What She Wore: Navy blue, long-sleeve tee; grey pants; tennis shoes. Just not feeling fancy today.
Every once and a while, people send e-mails telling me that they read my site because they want to be teachers someday. I guess they’re looking for tips. . . well, I rarely give those. The other day we had a future teacher observing, and I realized I do have some tips–just a couple of things I learned in the trenches. So, without further ado. . . my tips for new teachers:
- Never let kids out of their seats. This one is probably the most important. You can’t teach if kids are wandering around the room. Surely, kids don’t just get out of their seats and wander around? Wrong. They will get up, dance, look outside, spit in the trash can, sharpen their pencil, dance, ask their friend for something, or anything else they can come up with. Nip this in the bud: it should be posted as one of your big rules, and should also be in your procedures. No getting out of your seat without permission. NEVER for a paperball. If you can get a couple of hand pencil sharpeners get those too. Keep those kids in their seats, and enforce from day one. Otherwise, you won’t be running your class–they will.
- Your kids will often not have their supplies. Pencils, paper, whatever–someone won’t have it. Keep paper around. If your school supplies you with copy paper, take some of that, so you don’t have to go out of pocket. As for pencils, you’ll probably have to buy those yourself. If you loan a kid a pencil, take something of theirs as "collateral"–that way you’ll be sure to get it back. Things that work good as collateral: necklaces, an earring, shoes are great, lip gloss, or a lunch ticket. Don’t take text books or library books because they don’t belong to the kid–you want to take something they want to get back–otherwise, you’re stuck with some crap, and they have your pencil.
- Restrooms–I learned this one the hard way. I always let kids go the SECOND time they ask. I say, "try to hold it, and let me know if it gets to be too much." A lot of times, they forget and make it through the whole class. If they argue with me, I tell them to go, but tell them there will be some type of disciplinary infraction. A tardy, a short form (which is my school’s version of a demerit), or a punishwork assignment. That way, the kid decides how bad they need to go.
Wow, I had a lot to say, and I’m not even close to done. . . consider this part I.