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Advice for New Teachers

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In a recent article, members of the Teacher Leaders Network share advice for new teachers who are struggling to get their bearings as the new school year begins.

What advice do you have for novice teachers? What you do wish you had done differently or known about when you were starting out?

And if you're a new teacher, what challenges are you facing? What do you need help with most?

22 Comments

Make sure you get help from veteran teachers and other new teachers, especially if a bunch of you start out together. They will end up being in the same boat as you but as long as you work together and are not afraid to ask for what you need, the support you give each other will be the best way to get over hurdles.

I'm a first year teacher in special education at a middle school. I went the alternate route to certification in my state, meaning my undergraduate degree is not in education, but my MAE will be (I'm finishing my last six hours while I teach). It seems like everyone expects you to just know things. I've had no training other than a two hour session on IEP's that they used to teach in two days. I didn't even get more than a 10 minute informal session on how to use the software I'm supposed to use to do IEP's, track students, and do ARC notices. I'm constantly lost and unsure. The worst part is that I'm collaborating in three subjects that are not in my field at all. I haven't done Math or Science since my freshman year of college about twelve years ago! So I'm learning content as I go. It's frustrating and there is little support. I understand why there is so much burn out and why so many new teachers don't last in this field.

My dear Shelly--you have my sympathies. As a parent let me say that I believe that you are a very nice person, and must have a passion for the field that you are entering. Understand also, that as a parent I would be terrified of seeing my child in your class. As a parent, I have more formal IEP training than you do--and I believe that an IEP is a very important foundation for the work that you do in your classroom (I would worry far less about the software--you can probably figure that out). My advice would be to request that someone from the district who is knowledgeable in IEP writing participate in your IEP meetings (there is supposed to be someone in the meeting with responsibility to allocate the resources needed to support the student in meeting the goals of the IEP), and work closely with the content area teachers in every one of those three subjects. Ideally this is how it should always work (Special Ed teachers should bring the knowledge about disabilities, learning styles, accommodations, etc, the content teachers should bring the content--if you are isolated in a "resource room," odds are you are expected to bring it all--build the bridges that you need).

Last--from the parent side--I would much rather have an honest conversation from a teacher that acknowledges what she is still learning than with a new teacher who has backed herself into a corner of expecting everyone to regard her as the expert. Despite what you may have been told, most parents are deeply concerned about their children, appreciate contact from the school--especially when it comes before problems get huge or just shares what is going on. Also--big, big, big--middle schoolers will not tell their parents what is going on. They will not deliver notes, no matter how brightly colored. Make use of any/every other means of communication with parents--telephone, email, electronic bulletin board, website, billboard, pony express. Any of these will be more effective than reaching parents through their middle school students.

Good luck.

I am a first year, ninth grade english teacher, and let me tell you, problems are plentiful! A little back ground so you may understand the enormous wall I am facing: I am also a teacher hired through alternative certification, but I have completed some education courses while obtaining my BA in English and Criminal Justice.

To begin with, our district was so back logged in processing new employee paperwork that I did not get to participate in the preteaching that happens 7-10 days prior to school starting. (I was officially hired the 20th. School started the 22nd..) During this period they have all of the seminars and quick 2 hour trainings. And, on top of missing all of this training, I do not have an email log in, computer id, or a way to access our Edline (onlien program where we need to submit our lessons, assignments, schedule, hand outs, etc.). As we all must know, society pushes technology, so 99.9% of our communication is VIA email. Finally, I float from room to room for my 5 classes.
But, I must digress. To stay on topic I must discuss my challenges and the items I need help with the most..
- Lesson plans. Each person I go to talk to offers an entirely different way to complete the plans. A different format. Different requirements. Ugh!
- Benchmarks. Can they really be that simple to manipulate to work with our lessons?
- FCAT. This whole testing thing.. teach your literature, and how to write, but add on to your 90 minute class FCAT skills. How in the world do you get kids interested in FCAT other than cramming it down their throat with oral/silent readings and worksheets?
- IEPS, ESPs, 504s.. All of these wonderful letters that just make alphabet soup. I completely understand that we all want to make things simple and sweet, but I feel like I am reading a text message!
- Organization. Granted, I am sure the majority of this problem is due to floating between 5 different classrooms, and not being able to get organized and do any preplanning prior to school starting.. But, I just can not stay organized. After my second class of the day I feel totally frazzled. Did I leave something behind? Where is the hall pass? Where can I store my class set of books? Johhny is in 3rd period, not 5th period, yet I have his graded papers here..
- Grading.. It has been 6 days of school and I have assigned each class 1 essay, 5 FCAT worksheets, daily journals, vocabulary, and a notebook check.. Somehow I need to critically grade all of these assignments AND keep their ideals high. EG: The essay should have received an F, but i need to keep high a high moral, so the essay received a B+, yet mark it up and get them to redo it. The kids so do not want to rdo any work if they passed.
- Time.. I just need more of it.
- Communication.. I am so very tired of hearing about the bulletin, or email that informed us of our duty period, the fire/code drill we are having, the meeting that begins in two hours, or just any general information.
- Information. With the overload of information I do have on certain things, I do not have enough on other areas. Nothing is the same. Everything is crazy and hectic and at times, information over load.

How am I supposed to balance switching classes, missing communication, teachign the students, grading assignments, copying new assignments, planning the day, creating lesson plans, staying organized, fitting in with the other teachers, not scaring the kids, or harming a childs education? (And lets not forget to add FCAT into the mix!

I so understand why our burn out rate is so high.

And, please, do not get me wrong. When I am infront of the students, and I finally see the little light shine in their eyes because a concept as clicked, or concepts have finally been linked, it makes everything worthwhile. Overall my school helps whenever you ask. The veteran teachers are so wonderful and helpful - but when they have time to be helpful. And without having access to all of my resourses, it makes their assistance so difficult and frustrates us both!

I'm a first-year high school Spanish teacher and I feel so lucky to be in a school that has a fantastic language program and a very open, collaborative staff. I still am stressed and stay at school way too late and need to work on work-life balance very much, but I find myself thinking often of those teachers stuck in a place where they are not supported by colleagues and administrators the way I am lucky to be. I think that it's gotta be the lack of support that freaks out new teachers, and the big mess of how to become an effective classroom manager. For that, I reccommend reading "The First Days of School" thoroughly! helped me!

Margo/Mom shares valuable insights I would have appreciated when entering my first classroom as teacher. My background had similarities to Shelly's and Courtney's. I learned Margo/Mom's lessons from my students and from watching and listening to the best teachers in my schools. (The custodian and the head clerk in the principal's office can tell you who they are, if you haven't discovered them for yourself.) These teachers give priority to learning over everything else when with their students. Generally, they assume each student will learn something each day in class. They're open minded, consistently learning to read their students for specifics of how to phrase what they say or do next (the way comedians play to their audiences), break their lessons into small segments that they can adjust on-the-fly to keep students up to speed, and set lessons just beyond the easy reach of their classes. With these principles in mind, the mechanics of being the lead learner in your class will follow more easily. I also learned (and forgot too often to use) to schedule at least one big laugh moment for each class session as well as a time for students to applaud their work each day. Your students and their parents will teach you valuable lessons when you stay focused on learning over letting uncounted details and distractions overwhelm you. We all extend our best wishes for your students' learning.

I know exactly what you mean, I am a first year teacher in an CTT classroom, they through the special education teacher, who does not have her BA in special education, and she is miserable because she wanted an experienced general education teacher to carry her load.Tuesday is my
first day of teaching with her and she does not have a plan so, I emailed so we can have dialog and I think because she is not sure, she will not talk to me. I have had 2 hours of sleep each day this week, just from the stress of taking care of everything myself, she only moved furniture and left early while I stayed there almost until 9:30 at night fixing up the room. I feel like I am burned out already and I have not even began work yet. I just pray that everything turns out o.K

Early in my career, I worked next to this much older teacher that scared the hell out of me. He wore a tie and a white, short-sleeved shirt every day. In the winter he would keep a window in his room open at all times to kill off germs and keep his students awake. I don't know where you teach, but it gets VERY cold up here in Michigan. He was the type of teacher that kept every lesson plan in a neat file folder that he would pull out and follow year-after-year. He seemed to be a no nonsense, gruff teacher -- exactly what I was trying not to be.
However, what always baffled me was how loved he seemed to be by his students. He was someone they loved and looked up to. He was teaching some of his former students' kids, and he always had many former students (many adults) still coming back to visit him. I couldn't figure him out!!
This was a teacher I feared and thought had nothing to teach me as a newbie to the profession. Well, he ended up teaching me two of the most important lessons I needed to learn -- not only as a teacher -- but as an adult.
One day at recess, a rare occurrence took place. We were actually standing by each other watching the kids play outside. Usually, if I saw him headed my way I would take off the other way. Some how he snuck up on me. As we stood there in silence, he suddenly mumbled something very prophetic. At first, I thought he was just clearing his throat. Then, I realized he was actually talking. I wasn't sure if he was talking to me or not at first because he wasn't even looking at me. He kept his focus on the kids. This is what he said.....
"Have you told them you care?"
"Excuse me?" I reply.
"Have you told them you care?" He says much more gruffly. "Have you told your students you care about them?"
"I'm sure they know I care." I say trying to defend myself. "I joke with them; I give them fun projects to do. I tell them about my life. I even bring treats in once in a while for them. Yeah, I'm sure they know I care about them."
"No,No,No!" He snaps back. "Don't ASSUME they know you care! What's the first three letters of ASSume? You have to TELL them you care!! ... (Long uncomfortable silence) He continues... "TELL them you care about them. It will make all the difference in the world."
And just like that, the conversation was over.
I must admit I couldn't ever remember a teacher of mine taking the time to tell me they cared about me -- unless they were saying it as they were pulling me by the ear to the principal's office. Seriously, I can't ever remember ONE teacher actually saying it in a CARING way.
Even though I didn't expect much, I thought I would try it. I told the kids that I cared for them and told them why I care for them. I told them that my success as a teacher was based on their success. The better they do, the better I must have done. I told them it has nothing to do with money because I get paid no more or less based on their performance. I told them that I am one of their biggest cheerleaders because my success is based on their success. I told them that the better they do the more pride I have for being a "good" teacher. I also explained that we are a team working together to have our Best Year Ever! Working together as a team and caring for each other will make us a winning team! I told them as the leader of the team, I will work to model the way when it comes to caring. I told them that when I make a mistake with my words or actions I will apologize and work to not repeat my mistakes. Finally, I told them I would always care about them even after the school year because we will always share in a special memory -- having shared in a Best Year Ever!
I can't tell you what a difference this had made in my teaching!! Now, I start every year off on the very first day telling my students that I care about them. I tell them the first day and every day until they really start to see and believe it! Then, I tell them some more so they never forget.
This has been one of the greatest lessons I have learned as a teacher! Oh, by the way, the second lesson this great teacher taught me is to 'never judge a book by its cover' -- even if they wear short sleeve shirts and keep their windows open in the winter.
Here's to your Best Year Ever! Make it Happen!

Team Building = Best Year Ever!

You can’t throw a bunch of people together, call them a team, and expect them to magically start working as a team. And yet, that seems to happen way too often in Education. This makes about as much sense as throwing a bunch of lumber into a pile and calling it a building.

You must take time to build your team if you want it to perform as a team. Winning teams don’t usually happen by chance. As a leader with a team to lead, I would like to give you a quick blueprint you can use to build your own winning team this year with your students.

First, let’s make sure we have a shared understanding of what defines a team. In my classroom, we define team as a group of diverse individuals working together to achieve a shared vision/goals while striving for individual best.

As the leader of my team, I must come in with an exciting vision of where I want to lead my team. Then, I must work to turn that vision into a shared vision. Finally, I must provide a doable plan the team can easily understand and follow to help get us to where we want to go or accomplish what we set out to achieve.

In my classroom, our shared goal is to have our “Best Year Ever!” I’m not trying to replace any other teacher or year as this year being their best. I tell my students that I want every year in school to be their “Best Year Ever!” and that I hope they will be able to include this year on that list.

I describe all the benefits they will have if we can truly have a great year together. I talk about possible lasting friendships they will make, about how time will fly because we are having fun while working hard to reach our goals this year. I discuss how they will have a chance to try new, exciting things throughout the year that will challenge them and give them a chance to grow. Lastly, I tell them that together we will accomplish things that none of us could possibly accomplish on our own and that they will become strong believers in their own potential by the end of the school year.

The doable plan I give them is quite simple. I tell them that if they focus on three words consistently throughout the year, I will do everything else needed in order to guarantee them success -- their Best Year Ever! The three words they must learn and commit to doing in my classroom all year are “Attendance, Attitude, and Effort.”

To get my room of individuals to start working together as a team, I do what most corporate trainers do to get adults to tear down their walls, build trust, and start working together. I make them play together or work together to try and solve certain team challenges. These are usually called “ice breakers” and often involve some amount of physical activity or moving around.

Lastly, Pavlov’s dog’s showed the world that it takes about 21 days to make/break a habit. That means that as the leader of my team, I must invest a little time each day the first 21 days of school to build my team. During this critical time, I must keep pounding away at making my vision our team vision, building our team with the help of ice breakers, and I must keep my students focused on using the three words that will lead them – and our team -- to success!

I hope you will use this blueprint to create your own winning teams for years to come! And always remember, winning teams attract fans!!

What you want and needis exactly what your children want and need. I am 61 1/2. I have taught Headstart, classroom and choral music in rich and poor schools, multilingual elementary, special ed in elementary and middle school, and have served as a demonstration teacher/facilitator in a multi-ethnic gang area, all in California. The needs of all these kids are the same, and they are what you expressed as your needs: support, rest, a "home base." This is complicated by a fear of the unknown and your own ability to succeed. The most important thing to achieve is the students' caring for and helping each other, and knowing that you are there to help and care for them. NEVER have them compete with you or each other. Play "Beat the Clock" (because the clock doesn't care) as often as possible. Reward groups for success and celebrate bigger reward when all groups in the room succeed. Use gentle instrumental music as their support when stress is high. Research makes it clear that it calms, focuses the brain, enhances civilized behavior in you and the kids. Even tough seventh graders will ask for harp and flute music when they know it as "brain music."

To Courtney Solder, First year ninth grade English
teacher:

I can relate to your feeling of being overwhelmed. I am a 'beginning' ninth grade English teacher, after a number of years (over 30) out of the main swing, but in the school teaching electives, library skills and learning skills, to smaller numbers and a mixed groups of kids (9-12); I still teach three library skills classes in the afternoon.
Two of my colleagues, also ninth grade teachers, had West Virginia 21st century training this summer, so their programs of study are somewhat different, and mainly project based learning(we have one computer lab and they will use it the entire month of September, alternating 2 and 3 days). Also, we have new literature series (basically the same book as before, but a new updated cover and some new pieces), but a new ball game for me.

I, too, assigned a letter for a writing
practice (they wrote a formal letter to me and related in three paragraphs, their physical description, their reading habits, and their hobbies or interests). I checked their papers for errors and then had them correct their mistakes without rewriting the whole letter, after we went over a list of writing rules on the overhead. I have not even gotten to vocabulary (think it will be story/novel based) or daily journals. Maybe you are trying to do to much at once unless you are dealing with honor students.

I have learned from experience that worksheets are not very effective for anything other than having a grade and using a lot of paper. Kids would much rather be engaged in worthwhile, active learning. You might check any cd's which came with your literature series (ours is supposed to be loaded with lots of ideas). Also, check out www.spencerogers.com for some other ideas(he came to our community before school and five of our teachers went to Colorado for his training).

I wish we could contact each other and maybe be ninth grade English teacher email buddies.

Good luck with your school year. The first week is always the roughest.

Mary, 9th grade English teacher

There has been a lot of wonderful advice posted so far! I have to reiterate the ones that really hit home with me: CARING - can't say enough about how important that is! COMMUNICATION - parents can be your best allies if you treat them as partners. Other teachers can also help you work out strategies for challenging behaviors or difficult learning problems.
I'm not sure I agree with the post that mentioned that MOST parents of SpEd really care. By the time they get to high school, and I work with students who have been in a LOT of trouble over the years, most of the parents are absent or don't even realize their kids are going to school. (I'm really not kidding.) I spend a lot of time rebuilding bridges of communication between home and school. Those parents that do care are very responsive and their students thrive when they realize that teachers and parents are collaborating together. I have had some success rebuilding relationships with nonresponsive parents but it is a constant struggle.
I use email a lot to communicate with teams of regular ed teachers that work with my students. They have been very responsive to the needs of my students because we quickly communicate (2-way)almost daily so I know what is going on in all the different classrooms - expectations, assignments, projects - and I can support the students when I have them. In turn I keep the teacherrs informed of anything going on in the students' lives that may affect their classroom performance.
When I first started out I had a great mentor. I tried to get all of my information from that one person so I didn't get confused trying to use ideas from a variety of teachers with different teaching styles. Again relationship was very important. I also made sure that I knew the expectations of the administrator that was in charge of evaluating me. It is important to use the lesson plan format that they are expecting to see, put the lesson objectives up on the board, have my class record book appropriately documented, and lesson plans showing lots of differentiation. Things change as professional development "fads" change so I make sure that I know what is expected each year. Having taught in 6 different schools in 4 different districts in 3 different states it has always been a challenge to keep up with the expectations of each school.
The most important thing to remember is you are in the classroom for the students!

Shelly Harmon's comment regarding not having a BA in Education and working as a first year teacher, especially in Special Education, bothers me to no end. In the movie 187, Samuel L. Jackson's character, a substitute teacher, has a strong discussion with a principal who never taught in a classroom and takes sides with the students. I know at least three school counselors that never taught in a classroom before as a professional teacher. One of them, a clinical counselor, commented on how well I could direct a group of students to line up properly. I told her that I taught fourth grade for 7 1/2 years before becoming a school counselor. I truly believe that the school system is desparate to find anyone that has any kind of college degree other than in Education to fill in a classroom without a teacher. Special Education is a specialty area. A lot of what Ms. Harmon lacks in training would have been taught to her if she had a BA in education with emphasis in Special Education, just as someone wanting to teach Calculus in High School. Just recently I explained to a teacher's aide why her sister, who never taught in a school, could suddenly become a counselor with a Masters in Education. I told her that graduate classes are more of a research and discussion type of learning for those who already have a BA in Education. In my graduate classes, I was able to bring to the discussion table all of my teaching experience plus what I researched. I have a daughter-in-law with a BA in Business who now teaches Middle School mathmatics. Even though she is going back to college to take certification classes, she's teaching! You should hear all of the problems she is having with classroom management. She teaches below grade level students and is having a heck of a time for them to pay attention to her. She has no aides in the room to help her. I, myself, was transferred to a counseling position in Special Education, to work with Emotional Handicap students. I had to learn by the seat of my pants how to work with these special needs students. I talked to others, looked up info on the Internet, signed up for seminars, and talked to psychiatrists, psychologists, and anyone remotely experienced with Emotional and Behavioral Disordered Students. It's no easy task for me. My training did not even go near teaching me to work with EBD students. I was trained to work on Student Assist Teams to recommend certain students for Special Education. I know several experienced teachers that have a BA in Special Ed but will only work in a general education classroom. They do not want to deal with the paperwork and stress. If Uncle Sam truly cared about Special Education, there would be strong incentives to properly train teachers in that area. Ms. Harmon, I wish you the best in luck. Hang in there.

Quit, find a new line of work.

The first year I taught, I was assigned to a sophomore homeroom and as an American Lit teacher with 5 classes of 40 kids each at an all boys Catholic high school in Chicago. Next door to me was another English teacher with about ten years of experience. He lived a few blocks from me and I did not have car. So, I rode with him the first month until I was able to get my first car. We talked each morning and afternoon as well in the corridors. His advice, wisdom, tricks of the trade and general mentoring helped me no end that first year.
I don't think he had any idea how helpful he was to me. He was just sharing his wisdom as a teacher with a young colleague and doing it in a helpful, clearly stated, and very caring way.
We both moved on to other schools. Years later, after searching for years, I found out where he had retired to. I sent Charlie Breckle a thank you to his home along with a gift certificate to the Guthrie theatre in Minneapolis. I told him what he had done for me, started me off on the right path as a teacher and thanked him for his support that first year.
In his honor, or because of his help to me, I always try to help out new teachers to the best of my ability. I will never forget him nor will I ever under-estimate the value of a mentoring teacher.
Bob Keeley, Chicago
[email protected]

I sympathize with all of the beginning teacher laments. Teaching is hard work and complex beyond description. There is a better way to launch teachers into the profession than to let them 'sink or swim' on their own. I work with Michigan State University in partnership with my school district to offer a new way to help teachers enter the profession. As an Intensive Mentor, I leave my classroom once a week to visit the classrooms of my beginning teachers. Just as learning takes place in a social, interactive environment, so too, should teaching be an interactive dialogue. In my role as mentor, I offer many supports for my beginning teachers:co-planning, co-teaching, observation and feedback of lessons, modeling specific teaching strategies, analyzing student work and problem solving difficult situations with students, content and pedagogy. Besides the classroom visits, my Beginning Teachers and I meet once a month in a study Group, using texts, their experiences and research to look more deeply into our profession. Our jobs are complex and complicated. No preservice instruction can prepare you to teach; only immersing yourself in the practice can help you perfect your skills. Having a knowledgeable guide to offer assistance helps new teachers learn to engage students effectively and builds practicioners who focus on implementing the best practices to improve student achievement. Our innovative system of learning to teach with the support of a trained mentor, provides a needed flotation device to help the new teacher navigate the swift currents of teaching and learning. And not only do the beginning teachers benefit, but the mentors benefit as well. As a mentor, I am immersed in the excited enthusiasm and fresh ideas of new professionals and have opportunities to reflect on my own practice as I view theirs. In the end, all of our students reap the greatest benefits as we work together to develop the best for them.
We hope this will be the model for the future; the novice and the veteran learning and growing together while building a more satisfying educational experience for all students...and their teachers.

Dear Shelley,

I think much of what you're describing is how any SPED teachers feels at the beginning of the year. There's a bombardment of new students, all with their particular needs and wants, there's not necessarily the best paper trail to tell you what's what, and everyone needs everything right now. The maze of IEPS and 504s can be overwhelming to even the most seasoned pro. A dear friend, who had been an incredibly effective SPED teacher in our middle school building for over 10 years, just moved to Oklahoma City and into a new school. She's written a couple fo times to say how much she loves her new job but she has no idea how to make the new software work or to read her kids IEPs.

Like so much of the advice you've already gotten, she's relying on being the best observer she can be, getting to know her kids and just accepting them where they are (fully knowing she will be a big part of how far they'll go this year) and being patient with herself. IEP software doesn't seem to be intuitive or easy to learn in any location!!!!

Hang in there. If you find a good mentor (and seek one out if your school doesn't assign one to you...be proactive in getting the help you need) they can help steer you in the right direction. I teach middle school math and it's not that hard. You have forgotten most of what they need to know and you will just have to pick up on the pedagogy from watching the math teachers. It really isn't so much about what you know in math, it's how you explain it and the confidence you can impart to kids that they are NOT the only ones that are struggling.

I'll bet you'll make it. Heck you posted this so you have to be courageous!!!! That's what it will take. hang in there.

To all first year teachers-
Find a friend. Make friends with another teacher in your building. If they don't approach you, you need to approach them. Hopefully, your school will pair you with a mentor. If they don't, you need to find yourself one.
When I started teaching middle school twenty plus years ago, new teachers were not assigned mentors. Added to that, I was the math lab teacher, of which there was only one per building. I was lucky in that the English teacher across the hall introduced herself and made sure I felt welcomed and made herself available. I also, was married with three children in the school system and had attended school in the district I was teaching in. It helps if you have previous knowledge about your district. If you don't learned about the history of you district. I know without the support of a few key teachers and my living in the district I would have been lost that first year.
When things get tough just remember, why you went into teaching. Hopefully, it's because you love working with kids and seeing the "lightbulb" when they get it.
I taught in the math lab for five years before moving into the general math curriculum. After twenty-four years I still wait for that "lightbulb" moment and that's when I remember why I do what I do.
Don't give up and don't let your students give up.

If you are a new teacher, you have already noticed that students have a difficult time remembering what you have taught and often times look at you as though you are from Mars. MTTOP,Inc. has a solution that will give students an answer to the question parents ask every day, "What did you learn at school today, Johnny?" To which the child often responds, "Nothing". MTTOP,Inc. offers a unique product that uses multi-media and computer technology to help children remember what the teacher has taught. Our product, MountainTop Mnemonics, features students using rhyme, rhythm, and motion to remember basic language, spelling and math concepts. MountainTop Mnemonics was created by a team of experienced teachers and studies have shown that the students using the MountainTop Mnemonic method have made improvements on both standardized tests and class work. Students in states as diverse as Texas, Maryland, and New York are using MountainTop Mnemonics. I am sure the student of new teachers would benefit from MountainTop Mnemonics. Now instead the standard answer, parents will watch as their child demonstrates what he has learned that day. For more information our website is mttop.net. Posted by: MTTOP, Inc

Read! Know the difference between formative and summative assessments. Don't grade homework. Know what to grade and what not to grade. Consider median grading (as opposed to averaging).

Study available research about what's right and what is wrong in instruction. Don't teach like you were taught in school. Don't be too ready to copy the methods of fellow teachers.

Posted by [email protected]

Hello, my name is David Leidner and I am a GED teacher at a prison in Cuero, TX. On Oct. 3, 2007, I was exiting the education building when two inmates crossed my path pulling an unfamiliar container. With NO slur intended, I asked, “What do you have there-a bomb?” Both the offenders and I chucked at the comment and I went home for the day.

The next day, my principal calls me in to ask me if I made this comment and I said, “Yes”. She told me that the convicts I made this comment to were Muslims and they want an apology which I immediately agreed to do. My principal wrote up a disciplinary report and next thing I know, I’m being walked off the unit, suspended, and awaiting a contract termination on Oct. 31. I am devastated with no legal representation, because I don’t have enough money. I am going to go before a panel of administrators and lawyers loaded to fire me and possibly ruin my career.

I am a veteran teacher, having taught 1st,2nd,3rd, 4th and Special Ed (resource/cm) students Yes, first year teaching is very hard because you have to learn while your are at your first job. college doesnt teach us how to teach, just like being a new mother,noone teaches you how to raise your children, so just take it one day at a time,count your blessings daily,and get help from someone. But dont give up,I am still learning every day, but if you were meant to be a teacher, then you will do your best for the sake of your students, but if you start finding excuses and blame everyone else for your mistakes, then you are in the wrong profession. Teaching is hard work,that is why there is a big demand of teachers everywhere. Dont try to overwork yourself and stress out, this is useless, the work will be there the next day. so just do what you can and hope it is your best, remember you are the role model for your students and they are our future. Feel free to comment back and maybe I can be of help in other issues. Good Luck!

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