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For the New Teacher

About this Daily Classroom Special
For the New Teacher was written by Pam Tyrrell, a teacher at Jefferson Montessori Campus, Dayton, Ohio. Designed to aid entry level teachers, topics focus on issues and concerns commonly expressed by the neophyte teacher. For more new teacher oriented articles, make sure to check out New Teachers Online.

Do You Have a Plan?

Before Anything Else, Plan!

Appearances are often deceiving. You've probably noticed classes where everything just goes along smoothly, the students appear to be well mannered and the teacher is calm and self assured. The classroom is quiet and its obvious learning is taking place. How did it get that way? The answer lies in careful planning for EVERY contingency. Ask yourself the following questions and devise a plan, preferably in writing, as there are many details that must be addressed.

  1. How do I want my students to come in each day?

  2. Will seating be assigned, or student choice? Do I need to put name cards on the desk? (For assigned seating, this is a big plus, even in high school, as it saves time and keeps students from getting out of hand during the first few minutes of the class. No time between classes? Hang up seating charts for students to consult.)

  3. Where will students put their homework?

  4. How will pencils get sharpened, and when will be the best time to get them sharpened?

  5. How will supplies be passed out?

  6. Do I need a line leader? If so, will it be alternated or stay the same year round?

  7. If alternated, how will the leader be chosen? How will the rest of the class line up?

  8. How will I know if I'm calling on all children to respond to questions vs. calling on the same "volunteers" each day?

  9. What is the discipline plan for my classroom? (Check to see if there is a building-wide, or district plan in place).

  10. What about consequences for discipline infractions?

  11. Where will my class be expected to go during a fire/tornado drill. (Check to see if your building has an armed intruder, bomb threat plan).

  12. How will I handle "drop in" conferences? (Parents who "drop in" and want to conference during class time).

  13. Will I let students borrow personal books or other items?

  14. How will I support the efforts of special subjects teachers (art, music, p.e.) when they tell me a student has misbehaved during their time?

  15. Do I have playground rules? Hallway rules? Cafeteria rules? Restroom rules?

  16. How will I handle disputes between students? Between students and myself? Between students and parents? Between students and other building/support personnel?

  17. What will I do when a student becomes ill in the classroom?

  18. How will I handle suspected child abuse? How will I know if a child has been reported for abuse? (Check with your school nurse).

  19. Where will I keep papers for students who have been ill? How can I be sure absent students have access to assignments they may have missed?

  20. When is it appropriate to contact administrators/parents regarding student behavior?

Each of the preceding questions need to be thought out BEFORE the students come through your door. You may find that the plan you came up with needs to be revised when a situation actually occurs, but by having thought out these issues, you won't be caught totally off guard. Students need to feel they are being led by someone who "knows the ropes." They look to their teachers for answers and often become difficult to handle if they think their teacher is "spaced."

Appearances may be deceiving, but as role models, students, parents and our peers are impressed at the sight and "feel" of a well organized, well thought out classroom. Parents appreciate knowing about the more crucial policies, such as discipline, homework, make up work, etc. Some teachers send home weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletters, chock full of timely information, helpful hints for educational success, internet addresses for kids, homework help, tutoring hotlines, etc. Regular communication with parents is a good thing to practice, even at the higher grade levels.

 

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