clearance that will get you through those first few weeks, and will do again in the spring. But don't wait; those woolens will be out any day now. Don't forget some comfortable, professional shoes. Oh, and if you're a stockings person (I realize there aren't as many of us nationally as there are in NY) take a look at the Hanes/ L'eggs outlet: http://www.onehanesplace.com/

    - Do you know that you'll have a homeroom? If so, you'll need basic bulletin board supplies. In the past few years I've used a $5 bed sheet from Walmart. It's indestructible and doesn't fade all year. (I chose red or green, so I could do Christmas stuff-- I teach in a Catholic school.) You can also pick up border and posters as you see them over the summer. In my homeroom I like to keep a box of bandaids (fewer kids leaving for the nurse for paper cuts), basic office supplies, safety pins and a few other things you can pick up at the dollar store. You'll probably also want to invest in a dictionary and thesaurus. (Oh, and on the off chance that you're also in a Catholic school, I always put up a creche at Christmas time; I think I got it at Oriental Trading.)

    - Stock up on stickers, yes, even for your Seniors. I make a lot of them at vistaprint... everything from "Mrs. A thinks your math grade is a real TREAT" with a jack O'lantern for Halloween to "Mrs. A thinks this grade puts you on my NICE list" with a picture of Santa for December. The kids ADORE them.


    OK, now let's talk material. Let's assume you have a copy of the syllabus. Here's what I do:

    - I hit Staples and buy a new binder for each course-- 1.5-2". Then I go home with my syllabus and type up a chart in Word. I have a column for lesson #, one for topic, one for homework and one for short notes (as in "needs graph paper")

    Then I block out my year, with the number of lessons I think each topic will take.

    I put in tests (I like to test every 2 weeks, regardless of what I've covered) and count. If I'm under, that's great, since some topics (as well as the occasional snow day) will throw off my timing. If I'm over (that's never happened) I know I have to streamline my plans.

    Then take your syllabus and start planning those lessons.


    - Something else: anytime I type a test, I include "row__" in the heading. Save a copy of each heading on Word and use it each time you type a test.

    It makes them a lot easier to hand back, especially in those early weeks when I'm still learning who's who. All the row 1 papers go on the first desk in that row, and so on.

    - Start now to find resources you'll be able to rely on.. One I like is:
    http://regentsprep.org/

    - Think about your classroom rules and regulations. I tend to have very few-- I think high school kids pretty much know what to do and how to do it. But give it some thought. Give serious thought to your policies and run them by someone at school before giving them to the kids. Think about how you'll handle make up tests, extra help, kids who are absent, and the other day to day stuff.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    You should turn this into one of your freelance articles, Alice.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Not a bad idea at all, Cat. Maybe tonight after the kids are in bed.
     
  5. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    This is wonderful! I'm going to share with teachers at my high school, adding some things that are specific to my school, if you don't mind. I'll make sure to give credit where it's due!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Add them in Miss Celia-- people can take them or leave them.

    But I think that up to now, there's been so much emphasis on FINDING the job, and not so much on what to do once you've washed the champagne glasses.

    And why doesn't someone with elementary experience start a companion thead??
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, also: I keep a cardigan in my room-- either black or white (I have one of each.) It's remarkably handy every once in a while when I'm either coming down sick or when the weather suddenly turns colder than I expected. I also keep a spare pair of pantyhose in my classroom, with a brush, Tylenol and some feminine hygeine stuff. You know, of course, that you can NOT give that Tylenol to the kids under any circumstances.

    - I like to put up a "Happy Birthday" list on my homeroom bulletin board. I ask the kids on the first day (or, now that we have Power Teacher, just pull up the list.) Each month I put up a list of that month's birthdays. I do a "summer babies" one in June for the July/August kids.

    - Put every moment you can into learning your material. You'll want to know a LOT more about whatever you're teaching than you'll ever expect to teach. You want to be able to add in extra tidbits, and to answer the "What if..." type of questions. If you're teaching Algebra, know geometry and trig. If you're teaching Romeo and Juliet, know MacBeth too. Don't ever be one of those teachers who is one day ahead of the kids.

    - Spend time this summer making appointments with the Dentist, the gynecologist, and every other doctor you expect to have to see. You don't want to have to squeeze them in during the school year, trust me.

    - Hit the summer sales at Target, Staples, and Walmart. You'll want those basic office supplies-- pens, pencils, loose leaf, post-its, binders and so on. Get a plastic bin and just find a closet or someplace at home to store all your extras. Don't be afraid to over-buy; this stuff lasts.

    - I always put a small pail (Target's dollar spot) full of spare pens and pencils on my desk for any kid who needs one. Each day, as I close up the windows in my homeroom, I pick up any I find on the floor and add them to the pail. It saves me the whole "unprepared" issue.
     
  8. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I absolutely NEED to get my binder done for a new class I'm teaching this fall! It is driving me crazy. I have plenty of time, but I do not like having things undone.
     
  9. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    To add to the list of things I have in my closet in my room: I keep a Tide To Go pen, Band-aids, mouthwash, etc. In fact, I have a mini first aid fit and a mini sewing kit. It's come in handy so many times. I also keep a granola bar or two, some small chocolate pieces, peppermints (I buy in bulk and give them to kids when they are sleepy or feel poorly) and a non-perishable lunch item (tuna lunch kits or something) for when I'm working late.

    Make sure you know you school's policies about hall passes, tardies, etc. Have a plan in mind for how to deal with these issues. Ask your neighbors in the hall what they do. Know your school's discipline policy. Know the official version and how it "really" works. They may be slightly different.

    Learn the names of the maintenance crew members and secretaries. They can help you with so many things your first years.
     
  10. math1abee

    math1abee Companion

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    Jul 8, 2011

    This is an awesome post! Thanks guys!
     
  11. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jul 8, 2011

    I keep two school T-shirts in my closet. One morning I spilled coffee right down my shirt. Ick. But also: I can give a T-shirt to a student who violates the honor code or I can don a school T-shirt for a post-school sports activity.

    Feminine hygiene. You just never know when you or a female student will need something.

    Plasticware. My students are constantly bringing in cake, cupcakes, cookies, etc. They also eat lunch in here. I keep a multi-pack of forks/knives/spoons in a drawer and they know they can get it anytime. There is also a big pack of IKEA napkins in there. I bought a dustpan and bench brush kit to help clean up, plus a spray bottle of Windex.

    A mirror. You will want a small mirror of some kind. After lunch - spinach in your teeth? Want to apply lipstick (I do this so students can read my lips. For me, reading lips helps to bridge my slight hearing gap.)? Need a mirror.
     
  12. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I also keep a small tube of sunscreen for those unexpected outdoor events (sometimes I even take students out for a science lab). Lipstick for after lunch and some granola bars for a quick snack are also good. We have an awesome school nurse who supplies us with band aids and takes care of our girls' needs.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    - If you're still living home, and haven't already done so, it's time to start talking to mom and dad about paying rent. Truts me,it's something adults do, and your parents will be so happy that YOU brought it up.

    - Also, as an adult professional, you're going to get a benefits package. Check to see whether your doctors are on your plan. If not, you'll either need to change doctors or pay out of pocket.

    -If your school has a student and/or faculty handbook, read every single word. These are the parameters that outline what you can do and can't do, and what the kids can't do and can't do. Whether or not you agree with any particular rule isn't the issue. You've got to know the rules in order to enforce (or question) them. But do yourself a favor: enforce them for the first year, THEN question them. The building has been runnng this long without you; try it their way before you insist that your way is better.

    -Alcohol based wipes are fabulous for removing writing from desks!

    -You're going to need some sort of a bookbag or briefcase. I used a leather briefcase for years and loved it. When my doctor wanted me to switch to something lighter than leather, I converted to a Vera Bradley Vera bag and love it. Shop from the sale patterns! http://www.verabradley.com/product/Vera/154766/defaultColor/Deco+Daisy/p/154766.uts?fromSearch=1
     
  14. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    My closet has metal ring stand bars and support rods, meter sticks, and clamps for the bars and rods. There is no room for my personal stuff. I keep feminine supplies and tylenol in my desk. First aid kit in my demonstration table (everyone knows where the band aids are, then).
     
  15. The Fonz

    The Fonz Math teacher (for now...)

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    can you post a copy of that chart you use for your binders? i'm teaching two new courses this school year (AP Calc and AP Stat) and I thought this summer would be a good time to re-do my binders and make a bit more organized.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Here's the start of my geometry, though it didn't lne up very nicely:

    GEOMETRY HONORS OVERVIEW 2010/ 2011
    LESSON # TOPIC HW MISC
    1 INTRO/ DEFINING TERMS P4 #1-18
    2 DEFS W/ SETS P 10#2-30 EVEN INC COMPLEMENT
    3 Venn Diagrams
    4 DEFS W/ LINES & SEGMENTS P21 #1-26
    5 DEFS W/ ANGLES
    MEASURING ANGLES P32#9-29
    6 PAIRS OF ANGLES P36 #6-26 EVEN
    7 PERPENDICULAR LINES P40#6-14
    8. DEFS W/ TRIANGLES P46#1-25
    9. INEQUALS IN A TRIANGLE & EXT ANG. P480# 2-20,
    P 180
    10. MEDIANS THM 50-53 P 211# 2-22 EVE
    11 ISO & EQUI P 137 #1-6
    12 CENTRIOD, CIRCUMCENETER, ORTHOCENTER P214 #1-6

    13 PYTHAG & CONV P 321 #1-20
    P322 #21-32,
    P 325 1-6
    14 30-60-90 P327 #1-16
    15 45-45-90 P331 #2-12
    16 REFLEX, SYMMETRIC, TRANSITIVE GRAPH PAPER SOON
    17 SIMPLE ANGLE THEOREMS P140#18-27
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    alice...this thread is chock full of great wisdom! Any new career starter would benefit from much of this advice!
     
  18. geek412

    geek412 Rookie

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    Thanks everyone!! Keep the tips rolling! I'm going to need them this year.



    First Aid Kit. I was dressing so many cuts, from my students and other teachers as well!

    Gather Tissue Paper, Paper Towels, and Anti-Germ Bottles. This kept me away from getting a cold!

    Separate Unit Plan Blinders. Label a small two inch binder and place all tests, worksheets, answer keys in there. Then when copies are needed, just need that one binder and not the entire plan for the year.

    Color Folders for each class. Get different colors for each class, and stick to it! Makes it easier to handle & transport paperwork. On the regular letter sized folder, staple on one side the official seating chart and on the other, a blank grading sheet with names in alphabetical order. This makes it much easier to put in grades.
     
  19. Boopers

    Boopers Rookie

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    Even though I'll be teaching 2nd grade, these are still really great tips and I've put a lot of items you guys suggest on my to-buy list. Thanks for putting this together Alice!
     
  20. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    If you have multiple preps, look at your big picture. While it might sound nice in August to have all preps testing on one day, it won't seem so nice in October when you have 140 tests to grade at once.

    Again, with multiple preps, check to make sure you don't have major assignments due at the same time ~ you don't want to be slammed grading 140 projects at the same time

    Find a system to take care of all the papers, not from students, that will be handed to you throughout the day. I think that is the one thing I really remember being overwhelmed by my first few years teaching~ the amount of paper not related to student assignments that pile up daily!! So come up with something; a To-Do file, some teachers have a file system with numbers 1 -31 representing the days in the month, but something to keep that daily pile of paper in check.
     
  21. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Highly recommend not piling things up on the same day! I had four of the same sections with about 30 students in each. I got tired of reading about Othello's downfall :lol: I came up with a paper where they each wrote a literary analysis of an independent novel so at least I wasn't reading about the same book! I have a lot of different preps in my job now so at least I won't be bored :p
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, and check your mailbox EVERY SINGLE TIME you go into the faculty room!!!
     
  23. RajRaturi

    RajRaturi Rookie

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    I like what you guys have. I would make one addition. Hand sanitizer, and antibacterial cleaners are huge!
     
  24. bball

    bball New Member

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    Re collecting papers, I have baskets for each period (labled with period number, not class) for students to turn stuff into. These are also great for "storing" papers till I get to them or if I take them home.

    I do a similar binder thing too--tho I have a binder for each unit. I keep hard copies of each assignment and examples of others worksheets, etc.
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Keep an eye on the calendar. Every single time there's something new on it (Pep rally, academic awards convocation, parent interviews...) ask someone at school what you can expect. How should you dress? (Will you be sitting on bleachers for that pep rally? Is it outside in the heat or the cold??) Do the kids tend to be more hyper on that day?

    People will be happy to give you the lowdown, they just need to remember that you've never done this particular thing before. For example, I alway try to remind anyone new to our school that graduation is FREEZING so they'll want to wear a blazer or sweater. It's no big secret, but I have to try hard to remember to bring it up.
     
  26. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    What a good idea! I'll be a "buddy teacher" this year, so I'll have to remember to give my new teacher friend a heads up about that kind of thing.
     
  27. MsDouglas

    MsDouglas Rookie

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    Thank you for all the wonderful help! As a new teacher, who hasn't even seen her classroom or met the staff, I feel better knowing what I can get prepared for. Hopefully, by the time I enter my classroom I'll just need to find a place for everything. Thanks again.
     
  28. missjessica

    missjessica Rookie

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    This thread has been helpful! But it's also stressing me out. I'm realizing my empty classroom needs A LOT of stuff in it!!!
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, don't let it stress you out.

    The most important thing your empty classroom needs is a dedicated, educated professional in charge. Everything else is secondary.

    And almost all the "stuff" mentioned in this thread (well, aside from the wardrobe and the $5 sheet at Walmart) could be picked up at the dollar store for about $20.
     
  30. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Speaking of my wardrobe, I've GOT to get started drycleaning my suits for the new school year!!!
     
  31. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Alice... how is the new common core standards effecting you? Have they done a lot of inservice on the changes in the way students will be questioned? Just wondering if that trickle is being felt by you all in NY yet.
     
  32. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    SC, I'm in an independant Catholic high school. Aside from mandated services, we get no state or federal funds; we're just about completely tuition funded. It hasn't effected me at all.

    Instead of giving NY's Regents exams, we give our own school final exams. We did (or maybe still do, I'm not sure) have to get approval from Albany to ensure that ours are at least as rigorous as Regents exams-- definitely not an issue.

    But we don't have to teach exactly what the state says to teach.
     
  33. math1abee

    math1abee Companion

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    As a new first year teacher here is a piece of advice. If something you thought would be so great doesn't work toss it aside, move on and find something that does. Do not kill yourself trying to implement it.

    Also, checklists rock to help you remember everything you need to do at the end of the day.
     
  34. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I literally bolted straight up in bed this morning with this thought on my mind! If I don't get them in today, I'm going to be in a bit of trouble next week. LOL.

    With getting my daughter ready for her first day, I sort of forgot about getting my own clothes ready... oy.
     
  35. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Is this all the Catholic schools are by you? The one I went to and the one I'm teaching at receive some funding from the state. At the high school I attended everyone except religion teachers got smartboards and those were funded by the state. The school I'm working at now, we get books and such from the public schools. We cannot get teacher editions through them, we can only get student copies. Something about because we're being paid by a religious organization they can't provide us with anything but they can provide the kids? Didn't quite understand it all ;)
     
  36. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Our kids receive textbooks and busses that's it.

    We receive funding for mandated services--things like ensuring vaccinations are up to date, taking attendance to ensure kids are actually attending school, that sort of thing.
     
  37. onestepcloser

    onestepcloser Companion

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    Aug 13, 2011

    Thank you so much!!! I'm going into my 3rd year but my last two years have been absolute hell so I feel like I'm starting over all over again. Thanks Alice.
     
  38. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    That's one of the fabulous things about this job, you can start all over again every fall.
     
  39. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 19, 2012

    bump as I play with the idea of writing an ebooklet on teaching
     
  40. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    This is a fascinating thread. I'll rebump it by saying that I think you need to build a system for keeping track of late work and for consistently applying whatever late penalties you have in place. I have a "Late Folder" in my room. Any late work goes in there. At the end of each day I go through it and find any late work turned in that day. I write the late penalty on the paper so that I remember to assess it when I grade the paper (I grade everything each weekend), and I cross the missing assignment off the "Missing Work" sheet which I keep in my attendance folder. The key to this or any other system, of course, is using it every time, without exception. If you don't, chaos ensues.
     
  41. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think we're over due for a bump.
     

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