Monday, August 22, 2016

First Day of School

Summer is over and the first day of school is upon us! Is there any other day of the school year that causes more anxiety than the first day of school? Both teachers and students don't know what to expect from each other. Teachers worry about the type of students they're getting and how they will be preceived by their students. Even after twenty years of teaching, I still get anxious about the first day of school, but I've learned that with proper planning and the right attitude, the first day can be a great day for everyone. Here a few important tips and considerations that I believe will make the first day one of the best days.

1. Smile! “First impressions are lasting impressions”.
Students want to see a friendly face. Smile and you will present a positive attitude.

2. Dress up! Look professional and you will feel professional. Students will see you as a professional and treat you with professional respect. Remember, “First impressions are lasting impressions”.

3. Meet and greet your students at the classroom door! Say hello and welcome them into the room.Shake their hand and call them by name if possible. This sets the tone for the rest of the day and the rest of the year. It lets them know that their attendance is valued and that they are part of your new learning team.

4. Prepare a seating chart and assign student seats alphabetically to help learn their names. Later, you can hold a class meeting to determine final seating assignments.

5. Take attendance. Be sure to learn the correct pronunciation of each students' name. Make a positive comment to each students as you go through your class list. Ex: “Aren’t you on the ball team or in the band?” , “Good to see you”etc:

6. Introduce yourself. Be sure your students see you as a human being, rather than just an authority figure.Tell something about yourself. Tell them about your education, your family, and especially your hobbies and interests.

7. Explain your expectations for the class. Included homework, projects, behavior, and consequences. Remember, when it comes to class rules, “Less is More”.

8. Give students a course outline to take home. List all special activities that will take place during the school year such as field tips and guest speakers. Include required projects and special assignments that must completed.

9. Plan an activity that will be fun and motivating. A list of enjoyable activities can be found online. Just google “Activities for the First Day of School”.

Make the first day of school a memorable day! Make it a day to learn about your students and for them to learn about you.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The 7 Bad Habits of Ineffective Teachers

1. Focusing on being liked.
I think everyone wants to be liked, but if you keep thinking about how you want your students to like you, this is absolutely going to affect your teaching. And not in a good way. You’ve gotta’ focus on being a good teacher whom your students can respect. Ironically, students normally end up liking teachers they respect more than ones who are trying to be the cool teacher.

2. Yelling at the students.
** I think all of us have yelled at some point, but if this is your habit, it’s not a good one. Yelling rarely produces any good results and almost always results in a loss of respect. So instead of berating students and flying off the
handle, try taking a deep breath, getting really quiet, then calmly but firmly saying what needs to be said.

3. Letting little things go.
When I first started teaching I let a lot of little things slide because I didn’t want to whack kids on the head for seemingly insignificant things. The problem, though, is that if you fail to address little problems, they fail to stay
little. They quickly grow, and soon your class is out of control and you are definitely not effective. What I learned is that I needed to address each issue, even if it was simply saying something like, “Ian, please sit up in your seat.”

4. Being inconsistent.
It’s tough to be consistent. Believe me, I know. But being inconsistent in our classroom management leads to a multitude of problems. So we’ve just gotta’ do it. We’ve gotta’ learn to be consistent.

5. Failing to properly prepare.
We all have days that we realize last minute that we forgot to make copies of that worksheet we really need, but if you find yourself habitually starting class not sure what you’re doing today, you’re in trouble. Yes, you might make it through the class, but you’re just not going to be as effective as you could be if you’d prepared adequately. So determine to do your best to prepare as much as possible. And if you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, do what you can now and determine to really put in the work over the next summer so you’re not in this position again.

6. Being defensive.

Whether it’s a student, a parent, or an administrator who’s critiquing us, when we get defensive we rarely deal with the issue correctly. We need to seek first to understand and be open to the possibility that there might be a
better way. We’ll grow as teachers and also gain a lot of respect. A little humility sure goes a long way.

7. Thinking that you’ve figured it out.
Whenever we start to think that we’ve got in down, that we don’t need to keep learning and growing, we start stagnating. And we’re less effective than we could be if we kept looking for new ideas and better ways to teach.
Have you fallen into any of these bad habits? Are there any other habits you think contribute to ineffectiveness? Share your thoughts with a comment below.

This blog taken from Tech 4 The Heart

Monday, February 15, 2016

Change is Coming

Change is Coming

Just when it looked like little hope existed for overhauling state's use of test scores in evaluating teachers, a new wave of sanity has begun to take hold and influence the need for change. 

There is no question that states using test scores to evaluate teachers and principals are severely weakening the morale among teachers, parents and administrators. Worse is the use of "growth scores" which can count for as much as 50% of a teachers evaluation and measure student improvement by comparing scores against other classes in the state.

Last April, more than 200,000 New York State students in grades 3 - 8 opted out of state mandated English and Math tests. This was the biggest test boycott in the nation and only one of many boycotts in other states. It is time to admit that improper use of standardized test scores is a mistake and not admitting it is even a bigger mistake. New York State Regent Roger Tilles has called for changes in state law that place the emphasis on local measures of achievement for evaluating students and teachers. Even newly appointed Education Commissioner (NYS) MaryEllen Elia seems to recognize that something has to change.

The arguments made against the use of local measures of evaluation are as follows:1. Local measures can be manipulated2. Local measures are not uniform from one district.Both these arguments are absurd! First of all, the fear of manipulation of test scores is insulting to professional educators everywhere and unrealistic and the call for uniformity is educationally unsound. Are all students the same in every school district? Do all schools have the same resources? The last thing we should want is uniformity in testing. What we need to do is differentiate what we test and how we test students. A fundamental law of education is that all students learn at their own pace and not all students learn the same way. Testing students to evaluate teachers is wrong for students and unfair to teachers.Lets' hope this small awakening is the start of real change.