Essential Tips and Practical Applications For the New TeacherBy Patricia Blanchard Petitt
day. The behavior management plan must include levels to identify unacceptable behaviors, acceptable and exceptional behaviors, consequences and rewards.
• Set goals with your students, both individually and as a class. At the end of the discussion, students must work together to set at least three agreed upon goals for the class. In my class, two goals are directly related to reading and one is created for mathematics. The goals of visually displayed and revisited throughout the day by students to assess their progress. As an example, my students are able to chart their individual progress toward their reading goal using a Road to Fluency Highway. You may use post it notes to help students chart fluency rates at least three times a year, beginning, middle and end. Math stars help students track their progress as it relates to recognizing, writing, reading, adding,
subtracting and recognizing numbers to one hundred. Goal setting is important to students because it helps students realize the importance of accountability. Only after an assessment to determine the skill level of each student are you ready to schedule meeting times to discuss individual goals. You should schedule individual conferences no later than the second week of school if possible to guide them in setting their goals.
• It is very important to model for your students the desired behaviors and work habits you would like them to exemplify in the classroom and school. Model how to use supplies such as pencils, how and where to sit on the floor or carpet, where to put supplies and how to use workstations. In the long run your students will see themselves as members of a classroom community and gain a greater sense of working independently and cooperatively together.
• Complete a walking tour of the school such as the school office, nurse office, library, cafeteria, bathrooms and playground areas should be included as a first day of school activity. Always, introduce your students to other school personnel such as the principal, counselor, teachers, teacher assistants, nurse, librarian, custodians, coaches and nutrition personnel workers. These workers can have an important and positive influence in the life of student as they learn. School personnel become essential in providing a supportive and welcoming school environment to the student.
• In our district, the school year always begins with a fire drill on the first day. Prepare your children before the drill. Explain to them the dos’ and don’ts. Model how to line up quickly and quietly, proceed out the door and move to the designated place for the class. Provide students two to four times to practice from the carpet and from the student’s desk. This leaves little room for chaos during and after the drill. Make sure you talk about what a student should do if they hear the warning bell of a fire drill and they are not in the classroom when a drill begins. Please make note to have your student roster and keys before you leave the classroom.
• Keep your classroom organized and alleviate a teacher desk if possible. Usually desks are large and bulky and take up to much valuable space. Find a small student desk or table to use as your teacher work space. My teacher space houses a projector, document camera, and desktop. I have little to no space for clutter and I only work on one item at a time. I once heard this saying, “Teachers plan in their seats, and teach on their feet.” Many times I do both on my feet, as you too will most likely experience within this year.
I hope the tips I have shared today will assist you as you begin your journey as a new teacher. They are simple to implement and important enough not to forget as you plan your successful year.
Good luck to you, and happy teaching!