Tips for New Teachers
If you were a fly on my classroom wall here are some ideas that you would see me sharing with some of the student teachers who have volunteered in my classroom:
1. Plan ahead … overplan.
2. Teach children a “Morning Routine” that works for you right from Day 1.
Be consistent in its application! Mine is as follows:
- Entre the room and hang up your belongings.
- Hand in your homework.
- Place a ruler, pencil, eraser & highlighter on your desk.
- Out to play.
3. If students are leaving the room for gym, music, recess, etc. have them prepare for the next class with you before leaving the room. For example, if Math is the next class that you have with them have them put their rulers, pencils, erasers, highlighters, geometry sets, notebooks, textbooks, etc. (whatever they may need) on their desks prior to exiting the room.
4. Post the class timetable, routines, rules where they can be easily seen. Students perform better in a structured, predictable, safe environment where daily routines and expectations are clear. That being said if and when plans change, be sure to alert them to this.
5. Be strict but fair. Be forgiving … but don’t be soft. be their teacher not their “friend”. (Note: As silly as it may sound, I repeat this phrases often, especially at the beginning of every term: “I am strict, but fair.” The power of suggestion is truly amazing!)
6. When I challenge my students, when I demand more of them, I always tell them that: “I never ask you to do something that I don’t think you can do.”
7. Always remember to give students “processing time”. (I dare say it: I don’t know a single soul who likes to be “put on the spot”.)
8. Teach “active listening”. Be specific! Teach “active reading”. Be specific!
9. Introduce, model and practice a reading comprehension strategy: Read the questions prior to reading the passage/story. Highlight key words, words that will appear in the response. In this way student will know what they are looking for and are able to highlight/mark the “answer” when they reach it. (This is one form of active reading.)
10. When using cue cards (ie study cards) make sure to have your students divide the cards into two piles with students: 1. The “I know pile” & 2. “The “I don’t know yet” pile. Study only the ones they need to learn. (It is so tempting to include the cards we already know as it “feels good” to get the answers right … but it is really just a waste of time.
11. When introducing manipulatives, iPad apps, etc. always allow students to “play with it first” in order to get “that” out of their system. When it then comes time to use it for educational purposes they will be ready to roll.
12. When feeling overwhelmed (and yes there will be those days!) do something about it. For example, I write down 6 things that I want to accomplish on a given day in order of importance. I figure that if I cross off the first three I’m good!