I was a very successful student teacher, but a complete failure as a first-year teacher. How could a great student teacher become a horrible first-year teacher? Part of the problem was the success itself, which my mentor teacher created for me. In this excerpt from my first book, All the Ways I Screwed Up My … Continue reading Why a Successful Student Teacher Can Fail as a First-Year Teacher
Class meetings are becoming more and more common, especially at the elementary level. Are they worth the time? Class meetings, like any other classroom management tool, can be abused. When I was a full-time elementary teacher my class had Morning Meeting every morning. As I remember it, we would do a greeting, have announcements, sing … Continue reading Are Class Meetings a Waste of Time?
Classroom rewards systems can be super effective at motivating students. They can also consume a huge amount of time and money, keep students from developing intrinsic motivation, and lose their effectiveness over time. I couldn’t believe how well-behaved my students were the first week. They focused on their work. They raised their hands. Transitions took … Continue reading Classroom Rewards Systems That Work
Maybe you’re a very patient person who can respond calmly in almost every situation. You don’t get upset no matter what your students say or do. If that’s you, you probably don’t need to read any more. Just go on with your peaceful day, smiling beatifically at me as I stomp down the hallway, fuming … Continue reading How to Respond When You’re Angry
At the end of the school year, after the books are boxed up, the walls are stripped, and the furniture is stacked, it’s natural to reflect back over the year and think about what went well and what didn’t. Sometimes these memories are invited, and sometimes they sneak up and pounce on you when you … Continue reading The Humiliating Day I Forgot to Show Up For My Sub Job
I was frantically busy getting ready for the holiday, and frankly, my mind just wasn’t on academics. My students weren’t focused either, and quite a few of them were absent because of their own family stuff.I knew my students would forget anything I taught them in the two-day week leading up to Thanksgiving, so I … Continue reading The Hidden Opportunity in “Throw-Away Days”
I didn’t lose my cool. I simply invoked the power of the magic clipboard. Let’s face it. Our students are smart, especially when it comes to figuring out how to “get away with” attention-getting misbehavior. For one thing, they know timing is everything. If you want the maximum attention with the fewest consequences, you need to … Continue reading Improve Student Behavior With Your “Magic Clipboard”
Once I was literally backed into a corner by a ranting mom. She yelled and waved her arms while I was trapped with my back to the wall, wondering what to do. There was no one to help me in my isolated computer lab. It was just the two of us. Every time I opened … Continue reading How to Work With Parents
My second grade teacher had some sort of behavior incentive program involving points. I was never really clear exactly what it was. I knew she carried around a clipboard and made notes on it with her pencil (usually with an angry expression on her face) but I really had no clue whether points were being … Continue reading Who Cares?
I have to admit there are times when I just don’t think I can say “without talking” or “please get started immediately” one more time without screaming. We all know the importance of giving clear prompts and directions to students. In fact, I believe the ability to give clear instructions is one of the most … Continue reading Teach Them to Remember