Tips for "Specials" teacher

Discussion in 'General Education' started by kalper07, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. kalper07

    kalper07 Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2012

    Greetings! This fall I am going to be teaching grade 1-4 Spanish. I've taught for the last five years, but always as a classroom teacher. Can you share tips/thoughts on seeing SO MANY students per week? With less time to build relationships and community, how do you stay connected and build rapport?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. teachart

    teachart Comrade

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    Jul 9, 2012

    Congratulations on the new job!

    My advice :

    Get to know students names asap, bring a digital camera with you if that will help or get the year book from the previous year. Use their names constantly in a positive way!

    Come up with a planning/documentation system that works for you. Right now I use a simple notebook and each page is sectioned into the classes I will see on that day. I write a simple line about what I expect each class to accomplish, and then add in how far we got. I also write in behavior notes. At the end of the day, I write the next sheet for when I see those classes again. Every weekend I scan the notebook sheets into my computer. This system works for me, but another system might work for you.

    As for building rapport - I have made the mistake in the class to try to get to know each student right away. But really I ended up not getting to know them at all. So I start slowly. Other students notice that I am being sincere in talking with other students and learn to trust me.

    Get to know the families at the school, and start with the ones who have multiple children at the school. This is a huge one! Eventually my goal is to send home positive postcards to each student, but that would mean sending 3 or 4 every school day. E-mailing, blogging, are also effective.

    The biggest thing that has helped me (which was advice I sought out from a Professor who used to teach K-5 art) is to volunteer for bus duty, or at least try to be at the front doors to welcome students to school every morning. When I started doing this, I felt like a "real" teacher. That is to say, instead of being isolated in the art room at the back of the school, I felt connected with teachers, students, and parents. In the long term, you will get to know the students and see them year after year, so daily bus duty is not a great idea! But at the beginning, it makes a difference.

    Again, these are just my experiences, but I hope they help!
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jul 9, 2012

    The first year will be hard with getting to know the students, but if you stick with it, you'll know most of the students next year.

    Will you teach them for one day a week or for one grading period?
     
  5. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jul 9, 2012

    Attend meetings.

    Offer to sit in on parent teacher conferences with the classroom teacher.

    Go to lunch.

    Take the time to ask the students questions and get to know them.
     
  6. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jul 9, 2012

    Congrats on the new job!
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jul 9, 2012

    Congrats!

    don't worry about building a rapport with the kids right away. You won't have the same relationship with them that you had with your single class anyhow. Instead, remember that while you may only see them periodically, you will see them for YEARS. That is how the relationship will be built. You'll see them this year, next year and so on.

    Do your best to make sure that your clock matches all of the other clocks in the building. If you think you have five minutes until the next class arrives but they are waiting outside while the others are leaving, then you'll be taken aback.

    Also, for the teachers/assistants that like to drop off their class early so they can have a longer break, don't start something you aren't willing to continue. Make sure YOUR clock matches the principal's and stick to your guns about start and finish times. If a teacher brings the class early tell her that you aren't quite ready for the new grade yet and that you'll open the door when you are. And have her maintain her class out in the hallway. Otherwise, if the kids come in just because the room is empty they become your responsiblity and you don't have time to properly set up.

    Learn what each teacher's discipline policy is. Find out ahead of time and write it down! Then when the students start to misbehave you can say they need to pull a card or move to yellow, or whathaveyou and it will actually mean something to them. Some teachers give points/letters/rewards to the class each time another adult in the school brags about them. If you know about these things it will get you more leverage with the students, especially since you will have to take longer to get to know them.

    Make your own report card for the class to take back to the teacher. You can identify who needs to pull a card and why, what you covered, etc. If you teach the same lesson multiple times a week you can fill out the plans on one sheet and make copies of it.

    Your hardest crowd will probably be the oldest students. They'll see you as a babysitter to start, especially since you're new to the school. Make sure you talk to the teachers from these grades about seating charts ahead of time. They'll treat you more like a sub than an actual teacher until you lay down the law. By the time the first graders you see get to that age you will have already established your place and you won't have as much of an issue.
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jul 9, 2012

    Oh, adding...

    It is OK to have different procedures than the regular teachers. Make sure you establish how students are to come into the room since they'll be arriving en masse, and how they are to clean up and leave.

    It is also OK to make the teacher/assistant wait by the door if the students do not follow the proper procedure when leaving. Don't feel intimidated by having another adult inconvenienced and then face the fallout of the students never doing what is right.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 9, 2012

    Great advice, NC! :)
     
  10. harun55

    harun55 Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2012

    Classroom teachers have to manage the same students all day, but specials teachers see every child in the school over the course of a week.
     

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