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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.

Don't Forget the Basics

As you begin to work on your lesson plan, be sure to schedule time to teach your students the plans you have made for the smooth running of the classroom.

Young children need lots of practice in the most basic skills. Schedule blocks of time to practice coming in to the classroom, lining up, walking in a line. Go over restroom rules BEFORE you take them the first time, do the same for the cafeteria. Take students to the playground and teach the rules on the spot, when there is no one else about. Talk about bus behavior, and general safety rules for walkers. If your building serves breakfast, make sure new students know how and where it is served.

High school students look more adult, but even they appreciate thoughtful tips: "You might not be aware of the pencil/pen/paper machines located just outside the student commons area. They take quarters and dimes."

All students need to be given the classroom operating standards as quickly as possible. Older students can be brought up to "speed" in one or two class periods, with brief reminders at the start of each day for about the first week or two, younger students demand more concrete experiences.

Take time to teach your students every nuance of what you expect behavior-wise and they will usually reward you with higher than average levels of compliance.

These are just the "tip of the iceberg." Each teacher faces unique situations and certainly, one size may not fit all, but this should get you started. There are many fine books which address classroom management and they can often be found in what are commonly referred to as "Teacher Stores." Look in the Yellow Pages under School Supplies.

The First Days of School (How to be an Effective Teacher), by Harry K. Wong & Rosemary Tripi Wong, is the most comprehensive I've run across.

Lee Canter & Associates offers a whole series of books for teachers and parents on Assertive Discipline/Classroom Management techniques.

As for myself? I practice what they (Wong, Canter) preach. I've never run a classroom "haphazardly," but I've seen teachers who do, and it is not generally a pretty sight.


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