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beginning teacher advice


From: Fields, Linda (fieldsl_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon May 24 2004 - 07:11:08 PDT

In 2000, I came up with a list of advice to student teachers. Some of it would apply to new teachers as well (in addition to the other wonderful ideas already posted):

We all want to be liked, but (student) teachers need to understand that to be effective, they must put a little distance between themselves and the students-especially at the high school level. Being called "Mr." or "Ms." is one way to do this. Talking like adults and not trying to be cool by using the kids' lingo is another;

Males, especially, should understand that adolescent males sometimes feel the need to "prove" themselves, especially to a new guy who might have the attention of the females in class. Using "macho" threats and techniques to discipline them can lead to more problems than solutions. Young teachers of both genders should understand that crushes are common and be careful about unconsciously encouraging these behaviors; on the other hand, they shouldn't take them too seriously. Never, ever date a student!

Arrange your schedule so you can participate in the nitty-gritty of the teaching world. Let others know you don't live in an artistic ivory tower, but know and participate in the total life of the school;

Dress appropriately. Check on school dress codes. Don't try to look like a kid;

Learn the art of documentation, whether it be about disciplinary action, a phone call, or some good things you have done. This can be invaluable to protect you, but also to help you in the event you later receive some honor which asks for your accomplishments, or when you decide to apply for National Board Certification. A very wise principal once told me that parents always believe the story they hear first, so beat the kids to the punch when there is a problem.

Of course, I agree with the idea of making friends with the support staff, and would add, don't forget the bookkeeper or treasurer.

Have a good summer everyone. This is our last full week of classes. Yippee! Linda in NC

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