Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tap Dancing, Kindred Spirits, and Other Good Advice for Teachers

I have been in the classroom every day this a student.  I am working toward earning a K-12 Reading Endorsement and the class I am currently taking is all about assessment.  Norm referenced...criterion referenced....standardized.....formal....informal....portfolio based...curriculum based.....diagnostic, etc.... You name it and our instructor, Terry, is covering it successfully.

Before the class began I anticipated gaining new knowledge as well as making lots of connections that link new information with my past experiences in the classroom.  This has happened...and then some.

My fellow classmates represent a wide range of educators.  Elementary, middle and high school.  Primary, intermediate and secondary.  General education and ESE.  Some have been educators for over 20 years and others are just beginning or returning to their careers.  I love the diverse backgrounds and perspectives that a heterogenous mix like this brings to learning!

This morning Terry asked us to write down one tidbit of advice for a beginning teacher.  After gathering them, she shared them with us.  As soon as I heard two or three, I immediately knew that I wanted to include them in my blog and asked Terry if I could.  She generously agreed and even added one of her own.

"Be organized.  
(Dancing skills are also good to have)."

"If you stay organized, you will stay more ahead of things. 
Organization keeps you sane."

Classroom Management
"Develop routines early and stick with them.
Practice them with students and make sure they understand them.
Start slowly if you need to, but make sure students understand the routines
....and follow them."

"Make sure you establish your rules Day 1 and be consistent."

"Give classroom jobs to students who exhibit
challenging behaviors or have low achievement levels.
It will make them feel important and reduce problems."

"Be consistent.  Students crave structure. 
Don't be wishy-washy.  Make a decision...and stick to it."

"Don't be afraid to call parents/send notes, etc... Most parents appreciate it." 

"Talk to your administrator when you have concerns
about a student (academically and/or socially, etc...)"

"Teach the class as a whole, but meet the needs of individual students."

"Seek out kindred spirits who will support, listen, share, and collaborate.
These relationships are essential for your emotional growth as a teacher."

"Remember that you became a teacher because you love the kids.
You are not their friend, but you love them."

"Before one can even begin to teach,
your students must believe that you care about them as individuals. 
You must like them and treat them respectfully.
(Or at least make them think that you like them)."

General Survival as a Teacher
"You can't fly by the seat of your pants. 
But you can tap dance if you know all they steps."

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