Top 4 Things All New Teachers Should Know
Being a new teacher involves stressful days, sleepless nights, and weekends that are simply too short. While some of this is unavoidable, I believe there are several things new teachers can do to make those first few years more comfortable, and more impactful for students.
Education courses in school are supposed to prepare teachers for the classroom. We sit and listen to laws, classroom management, and learn about strategies to help reach those "unreachable" kids. I truly believe colleges mean well with these courses. However, the reality is that teaching prospective teachers how to use the copy machine would be more useful. I remember being told place unruly students in the corners of the classroom. Well, what happens when you have 5,6, or 7 unruly students? You only have 4 corners! :) Each teacher has to learn how to manage their own classroom. I hope this article helps you find ways to make that first year or two more comfortable, and more impactful for your students. Lets take a look at what several veteran teachers recommend for new teachers.
Experience: 5 years
Location: Vallejo, California
Shawn recommends to start small, meaning you don't have to master everything immediately. Establish basic foundations for all areas of your classroom, and then choose one area to focus on, refine, and innovate. He recommends, once you are happy with your progress you can focus on another area. He also recommends that teachers embrace technology, new teaching philosophies, and classroom design. Furthermore, he recommends that new teachers expand their personal learning network beyond their team of teachers. Take advantage of Twitter, Facebook, and Ed Camps. Both Shawn and his wife are teachers, and they recognize that this expanded personal learning network has provided continued passion for teaching each and every year.
Experience: 11 years
Heather has great advice for new teachers. She says, "Everything won't always go according to the lesson plan, and that's ok." This statement, while simple, is so true. I have often created what I thought was a great lesson, simply to find that it was a flop with the kids. As Heather says, this is okay. It is a great opportunity for teachers. We, just like the kids, learn from our mistakes.
Location: Woodstock, Ga
Joe takes a very different approach than you are going to hear anywhere else, and if you knew Joe you would understand why. Joe is like no other teacher I have ever met. To keep it simple...he is amazing. Joe says, "If you have an opportunity to take an improv class…do it! The skills you learn from improv will help you deepen your listening skills, strengthen your spontaneity, and encourage adaptability. As a result, you will feel more confident and more prepared to face the many challenges teachers face each day!” Joe is extremely passionate about improv, and believes that improv can dramatically help teachers be more effective in the classroom. If you live in North Georgia, check out Joe at the Elm Street Theater in Woodstock.
Experience: 8 years
Location: Woodstock, Ga
Through the years, I have heard so many suggestions given to teachers. I've heard, "Don't be sarcastic." Well, my personality doesn't allow that to happen. I've heard others say, "Don't smile until October." Again, in my class this isn't going to happen. I tried the "don't smile" approach during student teaching. However, it didn't work out so well. On day one, my lead teacher told his classes a long story/joke that had me doubled over with tears rolling down my eyes. I left thinking, "Well, that didn't work."
So, how do great teachers utilize effective classroom management? My answer is to simply BE YOURSELF. I know that seems simple, but it is so true. Kids recognize very quickly when a teacher is being fake, or not themselves. If you are a serious individual, be serious. If you are like me, and laid back, be laid back. This doesn't mean you don't enforce rules, and have classroom discipline. It simply means that being yourself will help you make better connections with students. Therefore, limiting the number of classroom issues you have. I have always believed that if I can get kids to walk through my door, and not hate my class, I have won half the battle. Step in front of you class, and be you. It is much easier than trying to be something you are not.
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Have a great day!