I Don’t Know What I Need to Know!
If you already know where to park and you have your gradebook in hand, here are some other more things to know and have.
- Your school hours
- Your classroom and curriculum duties and responsibilities
- Additional duties and responsibilities such as bus, hall, and lunch duties
- The district’s and/or school’s policy on:
Homework Dispensing medication Referrals to special programs E-mail and Internet usage Grading Fire drills and lockdowns Field trips
- How to handle a sick day, personal leave day, or an emergency for you
- Who to contact in case of a classroom or school emergency
- When faculty, team, or other regular meetings are held
- Where and how to get classroom supplies
- How to communicate with parents
- How to fill out school forms
- How and when you are paid; payroll deductions
- What insurance coverage you have
- When is open house and what is the policy or procedure for it
- Required district forms such as W-2, insurance enrollment, teaching certificate, contract
- Grade book or other student record forms
- A copy of the student handbook
- Forms you will need during the first week: Accident reports Absence reports Hall passes
When All Else Fails, Try This!
The best way to get control of your classroom-and keep it there-is by making sure that learning is fun, interesting and relevant to your students. Good planning helps, but when it seems like even the best lesson plans aren’t working, consider these tips from veteran teachers.
- Make sure all students can easily see you when you are presenting information or using the chalkboard or AV equipment.
- Keep in mind potential distractions-windows, doors, animals, instruction stations.
- Locate your desk, work areas, and instructional areas where you can see everyone all the time.
- Students needing extra help or attention should be seated close to the front of the room.
- Make sure parents and students know your discipline standards and the consequences when rules are broken. Make sure your rules align with the district’s policy.
- Be consistent. Be fair. Be positive.
- Treat students with the same respect you expect from them. Have students help set classroom guidelines for behavior.
- Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake.
- AND. . . Classroom management can be a difficult skill to master. If these tips aren’t helping, reevaluate your rules and policies. Talk to your mentor. Let students know you’re making some changes and be consistent from then on.
Keep These in a Safe Place
Maintain an easily accessible personal file(s) at home or at school that contain important documents such as:
- Licenses and/or certificates
- Transcripts of credits and degrees
- Record of job-related seminars, workshops and conferences
- Letters of appointment or hire
- Employee contracts, including any supplemental contracts
- Record of hire from the employer’s official minutes (Board meeting minutes)
- Record of accumulated sick leave and other leave days (personal, vacation)
- Copy of assignment schedule
- Log of tax-deductible job-related expenses
- Copies of insurance policies
- Information from the retirement system
- Yearly salary notice provided by the employer
- Documentation of commendations, awards, and honors
- Employee salary or wage schedule; pay stubs
- All evaluation records
- Letters to and from parents and students
- Letters to and from administrators/supervisors and department heads
- District policies on student discipline, suspension, expulsion, corporal punishment
- Record of disciplinary methods used in handling student problems, including date and witnesses involved
- Record of assaults, violence or workplace thefts
- Written personal reconstruction of events surrounding student injuries
- School calendar
- Fringe benefit information; records on insurance claims
Did you Care Today?
If you haven’t realized it already, you’ve chosen a profession that makes a difference in lives. That’s important to remember when you’ve had a particularly lousy day. If you cared for your students that day, it was a successful day!
To establish the rapport you need with students and to help manage your classroom, keep these ideas in mind:
- Get to know your students’ names as soon as possible.
- Go over the daily schedule with students.
- Post a copy of the class rules for everyone to see.
- Find out if there is a “dress code” for teachers in your school district and/or building. Dress appropriately.
- Remember-you can’t out scream 30 or more students. The louder you get, the louder your classroom becomes. Learn to moderate your voice.
- Be yourself. Don’t take on mannerisms that compromise who you really are.
- Keep humor in your teaching. You chose a profession that cries for joy and laughter just to keep your sanity.
- Don’t prejudge any student, no matter what you hear about him/her in the staff lounge.
- Be sensitive to gender differences; avoid sexism.
- Respect your students’ religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
- Reward and praise– sincerely and frequently.
- Create a safe environment where your students know you will try to protect them from physical or verbal harm.
- Be a good role model. Be confident and positive.