In previous posts I gave suggestions for managing your daily supplies and documents. But there's one "thing" you manage that can't be stuffed into a tool belt or stowed in a bin: students. And since there are lots of them and only one of you, it's imperative that you control student traffic before you're sidetracked, if not steamrolled, by it. Of course, with your supplies and documents in order, you can be more vigilant, and deter students from leaving their seats unless they have valid reasons for doing so. On the other hand, even when students get up for valid ...


In the next week or so, like every year at this time, thousands of new teachers will sprint into schools, ready--or so they think--to change the world by teaching and inspiring kids to do great things. Thousands of veteran teachers, meanwhile, will saunter into those same schools, glancing at their new colleagues and thinking, "just wait." It's not that veteran teachers relish the thought of idealistic rookies having rude awakenings. It's just that many of us experienced them ourselves. But those who've survived their early years and thrived in later years know that teaching in general--and each school year in ...


At an orientation before my first year of teaching, one of the speakers referred to an article titled, Phases of First-Year Teaching, in which Ellen Moir identifies several phases first-year teachers typically go through. And, according to Moir, they go through them in the same order at roughly the same times, as depicted in the following graph: What jumped out to me when I first saw this--as it has to pre-service teachers I've shared this with--is how early and abruptly new teachers feel disillusioned. Just six weeks or so after entering their classrooms with high hopes, they're questioning whether they've ...


The transition to any new job can be tough, but especially a job as isolating as teaching can be. That's why it's great when schools assign veteran teachers to serve as mentors for new teachers. It's also great that so many veteran teachers are willing to be mentors--often with little or no additional pay. At the same time, I've noticed that an assigned mentor is rarely able to meet all of a mentee's needs. This isn't a reflection on the mentor, but rather a limitation of mentor-mentee relationships in general and in the context of teaching in particular. Worst-case scenario, ...


Being anal retentive may not win you friends, but it sure pays off in the classroom where you're doomed if you're disorganized. Yet even if you're not a neat freak by nature, you can maximize teaching and learning time by disorganization-proofing your classroom. I previously suggested you do this by wearing everyday supplies in a tool belt--or smock or whatever suits your style. And now some suggestions for managing everyday paperwork. Between lesson plans, handouts, student work, notes from parents, permission slips, and main-office mail, most teachers are swamped with papers every day--even in today's world of cloud computing, mobile ...


It might be a stretch to say I was sick more than I wasn't as a first-year teacher, but it sure seemed that way at the time. Colds. Flu. Bronchitis. If there was a bug going around, I was sure to catch it. And between those physical ailments and the mental and emotional tolls of first-year teaching, I was running on fumes from September to June. Insult to injury, as a Teachers for Chicago (TFC) intern, I had all the responsibilities of a certified teacher, but received only a fraction of the salary and few of the benefits. And one ...


Ronald was six when he noticed his father had black grease around his mouth after working on a car. A few days later at school, Ronald tried to emulate his dad by coloring the area around his own mouth black. When the teacher (who I'll call Mrs. Davis) discovered what Ronald had done, she promptly instructed the rest of the class to close their eyes, and rushed Ronald to the front of the room. She then told the class to open their eyes and, after everyone had a good laugh at Ronald's expense, she ordered Ronald to go clean his ...


Graduates of University of Virgina's math teacher education program have had more success teaching with technology after a couple of years on their own than they had when UVa staff was helping them with it. This according to Joe Garofalo, Co-Director of the University of Virginia Center for Technology and Teacher Education, during a session he co-facilitated at the recent International Society for Technology in Education Conference (ISTE) called Preparing Mathematics Teachers to Use Technology. Dr. Garofolo also speculated that the reason for this is that it takes time for teachers to get a handle on classroom management. And based ...


Web 2.0 applications. Mobile learning. Digital portfolios. Flipped classrooms. Just a few of many topics I learned more about at the recent International Society for Technology in Education Conference (ISTE), and plan to tweet/blog about in the coming weeks. But what stood out to me at ISTE even more than all the great ideas for integrating technology were all the reminders that while technology can enhance teaching, it can't replace teachers. Developmental molecular biologist John Medina spoke to this in his opening keynote address when he cited theory of mind--which relates to human qualities such as empathy and ...


It's important when demonstrating mathematical procedures to stress the mathematics behind those procedures (i.e., the "why" behind the "what" or "how"), since failing to do so can cause or reinforce students' misconceptions. Take, for example, multiplying fractions such as 3/5 x 5/8, where teachers commonly--and correctly--note that "the fives cancel out," leaving 3/8 as the product. But unless students understand why the fives cancel out, they see it as something that happens magically rather than mathematically. Some students figure they can then wave their magic wands and also cancel out when adding or subtracting fractions--such that ...


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