Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Week: Advice for New Teachers

Today's Topic: Advice for new teachers!

1. Find a way to connect with and build positive relationships with every student. Whether it's a short chat as they come in or you remember to wish them luck at a swimming comp on the weekend, try to have a chat with each one of your kiddos. You'll find they have amazing insights and can be so funny!

2. Be a teacher, not a friend. Yes, we do want the kids to like and respect us, but gain that respect through having clear expectations and consequences (positive and negative) applied fairly to all students and not by being too chummy with them. If you let them get away with the little stuff at the beginning of the year, then you'll find it hard to stop those little behaviours developing into bigger ones. Don't let them walk all over you.

3. Have a behaviour management strategy. Do whatever you feel comfortable with, but do something! You need to know what you are going to do when certain behaviours (small and big) happen. Many people are using those clip charts at the moment. Personally, I haven't used anything like that since I had one boy who refused to do anything unless he was given a 'prize'. He expected the same from his parents!  But I do have clear expectations, clear consequences and use lots of specific praise for students who demonstrate appropriate behaviours.

3. Plan with a buddy - you'll come up with heaps of amazing ideas you wouldn't have thought of alone, and save you both time in the process.

5. Use the web - particularly blogs! I've never been so inspired to try so many new ideas as I have since I found teaching blogs! They rock! Websites are also good for lesson ideas.

7. Explicitly teach routines and procedures you expect until kids can do so independently. 

Above all, have fun, laugh at the silly things and don't worry if everything doesn't look cute!