The very best thing I have done for myself in 25 years of teaching was to
spend about $200.00 on a portable wireless sound system, which you can find
online. It has reduced my stress levels more than I can tell you. I don't have
to shout, rarely resort to my whistle, and never strain my larnyx. I wish
every classroom came equipped with a microphone. I wish I had thought of it
years ago. Believe me it is money well spent.
To reduce the need for movement in cleanup (you can't really eliminate all
of it), I've started using baskets on my tables instead of the materials
carts. I check each basket and table before I dismiss kids, and I dismiss table
I have a sign on my door that has a picture of a videocamera and says "
Attention Students: for purposes of instruction, art classes may be videotaped
today." It helps that I actually had access to a camera last year, which
they saw, and taped some classes. Of course, I explained carefully that I was
using it to improve my teaching. When I have to be out, I video tape my
instructions. It kind of reinforces the idea that I am in charge.
It is legal to tape your classes without permission if you tell the
students, and if no one outside the school sees the tapes. You probably should run it
by your admisnstrator, since they may have to field questions from parents.
When they ask. "Where is the camera?" or "Is the camera running?" I just
tell them not to worry about it, that it is only for me to make sure I get
around to help everyone.
Here's another idea I learned from someone on this list: Have each
child design their name any way they want. Have them hold up their names, and
take a picture of each table grouping. Use the photos to make seating charts.
You'll learn their names faster, have an instant reminder, and subs will be
empowered by calling students by name.
I also use the rule sheet signed by parents, and a heirarchy of
consequences which include restating all the rules in writing, circling the
violation, and having the parent sign it; a time out problem sheet which the parent
must also sign, and a behaviofr essay in which the student myst tell how they
can make amends for what they have done--again it must be signed by parents and
returned to me. If students don't return the sheets, they get an
The immediacy of the cell phone is wonderful. Ahhh--technology!
Sometimes managing be overwhelming, and some years you get a crop of especially
I find that if I don't get up early for an hour of exercise, I'm a lot
more stressed out, and go home with a wrinkle between my eyebrows.
Keep the faith!