This will be my 8th year of teaching. That means, someone gave a 23 year old a classroom. Full of kids. Are you kidding me? It was pointed out to me that my first classroom was in fact a gym. But that gym had 50+ students in it several times day. Throwing things. At people. On purpose. I don't see how that is any better than putting a 23 year old in charge of 30 in a classroom. Do you? If you are a 22-23 year old, and are thinking I am some crazy old lady for thinking that you are not responsible enough, come back when you are in your 8th year of teaching, and you will see. I felt plenty responsible and grown up too. Now I think my principal was crazy to hire someone a young as I was.
Any who, in these last few years of teaching, I have become a pretty decent teacher if I do say so myself. Each year I learn new things, and not the stuff they push on us at our monthly professional developments. I mean real stuff. The stuff that can only be taught in two ways: trial and error or by the most ruthless teachers of all, the students themselves.
I teach middle school. I am now out of the gym, and I teach health. Which I love. And luckily, most of the kids like it too. And, for the most part my students like me. Those two things make my job about a thousand times easier. I mean, there are kids who don't like health class (a girl told me it was stupid, pointless and boring this year) and students that don't like me (one time for saying that left handed people don't live as long as right handers- it has something to do with accidents or something. He apparently was left handed, and didn't like me after that) but for the most part, I have a leg up on things.
Here are some things I have learned:
*I finally have a decent system for absent kids/make up work. I have folders for each class period, if a kid is gone, I write there name on whatever it is they missed and I put it in the folder. Above where the folders are, is a piece of butcher paper that I list the notes we have taken each day. If a kid is absent, it is there responsibility to make up those notes.
*Our school focuses a lot on note taking-- well Cornell Notes. My 8th graders are pretty good at taking notes. Getting 8th graders to keep their notes has been a tricky one. I know in the future (assuming they still use paper in the future) keeping the notes they take is super important. Last year we started making little foldables for each unit that they keep their notes in. They turn them in at the end of the unit, and it has worked pretty well.
*Student work is hard with 125 students. A couple of years ago I had a sub one day. This substitute had been a teacher for 30 years and she is a wealth of knowledge. She did one small thing that had changed my life- she alphabetized my students work (by class) before it was corrected. That one act has made the tedious task of entering 125 grades into the computer a billion times easier.
*Handing back work is also hard. I use a big 3 inch binder to hold my attendance and seating charts. Each period is separated by a folder. I put the graded work in the folder and hand it back during work times, or I give it to a student who is done early. It's not perfect, but it works for me.
*In the words of Harry Wong, "procedure, procedure, procedure."
|If you don't have this book, you need it now- If you are a teacher that is|
What I love about my job (besides the
summers students) is the fact that I am always changing and developing. Classroom organization is something that I struggle with. Those make up work folders and the binders are one small step in the right direction. This year I have also put together pencil boxes with art supplies in them, one per group, to try and keep tabs on my supplies. I will be numbering them to go with each table group. Hopefully that will work.
Are you a teacher? What are some of your tips?