Things your Methods courses should have taught you

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Aliceacc, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 4, 2007

    Another thread got me thinking. (unusual, I know:rolleyes: )

    Those of us who have been at this a while, how about sharing those things we learned on the job?

    Getting rid of a bee: Turn off the lights and open all the windows. The bee will head for the light.

    The teacher stare: When a child is talking, stop what youre doing and stare right at him or her without smiling. Just.... wait... and... say... nothing. He or she will probably stop.

    The word "please" will soften almost any command and get the kids to do what you want. (As in, "would you please pick up those papers under your cafteria table before you leave." Said withOUT a question mark, the way you would picture Colin Powell saying it. They'll do it.)

    Always have bandaids in your room. You'll keep a lot of kids in for the occasional papercut instead of having them lose 10 minutes going to the nurse.
     
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  3. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Oh Alice,

    Thank you for this thread... I hope some new teachers out there will read it and hopefully realize that whatever they are going through is NORMAL

    Just some things off the top of my head

    A lesson plan will not fit into those small boxes in a lesson plan book( at least not as an elementary school teacher) So be prepared to make up your own template and do whatever works for you.

    Realize that you probably won't have as much freedom as you would like to teach in the way that you want... thanks to NCLB, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try... I think there is always room to veer off topic and explore... In fact, any good teacher should .....

    That being said, a lesson plan is not set in stone... and it may not go perfectly... your first few years are trial and error.

    Realize that administrators can make or break a good year for you. Just do your job and don't get caught up in it... If you know your stuff and are confident in your abilities you will be fine. Just make sure you keep good records to back you up.

    Not everyone will like you... it's ok... you have alot of friends already.. Just grin and bear it. Be professional.
     
  4. rchlkay

    rchlkay Companion

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    A friend and I just had this conversation. :) We're both in agreement that there should have been a course on how to run (or in my case, fix) the copy machine. I swear the thing has it out for me! I guess I'm just technologically challenged.
     
  5. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    That assembly programs occur at the most inconvenient times
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    And a fire drill WILL interrupt the first test of the year. Count on it.
     
  7. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    That a 6 hour day in elementary school will have a ton of interruptions, so you'd better be prepared before you get there...don't count on copying that worksheet at your prep because the copier will have a line a mile long and there will undoubtedly be something else you must get to on that prep........................... in between a bathroom break:p
     
  8. rchlkay

    rchlkay Companion

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    When you call the repair people in to listen to the heater in your classroom that has been making horrible noises and odd smells all week, it won't do anything wrong until after they have left thinking that you're making it all up.
     
  9. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again:angel: ...those methods classes will only help if you have the "perfect" class. The ADD, ADHD, crying, throwing tantrums, throwing up, bleeding, losing teeth, wanting their mommy, tired, behavioral issues (not listed above) kids who don't do their homework much less work in class were never talked about in the methods classes. It was always assumed that we would have the kids who had perfect attendance, always did their work, may have needed extra help but would eventually "get it", never talked back, always listens to directions, and has wonderful parental support at home. Then...reality hits when we step foot into the classroom that we have used our own money to decorate.



    Always listen to the kids who say they are going to be sick...they usually mean it. :D


    Be nice to the janitor...it will save you a lot of time and frustration.


    Be nice to the secretary...it will also save you a lot of time and frustration plus you might get extra little perks that others don't.:D


    Don't send students to the bathroom together, especially boys.
     
  10. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    That even three and four year olds know how to string obsenities together better than I could some days. That many of them are already well versed in "giving the finger," know more about gang symbols and gang clothing than I do etc.... Don't act shocked whan this happens. It will only get worse.

    Also to be prepared to deal with body substances from all orfices at all times.
     
  11. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    If you want something fixed, but the school isn't so good about it, you can usually speed things along by connecting the repair to student health.

    Example: The air conditioner in my trailer/classroom was broken. It was well over 90 outside.

    Repair Request (ineffective): Please repair air conditioner--it is 90 degrees in my classroom!

    Repair Request (effective): Please repair air conditioner--it is 90 degrees in my classroom and student has heat-induced seizure disorder.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Be careful about entering a new school as a new teacher and assuming that you know it all. Trust us: all that stuff you learned in student teaching is really only the tip of the iceberg. It's a whole new ballgame when it's YOUR class. So even if your credentials are impeccable and you're sure you know a better way, tell your significant other or your mom or your dog. But hold your tongue for a while before you tell others how to do what they've been doing sucessfully for a while.

    (And, yes, that was directed primarily to a former co-worker. He didn't last long at all. Apparently he didn't know it all after all.)
     
  13. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    LMBO! I'm an aide, and not a teacher yet. I will have my methods courses soon. I tell people one of the reason I spend so much time volunteering my time after school etc when I don't get paid is I see this as a prime opportunity to learn things I wouldn't get in a college class. It is SO true!

    I ditto the following...

    Boys this year can't be sent to the bathroom together. What is it about water? (Humorous Story, they dragged me in there to collect a bug out of the urinal for our class toad!) :eek:

    Classes are NOT ideal. Philosophies are great, but how do we deal with the real stuff? Come on the chat board and ask for help?

    Secretaries, Lunch Ladies, Aides, Counselors, Transportation Peeps, Janitors and Maintence People are our best friends. :love: During a Japan culture lesson, they learned that Japanese students clean their school (floors & windows too) every day. They didn't know that we had janitors. They thought teachers did that too!

    Prep times are not solve all times. How right you are!

    Fire Drills: Work for a residential school and have students out in 20 degree weather with shorts, no jacket, and no shoes on standing outside for 15 min waiting for a clearance.

    Lesson plans are not set in stone: I love it. Your group of kids this year will be different from any other group you've ever taught. Thinking on your feet is more valuable than any bought lesson plan.

    How about....

    Be weary of the gossip. Even if you have a good team, you can be affected by gossip in other ends of the hall.

    Staff meetings are time killers. Some are necessary, but I doubt methods courses prepares you for how often these occur and how much of your prep time is killed.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    There are lessons here for all levels of teaching, yes, indeed.

    A metal pen cap makes a fine whistle, and it beats the heck out of yelling.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Routines are wonderful. They keep the class going when you're sick or tired or stressed out. The kids do what they should because that's how it's done. It doesn't matter what the particular routine is, but be sure to establish some that, as a minimum, start and end your class.

    Come up with a day or two's worth of generic lesson plans. (Harder for elementary ed, I'll grant you!) On those rare days when a stomach bug hits you in the middle of the night, you really don't want to have to come up with something for the kids to do. A worksheet, already xeroxed and in your cabinet, will buy you some time so you can figure out what they'll do tomorrow.

    Keep a generic black or navy sweater in your classroom. You WILL need it on some cold day!
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Never hold back on giving justified praise.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Speaking of praise: Kids of all ages LOVE stickers. (Yes, I put a lot onto the Precalculus test I gave on Friday.) My kids have to earn a 90 to get one.

    Chalk washes right out of most fabrics with a little water.

    Math teachers in particular: if you use a chalkboard, get used to that white chalk line that runs across your butt. It comes from leaning on the board as you watch the kids work out a problem. It's part of the job description.

    Dress for comfort, but with an eye towards professionalism. Your college "happy hour" clothes are, in all probability, not the best choice for a classroom-- particularly if you're dealing with adolescents.

    Comfortable shoes are your best friend.

    A blazer or jacket gives you extra authority.

    It's OK to admit that you don't know an answer. BUT be SURE to come back with the answer the next day, even if the kids don't ask. They do remember; they want to know whether you do.

    No one has ever successfully used the line "It wasn't a mistake. I was just checking to be sure you were paying attention."
     
  18. jenglish97

    jenglish97 Devotee

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    Some other things:

    1. Learn how to use and fix the copier. (Actually, we had a training on using our new copier. 1 hr. workshop)

    2. Don't get involved in gossip in the teacher's room. It can become very negative when discussing certain children or school things. **Talk about everyday things instead of school.

    3. Expect to spend your money in buying materials and books for your classroom. My classroom budget this year was only $150. Prices go up and budget money goes down.

    4. Your best friends are the secretaries, janitors, and lunch aides. Be nice to them and compliment them. They love to hear that they are doing their job.

    5. Share with your colleagues, even if it is a very small idea or concept. We learn something new all the time.

    6. Don't worry about everything everything neat and organized your first year. Year and year, you will get better with organizing your files and work.

    Filing - I file my activities and worksheets my month. For example: For February, I have a Feb folder and then put sub folders in their for (Groundhog's Day, Valentine's Day, Presidents Day, Chinese New Year, 100th Day, etc)

    7. Laminate everything so it lasts a lot longer.

    8. Label everything that is yours. I make labels on the computer and put them on everything that I purchased with my own money.

    9. Have multiple tape dispensers, staplers, paper clips all around the room.

    10. Classroom library - I always tell the parents that I am always looking for donations of books. I tell them that if there are any books that they do not want at home anymore, I am willing to put them in the classroom library. I make a certificate of donation for the child who brought in the books. Of course, I look at it to make sure it is appropriate.

    Just a few of my things I learned over the years.
     
  19. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Clothes get ruined. Don't spend a lot. Especially for Elementary age.

    Positive Reinforcement is a good philosophy. Also,bribes done right, work wonders. "We need to finish this spelling test with the max cooperation so that we can have time to count your power bucks for the store." "You all did so well on your spelling test that if you continue with your best behavior and your hardest work, I will let you chew gum during your math test." (Our school allows this). This was on a day I subbed by myself. My kids were angels all day.

    It's okay though to let kids know that YOU, not them, are the boss. Sorry if that goes against any ideal philosophies, but it's true.
     
  20. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Always have sharpies to mark your stuff, so you know what's yours and what was bought with school money.

    If you have communal supplies, keep a stash of "teacher only" markers, crayons, etc. My preschool buys all the supplies in bulk, but we have a set of markers and such that are ONLY for teacher use. Sure is nice when you need to grab one and one, after another, after another from the kids bin doesn't work.

    It is OK to throw stuff away. Even if someone else gave it to you.

    Being silly is OK, too. Kids need to know that you're human, and they LOVE to laugh... especially if everything's oging wrong.

    Keep your own stash of paper... you'll need construction paper, colored copy paper, etc., and the work room will inevitably be out of what you need.... so plan ahead. Having all the colors is good. :)

    NEVER leave stuff until the moring of that HAS to be done that day. Inevitably, there WILL be something that comes up and you WON'T have it ready. And no, it doesn't matter if you're at school 3 hours before the bell. It still may not happen.

    It's OK if everything isn't perfect. The kids probably won't notice anyway. ;)
     
  21. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Offering the kids a hard candy to 'help them concentrate' while working silently works wonders.

    Always reserve the right to pick your own read-alouds. (I dislike reading fantasy and they always ask for it.)

    If a child can't stop yawning, have her/him do 5 jumping jacks to wake up.

    Instead of saying, "Why can't you ....", say "I'm looking forward to the time when you show me you can ....."

    Anything kids can do together, they won't consider work. However, only allow group or pairs work if they behave appropriately.

    Don't be a martyr. Give a silent assignment when you need the time to take a breather and get your sanity back.

    Keep some protein handy at all times if you have fluctuating blood levels. Nuts work well.

    Your first routines of the day are the most important (self-contained).

    Remember that every student is the most important child in the world to someone.
     
  22. Christine3

    Christine3 Cohort

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    a simple "thank you" does wonders
     
  23. 4monthcountdown

    4monthcountdown Comrade

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    Be professional:

    Dress professionally, for your own good. How can you expect people to take you seriously when you're wearing tight jeans, nose rings, flip-flops, and t-shirts or tank tops, and your tatoos, midrif, and lower back are showing? Being a young teacher, or a teacher that is young at heart does not give a professional permission to look like a teenager.

    Use proper etiquette and do not discuss politics at work. It makes others feel ill at ease when they disagree with your view but they know better than to offer their opinions in a mixed group. Hint: Reading the newspaper during lunch invites political arguments.

    Talk on your cell phone in private at work. I don't enjoy being forced to hear the conversations of others during my lunch time.
     
  24. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    They should have taught us that a school is a lot like high school in that there will always be cliques.

    So be friendly, be approachaple, but don't change who you are or what you beleive in. Even if that means you have a few less friends.
     
  25. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    This thread is awesome, thanks for starting it! I'm getting a lot out of it. One thing I love about CalStateTEACH is that I get to be in a real school from day one. I've learned more in the staff lunch room than in any of my assignments! Also, it's like one loooooooooooong interview, so I hope to get noticed when other teachers retire.
     
  26. tchecse

    tchecse Companion

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    Kids will always make sure that they cause a little trouble during your first observation with the principal:)

    Painting hands and feet on the first day of school for portfolios will ensure another 6 months of teaching kids not to paint themselves before, during, or after they finish their artwork on paper!
     
  27. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Not if you pick the date and time of the fire drill. (sorry the brat in me is slipping out).
     
  28. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    This is to funny.
     
  29. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    If a student misbehaves and you tell them a consquence make sure you follow through. If you don't they will lose all respect for you. That is one of the things I observed with a couple of teachers.

    If you don't know what you want for a consequence, tell them you are going to think about it, and will let them know after class what it is (this works really well with the older kids).
     
  30. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

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    Remember there will be bad days. The lesson plan may not work out as planned, a student will be in a bad mood, the principal will get onto you for being late, or the students will be rowdy. They do not mean you are a failure as a teacher - they are just bad days and bad days happen to everyone. That is why they created bubble baths and Tylenol.
     
  31. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    And wine and chocolate and A to Z.
     
  32. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Lighting something on fire will catch the attention of any kid at any age.
     
  33. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

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    Oh, I forgot. When students say, "Ms. so and so didn't teach science like this.", or, "last year we only had to write one set of vocabulary.", etc. Remember, there is more than one way to teach. If you are not doing exactly like someone else, it does not mean that you are wrong, only different.

    On the flip side of this....find a teacher you admire in the school and talk to her/him. Ask questions about management, organization, most teachers are so busy we don't notice when a new teacher may be struggling so don't be afraid to ask.

    Never throw anything away....the minute you do you will need it the next day!

    Always have tissues in your room, even if you have to buy them yourself - trust me on this.

    Your biggest discipline problem child never, ever, ever, misses school - trust me on this also.

    Be flexible, even if you are not naturally, school days never go as planned - early buses, late buses, special classes canceled, assembly programs- this is part of teaching.
     
  34. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

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    Feb 14, 2007

    Very true.
     
  35. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    Feb 14, 2007

     

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