THINGS A NEW TEACHER SHOULD KNOW
1. Put your desk in the front of the room.
2. If you’re overwhelmed by paperwork, ask seasoned teachers what’s most important and what can be ignored, even temporarily.
3. Don’t take student moaning and groaning about how boring your lesson is personally. They’ve been trained by TV and social media to think that everything about school is negative.
4. Keep all thank you notes or positive correspondence from parents. You never know when that will come in handy.
5. This too shall pass. Staff development topics and best practice techniques change every few years.6. Give shorter assignments so that you can truly grade papers and make helpful comments. Students need practice assignments, not marathons.
7. Provide written as well as oral directions to an assignment.
8. Read aloud in class and assign reading for homework. Many students read very little, so incorporate it as much as possible.
9. “Don’t worry about the smart kids” is a myth. Worry about all of them. Try not to shortchange anyone.
10. The last five minutes of class should be a summary of today’s lesson and a reminder about the homework for that night. Try to incorporate some type of closing activity that addresses the target of your lesson.
11. Decorate your room with student work, not “inspirational” posters. No matter the age, students are proud to see their work on display.
12. If a student submits work that is illegible, that didn’t follow directions or is incomplete, don’t grade it. Give it back and tell him that he has two days to fix it. Don’t remind him-let it be “on him”. If the work is not re-submitted, it’s a zero grade.
13. Make students accountable. Learning entails growth and change, which demands sweat. Give pop quizzes and make them re-do poor assignments.
14. Keep a file of IEP and 504 accommodations. Keep in compliance.
15. If a 17 year old boy enters your class, do not sit him next to a 14 year old girl. Her father will thank you.
16. Every subject requires some memorization. Make them memorize poems, formulas, names and dates. It is an underrated skill, but it can prove to be a valuable one.
17. A quick turn-around on returning graded work is a must. Grade only every other question, shorten your assignments but be sure to give work back within two weeks of the assignment. After that, it becomes meaningless for them because they’ve forgotten about it.
18. Keep blank greeting cards in your desk to send students a note when they need cheering up or
19. Lesson plans are best written a short time in advance. Do not plan a month ahead because you cannot account for unforeseen variables that will derail your best intentions.
20. Never let students be in your classroom when you are not there. Lock your door when you
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