Having an Off Day: A Letter to New Teachers. Last spring, I was a terrible teacher.
The kids didn't learn anything that day. My intent had been to present an interesting/engaging lesson on the wonders of theme in literature. I thought I had planned everything out, but I was wrong -- the lesson bombed. Five minutes in, I knew the kids weren't getting it. They started doodling on their notepads or staring off into space. Learning From Lesson Failure In my first year of teaching, a day like this would have derailed my confidence and felt like an epic failure.
Well, that simply isn't the case. 1. 2. Something else going on in the school was a distraction. Once you pinpoint why the lesson failed, you can move on to step three. 3. What do I need to change for the students to understand the content? Reflection and Recovery In my case, my lesson failed for two reasons. That night, I went home and redesigned the lesson. Having a bad lesson doesn't make you a bad teacher.
When We Listen to Students. As you are beginning to think about returning to school, I have a suggestion that can drastically impact your year (and it's simple): brainstorm questions to ask your students.
The kids right in front of us often have the most useful information within them -- information that can help us reach and teach them, help us engage them, and that can help us have a fantastic year together. What to Ask? Here are several of my favorite questions to ask kids of all ages: What would be the most useful thing for me to know about you as a student? What do you wish was different about school? When we ask questions, and when we're genuinely curious about what students say, we are communicating an authentic desire to get to know who they are beyond their test scores and beyond what other teachers may share. Managing Logistics There are many ways you can go about getting responses to your questions. If you teach dozens, or hundreds of students, then this will be hard. What else have you asked students? Classroom Management: 3 Important Big-Picture Questions. It's a Sunday night in early September and you can't sleep.
Your mind is racing with possibilities and streams of questions for the following day. You toss and turn as you play through your plans, trying to anticipate every possibility. The first day of school is fast-paced, stressful, and exhilarating all at once. We spend hours contemplating how we'll incorporate the changes that we've been planning since June and how we'll set the tone for the rest of the year.
Often, we get caught up in procedures, activities, and schedules, trying to get to know our kids and help them get to know us within the constraints of lunch, class changes, and other daily routines. It's easy for teachers to get caught up in the day-to-day minutiae and focus on things like where we place the tissue box, how to handle broken pencils or laptops that need charging, or assigning seats or cubbies or spots on the rug. 1. Some classrooms were nearly impossible to navigate. 2. 19 Big and Small Classroom Management Strategies.
The year I started teaching seventh- to twelfth-grade English in Minneapolis, Prince launched his song about urban ruin, "Sign o' the Times.
" That song was an apt musical backdrop for the lives of my students, most of whom lived in poverty and challenged me daily. That year also afforded me the opportunity to be assaulted with a stone, two chairs, a Rambo knife, a seventh-grade girl's weak jab, and dozens of creative swear words. Fortunately, classroom order improved when I learned that successful classroom management depends on conscientiously executing a few big strategies and a lot of little ones. Big Strategies: Fundamental Principles of Classroom Management 1.
A hypnotist's first induction technique often involves directing subjects to focus on something they're already doing. Teachers, like hypnotists, can string along a series of requests by asking students to do something most are already doing, then waiting for 100-percent compliance, and finally issuing another directive, etc. The 5 Priorities of Classroom Management. For beginning teachers, or for teachers like myself returning to teaching, the most difficult thing to master is classroom management.
I had to relearn what ten years of hard instruction had taught me: Good classroom management is more than just being strict or authoritarian, and it is more than simply being organized. If I want to have my classroom run smoothly as a well-oiled learning machine, I have to set up a structured learning environment in which certain behaviors are promoted and others are discouraged. I have discovered that there are five components of effective classroom management that establish structures strong enough to entice and motivate student learning: Developing effective working relationships with students Training students on how learning takes place in your classroom Protecting and leveraging time Anticipating student behaviors in well-written lesson plans Establishing standards of behavior that promote student learning 1. 2.