Thursday, November 26, 2015

Teachers and Restroom Breaks

Bathroom breaks. How many teachers fret over students asking and taking bathroom breaks?
Guess's no problem for even an inexperienced teacher if they realize one thing: Restroom breaks are a nonissue.

Too many teachers stress out over small things. Restroom passes are one of those. So, if you are a teacher and wondering how to make restroom breaks go away, here are some tips.

First, you really need to check with the school and district to see what their policy is. They may not even have one and leave it to the logic of the teacher. Logic. That's how to tackle the dreaded restroom break.

If a child is under the age of 7, they should probably be allowed to go whenever they want. Why get some mad parent ranting at you for Johnny or Susie wetting their pants? No reason. Children of that age are no yet out to game the system. They will not just make a game of it. More on that later.

Upper elementary is when restroom breaks become iffy. But again, use some logic. Sure, they are still young enough to have some potty problems. Again, no big deal. This is the age when rules for breaks becomes an issue. And they may try and game the system. Do not make the rules written. Any written rule is probably not enforceable all the time, so why write one? (You should not have written rules anyway, see below.) Let logic take over. If you have never made restroom breaks an issue, or even mentioned it, chances are, your students won't either. But 8 to 12 year olds are now big enough and well potty trained. Stress going to the restroom before school, during recess, and at lunch. They go then, most will never need to go later. Stress this at each break! Also mention that you will not allow anyone to go to the restroom 15 minutes after recess or lunch ends.

Also, you will not allow students to go 10 minutes before the bell rings. So what does that leave? Guess what? About 30 minutes of classroom "potty time." That's not a very big window. And use this trick. When someone asks to go, say you will let them, but in 5 minutes. Chances are, if they really have to go, they will ask in 5 minutes. If not, they will forget about it. Tell them you won't allow a student to go until 5 minutes has passed since last student went. Again, these are unwritten but you have told them over time. Soon they will get the picture. You seem to let students go whenever they want, and, they know to relieve themselves at the breaks. It's now a nonissue.

Here's more teacher logic. Befoer school recess, lunch, and maybe 2 more recesses or PE during the day. That's almost 5 times a day for a child to use the restroom. Why should they even need to when in class?

Upper grades, like middle and high school, same technique. Most middle schoolers and high schoolers are not in class more than 45-55 minutes. Same rules as above.

If you do not allow students to EVER use the restroom, they will think it's unfair and game the system. You can even have a timer for time to be gone. Maybe even allow each student one(1) restroom break each month.

Sure, emergencies happen. Any teacher should be able to tell when a student has a real emergency. I hate to admit it, but maybe girls get more of a break.

If you don't make restroom breaks an issue, the students won't either.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Teacher Survey

How well does your school inform and help teachers?
Please take our teacher survey at

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Teacher Motivation

A lot can be said for motivating your students. You sure want them to be in your classroom eager and ready to learn. But how about teachers? Do you nee a little motivation? Many of us do! So let's get started on being a motivated teacher!

Think about your job as a teacher. You have perhaps the most important job in the world: Educating young people who will be the next generation of leaders. Isn't that enough motivation right there? The child you teach may be President someday. Or a famous actor, rock star, or win a Nobel Prize. Wouldn't it be great to be remembered as making a difference? The next group of leaders starts with you, a teacher!

How many people are relying on you? Every part of society from your student's families, to the neighborhood, to your city, to your state, to your country. Everyone is relying on YOU to successfully teach their children. Be determined to not let them down.

You chose to be a teacher. You stepped into the classroom. Why? Just to go through the motions? To be the best, you have to teach YOUR best!

You can raise the expectations at your school. If you are looked upon as a great teacher, you lift up the school as well. The reputation of a school starts with the teacher in the classroom. Are you going to be the teacher that people can say is why the school is great, or why the school is lousy?

School improvement begins and ends with the teachers.

It might not seem like it on some days, but you are making a difference each and every day. Is that difference good, or is it bad? Are you bettering your students and school, or are you adding fuel to the fire of poor performance?

Pat yourself on he back. You might want others to recognize you, but let's be honest. Many teachers think they have a thankless job. Well give yourself some credit! Be proud that you chose the best job in the world. Celebrate your accomplishments on a daily basis. Pat yourself on the back at the end of each day for what you have done!  We want our students to have intrinsic rewards. Well, so should we!

Pump up your fellow teachers. As you spread a little cheer around the campus, others cannot help but be lifted up. Raise the spirits of other teachers, and you raise the spirit of the profession.

Now, you might want to go to the top. That is, ask your principal and district officials if possible, what can be done to make teacher's jobs better, and recognize them. Have a teacher of the month. Special parking place. Have students make cards for teachers. Free coffee in the break room? It would not cost much to drop off a teacher care kit each once in a extra pencils, markers, paper, etc. Ask the PTA to do some sort of teacher appreciation. Get a few teachers together and brainstorm.

In the end, you have to be motivated on your own to be determined to be the best teacher ever. What are you waiting for?

>> How to motivate students.

>> Teacher Jobs


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Schools need alternatives to college readiness

Not every student will go to college. Not every student will need college. Every student does need a high school diploma.

About 66% of high school grads go to some sort of college. That does sound like a large number, but let's dig deeper/

Only about half who enroll in a 4 year college are still there a few years later. So that 66% figure above seemingly drops in half.

How about the drop out rate? It is somewhere between 13% and 7%, depending on race.

This means that literally millions of kids each year either do not start college, or finish.

Are we making it more difficult for the average student to want to finish high school if we continue to push college? College degrees vary in giving the earner a career, and certainly add to their debt load. College is just not practical for many of our students. So why do we keep pushing it?

There are careers that we need that do not require a college degree. They need training, even on the job. These careers go from plumbers, electricians, carpenters, to food and service industry. We need trained people to do millions of jobs daily. Judging by the local freeways and highways, we sure need a lot of truck drivers.

Those jobs mentioned above do need some sort of technical training. Wouldn't it be great if we offered that in high school? Having a way to funnel our students to good paying careers right out of high school? Billions of dollars is spent in trying to prepare our students for a 4 year university, leaving out a good chunk of our student bodies. I would be discouraged if I were not sold on college. I would feel like I am being told I have no future.

We do our students a disservice by not giving them options. We need to start partnering with good technical schools and junior colleges that offer needed programs. No, we are not talking about useless ripoff "colleges" that con students in, take their money, then close. We are talking about good jobs that are needed now. Construction workers, truck drivers, LVNs, and other medical professions like respiratory therapist.

When we graduate kids that have no future, or worse, allow them to drop out, we are putting society at risk. We now have lots of young people without futures. Let's give them one.

This will have to start at the state level, perhaps federal. It will take money and program development. We as educators need to get the ball rolling by talking to our school board and elected officials across the board.

>> Search jobs for teachers here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Teacher Jobs

Are you looking for a teaching or education job? New page will give teacher job listings:

 >> Teacher Job Listings


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Planning for a Substitute Teacher

Teachers sometimes will be absent. With seminars, illness, and family concerns, teachers will need to take a day off. However, always remember that the best person in your classroom to teach, is you. You owe it to your students that a day will not be wasted just because you are not there.

If the absence is planned, make lesson plans that any sub can handle. They are not you, so don't expect them to be as good at teaching your material as you. But it should be academically related to what you are presently teaching.

Worksheets are fine in this case. Make them doable with little guidance, and be done alone. It's not a good idea to leave group activities for a substitute teacher. Discipline can be a problem.

Bookwork is fine, as long as you know each student will have a book with them. Older kids tend to fool around when passing out books, and getting them back on he shelf.

Be sure any bookwork is due by the end of the period or class. If it is not, students will not work and just want to play around.

Emergency substitute lesson plans should always be available. Leave them in a drawer or cabinet for easy access. Inform other teacher and the office where they are. Keep these plans up to date. If students think it is a throw away day, then it will be.

Elementary teachers can probably leave modified plans for all subjects. But remember, they cannot be a perfect replacement for you.

Tips for planning for a sub:

-Always have plans. Never make a sub wing it.
-Be sure and make the work gradeable in some form.
-Task should relate to current work.
-Make things as easy as possible for the sub teacher to follow and implement.
-Leave extra handouts for early finishers.
-Allow sub to modify anything, but make the sub accountable for turning in student work.
-It's not play time or a free day.
-Inform the sub of any special tasks or needs for the school and class.
-Leave a treat for the sub...a cookie, candy bar, etc. Make them feel special.
-A sub teacher is a professional. Treat them as such.
-Don't expect the day to go perfectly.
-Resist the urge to ask students for names of problem students. You already know who they are.
-Leave details about your teachers box, dismissal, duties, handouts, etc.

If you really want to know how to plan for a sub teacher, become one yourself. School districts make it possible for regular teachers to sub on days they can. Better still, if you are planning to be a teacher, work as a sub. It will open your eyes.

>> Read tips for substitute teacher.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Teachers should watch what they say in front of students

Everyone has a bad day, including teachers. I have heard many teachers start making excuses in front of their class. Bad idea. You are telling students that you are not prepared and the class might not be much. Instead, be prepared! Even if you think that the class might not go well, it is your duty to make it as best you can.

Avoid any and all statements as to why the class might not go well.

It is your job to give students the best possible lesson you can. They get one chance. Making up for lost class time later will always fail.

Be well prepared in advance. You should never be frantically lesson planning the night before, let alone that morning.

Your classes should already be structured so that you are not talking the whole time. The more you kill yourself in class, the more bad days you will have.

Teachers do not need to complain to their students about lack of materials. Talking about how bad the school and district are should not be done. This also holds for when you are talking to other teachers. Doing so just lowers the bar. You make your students feel as if they are going to get a second rate education. That should never be tolerated, no matter how bad things go.

Always have some emergency lesson plans available, make them easily found and easily implemented.

At the start of each chapter or section, prepare materials in advance that will reinforce the concepts without much effort on your part. Make it to last at least one class period. That way, on a day you don't feel up to par, you can dig some of these out.

Creative teachers can find ways of teaching without the need to constantly stand and talk in front of the class.

Put a high stool at the front of class. Use it as often as you need to. (Avoid sitting behind at your desk.)

If you are sick and can't make it through, or emergencies arise, call in. Again, have emergency sub plans already there.

Sometimes, however, it is better to show up and give your kids a half effort. A half effort on your part is better than a full effort from a sub. We all know that a sub day can very easily be wasted.

But things happen. It is not a crime to have an off day as a teacher if you give students what they need for that day.

Your students will know when you are not feeling well or things did not go as planned. Be determined to show them that you will always do things to the fullest.

Obviously there is a difference in teaching and planning for grade levels. An elementary teacher has different plans all day. Secondary teachers mostly can do one or two. This is where worksheets will come in very handy, so long as they have a clear point to them and something that includes what they are supposed to be learning. Don't make a day of fun, nonacademic worksheets.

It is almost human to talk about bad things that happened and make excuses. A truly professional teacher will avoid that in the classroom.

> Read more about being a creative teacher and lowering your stress.