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Tips for First Year Teachers

Compiled By: mshunny

You on your way to a great career. Here are some tips to help during your first year.

Ways to Conduct Yourself as a Teacher
Posted by: mshunny

1. Establish an air of formality in class.
2. Be the adult in the classroom.
3. Watch your mouth.
4. Drink moderately. (Especially out in public)
5. NO DRUGS!!!
6. Understand what the word "inappropriate" means.
7. Keep kids out of your car and house.
8. Don't "burn" leave.
9. Keep your own records and phone logs -- away from school property.
10. Imagine how it would play on the 6 o'clock new or the newspaper before you do it.
11. When it comes to your conduct, perceptionis reality.
12. If you don't know, ASK!

a few tips I have found helpful
Posted by: Gloria

1. I do have students put their # of their papers. It helps me to figure out who forgot their name and # when I have no name papers. If they forget their name and # I subtract 10 points for my effort.

2. I give out behavior bucks for my treasure chest. Once a month, they get to go into the S**** Shoppe and shop for what they want. I use a 3 strikes and your out system.

strike 1 is a warning (green)
srtike 2 is a cansequence (yellow) lose your behavior buck for the day
strike 3 and your our. (red) you owe me today's behavior buck and 1 more and you also get a behavior slip sent home.

3. I use a large poster paper and put library type envelopes with each students # on them. I use a card system for where they are going since they go in and out so much for the day.

a few examples of cards girls restroom/boys restroom/girl drink/ boy drink/ band/ title/resource/ counselor/office/errand, etc. Each child put the card in the slot where they are going so that I can keep trak of them all.

4. I use a piece of cardboard for my seating chart. I put each child's name on a post it note. I can easily change seats without much effort. I place the chart in a transparent sleeve for protection. I also copy this so I know where Johnny sat last month.

5. I teach 5 grade. I have my class then I teach another teachers class spelling and the other 5th grade class English so I see 3 sets of students each day. To make it easier for me.

My class 5S is written in black
5H is written in green
5W is written in red

I use corresponding folder colors to keep the classes separate as well. I also only use one seating chart. On each post it I have all three classes listed on one post it. So all # 4 students sit in the sat desk each month.

6. I use the signal I say crystal they say clear. They know when I say crystal they need to stop what they are doing and listen. This works if I have 19 at a time or all 58 together.

These are just a few of my tips

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Posted by: bamateach

Here are a few things I do:
1. Sharpening Pencils - I personally cannot stand to hear the pencil sharpener. I post a sign above the pencil sharpener that says: STOP! You may only sharpen pencils from 7:30 (that's when the bell rings) until the pledge. On Monday I give each student 2 new sharpened pencils. I explain from the beginning that they are responsible for keeping up with them and for sharpening them at the appropriate time. If they get lost they will need to borrow one from a friend and be responsible enough to return it to the person when they are done with it.

2. I do bonus bucks to reinforce good behavior. They visit the Bonus Buck store 1 time per month. Prizes are mostly freebies. The most popular prizes were shoes off all day and read to the class. At the end of the year I offered bonus bucks for returning items to school. Very effective in getting my books back.

3. I post 3 rules during center/small group time. They read them prior to beginning the center rotation. They are 1. Do not roam around the room. 2. No talking unless it is with your group and work oriented. 3. DO NOT INTERRUPT TEACHER.

4. Most important for anything that you implement is for you to stick to it. I do not waver on things like the interrupting me during small group or sharpening pencil thing unless they are bleeding or barfing or dying! :) Be Consistent.

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Posted by: Sue W.

Here are a few hints from a background of 30 years as a teacher.
1. Don't let the Vent board scare you! Have you ever talked with a happily married person or parent who just has to complain confidentially about a normally great spouse or child? This is our spot. A lot that you see here is from people who try to take one day at a time and have had several days hit them at once. No matter what job a person has, there are frustrations. Many take care of themselves or are manageable.
2. When you are working with kids, don't let yourself take misbehavior personally, it seldom is, and even when it might be, keeping your cool is the teacher's "First Rule In A Crisis Situation". If you teach good behavior, as if they never heard it before, rather than getting upset, it can work wonders.
3. Assume parents mean well, you are dealing with their greatest treasure! They may be uninformed or even a little nuts, but try to see how they are looking at things, keep your cool.
4. Assume your administrators, teacher educators and supervising teachers mean well. Some have lost track of what it actually is like working with children. Others are overworked and under pressure from the "higher ups" and pass it on. Most are better off if you succeed and will try to help.
5. Choose wisely when you look for a job, some situations are begging for trouble. Ask questions as well as answer them in an interview. If you don't like the way things are run it may only be worse if you are stuck there.
6.When you find a job, get to know your co-workers, both experienced capable teachers and other excited new teachers can offer worlds of wonderful ideas and support. Discover who the dissatisfied people are and avoid them, though even there you can learn by example of what not to be or do.
7. Expect that you will have work outside the school day, but try to keep it in check. You need time for yourself, your family, and the people you care about. Eat well, get some exercise.
8. Be prepared for each day, with a little extra to spare. Sometimes a teachable moment may lead you in another direction and change your plan but knowing you aren't going to HAVE to wing it prevents a lot of stress.
9. Continue to be a learner yourself. Read professional magazines, take a class or a workshop regarding education, or classes on basketweaving or social dance or something else not school related to keep your mind functioning and remembering what it is like being a student.

Best wishes!

during your first year
Posted by: Cathy-Dee

First of all congratulations on moving into your first year of teaching.

Here are some tips I've used and also shared with others.

1. Sleep - it is easy even after a few years of teaching to not get enough sleep and that affects everything in your classroom.

2. Start off organized - try to have plans in place for the first few months of school, figure out how you will record marks, attendance, etc., Where will you store your student's works, what about notes for home, etc.
- I have a table set up in my room with a lot of little shelves and all the student's work is kept on that table. It is easy for me to grab a group of booklets to mark this way. One "shelf/tray" is for work to be put when student's are absent - so if a parent calls wanting homework I can quickly grab their books from that tray.
- I also make up a graph/chart with all my student's name on it. I use this chart for everything - checking off names when students bring back permission slips, recording marks, having a easy sheet to take out during fire drills, etc.,

- Remember you do not have to mark everything - sometimes we feel we need to mark every piece of work a student does. We simply do not have enough time to do this. Mark what needs to be marked for report cards and to keep your students informed on their progress. I usually mark most workbooks daily, journals weekly,and most writing howeverthose extra activities like practice pages, first lessons, etc.,I do not mark

- Find a mentor on your staff or even two - ask them questions about anything and everything. But also remember to be careful what you say and how much you say until you know how much you can trust your colleagues. It would be nice to say that you can say anything to your colleagues, but in real life we know that sometimes what we say will be told to others so things that should stay private you need to keep to yourself.

- Have fun!!!! Enjoy your students, enjoy those moments when things work out well, take time to do fun things or unique activities with your class, enjoy reading children's books, get down and do activities with your kids.

- Don't let mistakes get you down.

- Communicate - send home weekly newsletters, call parents when their children are struggling, let your administrator know when there are problems.

- record - keep records of things, you never know when you might need them.

- Don't Compare - don't compare yourself to other teacher's in your school. We all have our own style and some teachers have more time, some are more creative in some areas, some just have more experience. You will do some things very well, you will find you will need to do some things better and you will learn about new things you can try in future years.

Good luck!

Posted by: SusanTeach

I find it best to have binders for most items, as well as a planner and lesson plan book.

I write out my lesson plans in my lesson plan book, but I also have them typed out in detail with any worksheets attached, and those go in a binder. I have one binder per quarter.

The class roster and schedule is in the front of my grade book. I also have a poster with my schedule on it - to prevent my students from asking what time something occurs (they'll drive you crazy with that otherwise!).

I have a folder with my state benchmarks, so I can easily look up something.

I have a binder with my "year-at-a-glance" that I just worked on this summer. I have pages in it with other ideas (decorating, read alouds, etc...) so I have all of them in one place.

It sounds like a lot, but I have to be able to get my hands on things easily - I hate to dig for something - I'll forget what I'm looking for if I do that! LOL

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Managing Your Time
Posted by: Kristie

It is CRUCIAL that you set a plan for time management and then stick to it!! Don't let school overrule your life, even when you're student teaching, which is the most stressful time. I am a 3rd year teacher, so I can relate to your stress level! Here are some tips that may help:

1. Set a time to LEAVE school, and stick to it!! Unless I have a meeting, I ALWAYS leave by 5:00 and don't take any work home during the week. The evening is my time to be a wife and a mother, 2 things that are more important to me than my "teacher" role.

2. Tackle the most pressing things FIRST. When my students leave I first get things ready for the next day (materials laid out, copies made, homework and date written on the board, etc.) If I walk into my room in the morning and things are not ready, this just makes me more stressed. After things are ready for the following day I spend the rest of my time doing other things like grading papers, putting up displays, planning.

3. Use parent volunteers! Parents are eager to help....just ask them! They may not be able to come in, but many will do things at home like put packets together, grade papers, cut things out, etc. This is a big time saver. I have a parent that comes in weekly and files, grades papers, and puts up displays for me. I have 2 more that do things at home.

4. If possible, plan with a team member. This cuts your planning time down A LOT and helps you come up with good ideas.

5. "Steal" ideas from others! I don't have the time or the interest in coming up with "origional" lessons like I thought I was supposed to as a student teacher. Use things others have done before....just ask, most teachers are more than willing to share their ideas. Also check out publications like Mailbox or the internet for ideas, they have some great, creative lesson ideas.

6. DOn't try to be perfect, no one is. Do your best, but don't kill yourself in the process. No matter how hard you try or work, you could always be better, we can ALL be better. Just keep working and keep learning as you go, it wil come to you. HAVE FUN!


Some Advice For New Teachers
Posted by: mshunny

General Advice to Protect Oneself:

1. Do not transport students to and from school.
2. Do not allow yourself to be placed in any compromising situation.
3. Use extreme caution when touching any student. There are very few times when touching of a student could be considered a safe action.
4. Do not discuss subjects of an intimate nature with students.
5. Do not invite nor allow a student to visit your place of residence.
6. Report suspected student crushes toward your counselor or fellow teacher near you.
7.Do not discuss your personal life with students.

first look at your new room!
Posted by: johnsju

Congrats on your new job! I was in your shoes a year ago, and I remember how excited I was to first see my classroom. Before you go, try to get a general idea in your head of how you want things to look. Then when you get there...

-I agree with the PP about measuring windows for curtains. Also measure walls in case you want to bring in bookcases, and bulletin boards for fabric/paper.

-Check to see how much cabinet/drawer/closet space you have. If you have a lot, good for you! If not, plan on bringing in some sort of storage containers or shelves.

-I also agree about teacher's manuals. Also make sure you've got your textbooks...if they're not there, ask where they can be found.

-Look to see if there's somewhere for backpacks/coats to be hung. If there's not, ask the principal what other teachers have students do with all their STUFF!

-Bring a notebook and sketch a layout if you have time. Ask your principal about how many students will be in your class. Plan out where you want your classroom library, etc. The end result will probably look different than your first sketch, but it won't hurt to get some ideas down.

-It can't hurt to ask the principal if there is any extra furniture (bookcases, shelves, etc.) laying around. I had NOTHING last year, and my principal let me have a few shelves that were just sitting in the janitors' closet.

-Bring a camera and take a few pictures. Even if you don't end up needing them to plan, it's fun to later look back at pictures of your empty room and see what you've accomplished!

Sorry for the novel! These are just a few things I can remember that I did last year...have fun tomorrow :D

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Posted by: ccteacher

You may want to bring a measuring tape with you.
*measure windows if you want to make some cute curtains (you don't need to sew if you just use the iron-on seaming and mount with a tension rod)
*measure bulletin boards so that you can start shopping for borders and bulletin board sets

Also look at the storage that the room offers. You'll want to be planning for anything that you'll need to purchase so that you can keep an eye on summer sales.

Be sure to find out when the school re-opens and when it'll be clear for you to get in and start working. Some schools have pretty strict guidelines about this.

Pay attention to where the outlets and technology plug-ins are so that you can be thinking about your room arrangement. Often, things like computer placement or TV placement can't be changed. You'll want to plan around that.

Take note of how many desks, tables and other furniture there are in the room. That'll be something you'll need to know in order to plan your room.

I would also see if you can find out approximately how many students you can expect to have.

:s) Have soooo much fun! I'll never forget how I felt walking into my first classroom. Soak up that feeling!!

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