My Version of Advice

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.

KM

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About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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14 Responses to My Version of Advice

  1. Becca says:

    You many not feel fancily dressed today, but I bet you are comfy! I like your rules! Take the cellphone first! Bet that makes an impact! :-)Becca

  2. CJ says:

    You are right on the money with these tips!  I can\’t wait to read part 2.  And Rebecca is right on about the cell phones!  BTW….you still sound like a great teacher to me!

  3. Emily says:

    The other day one of my students traded me a belt for a pencil.   When he got up to go on break (I have my students two periods in a row), his pants fell around his ankles.   He hasn\’t forgotten his pencil since.

  4. Leah says:

    I\’m not even a teacher. I just sub, for a job. But I\’ve picked up on that number one, RIGHT AWAY. That\’s always one of the first things I mention (I employ a wealth of survival techniques and have a long list of things I put out to the class at the beginning). I always ask a neighboring teacher what the most difficult period is and crack down on those kids. I make them line up to get in the door and if they\’re not quiet enough, they go back outside until they can come in quietly. OOH, exit slips! Work they have to show me, completed, before they can leave! Stupid little things like that and they make all the difference. It\’s nice to see those sorts of things validated by someone who actually knows what they\’re doing.

  5. Jaysey says:

    Number one rule as a college instructor (which I imagine could apply to teachers in K-12 as well and which goes along with your #1): Let them know who\’s boss from day one.  It\’s much easier to lighten up later than it is to regain control of a classroom you never had control of in the first place.  So lay down the law on the first day…and stick to it!
     
     Happy Monday!

  6. Nadine says:

     And very good advice to new parents too!!!
     
     Hey you aren\’t dead!! Just Preggers!!
     Don\’t let that keep you from buying the cute shoes!!

  7. Jennifer says:

    I\’m one of those people that will hopefully be teaching in a few years and reads your blog. I guess to some extent I read it for advice, but for the most part I think I just like a glimpse into one example of what life is like as a teacher. I know it\’s a different experience for everyone, of course, but I still like to read about someone\’s real experience. Especially when it\’s well-written and generally entertaining. 🙂

  8. Tracy says:

    LOL about the collateral, a shoe in exchange for a pencil!! That\’s a great idea though, I guess otherwise you\’d just end up giving away pencils left and right!  And the bathroom thing is smart too — I bet some kids ask to go just so they can get up and walk around for a minute!
     
    Thanks for your comment, it means a lot, I just need to keep repeating to myself that I am strong and I will survive!!
     
     

  9. Antonella says:

    LOL!! I like your tips. They\’re very good. I remember my kids never had pencils or paper. I don\’t know how they come to school without it, but they do!
     
    Pasta with vodka sauce is sounding pretty good right now! But honestly, I could go for a huge cup of coffee!! I haven\’t had one in such a long time!!
    Antonella

  10. Toni says:

    See, you do have some helpful hints! You\’re better at this than you thought!
    I don\’t even teach but I got a chuckle at what kids got up out of their seats to go do…I had a 6th grade teacher who was an absolute joke; we had kids locking her out of the room and dancing on the desks on a weekly basis.
    Sounds like you have a little more control.
    It\’s okay to be comfy somedays–I liked your outfit. ~Toni

  11. Sheryl-Ann says:

    Hi KM, how are you doing these days?  This is some great advice for potential teachers.  Maybe the students will better by the time they get to college………..I find they still talk like crazy in class.  I learn their names and call them out on it and they look so sheepish when the others start laughing.  Hope you are doing great!

  12. g says:

    I agree completely with all three…# 1 is most critical in my book…you can\’t teach if they aren\’t focused and listening.
     
    g.j.

  13. Dawn says:

    Hey you,
     
    haven\’t been around in a bit and now I\’m trying to catch up with everyone….
     
    I\’m not a teacher nor want to be one…but these points make perfect sense to me…

  14. Wahzat says:

    I know I don\’t have the patience to be a teacher, but I have to say that pointer on using an earring as collateral for your pencil is genius.

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